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Navigating the Muslim Marriage Crisis 1

Six Reasons Why We Are Still Single

Why are we still single? Are we going through a marriage crisis? Is love an essential ingredient before marriage?

Growing up in the West has a major influence on single Muslims in how we live our lives, view marriage, and seek it.

Many of us have grown thick skins toward the traditional arranged marriage that once used to be the ideal and most successful way for many generations before us.

Now, the marriage game rules have changed due to the strong desires for love and romance, creating a beautiful love story, and marrying the love of our lives.

This has driven many of us to take different approaches in our search to find the right one.

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As a result of our lifestyle, western cultural influences, and taking a different approach to marriage, these changes have brought new challenges to the community that many of us don’t understand and underestimate while being unsure of how to react to them.

Even some of our community leaders are having a hard time grasping the situation.

Why are we still single? We often ask ourselves this due to the pressure placed on us by others.

Others are our own families, friends, and the community we live in. There are many reasons why we’re still single. Here are some:

Lack of Connection with the Muslim Community

If I were to ask you, how many Muslim families do you know in your community? The answer to this question usually ranges between 3-12 families, depending on your location.

Out of all the Muslim families we know, how many potential options for marriage do we have?

Six Reasons Why We Are Still Single - About Islam

The answer is usually none to one, without considering compatibility, attractiveness, or the chances of it actually working out.

Now, how can we find our future significant other if we’re not well connected in our Muslim communities?

Many people give up trying and consider marrying someone from overseas. But is this a true and real solution? This solution works, but mainly for men.

Women are being left out, with barely any men to consider for marriage. As a result of this, we’re seeing the rise of single Muslim women in their late 20s, 30s, and 40s. They are very professional, great marriage material, and very mature and capable of handling marriage responsibilities.

Due to this disconnection between Muslims, new ideas like Muslim dating websites and single Muslim social groups have emerged to rescue us from this hole we have sunk into.

Yet, the idea of using online dating to find our future significant other has been considered the most viable option by many.

Still, a good portion of us won’t give it a chance due to the bad reputation we believe it holds.

Personally, I haven’t used online dating yet. But I’ve been part of a social group for single Muslims called “Single Muslims of California” on Facebook.

I’ve have had a great experience connecting with other single Muslims in town and out of town as well.

Nonetheless, I believe any tool available to help us connect better and bring the Muslim communities together should be considered a valid and viable tool to use as long as it doesn’t take us away from our deen (faith).

Paradox of Choice Among Unrealistic Expectations:

The limited options some single Muslims face when searching for their future partner due to the lack of connection within the Muslim community are real.

But the opposite side of this equation is also real.

Western industrial societies have introduced us to the idea that the more choices we have, the more freedom and liberation we’ll have.

We are bombarded with dozens of choices on a daily basis, from which salad dressing to choose in the supermarket to which partner to spend our future with.

When we are exposed to a high number of choices of prospective future partners along with their qualities, values, and characteristics, especially via online dating and in cities with a larger Muslim population, our expectations and standards automatically rise to the roof.

Too High Expectations in Western Societies

Before I get into this, let’s take a look at and analyze the previous generations before us.

We can notice how much easier they’ve had it when searching for and choosing their life partner for marriage. Things used to be much simpler.

Once they were genuinely attracted to the person of interest, shared some similar values, liked the level of their deen (faith), and got along with them just fine, the two would be committed to engagement, then marriage, while they were committed to working with each other when problems, issues, and conflicts arose.

Nowadays, when the topic of marriage is brought up, we start to ask ourselves many questions.

We get very specific about what exactly we are looking for:

Do We Choose…

  • love before marriage?
  • someone from the same origin as we are who speaks the same language and shares the same culture?
  • an introvert or an extrovert?
  • someone at the same level of intelligence as we are, or someone less intelligent to feel more superior?
  • an educated and career-oriented person or someone who wants to stay at home and raise the kids?
  • someone who’s more attractive and less compatible, or the other way around?

And this goes on and on, escalating our standards and expectations of our future partner to perfectly match the image we have for them in our heads.

We really want to get this decision right, if it is for all eternity. We want to choose the perfect partner for us who’s on our level in life.

Due to the high number of choices we have to choose from, many of us automatically put the idea of marriage on hold and decide to pursue further education and careers because it becomes overwhelming.

As a result, we are starting to see the number of older single Muslims who are still not married rise.

Six Reasons Why We Are Still Single - About Islam

The problem doesn’t even stop here.

When we happen to meet someone we’re interested in but see him/her as good but not perfect, we subconsciously start to become more controlling over what they can and can’t do, what they should and shouldn’t do, and who they can or can’t be, because until they fit into that image, we are not satisfied and happy with our decision to choose them.

In doing this, we swipe left on them, just like on the online dating app Tinder. We give up on them to start looking for that perfect match, so we can swipe right on them then.

In doing so, we are encouraging the same destructive cycle to repeat itself while also lowering our chances of finding the right partner for us.

It is time we start learning from our own mistakes and the mistakes of others. It is time to start reflecting on and analyzing major issues in our society to understand and learn from them.

Six Possible Solutions

1. Low expectations are the key to happiness.

2. Searching for that one perfect match is an endless journey.

3. Swipe right on a ‘good enough’ match. Then work with them over time to build a strong relationship foundation that is supportive of self and relationship development.

4. Full acceptance of the other person and who they truly are is essential in any relationship.

5. Commitment, hard work, time, and effort put into building the relationship can’t be avoided. It is nearly impossible to find someone who perfectly fits the image we have in our heads.

6. Change can’t be forced on anyone; it has to come from within.

To continue…

From the archives. First published on