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Fiance Says I’m Not ‘Talented’ Enough

Questioner

P

Reply Date

Nov 19, 2017

Question

As-Salamu Alaikum, I hope you are in the best of health and spirits. I’m engaged to be married this winter. I have never really planned on getting married/engaged at this age, especially because I’m still pursuing my education. However, as we all know that Allah (swt) is the best of planners, and alhamdulillah I have nothing to complain about.I have met some potential suitors, and my fiancé seems to be the best of all of them. The rest I don’t know because this is obviously an arranged marriage. I met him a few times as he is my childhood friend’s elder brother, but we haven’t really looked at each other let alone speak until a few months back when my parents received a proposal from his family and a meet up was arranged. Then I spoke to him over the phone once and decided to get engaged. Since the engagement, we haven’t had a meeting. Yes, we do talk over the phone or chat online, but it’s nothing like how couples who date behave.I have a lot of reasons to be thankful to Allah. I passed my exams, and now I’m only one step away from being a lawyer. I got a very good marriage proposal without even resorting to hardcore groom hunting. One thing that really impressed me is that he never really insisted on meeting up alone even after getting engaged, and I’m very thankful to Allah for protecting both of us from haram practices.However, there are certain things which bother me. He says I don’t have much ‘talent’ in me. For instance, I haven’t had formal training in singing and dancing. His sister learned odyssey dance since childhood and recently learned singing from a male tutor. He says these are qualities which would make her more appealing to suitors as she herself would resort to an arranged marriage, too. I find this comparison between me and her unreasonable and hurtful. I was never eager to dance/sing in front of an audience on stage albeit in decent clothes.He says he can’t show off my qualities to his friends as I don’t have any. I have decided to learn cooking only for him, but I can’t take lessons on music and dance as it will be un-Islamic. I was very hurt to know what he thinks. I feel that he is overlooking my other good qualities. I fast, I pray, I have better Islamic values than his sister (she never prays, fasts only occasionally), and most of his family members. I don’t want to sound arrogant, but I’m better looking and more intelligent. I’m good at painting and studying to be a lawyer.How can I explain to him that just being able to sing and dance wouldn’t make me a good wife? How can I develop myself further so that I don’t need to hear such taunts? How can I win his heart after marriage? Or should I not take his criticisms to heart given the fact that he is better than most men I met?

Counselor

Answer


Fiance Says I'm Not 'Talented' Enough

In this counseling answer:

“If you feel that your fiancé will be a critical spouse, one that is unhappy with what you have to offer but rather pushes you to be someone you are not, then you may have to give this union more thought.”


Wa `Alaykum As-Salaam,

I commend you for having a balanced approach to your circumstances and seeing the positives in a situation as well as the negatives.

You are correct in that we all have shortcomings and none of us is perfect. However, having our own flaws means that we do not judge another due to their flaws. It does not mean that we have to cheerfully put up with poor treatment.

From the little that you describe of your fiancé, it seems that both of you have differing values. If he values dancing/singing to the point of him declaring you “untalented”, then I feel that he has spoken volumes in just saying that.

Though marriage was not always a romantic, love-based union, it is now. Thus, most of us look to have certain needs fulfilled within a marriage. Most of us want to support, love, and acceptance. It seems that you are not getting these.

Needless Criticism Is Abuse

If you feel that your fiancé will be a critical spouse, one that is unhappy with what you have to offer but rather pushes you to be someone you are not, then you may have to give this union more thought. (Consider, there is a difference between pushing one to be their best and pushing someone to change altogether).

I do not mean to scare you, but needless criticisms can turn into verbal and emotional abuse if it is not met with assertive retaliation. Abuse is when a partner tries to control another by any means – criticisms, manipulation, neglect etc.

Rethink the Situation

From what you have described your fiancé, he may be better than ‘most men’, but he doesn’t seem to be what you are looking for which doesn’t make you ungrateful. It just means you are aware of your needs and emotions.

I would recommend that you deeply reflect what it is you want out of marriage and write a list of these things. After you’ve made this list, write down what needs/wants you to feel your fiancé will be able to provide for you.

You may need to talk to him more. This can be done with a chaperone present. You are not married yet and thus still have time to rethink your decision, which is what it seems like you are doing.

May Allah help you!

***

Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

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About Atia Zaidi

Attia Zaidi is a writer, educator, social worker and mother. She has worked with the GTA's Muslim community for over 15 years in various capacities. Currently, Attia runs a small private practice offering therapy for Muslim families.

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