It seems as though many people are getting married irresponsibly these days.
They believe “love conquers anything” or that just being a good Muslim will guarantee a happy and lifelong marriage. Wake up, Sleepy Beauty! This is not true!
What a successful marriage requires is a high level of self-awareness, clear communication, and good observation skills.
If you do not have these—and if you’re young, you probably do not have them—then you’d better postpone this marriage thing.
I’ve been in an intercultural marriage for nine years. At the age of 29, my experiences combined with the many books and courses I’ve completed, this is my experienced opinion.
If I had known what I was about to share with you now, I would have saved myself time, energy, and premature grays.
Here are three questions that you must answer yes to before diving too deep into wedding planning, unless you desire a tough marital life.
Question 1: Have I gained enough self-knowledge?
Unfortunately, today, we often find it challenging to define who we are and how we want to live—especially if we’re still young.
Oftentimes, the freedom modern life offers us, the loneliness we often feel in these individualistic societies, plus unnatural family structures can leave us feeling befuddled about who we truly are.
We wonder: What do I want? Why do I feel this way? Why do I behave the way I do?
To find your way out of the mental chaos, you need self-awareness, which is the ability to observe and reflect upon your feelings and responses.
Being self-aware allows you to define the emotion you feel, then step back and see things from an objective viewpoint.
This hands you the key to being the driver of your life and not the one traveling in the back seat.
How do we gain self-awareness?
Ask yourself these questions:
- Why am I acting this way?
- What is it about this situation that makes me feel happy/angry/sad, etc.
- Are my actions a reflection of what I have seen within my family and society?
- Is this my opinion, or do I feel this way due to social pressure?
- What makes me like one thing but not the other?
It’s easier to ignore such reflection and only focus on the butterflies in your stomach (who has time to philosophize?!)
But if you do not know who you are or understand your shortcomings, your frustrations, and the source of your reactions to certain situations, how would you know who will make you happy, inshallah?
Question 2: Are we a good match?
“I’m simply looking for a good Muslim who follows Islam.”
Please! Forget about that cliche. Based on the millions of stories I’ve heard, as well as my almost a decade experience in an intercultural marriage, I can firmly tell you this.
Both of you can be good Muslims, but that’s not enough for a happy marriage—at all! You can be good people, but not be compatible.
What things should we match on?
Agreement on customs and traditions
Islam gives guidelines to Muslims, but at the same time it allows us to create divergent cultures and customs.
Will she be a working wife or will she stay at home and take care of the home?
Will she ask the husband’s permission to leave the home, or does she have the freedom to come and go freely?
What are both of your feelings in regards to the hijab or niqab? What about wearing loose pants, or is it strictly abaya? How does he feel about children?
Would he foster kids, or would he rather have no children? Then there’s the question of living in monogamy or polygamy.
All of these are valid wishes of a good, practicing Muslim. All are halal.
Yet if you have a different opinion than your spouse, it can poison the relationship.