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In The Name Of God The Most Merciful, Most Compassionate
By: Dr. Nafisa Sekandari & Hosai Mojaddidi
Source: Mental Health 4 Muslims
There is a right way and a wrong way to get to know someone for marriage. The wrong way is to get caught up in the excitement and nuance of a budding relationship and in the process completely forget to ask the critical questions that help determine compatibility.
One of the biggest mistakes that many young Muslims make is rushing into marriage without properly and thoroughly getting to know someone. A common myth is that the duration of a courtship is an accurate enough measure of how compatible two people are. The logic follows that the longer you speak with someone, the better you will know them.
The problem with that premise is that no consideration is given to how that time is spent. Increasingly, young Muslim couples are engaging in “halal dating,” which is basically socializing with each other in the company of friends and/or family. This includes going out to dinner, watching a movie, playing some sport or other leisure activity, etc. Depending on the family or culture, conversations are either minimal & chaperoned or worse, unrestricted and unsupervised. When you consider these limitations it makes one wonder when exactly, if ever at all, would the critical conversations take place? Unfortunately, for many, the answer is never and they live to suffer the consequences.
If you or someone you know is in the “getting to know someone” phase, the following guide offers advice on exactly what to look for and avoid:
1) Do Not Marry Potential: Oftentimes men consider marrying a woman hoping she never changes while a woman considers marrying a man she hopes she can change. This is the wrong approach on both accounts. Don’t assume that you can change a person after you’re married to them or that they will reach their potential. There is no guarantee, after all, that those changes will be for the better. In fact, it’s often for the worse. If you can’t accept someone or imagine living with them as they are then don’t marry them. These differences can include a number of things such as ideological or practical differences in religion, habits, hygiene, communication skills, etc.
2) Choose Character over Chemistry: While chemistry and attraction are no doubt important, character precedes them both. A famous quote follows, “Chemistry ignites the fire, but character keeps it burning.” The idea of falling “in love” should never be the sole reason for marrying someone; it is very easy to confuse infatuation and lust for love. The most important character traits to look for include humility, kindness, responsibility, & happiness. Here’s a breakdown of each trait:
3) Do Not Neglect The Emotional Needs of Your Partner: Both men and women have emotional needs and in order for a partnership to be successful those needs must be mutually met. The fundamental emotional need of a woman is to be loved. The fundamental emotional need of a man is to be respected and appreciated. To make a woman feel loved give her the three AAAs: Attention, Affection, & Appreciation. To make a man feel loved give him the three RRRs: Respect, Reassurance, & Relief. It is the obligation of each partner to make sure the other is happy and this extends to intimacy as well. As long as each partner is fulfilled by the emotional needs of the other, the intimate relationship will thrive. When a man takes seriously the emotional needs of his wife she will feel more encouraged to fulfill his sexual desires. Likewise, when a woman takes seriously the emotional needs of her husband he will feel more encouraged to give her the affection, love and appreciation she wants from him. Working together in this way encourages both giving and receiving.
4) Avoid Opposing Life Plans: In marriage you can either grow together or grow apart. Sharing a common purpose in life will increase the chance that you will grow together.
5) Avoid Pre-Marital Sexual/Physical Activity:
6) Avoid Lack of Emotional Connection: There are four questions that you must answer YES to:
If the answer is “I don’t know, I’m not sure, etc.” keep evaluating until you know for sure and truly understand how you feel. If you don’t feel safe now, you won’t feel safe when you are married. If you don’t trust now, this won’t change when you are married!
7) Pay Attention to Your Own Emotional Anxiety: Choosing someone you don’t feel safe with emotionally is not a good recipe for a long-lasting and loving marriage. Feeling emotionally safe is the foundation of a strong and healthy marriage. When you don’t feel safe, you can’t express your feelings and opinions. Learn how to identify whether you are in an abusive relationship. If you feel you always have to monitor what you say, if you are with someone and you feel you can’t really express yourself and are always walking on eggshells, then it’s very likely you are in an abusive relationship. Look for the following things:
Beware of Lack of Openness In Your Partner: Many couples make the mistake of not putting everything on the table for discussion from the onset. Ask yourself, “What do I need to know to be absolutely certain I want to marry this person?” “What bothers me about this person or the relationship?” It’s very important to identify what’s bothering you, things that concern you, and things you are afraid to bring up for discussion. Then you must have an honest discussion about them. This is a great way to test the strength of your relationship. Bringing up issues when there’s conflict is a great opportunity to really evaluate how well you communicate, negotiate, and work together as a team. When people get into power struggles and blame each other, it’s an indication they don’t work well as a team. Also important is being vulnerable around each other. Ask deep questions of each other and see how your partner responds. How do they handle it? Are they defensive? Do they attack? Do they withdraw? Do they get annoyed? Do they blame you? Do they ignore it? Do they hide or rationalize it? Don’t just listen to what they say but watch for how they say it!
9) Beware of Avoiding Personal Responsibility: It’s very important to remember no one else is responsible for your happiness. Many people make the mistake of thinking someone else will fulfill them and make their life better and that’s their reason for getting married. People fail to realize that if they are unhappy as a single person, they will continue to be miserable when they are married. If you are currently not happy with yourself, don’t like yourself, don’t like the direction your life is going now, it’s important to take responsibility for that now and work on improving those areas of your life before considering marriage. Don’t bring these issues into your marriage and hope your partner will fix them.
10) Watch Out For Lack of Emotional Health and Availability In Your Potential Partner: Many people choose partners that are not emotionally healthy or available. One huge problem is when a partner is unable to balance the emotional ties to family members, the marriage ends up having 3 (or more) people in it rather than two. An example of this would be if a man is overly dependent on his mother and brings that relationship into the marriage; this is no doubt a recipe for disaster. Also important to consider are the following:
Additional Points to Consider:
salam alikom everyone... i have read this article its really amazing...do me a favor dear all ,,, pray for me .... i m engaged and here there is a problem come in my marriage ,, plzz take my name in your salahh and pray for me plzz ...ask from allah that remove this hardness from my nikah and put lots of love between me and my husband ...i love him a lot ..and even i cant imagine my self without him.. plz pray dear all ...
Nafisa Rawanshinas - as with all our articles, the source info with a direct link to the original there. This might not show up on the mobile site due to formatting changes. I will see if we can add it inshaAllah.
This story was written by Dr. Nafisa Sekandari & Hosai Mojaddidi from the excellent Mental Health 4 Muslims website: http://mentalhealth4muslims.com
This is one of the best articles I've read on this topic. I find myself nodding to almost every point. But having said that, 7years is not a short amount of time that u spend with someone. You have invested so much of your heart and feelings into it that makes parting a feat that is easier said than done.
Thank you so much to Muslim and the Jewish writers who made this beautifully written article possible.
Thankfully, I am everything this articles demands a person to be. But then SHE rejected me because of my height!! :V :D :P :(
Besides from making me think how I would see a potential partner in the future, this article made me question if I am a suitable person (like mentally healthy enough) for anyone else out there.
to find these qualities it is huge task and almost impossible cause generally people are good at hiding their true selves until marriage is initiated............nowadays it is close to impossible to marry someone, unless you are very lucky to find someone with theese 10 traits. it is too unrealistic.
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I'm not a Muslim, but I'm married and think this is one of the best marriage advice I've ever seen. Sure beats the decorative and crowd-pleasing advice I hear on cable TV! Singles across all beliefs (or non-beliefs) should certainly do better if they adhere to these.
Marriage is your life's most crucial venture, it's ridiculous to "just wing it" on the basis on some brain-hormone alone.
I honestly don't know why some people are bashing this article. All the points are very valid and correct regardless of how they were conveyed. I don't need to take everything to heart you read the article and you take from it what you think will work for you, and every point is a good point and are things that could turn a relationship upside down if it's not dealt with before or in the early stages of the relationship.
As far as the the 3 AAA's and 3 RRR's i've seen that around in other published psychology work. It has nothing to do with Islam or religion at ALL... it's simply how the majority humans are. NOT ALL HUMANS but a good number of them. ISLAM calls for mutual respect between both partners. If you think about it to make a man happy. Respect, Reliance and Relief: respect is mutual of course to and from both partners. Reliance is important a man needs to feel like he is a man, open a jar, pick something heavy, he needs his masculinity validity not to saying that he(we) feel insecure about our masculinity but we want to know that we are the protectors and you can run to us for safety when you need something heavy lifted or a tight jar opened lol :) RELIEF comes off a little bad in the sense that people automatically think sexual relief and that is not completely true. Men are humans too and we have emotions maybe we aren't as forthcoming about them as women are but we need to feel like are loved, cared for and we hold an important place in your hearts, and when we need to talk or express you'll be there and i think that is what Relief means not only sexually relief but emotional relief as well.
anyways didn't mean to rant but it's a good article nonetheless...instead of going off bashing or posting negative comments, take what you feel benefits you and Allah knows best :D
Cheers y'all :D
" 7) Pay Attention to Your Own Emotional Anxiety
Controlling behavior: This includes controlling the way you act, the way you think, the way you dress, the way you wear your hair/hijab and the way you spend your time."
I find this hilarous.. if your wife wanna be in skimpy outfit all the time and show her boobs and wear short skirts, u cant control her?? lol..
In a way or another, if you tell someone how she dressed, and ask her to wear something more appropriate, she will for sure say "YOU ARE CONTROLLING ME!!!" lol... why cant they include "as long as it does not oppose the islamic way of dressing which is to cover up your aurat" such a biase article..
the article is great and quite helpful in many ways, but the writer suggests that we avoid depressed people.
I have depression. does this mean that people find me unfavourable as a potential life partner? I've always felt that one day a woman will enter my life and finally rid me of all the troubles I face in dealing with depression, because God knows how painful it is to just get me through days.
I like how this article suggest that you observe all of these things about your potential husband/wife and then completely contradicts itself by saying that "Depending on the family or culture, conversations are either minimal & chaperoned or worse, unrestricted and unsupervised." How are these questions going to be answered when the authors do not even want unrestricted conversation between a couple or potential couple. Additionally, "To make a woman feel loved give her the three AAAs: Attention, Affection, & Appreciation. To make a man feel loved give him the three RRRs: Respect, Reassurance, & Relief."
As if a man does not need appreciation and a woman does not need respect. This is the fundamental problem with Islam and perhaps society as a whole. Women are still perceived as the weaker sex and unfortunately articles like this only continue to further perpetuate this.
The other parts of the article were okay.
Even though some people above may think this article isn't a good one, I think most of the points made are true!
"to make a man feel loved give him the three RRRs: Respect, Reassurance, & Relief"
I'm sorry but its very naive and religiously biased to believe that the sexual "relief" referred to above only applies to men! Even though many traditional cultures repress the notion of female sexuality, it is reality that women have as equal sexual desires as men do and that it is the job of both partners to fulfill each other sexual desires, not just the women giving "relief" to a man.
For those who do not think this article is trustworthy - think of it as your marriage counseling tools before you get married. When you find someone you find an attraction to, and feel that they are "THE ONE", consider the items on this article. Discuss them with your fiance, and in fact, find other questions online presented by marriage counselors so that you are both clear on where you each stand on the most important things in life.
Do not be a romantic and think that the plain text of the Hadeeth means that is it. "Whomever you are content with their Deen and Character, then marry them to your daughter". That needs to be defined because one's character and how they practice their Deen are completely different in a group vs at home.
Jazakum Allahu kheir for the article, even though its a tad bit late for me :)
I really don't understand how one can observe their potential partners' habits so closely and get answers to these deep questions when such an emotionally intimate relationship is not meant to exist before Nikkah. Also, the part where 'emotionally empty' people are shunned is quite insensitive. Everybody has some sort of weakness and these people need love more than anyone else. This article makes one search for near perfection in the other person whereas every single person you have considered/will consider for marriage will have one or more of the characteristics 'to avoid'.
In my opinion, all you can really do is view the most basic things like modesty, humility, their consciousness of their Salah, manners, kindness etc. You should be honest and ask yourself whether you will be able to overlook their faults given what you know is good in them. Of course, ultimately, only Allah is aware of the depths of peoples' hearts which is why the only way to know whether there is Khayr in a potential relationship is to perform Istikhara. Its sad that priority is given to other things when The Most Merciful has given us an assured way to betterment.
Honestly, I don't understand why this article is on this website. I'm sure this would help many non-Muslims to make better life decisions given that their pre-martial relationships are so different from ours but in a Muslim's case, our beloved Prophet (may peace be upon him) surely gave the best advice when he said, "A woman is married for four things, i.e., her wealth, her family status, her beauty and her religion. So you should marry the religious woman (otherwise) you will be a loser." (Sahih Al Bukhari)
This kind of article is just for day-dreaming..
It is really hard to find a person with such criteria
If you really searching for such a person, you`ll probably be single for the rest of your life
written by a single 40 year old. Accept your partner and let God.if u follow this article i think u'll keep searching and probably leave the best you'll ever had.......if u love then marry them ,for girls if he dont want to commit -make them , the reason your partner is attracted to you won't be same with what other will see in you, you can't explain love.. I got a friend her gf left because she thought he wasn't marriage material, guess who's married with an old guy and my friend now is happy with a beautiful family.
This is a great article. I think very useful will be for every if he/she read this before marriage. I hope i will apply the same thing to get my wife also.
you know, the only thing u need in a partner is emotional intelligence...thats it...u can never find someone thats perfect in every category...u should look at who u are, and chose someone that can accept that.
I'm married for 14 years now- and this is probably the best marriage article I've ever read. Spot on. Hey young people! READ THIS! REALLY read this! And follow this. Your happiness and future are at stake! :) I'm lucky my husband espouses most of these qualities! But trust me- I hear many women complain that their marriages lack so many of these things. Think long-term (always!) when looking for a marriage partner. Great job.
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agreat article for every person to read.guideline and ideas how to chooses the right man or women are clearly stated;.however we must remember as a muslim we must believe in qada n qdar plust u must work for it then
allah will fulfil our wish.the principle of give and take passion and keep on improving would definetly sustaine the marriage and live happily
The article is great and informative. My only question is why we are not provided a Muslim article from a Muslim source, so this could be related directed to application of quran and sunnah?
I love it, all of it. :) ............
But unfortunatly...there is the matter if timing, age, how long it takes to know a person and you then find you don't really want this person.. firstly to find a potential partner is hard as it is, secondly by the time you find someone close to these specfication you'd be too old (in your late 20s or more) and that person my not want you if they have a proposal from a younger person who may have similer qualities as you. Its a hard world we live in, sometimes you may need to sacrifice some of these points. Also depending on the families and culture..families get too 'in' the relationship when the two potential are 'getting to know' some fams strongly beleive you shouldn't meet to many times... once is enough or three is minimal, but..there is no saying no after because of getting a bad name to their family name etc. Even when you find Mr Right and marry, children always change the relationship no matter how hard you try, there will be the unity in it, but also the times when you may feel a bit distant even if your at home together, both your focus if more on the kids. its easy to say but you need need need to take time-out from the kids to spend time together, a long weekend or somthing.
All I can say is amoungst the searching for Mr/Mrs Right, remember to pray and ask Allah for guidence and for your special someone to be one you can love unconditionally and get along with and a servent of Allah. InshaAllah.
i like the way the writer emphasized that marriage is not a way out for issues you were having with yourself as a single man/women. it really shows that we should being assertive and take responsibility for our own happiness, and then, of course, tawakkal to Allah.
However, i believed that it is quite hard to justify the qualities of a person once you start liking them. Most of the time, their judgement is blurred by their feeling towards that person. They start focusing only on a good thing, and ignoring/giving excuse towards that person limitations.
May Allah give His guidance to us all the time. Ameeen.
Great article, MashaAllah. Helps one clearly identify on what lines to think , when the occasion arrives of choosing a life partner, a soul mate. May Allah Ta'ala give us the clarity of thought, the intellect and the right means to make the right decision. Ameen
Insightful article, although I think using some common sense and intuituion would allow one to arrive at most of these conclusions. It pretty much spells out the bare basics really.. or a 'dummies guide to getting married'
This a great and wondeful artilce.
my fiance has all of those qualities thank God. The only thing the concerns me is that I do like him and love him even but it's not that burning love feeling. Does love become stronger after marriage ?
You miss an important part of this article: the trait of humility! Unlikely to be your height, but your ego. She is probably with a humble man who doesn't think he's perfect .
@AD Dear AD, my cousin lived though a major depression herself, and this I told her too, you cant expect another person to "save" you from your problems and make everything much better. To start an healthy relationship you have to be happy and solve your problems on you own, never expect another person to solve it for you. Because that wont happen.
@wre6227 You should spell "Allah Will Fulfill.." in the second paragraph.
Why? Can't wisdom come from non-muslims? Even the Prophet took the advice of wise non-muslims and his uncle, who did not accept Islam, was one of his most trusted advisors. You can't assume that people outside Islam have nothing intelligent to say.
Salaam, Hope, Alhamdulillah (Thank God) your fiance has those qualities, but when you say it concerns you is that you like and love him but there is no burning love feeling, well now no one can answer as to whether that feeling will come after marriage, only Allah (swt) knows that. However, when you are married you share more and do more with one another, (speaking as a married woman myself), so I think with that said, it is very possible for the love to grow and just tawaqal a'la Allah, and Inshallah you both live a lifetime of happiness.
I would just be careful evaluating an individual's qualities using the barometer provided in this article. There is no such thing as 'an angry person' or 'non-addict'... everyone possesses the capacity to exhibit any one of these 'undesirable' qualities and simply labelling someone with such a quality and advising to avoid such person is both simplistic and incredibly naive.
As an example, I wouldn't classify myself to overwhelmingly befit any one of the categories mentioned but depending on what day of the week you observed me you may label me contradictory to what someone else may witness of my behaviour. E.g. Monday morning at work I could be labelled a depressed, tired/lazy! introvert with relative lack of emotion whereas on Friday afternoon I may be labelled a happy, charismatic, exuberant young man displaying opposite traits to Monday morning! It's almost like reading a horoscope... you have to adopt a critical approach, otherwise 95% of people in this world you could probably argue can fit the criteria of 'good marriage candidate' as conveyed above
@Musa i didn't say nor infer that. the picture and the commentary are not synonymous with one another. If I placed a bible in something labeled Qu'ran it would seem a bit odd as well. The article is from a Rabbi's point of view, which is completely fine, then common sense would had either a Jewish or universal/general pic. It stops confusion.
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