I am really confused and don't know what should I do. I don't want her to marry someone else. My parents will not even support me in this situation as she is 2 years elder to me. I am really confused. Please give me a solution for it.
It is Sunnah to marry elder women.
In this counseling answer:
• Remember to be gentle with your parents as initially culture will tell them no.
• Have a respectful and calm conversation with them utilizing the above-mentioned tips.
• Take time before talking with your parents to think about how her family would respond to this and importantly how she would respond.
• Consider getting literature from your mosque and printing materials for your parents to see the Islamic perspective on marrying a woman of older age.
• Speak from the heart when speaking with your parents, her parents and her. Let them see your genuine admiration for her.
Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatuulahi wa barakatu.
Thank you for taking the time to write to us and express your concerns. It is my understanding you wish to marry a woman which you know fairly well as she is your best friend’s family, but your parents do not support this because she is 2 years older than you. Let me begin by saying, it is not the only sunnah to marry elder women. This woman is only 2 years older than you. She is not your elder, you are both in the same general age range. This concept of marrying younger women is NOT an Islamic idea nor does Islam support this. This judgment against women of older age is cultural and it is toxic.
Before trying to change cultural ideas in your family, do you think this woman is interested and would her family accept a proposal from a younger man? It sounds like you know her family as this is your best friend’s family so they know your character and have interacted with you often.
Think about your interactions with all of them and if you feel they would consider you. Also, consider would your best friend support this marriage or would it cause conflict? You must be prepared to handle the possibilities in this arrangement from both your family and hers. If you see it is a possibility to have her family support the marriage, then I encourage you to pray about this before proceeding. You want to be calm and have carefully thought this through before sitting with your parents.
It is an unfortunate reality in some societies that cultural expectations supersede Islam and will even go directly against sunnah in order to satisfy society. We know the first marriage of the Prophet Mohamed (peace be upon him) was to an older woman named Khadijah (May Allah be pleased with her), she was significantly older than him and even employed him. The woman you speak of is only two years older than you; this is a minor age difference which should make it easier for your parents to accept.
If your parents are practicing Muslims who strive to do acts of sunnah then I encourage you to speak with them about the Islamic side of this topic and print out the information for them. Provide them with Quran and hadith as well as any literature your mosque can provide for you on the topic of marriage. You mention she is a teacher. MashaAllah this is a good career that benefits others and can impact future generations. You can also show them Quran and hadith about the benefits of helping others.
It would help to also speak from the heart. Let them know why you are so impressed with this woman and why you wish to marry her. Ultimately, your parents want you to be happy, they may feel more inclined to say yes if they see how the thought of her makes you feel. Let them know about her character, how she is with others and any qualities you admire. Help them to see some of the beauty of this woman that you see. No matter what cultural expectations they may hold to, their hearts will recognize how much you want this and how happy it could make you.
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As your parents value cultural tradition, think about any traits they or her family have that are valued in your culture. For example, she has a respectable job and you could tell them about what her family does or about her education. Think about the aspects of her and her family that would be seen positively in your culture and highlight those in the discussion.
While having this discussion with family, it is important to keep things calm and respectful. It is okay to disagree, but the key is to do so with tact. Here are 4 tips for communication.
Active listening. Yes, this discussion is about you getting their support, but allow them time to talk and attentively listen. Don’t interrupt or be quick to respond defensively. Take in what they have to say.
Use I-statements. I am a big advocate for I-statements as it can enable you to say something non-confrontationally that may have otherwise made them defensive. For example, “You won’t say yes because of culture, but Islam says this is sunnah” might cause them to get defensive. You can reword this as an I-statement by saying, “I would feel happier if we could remember that marrying an older woman is sunnah, it is a culture that says the man should be older not Islam”. It is the same general statement but delivered much softer.
Acknowledge their feelings. Even though you disagree, you can still respect and acknowledge their perspective. Let them know that you understand how they feel.
Keep it calm. Ideally, you want them to support this marriage with genuine positive feelings and happiness. Be mindful not to make them feel pushed or told they have to accept this. It is better if this is discussed in a respectful, loving and good manner. It should be a discussion, not a debate.
Dear Brother, inshallah you can find support and happiness from your family in pursuing this marriage. Here is a summary of your next steps moving forward.
- Remember to be gentle with your parents as initially culture will tell them no.
- Have a respectful and calm conversation with them utilizing the above-mentioned tips.
- Take time before talking with your parents to think about how her family would respond to this and importantly how she would respond.
- Consider getting literature from your mosque and printing materials for your parents to see the Islamic perspective on marrying a woman of older age.
- Speak from the heart when speaking with your parents, her parents and her. Let them see your genuine admiration for her.
May Allah (Swt) grant you a loving marriage as well as a successful career in engineering,
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.