Getting married isn’t about the house, the car, jewellery.
The present world is a materialistic world and in order to meet our material needs, proper financing and budgeting is essential. I agree without it, no family can live comfortably.
However I do not support the adage when a situation aptly bears out the saying that: “when poverty knocks at the door, love flies through the window.” This does not mean that one must be rich to make a marriage work. However, if one has the basic necessities of life provided through a secure job and careful planning, many unnecessary anxieties can be removed from a marriage and the road leading to it.
However the discomfort of poverty can be averted if there is complete understanding between the couple. Understanding that everything is rizq and preordained, after all the pens have lifted and the pages have dried. Both partners must understand the value of contentment. Both must treat all problems as our problems and share all the ups and downs in the true spirit of a long-standing life partnership
Unfortunately gender roles, as they play out now, in some of our communities, tend to place an unreasonable burden on women, and a feeling of perennial emotional debt on men.
Instead, during marriage plans especially in the Middle East communities of you get this and I get that, an attitude of we need each other to complement each other, to enhance our goodness and limit our weaknesses should be adopted.
As parents of potential brides and grooms, we need to educate our children not to marry the person they think they can live with but rather marry the one they cannot live without both in this world and the hereafter and lastly understanding the financial potential and obstacles. Help them understand their “site map” or their relationship and expectations. Marriage is not just about money, many other things are involved it is about similar interests and similar goals.
Without doubt, money is sometimes a cause of marital and pre-marital problems. It is here that we must recognize how our attitude about money affects our marriage and seek solutions to help resolve our money-dealing differences.
In my opinion communication is key. Sit down with your partner and talk about the way each of your families of origin dealt with money. Understand each other’s short and long term financial goals and also understand that your different values and ideas about money require constant negotiation.
While Nikah is an Arabic term used for marriage it means contract however not in the money terms. The Quran specifically refers to marriage as a strong covenant it essentially means that when a man marries, he has fulfilled half of the religion, so let him fear God regarding the remaining half.
Stories of the Prophet Muhammad and his companions are replete revealing the simplicity, happiness and contentment of the nikah.
We know God has created men and women as company for one another, and so that they can procreate and live in peace and tranquility according to the commandments of God and the directions of Muhammad, His Messenger.
Nothing was said about how much needs to be spent on a wedding and its attachments on the contrary there was focus on the quality of the man, of the wife, of their lives. In short things that cannot be valued in the monetary terms. Happiness cannot be valued, in fact true happiness lies in rewarding relationships, not material wealth.
That said, it is significant we acknowledge that marriages are like fingerprints; each one is different and each one is beautiful. Comparing will only lead to despair and discontentment.
So to our youths about to be married, consider all the time and energy you’ve spent preparing for and/or pursuing a career. Now imagine if you spent even half that time and energy preparing to become a husband or a wife. You know, like people used to.
Sounds crazy? Silly? Something only maybe the Prophet, companions and our grandparents did? Perhaps. But our forefathers knew what was important, paid specific attention to priorities, respected the fact that money was not the epitome of happiness teaching us that reciprocated love and respect was the key to a long lasting nuptial. Our forefathers understood that marriage relationship takes precedence over any other relationships and most importantly our forefathers found partners and kept them.
Now, as I watch my daughter catch her breath, I thank God that as precious as she is to me I found someone to complete her journey since ours will soon be over.
I pray that she will be just as blessed as I was and more in the realization that it is not about money but about contentment, love and happiness, although her father often jokes and warns his daughters’ husbands that it is true marriage is a workshop where the husband works and the wife shops.
Published: January 2016.