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He Loves Me, but Doesn’t Want to Marry Me

Questioner

A

Reply Date

May 22, 2016

Question

Salam. I hope to receive a sincere advice. I grew up in a really conservative Christian family in Europe. Religion has always been important in my family and I was a good, practicing Christian, but started doubting the trinity and the church. A few years later, I discovered Islam and since then I've found my inner peace. I reverted to Islam 2 years ago. It was my personal choice; I was not pushed by anyone. I learnt a lot about Islam and I've started practicing it, each day trying to improve myself and get closer to God. For the last few years, I've worked in some countries of the Middle East and it was a good opportunity for me as a new Muslim. Many of my colleagues were born-Muslims. I was excited. Then, I met a local Muslim guy from a conservative family. He speaks English fluently and I started asking a lot about his culture, traditions, style of life, etc. We discovered we had a lot in common despite our different backgrounds. We felt as if we had known each other for long time. Anyways, despite traveling and being "free" compared to other Muslim girls, I grew up in a conservative family. So, when he asked for a walk to visit the city or for a coffee sometimes, I always refused. But we were talking a lot for 6 months about our studies, our families, our hobbies, religion, etc. while working (we were required to work together). Every time we got surprised about how many similarities we had despite our different backgrounds. Then, something changed and we started to see each other in a different way. He asked me if it was possible to see my family and meet them. I was happy but afraid of his intentions. I told him from the beginning that my family was conservative (again) and a boy entering my parents' house meant “marriage". He replied that he had already known that. I talked to my mum about that and I started thinking of the trip. A couple of months passed working and trying to organize this trip until suddenly he said that he changed his mind and didn't want to come to my country as he felt I had a lot of expectations towards him. I made my expectation (marriage) clear from the beginning and he accepted. I was deeply sad. I cried for days. The only thing he said was "it is not logical". It was difficult to work with him in this way. I managed to finish my work and returned earlier than the expected date. I announced my leaving two weeks before the departure. He was sad, upset, and shocked. Suddenly, he changed again and he asked me to stay at least until the end of the expected time. But I had taken my decision and didn't want to see him one more day. It was so painful. I couldn't stop thinking of his words. He said he was sorry, that he was scared of marriage, that he was not ready for marriage (he is 28 years old), that he needed time; that he didn't want to lose me because he loves me. He said that when he was 20, he was in a haram relationship with a girl (texting and meeting each other). He intended to marry her as soon as he found a job, but she ended up marrying someone else. He was heartbroken for years. He said that he lost trust in women and he was not interested in marriage anyone until he got to know me. I was like a fresh air for him. The day before my departure, he invited me to his house. I met his family (parents, all the brothers and their wives), but just his mother knew about his previous intention of marrying me. It was very nice spending time with his family; everyone wished to see me again. Then he promised me to keep in touch (by texting) and to come to visit me and my family two months later. But he was clear saying that he just wanted to see my family; he wanted to wait 2 years for the marriage (including engagement/nikkah). This thing hurt me more. He wanted a haram relationship with me for 2 years? And he wanted to meet my family knowing that we had to wait 2 years for marriage and that in the meantime he didn't want even a serious official commitment (nikkah) but only a haram relationship? I refused that type of relationship and never accepted his proposal of coming to visit me in my country. He is still waiting for an answer. I tried to ask myself what went wrong. Why was he not ready to commit? The only answers I got in different moments and collected together were "I am scared of marriage; I am not ready for marriage; it's not logical; my brother is getting married this year and my family doesn’t have money to support my marriage". What I think is that as intercultural marriages are very uncommon in his country, he is scared of this in addition to the fact that I am a revert. It is also hard to find European reverts in his country. Several times he said I shouldn't spread the word about my conversion, which I have never told anyone just because no one asked me about my faith, except him and his family. I started wearing hijab only a month ago. The situation now is that he keeps writing me that he misses me and that he wants to come and see me. But he never talks about marriage or engagement. I usually don't reply. I think the best decision is to let him go. He is a coward and he can't stand against cultural stereotypes about being married to a European revert. He never told me that, but behind his words "it's not logical", I can only read this. For me, culture is nothing. Islam makes believers happy here and in the Hereafter. I really need an opinion about this story and some advice. Thank you!

Counselor

Answer


He Loves Me, but Doesn't Want to Marry Me

Answer:

As-Salamu ‘Alaikum my dear sister,

Thank you for writing to us with your most important question. First of all, congratulations and welcome to Islam. May Allah bless your path, grant ease, and bless you abundantly. In regards to your situation with the man, it appears from what you stated that he is, indeed, not ready for marriage based on his conflicting messages to you and asking you to wait for two years. While cultural differences may be present, they should not be what binds or separates two people. Marriage is a mercy from Allah and one should marry for the sake of Allah with Islamic principles at its foundation.

As you are a new revert to Islam, I kindly suggest sister that you study (if you have not already) about marriage in Islam as well as the rights of a woman in marriage. As you have come from a conservative background, it is natural that you expect marriage from this man, and for him to “step up to the plate” in regards to proposing to you and marrying you in the correct Islamic way. There is no explanation from him which would be considered valid to wait for 2 years.

There is a hadith which states: ‘“Make the marriage well-known and announce it.” Generally, in Islam, it is not good to wait years to marry once one has found a suitable partner. However, the man whom desires to marry you insists that you wait for two years and has also requested that “you shouldn’t spread the word about your conversion”. Why would he not want you to speak about the most glorious gift from Allah of reverting to Islam? These are big red flags, my dear sister. Please, see AboutIslam’s article on “Advice to New Muslimah’s Considering Marriage”. It has a wealth of very valuable information which I feel, in sha’ Allah, you will find helpful.

In writing, you have correctly analyzed your own issue with great insight. I think sister you already know the answer is to let this man go, which you have already started to do. I know it’s painful as you feel an attachment to him; however, with much prayer, du’aa’ to Allah (SWT), you will heal from this hurt and lose this attachment to him and later be blessed with the man whom Allah has chosen for you – a man who honors your reversion to Islam; a man who respects you and will come to meet your family with joy, asking for your hand in marriage.

In conclusion sister, please follow your common sense in this matter. I would kindly suggest, in sha’ Allah, that you move on with your life and put this behind you. He is clearly not ready for marriage and to keep pursing him may bring you more problems and heartache. Allah knows best. Immerse yourself in studying Islam, making good friends in your Islamic community, join sister groups to learn, and enjoy social outings. In time, your pain will disappear and you will experience a true and sincere proposal in sha’ Allah from a man who is worthy of your time and efforts.

We wish you the best. Please let us know how you are doing. You are in our prayers.

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About Aisha Mohammad-Swan

Aisha Mohammad-Swan received her PhD in psychology in 2000. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York with a focus on PTSD, OCD, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, and Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach. She is currently studying for her certification in Islamic Chaplaincy, and takes Islamic courses at SHC. Aisha works at a Women's Daytime Drop in Center, and has her own part-time practice in which she integrates counseling and holistic health. Aisha also received an MA in Public Health/Community Development in 2009 and plans to open a community counseling/resource center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah.

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