He Doesn’t Meet My Criteria, Shall I Still Marry Him?

04 May, 2020
Q Alsalam alaykoum,

I am 19 and have been engaged for 2 and a half years now. My fiancé doesn't live in the same country as me so we recently had a nikkah done so I would be able to go to his country.

I have only met up once with my fiance and this was when he first proposed to me.

I didn't like him then and I still don't. I have never felt comfortable, I always thought that it was due to me being engaged at a young age but now that I'm older I don't think so anymore.

He seemed like a nice generous guy. I asked him about whether or not he drinks and he said that he doesn't so he seemed perfect except for his anger issues.

He went back to the country he's currently living in and we continued to talk on the phone. All this time I still didn't feel comfortable with him, but the people that know him said that he is a very nice, well-mannered man and that I was lucky to have him.

I thought that I was just being immature.

After a few months of talking, he completely ignored me for a whole month. When he called back he acted as if nothing happened.

I tried to ask him why he done that and he said to not talk about it because he doesn't want to and that I should be more romantic with him. I was young and have never been in a relationship so I had no clue what to do.

A bit after that he told me that he drinks and that I shouldn't tell my parents about this because this is our relationship and they shouldn't know things like this.

I was so scared of not pleasing him, so I pretended I was fine with it. That was a big mistake.

We continued to talk and I just couldn't open up to this man no matter how hard I tried. The drinking was really bothering me as well.

So I mentioned it to him again and he got really angry. He started to call me names and he said I'm only looking for trouble. He also told me that he wasn't going to stop.

I didn’t want to make the same mistake as last time, so I told my parents. They didn't react the same way I thought they would. They said most Muslim men drink and that I shouldn't be annoying my fiancé about it!

I was so surprised. I felt all alone. I felt like I was making a big deal out of nothing.

Then he ignored me for 3 months, this was around the time of the nikkah. His dad traveled to our home country to meet up with my uncle so they can do the nikkah.

I put my foot down and told my parents that I wasn't going to marry a man like him and they finally agreed with me, but they were still hesitant because they were scared that I wouldn't get married due to me being engaged for so long.

My fiancé finally called and when I answered I put it on speaker so my parents could listen in. He said that he would treat me really well, that I would be able to study and work.

He said what else could I ask for? He also said that inshallah he would stop drinking and that I don't know the future.

My parents fell for this and told me to go ahead with the nikkah. Again, I thought I would listen to them because they are older and they want the best for me.

I was visibly upset for a while and I just couldn't trust that he would stop drinking. I asked him about it again after a few months and he reacted in the same way as before and said that he didn't lie to me in the beginning, which means that what he said to me before the nikkah was a lie.

This time he also said that were not fully married (as in we haven't had a proper wedding and we don't live together) so if I don't like it then I should just leave.

I told this to my mum and she was angry at me for asking about him drinking. Yet again he stopped calling.

I don't want to marry this man. I don't want to move to a country where I know no one else but him. However, I'm scared that I'll be leaving a good man and I have set my standards too high.

Do most Muslim men really drink? I'm scared that I'll never find anyone to marry me because there isn't a lot of Muslims in the country I'm in.

There is also a lady here that talks badly of me, so I'm scared that that will lower my chances of marriage as well. I have always excelled in my education and alhamduallah I also take care of my looks but the lady always lies about me.

Should I complete my marriage with this man? And if I leave him do you think I won't ever get married? Sorry that it's so long and thank you for reading.


In this counseling answer:

We know that drinking is haram and it is not a usual thing for a Muslim man to do. It may well be common in some cultures, but that doesn’t make it permissible.

Showing support to him in giving it up might make him more inclined to try.

Remember, everyone has weaknesses.

Take time to consider the options and make istikhara.

Assalam alaykum,

It is understandable why this scenario is causing you so much distress. Of course, you want a good husband. This man seemed to meet the criteria and others seemed to testify to this, but over time he seems to have shown evidence to the contrary and this has cast doubts for you.

There are few different things to consider here. First of all, if you have done the nikkah, then in the eyes of Allah you are married regardless of whether you have done a traditional legal marriage also.

Marriage Takes Work

Either way, it is important to understand that marriages do take work and they will be testing at times, each in their own way.

He Doesn't Meet My Criteria, Shall I Still Marry Him? - About Islam

Before marriage, people might often imagine a perfect marriage. Certainly, there will be times like this, but there are also hard times too. This might make marriage seem less appealing, but it is actually the testing times that can bring the couple closer to each other and closer to Allah.

These are the times where marriage is actually strengthened and will eventually improve the marriage in many cases. It is surviving these difficulties that will build the marriage.

Of course, it doesn’t seem ideal, but it requires some patience and communication between the couple.

Your parents have advised you to stay with this man, and perhaps it is this wisdom that is making them say this -their understanding from experience that marriages do need to be worked on. They only want what’s best for you and wouldn’t want to see their daughter in a bad marriage.

So, try to trust their words and let them support you in this.

Check out this counseling video:

Everyone Has Weaknesses

Remember that everyone has their weaknesses. In his case, it seems his drinking is the problem. Unfortunately, we often seem to let these weaknesses outshine the positive things.

That is not to say that his drinking should be ignored, because it shouldn’t, but you could try approaching things in a different way.

First of all, remember that he does have good qualities too, and others seem to spurt that. So, focus on these and how they can be a source of success in your marriage.

Support Him in Giving Up Drinking

Then, regarding the drinking, as his spouse, you can be a positive influence to him. Rather than reprimanding him for it, try and support him in giving it up.

We know that drinking is haram and it is not a usual thing for a Muslim man to do. It may well be common in some cultures, but that doesn’t make it permissible. There are good reasons why Allah forbade it and you can see that first hand as a result of the consequent anger that he exhibits.

Showing support to him in giving it up might make him more inclined to try. Nurture a positive attitude in the marriage as he feels supported by you.

If it were that you had not already done the nikkah, the doors would be open for you to walk away, from both an Islamic and practical perspective.

However, since it seems the Nikkah is already done, it is important to try and do what you can to save the marriage before considering walking away.

Get to Know Each Other

At the moment, you haven’t been living together. This means you haven’t had the chance to see each other’s true colors, to see the positives shine also. It is difficult to build a marriage like this and can place great strain on things also.

Maybe, since you are married in the eyes of Allah and are therefore permissible to one another, you could spend a bit more time together, to get to know each other.

You don’t necessarily have to go straight to living together at this post if it is not feasible. Perhaps you could spend a long weekend together somewhere and really get to know each other beyond the phone calls.

This will give you the space to express your concerns to him, as well as see the good points that others have spoken about too.

If you fear to do this alone together, maybe you could bring your parents along for support.

Don’t Be Afraid; Other Opportunities Will Come Along

There is the fear that if you don’t continue this marriage that you will miss out on the opportunity to even get married, but this is not true. Other opportunities will come along.

But, in your case, if you have done the Nikkah already, you are married in the eyes of Allah and if you choose to leave, you would need to follow the process of divorce first before seeking another spouse.

There is great wisdom in the process of divorce in Islam as it forces the couple to think more deeply about whether they really want to divorce. It puts them in a position to at least try and make it work at first.

A divorce is an Option

Even though you have done the Nikkah already, there is the option to go for a divorce and look for marriage elsewhere, following the rulings of Islam. However, we also know that Allah does His best to protect marriage because of the huge benefits it has for everyone.

It is a difficult choice to make regarding whether to stay or go, and not one that you should just do without thinking. Take time to consider the options and make istikhara. Ask Allah to guide you to do what is best for everyone and what Allah will be most pleased with.

May Allah guide you to make the best choice and grant you a spouse who will bring you happiness in both this life and the next.




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.

Read more:

About Hannah Morris
Hannah Morris is a mum of 4 and she currently works as Counsellor and Instructor of BSc. Psychology at the Islamic Online University (IOU). She obtained her MA degree in Psychology and has over 10 years of experience working in health and social care settings in the UK, USA, and Ireland. Check out her personal Facebook page, ActiveMindCare, that promotes psychological well-being in the Ummah. (www.facebook.com/activemindcare)