As Muslims and Pakistanis, we rely on the decisions taken by elders regarding marriage. I've never been proposed. I was engaged to my cousin in my teens, but he got married elsewhere because he fell in love with someone. I wasn't attached to him. The engagement was Ok because it was my parents' wish.
Now I'm 28 and we have never received a proposal. Marrying in the family isn't an option because there is no one of my age. We live in a small city of Pakistan where finding educated and good families are very difficult.
My parents are extremely conservative and we do not socialize much. My parents are not in favor of getting in touch with matchmakers for marriage. All of my cousins got married and I feel like I’m treated as inferior in the family. People look down upon me for being single. My younger sister got married because she was engaged to a cousin too.
So, now I've developed depression that's so extreme sometimes I don't know what to do or what to think. I don't know how to deal with the idea of never getting married.
I long for companionship and my own house because I don't feel the sense of ownership in my parents' house. Please, help me with this issue and guide me about how I can be a happy person and feel fulfilled and how can I deal with this sense of unending loneliness?
One day, everyone will get busy in their lives and I'll be the only one alone.
In this counseling answer:
Feeling “ugly” is simply the result of lack of confidence in ourselves.
I suggest that you read about the life of Khadijah. She is a role model to all women around the world; young, old, married, or single.
Work on self-improvement.
Marriage is a very important part of everyone’s lives, but it is NOT the purpose of our life. Marriage happens by the will of Allah and it is not in our own hands. When Allah ordains it, it happens.
Find yourself a passion.
Socialize in your local community.
As-Salamu Alaikum Dear Sister,
Thank you for placing your trust in our ability to provide a solution to your current situation.
What is Beauty?
Please do not consider physical beauty to be a defining characteristic of yourself. I am sure that you are a well behaved, attractive and an amazing woman who will be a wonderful wife to the right person.
Is beautiful defined by the skin color? Abs? Flawless skin? Height? Weight? Hair quality? I find such qualities of defining an individual’s beauty as being pure shallow.
None of these qualities last much longer because after a certain time, the skin starts to age, and those big eyes, high cheekbones and other liked face qualities diminish. So, why worry about what is not permanent?
What is permanent is the condition of the heart. What is permanent is the thought process. What is permanent is a person’s characteristics.
The Prophet said, “Allah does not look at your outward appearance and your wealth, rather He looks at your hearts and deeds.” [Sahih Bukhari]
If Allah makes a point to mention that He is not concerned with the outward beauty of an individual, then who are we to judge an individual based on their outward appearance?
You are not an ugly person simply because a few ignorant people said you are. You are a beautiful person and that is determined with your relationship with Allah, not people’s comment of your outward appearance.
In a world where so many people emphasize physical beauty, you must not let it affect you. No one is “ugly”.
Feeling “ugly” is simply the result of lack of confidence in ourselves. We must gain the confidence we need to survive in this world and be successful in attaining both this world and the afterlife.
Allah says in the Quran,
“And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits but give good tidings to the patient.” (Quran 2: 155)
Finding yourself first
I am sure that you know the great difficulty Khadijah had regarding her marriages before she got married to Prophet Muhammed.
Her first husband died, and she got married again, and again her second husband died. (Al-Tabari, Volume 9). Naturally, she feared to marry again.
Being a strong, knowledgeable, and an independent woman, she rejected many of the proposals which came her way. However, something about first observing Prophet Muhammed melted her and directed her towards him.
Now, did she despair? Did she give up on life? She simply invested her time in what she found to be valuable. She did not waste her time, nor her energy into something which was not in her control.
Dear sister, I suggest that you read about the life of Khadijah. She is a role model to all women around the world; young, old, married, or single.
Work on self-improvement: become the person you’d want to marry.
I personally believe that when Allah withholds something that we want, there are two reasons:
1, We need to improve ourselves
Perhaps we think that we are ready for what we want but we may not be. For example, you are anxiously waiting to be married, and you think that you would make a perfect wife.
However, it may not be the case. Perhaps you need to work on improving yourself as a person.
Think of it this way; if your future husband is an exact reflection of you, would you be happy to marry him? Or are you searching for perfection which you do not yet own?
Here are some points to consider:
Are you punctual with your work, prayers, chores?
Are you a healthy person? Do you healthily and exercise regularly?
Are you sincere?
I think that it is essential that everyone, regardless of their marital state, should have a concrete answer to all these three questions.
Not only does being punctual, healthy and disciple improve our relationship with Allah, it also helps us achieve a more balanced and productive life.
2, We should focus on something else before our prayer must be answered.
Dear sister, if Allah has kept you single, perhaps He wants you to focus your energy and attention on something which is more important than marriage right now.
Marriage is a very important part of everyone’s lives, but it is NOT the purpose of our life.
Marriage happens by the will of Allah and it is not in our own hands. When Allah ordains it, it happens.
Check out this counseling video:
Perhaps you can enroll yourself in online or in-person colleges or universities and pursue education.
It is possible that you can become a great scientist, a great professor, a great teacher, or a great Islamic scholar and be a role model for those around you.
Education, if time and life circumstances enable, should be the priority of every individual. Education is power.
Increase your productivity
Find yourself a passion
You need to find yourself a passion. A passion that will not only render you satisfied but also occupy your mind and prevent you from thinking negatively.
But the question arises, how do I find out what exactly I am passionate about? How do I know? Remember, your passion should these three questions:
What subject could I read 500 books about without getting bored?
What could I do for five years straight without getting paid?
What would I spend my time doing if I had a complete financial abundance to do anything?
Therefore, once you find an activity which successfully fits the three requirements above, then invest time and increase productivity.
There is nothing better than exercise to promote productivity, positivity, creativity, and happiness.
In research, it is found that people who are regular at exercising are hardly victims of depression, anxiety, sadness or even hopelessness.
It also shows that after simply going for a 30-minute walk, individuals are more creative than before they had gone for the walk.
Why don’t you increase your friend circle? Perhaps you should try to find new friends and consider discussing your desire to get married to people you trust in your friend’s circle.
Dear sister, you simply cannot rely on your parents always. Your desires and wants are real and you need to find someone who can help you find the right person.
Make Sincere Du’aa’
Explain to your parents the importance of networking. I am very proud of the fact that you are a very obedient young woman, dear sister.
But you cannot be ok with your parents’ lack of effort in trying to find you a partner. It is a responsibility they have.
You must talk to them and tell them that you want to be married and you want to start your own life.
Explain to them that they should consider looking online on many trusted sites or speak with an Imam or a community member who can find someone. It does not have to be a matchmaker but simply a family friend or the like.
If you are uncomfortable with your parents, find a trusted family member who can speak on your behalf.
Dear sister, marriage does not guarantee eternal happiness. You must practice gratitude and happiness and satisfaction before marriage for you to continue doing it after you are married.
Dear sister, each part of life comes with its own difficulties. Happy are the ones who find satisfaction in what they are blessed with.
What does marriage mean to you?
I suggest that you, when you have time, find a quiet place and write sincere and true answers to all these questions:
What is your concept of marriage?
What are your expectations from marriage?
What are your goals in life? (long and short term)
Identify three things that you want to accomplish soon.
Identify three things that you want to accomplish, long term.
What is the role of religion in your life now?
Are you a spiritual person?
What is your understanding of an Islamic marriage?
What are you expecting of your spouse, religiously?
What kind of a person are you seeking to marry? List three qualities.
Sufferings are a part of life. however, we need to be patient in all that we are tested with.
There is no need to be the despair of Allah’s mercy. You need to be positive and think about what you are doing. Does being depressed help? Absolutely not!
In conclusion dear sister, I am sure that if you follow the above steps, not only will you be able to find more purpose in your life but to find satisfaction and overcome your depressed and sad thoughts.
I pray that Allah guides you to what is right and will lead you to His pleasure ultimately.
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.