Hello again everyone and welcome or welcome back to my blog!
Before we get on to blog post contents, apologies for my lack of posts I’ve been battling with this killer flu, I haven’t been sick like this for a long time! Have you ever experienced a flu so bad that it just hurts everywhere?
Any ways enough about sickness, in today’s post I want to start off one of the main series of posts for my blog which is: Miss Moga talks muslim marriage.
I mostly want to base my blog posts around the main themes of teaching and education, marriage (especially looking for a spouse as a muslim woman in the west)and healthy living.
I personally have found my marriage journey to be quite an interesting struggle. I have tried nearly all the different avenues available to me in order to find a suitable spouse in the UK, from match making evenings by my aunties to online marriage sites, along the way I faced a lot of failures, red flags, a cat fish (true story) and some successes so I wish to write my marriage series in the aim and hope that my experiences can help other muslim women (and all women in general regardless of their religion and backgrounds) to find their ways in becoming happily married and to recognize the warning signs, in order to avoid pitfalls and difficult situations as much as possible.
*Please note that I will make a separate blog post about me and my husband met, how we got to know each other and dealing with the cultural differences and more.)
Now on to the blog post, how to get started on your marriage search!
So there comes a point in every women’s life where they contemplate about getting married, of course not every woman gets married nor wants to be, however it is safe to say that most women have at least at one point thought about their wedding, children and a family whether that is at 12, 22 or 52 years old. So maybe you dear reader, have reached this point and not just as a phase or a cute idea in passing, but deep thoughts and plans about being married in the near future. Below I have made some tips that have helped me when I first started to seriously look to get married:
Tip 1: Only look to get married when YOU FEEL READY
Firstly when you personally and truly feel that you are serious about the premise of marriage and you feel more ready then that is really the best time to start your marriage search off on the best way possible. Do not give in to pressure from family, friends or any cultural norms, so what if you are 29 years old and your 18 year old cousin just got married, that should not in any way make you feel bad or that you have to rush into one of the most important stages of your life. Take your time, work on yourself and ask questions about the realities of marriage life from your parents, close friends etc, that way you can get a better sense of if you are really ready to get married at that point in time.
Tip 2: Have the right intentions
The next important step to consider is your true intention, why do you want to get married? Do you just want a handsome husband so that you can take selfies together and use the hashtag #goals. Or is it that most of your best friends are married and you feel left out and lonely. Marriage is not like how it is portrayed in many films, social media and books. It is hard, it requires sacrifice, patience, support and understanding. Too many people jump quickly into a marriage based on a weak foundation such as lust or a lack of confidence in themselves, and marriages built from such shallow intentions are almost always doomed to failure and heartache. In Islam marriage is seen and often referred to as being, “half our deen”, deen means belief so it is half of our faith. In essence being an active part of a marriage and working to support your spouse and family takes a lot of work, patience and sacrifice which all leads us to do good deeds, become closer to Allah (swt) and thus reach inner peace. So marriage is a very serious stage in life, which in Islam is seen as making up half of your faith. So deeply self reflect why do you want to get married, and what you wish to gain and build from such a union and lastly how would it benefit your family, community and the greater muslim ummah.
Tip 3: Seriously inform your family and friends
This tip is obvious, however I have personally seen and know of so many females who seriously are interested in getting married and want to, yet they don’t really know of good muslim men and these women make the mistake of not letting their family or close friends know. Or if they do let their family know it is in a joking way, I know one good friend who always joked about that she was getting married, or that this guy is going to be her husband, I am not kidding when I say almost 60% of what comes out her mouth are jokes about her impending “wifey” status. Fast forward three years later and she is in tears at one of our girls night outs, saying to us she’s so lonely and why did we not help her find someone, to which we were all surprised because we did not think she was that serious about it. So ladies please be serious about this topic, take time out of your busy week, month, life and sit down with your family and or friends. Have a serious chat with them, sharing how you feel ready to get married and what you are looking for, then those who care and love you will do their best to be on the look out and connect you with suitable single men.
Tip 4: Be Proactive
Now this tip may be a bit uncomfortable for some women. Either because of their cultural upbringing or their character. I know that quite a lot of the cultural backgrounds that some Muslims come from, have this view that men should be the ones who go after the woman, show interest and ask her father or family for her hand in marriage. In addition to that sometimes women who know what they want or take steps to go after a man are seen as being masculine or worse as an “easy woman”. Now again these cultural norms are not restricted to people from places such as India, Nigeria or Morocco. Quite a lot of Western born and raised women also prefer to have a man chase them or come to them asking for marriage, even if they themselves wish to take charge. Islamically a woman can choose her own husband, and if she has interest in a certain man there is no problem if she asks him or his family about marriage, of course all of this has to be done in a respectable way. After all you have one life, so if there is someone who you feel is of a good character and shares your goals then hoping and praying that he would magically read your mind and know that you are interested in getting to know him and marry him, but in the end he marries someone else and it leaves you devastated. The biggest pain from all of that though is the feeling of regret, that you had a chance but you did not take it. So ladies if you really feel that there is someone that is what you are looking for, go for it, yes it can be scary and painful if you are rejected but those experiences help you grow and mature plus it is better than ten years later you still thinking, “what if”. There are many different ways to let a man know that you are single and interested without directly doing it yourself. For example if you know he has a sister, you could ask her to give him a letter from you, you could ask your brother to give him your fathers number or if you work together you could leave your fathers or walis number in an envelope on his desk or work area. The whole point of this tip of being proactive is because there are many women who sit back and expect a good quality man that matches what they are looking for is going to as if come straight to her, and these same women will do absolutely nothing to take control of their future and wait even it takes years, which by then they could have missed out on wonderful opportunities.
Tip 5: Research good masjids and muslim marriage services
Preparation is key in getting anything that is good in life, take the time to scope out any good quality marriage services or if a marriage service is offered at any masjids near where you live or work/study. The reason why I say to take the time to research about these services, is that they may not be of good quality or the male clients registered at these places may not be exactly what you are looking for. Also a few masjids have reputations for introducing muslim women to less than favorable men who use these women for passports or for other horrible reasons (I will go into a separate detailed blog post in the near future about some of these masjids that I personally know of that carry out such shady activities) For example a certain masjid may have many older men who are new arrivals to the country or may be mostly from a certain cultural background which you may not be interested in (and before someone cries RACIST! It is not racism if you prefer to marry within your ethnic group or if you have little interest in certain groups to not be looking at them for marriage, as long as you are not putting down one group and elevating the status of another there is nothing wrong with having a preference. In the end you are the one getting married, not these overly triggered internet social justice warriors.) Once you have found a masjid or marriage service that is of good quality and offers what you are searching for, then it is best to find out how they work and what is required from you for registration, for example: do they ask for an admin fee or only a full payment after they have successfully matched you? What is their success rates? Do they have positive reviews from past clients? Look into all of these areas and write up a final list that you are happy to register with.
Tip 6: Have a general timeline
Again this falls under good preparation, since of course marriage is a major life changing stage, it is important to have a general outline of what you wish to accomplish before marriage, or what things you still want to do after you are married. Therefore things such as finishing your studies, organising care for elderly parents (if you are the main carer), quitting your job to move or applying and preparing for a new job in the place that is closer to your husband etc. Not everything can be planned and of course life always has something new to throw at you so plans don’t go as expected. However by having a general plan of the important aims that you wish to have sorted out is crucial as marriage is a compromise and many women fall in love and give up everything they were doing to move with the husband. This can bring feelings of resentment, hatred and regret in the marriage which will definitely not let help to succeed. For example, when me and my husband agreed to get married, I made it clear that I wanted to complete a special international teaching course that would take one year, my husband wanted the wedding earlier but I said that I want to complete this in the UK before I get married. Thus we had the wedding a year later and I entered the marriage happy that I could achieve my goals. By having a general timeline prepared, you can have these things ready to discuss with the man you are interested before marriage and you can both together find ways to reach your personal aims.
Tip 7: Enjoy your single time, work on yourself
There is not much to go into about this tip, again an obvious one, but one that many people forget. Sometimes as humans we really believe that if we get this thing or be with this person everything will better and that we will be happy. Yet many times when we get what we what we are not satisfied and then we look to something else that we focus on that will bring us happiness. Ladies there is no shame in being single, there are certain opportunities that you have when you are single without the responsibility or worry of looking after a family. Use this time to love yourself, study the Quran, learn new skills and improve your character. Be a better version of yourself and grow in self confidence, confident people who have good quality characteristics know their worth and more times than not attract friends and life partners who are of a similar level to them.
Tip 8: Have patience
Another obvious one, but really take your time. Like most good things, they take time, after you have done what you could possibly be do to help yourself then wait and leave it up to time and Allah (swt). Some people find their life partner quickly and get married and for others it takes a while, everyone is different so enjoy your single time, do not get stressed and the right person will come at just the right time.
Tip 9: Pray to Allah (swt)
Again another obvious one, but honestly how many of us really pray and ask Allah (swt), the one who created us what we really need? Sure when we are in difficulties such as if someone is afflicted with disease, poverty, oppression etc then they turn to god and pray and beg like never before. However when things are good, we tend to forget and think it all came from our own work and efforts, how often in the good times do we turn to Allah? We always need to remember that we are put on this Earth for a reason, and that we can only do so much on our own. So make sincere dua, and do it often. Make dua when it is raining, when you are travelling and before you break your fast. Wake up in the last third of the night and make more dua, do not be shy and ask exactly what you want in your future husband and what type of marriage you wish for, nothing is impossible for Allah (swt), I myself made a list of all the characteristics I wanted in a man and I prayed and prayed, and honesty I got a husband who was what I was looking for and more alhamdulilah.
I hope this post has been useful or interesting to read, I have many new posts already typed up again on teaching which will deal with making the most of your teacher raining (for new teachers) and creativity in the classroom.
If you have any tips that helped on your marriage search I would love to know, leave a comment below.