Know Yourself First
There are 8 essential qualities we can attain and measure to help in preparing us for marriage.
The qualities are commitment, loyalty, acceptance, patience, trust, honesty, forgiveness, and communication. Measuring these qualities is a great way to start in becoming more self-aware on which qualities we need to work on and improve.
We can start by asking ourselves some of the following questions. How many things have I been committed to long-term in my life? How loyal am I to the close people around me?
Am I accepting of my friends for who they are? Or am I quick to judge? How often do I get angry? Am I good at maintaining my temper?
Do I trust the people around me? Or do I doubt others often? Am I honest in my communication? Or do I like to beat around the bush and play games? Do I forget and forgive others quickly? Or do I hold grudges?
Do others have an easy time or a hard time understanding me? Self-awareness is key, feel free to ask your friends if you’re having a hard time answering these questions.
Becoming prepared for marriage also requires us to be fully independent on our own so we can be successfully interdependent within the marriage relationship we are to hold in the future.
We all have the same human needs (physical, emotional, and spiritual) we need to fulfill, though fulfilling these needs can be done differently for different people.
When we are trying to fulfill our needs, do we look internally or externally? Are we placing our own happiness in the hands of others or is our happiness completely within our control?
Are we expecting others to satisfy our needs or are we responsible enough to satisfy our own needs? Are we expecting others to care for us and love us or are we caring and loving ourselves to begin with?
These are important questions to ask ourselves to understand which category we fall under: dependency or in-dependency, because inter-dependency in a relationship can only be achieved when we are fully independent, otherwise codependency as a result of dependency will make our marriage relationship unhealthy and hold it back.
We also need to become more self-aware over the mindset we hold, as we often look for a temporary fix to our issues, needs, desires, and emotions instead of looking for a long term permanent one.
Last but not least, when we look for a partner, we all have desired qualities, values, principles, attitudes and mindsets that we look for in others.
The real question here is: Do we have/hold the same desired qualities, values, principles, attitudes, and mindsets that we look for and expect to see in our future partner?
We attract who we are and not what we desire. While not to forget, what we desire may go against our own values, so we must first understand our own values clearly then compare them closely to what we desire in a partner for compatibility purposes.
Love Before Marriage or After?
We are often told by our families and other married Muslim friends how love is not really essential before marriage and how love grows with time as the marriage grows.
Along with that advice, we’re usually told to look for compatibility in a partner instead of love. Our first reaction is usually like “seriously!?? (insert emoji lol), or at least that was my first reaction the first time I heard it when I was younger.
The older we grow and the wiser we get through experience and knowledge, we come to see that there is some truth to what we’re told.
We all have heard stories about love birds who managed to get married but somehow their marriage slowly turned into a war zone that ended with divorce. We come to ask ourselves, what happened? Why did such a beautiful love story end so miserably?
The answer to many of these stories is simple: They lacked compatibility. Is it true that compatibility is the number one ingredient after deen (faith) to a healthy and successful marriage? But what about love?!
Does this mean we should consider settling down with someone who we’re genuinely interested in, attracted to, and compatible with even if love is not there yet?
Love and marriage are completely different but yet, when they’re combined, they create a lifelong lasting marriage filled with eternal happiness in this dunya (life). Islam is an advocate against romantic love before marriage for many valid reasons that we should definitely consider.
Romantic love before marriage brings a high risk of committing sin. Not only that, it can cloud our minds with strong and intense emotions that will most likely encourage us to make many irrational decisions and blind us from seeing true compatibility.
The process of choosing our future significant other requires the mind and the heart to be working together in harmony. It requires logic to drive our emotions to ensure compatibility, not the other way around. Logic without emotions is robotic, and emotions without logic is craziness!
The lesson to be learned from the older, wiser, and more experienced married couples is that real true love comes after living and sharing our life with our spouse.
Falling in love before marriage is not a sin in Islam as long as we obey the Islamic guidelines. And if we happen to fall in love before marriage, that is fine, it’s not too late to make the right move.
As our most beloved prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said:
“There is nothing like marriage, for two who love one another.” Vol. 3, Book 9, Hadith 1847
Our circumstances don’t and shall never determine our outcomes. We must take responsibility. We must work together as a community. We must break the cycles. We must educate the young along with the elderly on what true Islam really is. We must break the patterns that are not serving us well. And we must stand for what we believe is right.
Thank you for your time reading this post till the end. If my message has brought value to you, I kindly ask you for your help in sharing it with others who you believe will benefit from it in hopes we can make a difference in and contribute to our communities!
Last but not least, I would like to end this by sharing a beautiful quote my cousin Ahmad recently shared on his wedding day:
“We are all here today, not because of our perfection, but because of our imperfection, and we are here because of our commitment to not give up on the challenges we face but to work on things until they get better.”