Though emotions and hormones easily distract us all, ultimately marriage is like a business contract. Be sure to compile a check off list before meeting any potential spouse and refer to it liberally when your vision gets cloudy. Here are five key points to start your list with:
#1 Religious Commitment
A thick beard and attending jummah are not the pillars by which you can measure your potential husband’s piety. Does he pray daily? Is his zakat in order? Does he read Qur’an? And do you practice at the same level, with the same beliefs?
If someone with whose piety and character you are satisfied comes to you, then marry him. If you do not do so, there will be disorder in the earth and a great deal of evil.” -The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), (At-Tirmidhi and others classified as Hasan)
#2 Good Character
The first measure of a man’s character is how he treats his family. Then there is the common suggestion to note how he treats waitstaff – again true and similar to how we are directed to treat servants and employees – fairly and with respect.
Regard how this potential mate interacts with different kinds of people, is he consistently kind and compassionate? Are there red flags or would you like to be treated similarly by this man? Does he seem honest or does his body language convey otherwise?
#3 Shared Values
This is where it is vital that you are honest with yourself first and then with your potential mate. While you will be expected to be the primary caregiver of your future children, how do you see yourself doing so?
Do you expect your husband to spend a lot of time with the family or are you content if he is only a good provider? Do you want to travel? Do you like to entertain guests regularly or not much at all? Beyond raising children, what are your other life goals and how will you achieve them? Will you always want to work?
Consider how your spouse may help you in achieving your goals. When you meet with prospective partners, ask them about their life goals and lifestyle needs. Are you willing to help him achieve his goals and vice versa?
#4 A Family Man
While it is common today for both spouses to work at the beginning of the marriage, it is unrealistic to expect this to continue forever if you hope to have a family of your own.
Is your potential husband planning towards a future in which he is the breadwinner? And are you both being honest about the timeline for your childbearing years? These things cannot be put off indefinitely. Is he ready to be a whole family man?
Shedding layers of superficiality, it is imperative to find your spouse attractive. Many people deny this is a quality women look at. But of course they do! Without a strong attraction there is too much room for Shaytan to play with the couple. Do you like him? Are you attracted to him?
“…A person should not marry his young daughter to an old or an ugly man, but he should marry her to one similar.” -Ibn `Abidin, a famous Muslim jurist
In addition to having a checklist to keep you on track, also have an accountability buddy – a family member or good confidant who knows you well and can act as a sound boarding to reflect back to you when you are being realistic versus when you are being rash.
First published: February 2019