Right now, I'm going through a bad phase of depression and none of my family members have noticed anything wrong. Or if they did, they haven't acknowledged it yet.
I'm emotionally not ready to shoulder the responsibility of marriage and all the commitment it requires.
I have told this to my parents, but they are refusing to understand stating that as Muslim parents it’s their duty to marry off their daughter.
By delaying, I'm preventing them from doing their duty. Recently, I have got a proposal from a nice guy and nice family too. I talked to him a few times but didn't feel that we have anything in common.
Even communicating is stilted. I do not feel at ease at all with him. Most importantly, he lives abroad and I do not want to leave my country.
But my family is enumerating the benefits of getting married to him without taking into consideration my emotional situation and depression.
My question is, from an Islamic point of view, should I heed my parents? Or should I find the solution to my depression and emotional fragility first?
Thank you for your time and help.
In this counseling answer:
• Can you consider speaking with a local counselor or someone online? This way, you have a support resource to help you, especially if you have been struggling for a long time.
• It seems from your question that not having an interest in getting married could also be stemming from fears as well.
• Marriage is a work in progress for both people. So, it may help you to write down specifically the areas you don’t feel prepared to handle.
• I encourage you to turn to Allah and make a lot of du’aa’. Ask Him for guidance to healing for that which burdens you.
Thank you for emailing in with your question.
I think the most important thing to address in your question is your depression. I’m not sure if this is something new that you are experiencing or one that is familiar, but I’d like to see you working towards a solution for the way you are feeling.
Take care of yourself
No one should have to struggle for a long time on their own. Can you consider speaking with a local counselor or someone online? This way, you have a support resource to help you, especially if you have been struggling for a long time.
Major depression, along with conditions like anxiety, can be very serious. If left untreated, it might be impossible for you to experience a productive, fulfilled, and joyful life.
If your depression is situational, if it is caused by something specific and recent, it’s in your best interest to address the source of grief in order to make decisions that will help you move forward.
So, I am with you on the importance of tackling your depression and creating a plan that will help you take care of yourself. Otherwise, the stress of a new marriage, a new person, and a new country who you don’t feel comfortable with can exacerbate the situation.
Are you scared of marriage?
Give yourself a timeline. I don’t want you to hide behind the depression for a long time as an excuse to not pursue marriage either. It seems from your question that not having an interest in getting married could also be stemming from fears as well.
You’ve mentioned not being prepared for the responsibilities of marital life. On the one hand, I appreciate that you are insightful in recognizing that you have some prep work to do before you feel ready to take this next step. On the other hand, depression aside, I want to ask “what has to happen for you to know you are ready?”
Sometimes, singles put a lot of pressure on themselves regarding marriage because they think they have to arrive at being some kind of near perfect person before they becoming a spouse.
Marriage is a work in progress for both people. So, it may help you to write down specifically the areas you don’t feel prepared to handle. Perhaps after writing things down, you can also spend some time reading books about marriage to offer some insight into how a relationship, specifically a healthy one, should function in marriage.
Check out this counseling video:
There is also being sensitive to cultural expectations and giving yourself a chance to think ahead as to which aspects of your culture you value and which ones you may not be in agreement with (if that is the case.)
This allows you to be clear with what you are looking for in a marriage. In addition, when you speak to a potential suitor, you can get a sense for his way of thinking and his expectations as well.
It also gives you a chance to decide what areas you’d like to grow in and prepare for specifically.
Make a lot of du’aa’.
During this time period, both for your depression you are struggling with as well as finding a husband for marriage I encourage you to turn to Allah and make a lot of du’aa’. Ask Him for guidance to healing for that which burdens you. Also, ask Him for a kind and loving man who makes marriage a form of joy and not a heavy burden for you to carry.
“And your Lord says, “Call upon Me; I will respond to you……” (Quran 40:60)
Increase as well in dhikr and keeping your heart in a state where you are remembering your Lord often and His love, mercy, and forgiveness. Perhaps you can send salawat on The Prophet Muhammad (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and his family and recall that they went through many difficult struggles during their lifetimes.
You are not alone and that, alone, can bring solace to your heart.
Communicating with your parents
At the end of the day, no one can force you to get married. Forcing marriage is not allowed in Islam. A woman always has the final say on her decision of whom to marry and when to marry. It’s your right to decide for your own future.
That being said, your parents sound concerned about getting you married and feel pressure to do so because they are worried about time passing, you getting older, and them feeling like they failed in having their daughter married.
Being married when you aren’t ready or marrying someone you don’t even like shouldn’t be the goal of any parents. That being said, in many cultures, there is a lot of pressure to see daughters and sons married off and the pressure to do so can take precedence over the goal of marriage itself.
The goal of marriage is to bring together two people who look favorably upon each other and desire to marry so that they will have a loving and happy household. A couple who can build a family together and raise children for the sake of Allah. If these aims aren’t the priority parents can pressure, out of desperation, their children to marry a person who isn’t right for them which leads to misery down the road later on.
That being said, you have also suggested that the man who you are speaking with is kind and his family seems like a good family.
Is it possible to have a few more chances to speak in order to determine if there is a possibility of connection? Chemistry can be difficult to establish when either the man or woman feels shy to open up out of fear of saying or doing something inappropriate.
Of course, that doesn’t account for the fact that you would be asked to move to another country. If that idea of that is something you aren’t comfortable with at this time, then it’s your right to express that to your parents.
It may be a little bit stressful speaking with them but be patient, strong, and graceful in responding to their questions and concerns.
This is step one in preparing yourself for marriage and taking care of yourself.
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.