Marriage Tips

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

Ask any parent what the most frustrating part of going on a road trip with kids is and they’ll probably say it’s the none stop questions of “Baba! Are we there yet?!” and “ Mama! How much longer till we get there??” These are questions that we’ll hear from our kids countless of times and ones we probably asked our parents more times than they’d like to remember. Children are so focused on their destination and the fun they’ll have there that they miss out on the adventure leading up to it. We attribute this to the fact that children lack patience but in reality it’s just human nature. When we are focused on something we want we often ignore the other good things in our life.

The journey to get married is not always an easy one. Some people face great hardships not only in finding a spouse but maybe even financially or family wise. And while these hardships might make you feel like it isn’t meant for you or it will never happen they are, inshaAllah, there to lead you to the right spouse, in the right time, who will be your other half in this life and your partner in Jannah (inshaAllah).

One mistake that a lot of us do when we are looking to get married is live, breath, eat, and sleep marriage. It is the main topic when we are with our friends. It’s what our google searches revolve around. And it’s what our dreams are made of. Alhamdulilah, on Half Our Deen, many have gotten married within weeks of joining. Others take months. When this happens is not in our hands, but the effort we put in is. However, most people who join have already been searching for a while so the time can feel like it is dragging on and on and no progress is being made. So instead of being fully focused on this one goal we should try to spend this transitional time to better ourselves and work on being the best person we can be. Enjoy our time with family and friends. And focus our energy in ways that will enrich our life with our spouse (For example: memorize Quran, work on your career, take some extra classes, travel).

When things in life don’t play out exactly how we pictured them to it is easy to get discouraged and give up. Instead, let’s enjoy the journey so we can have exciting experiences to share with our spouse when that day comes. And let us always remember to seek help in our journey with lots of prayer, duaa, and patience for “Indeed, Allah is with those who are patient and persevere” [2:153]

Keepin’ it Halal with Muslim Matrimony Sites

“You joined a matchmaking website??! Don’t you know those things are like super haram?!”. This is a common response that a lot of people might get if they went around telling their friends they joined Half Our Deen, a Muslim Matrimony site. And, had they joined any other matchmaking website that statement probably would have some truth to it. You know, with all the pictures and physical stats on profiles and lack of any REAL information about the individuals. Not to mention the chat features. It’s more like a social network than a place  to actually find a spouse!

One of the ways that Half Our Deen distinguishes itself from other online matchmaking websites is by taking precautions to remain a safe, Islamic, environment. We have insured that only brothers and sisters who are seriously seeking a spouse have access to profiles. We have also set up detailed compatibility tests and offered the option of adding your own questions so it is easy to screen potential spouses without spending hours in conversation.

However, once you have found a good match it is your responsibility to keep it halal. Islamically, there is nothing wrong with getting to know your potential spouse. Infact, it is recommended. There are conditions when it comes to interacting with them, though. So, what are  some of the ways you can make sure you’re keeping it halal?

1) Stick to relevant topics such as understanding financial situations, where you’d live if you married, the role of your families in your life, the parenting style you’d like to implement, the types of activities you enjoy and any other topic that would affect your lives together.

2) Have a third party aware of and included in your correspondence. Knowing that someone else is reading what you type is sure way to avoid being flirtatious or going off topic.

3) Get the wali involved as soon as possible. You might think that bringing up the wali will make you seem pushy or that you’re moving too fast. In reality, it will make the other person respect you and realize that you are 100% serious.

4) Make sure you are corresponding because you need to and not because you want to. If you find yourself making up excuses to email the other person, spending hours chatting, and wanting to relate everything that happens during your day to them then you’re starting to tread on dangerous waters. Once emotions get involved the halal/haram line begins to blur and your decision making skills can be impaired. So take a step back, get the families involved, and move forward with the next steps to getting married.

Questions you should be asking your potential matches

There are no right or wrong questions to ask when you are looking to get married. What it boils down to is what is important to you. What lifestyle would you like to lead with your spouse? What qualities in a spouse would bring out the best in you? And what things could you compromise on without compromising your happiness?

One of the unique features of Half Our Deen is that it allows you create your own questions instead of simply asking standard ones. This grants you the advantage of being able to ask about what really matters right at the start and receiving answers from potential matches on these matters before you spend hours getting to know them!  Not only does this save you from wasting time it is also one of the ways that Half Our Deen keeps our system Islamic. That way, the only time you need to begin communication with someone is when you are serious about the chances of marriage and both believe that your views of life match up!

In order to use this feature efficiently make sure to spend some time thinking about 1) What matters to you, and 2) How your spouse will fit into these points. So for example, if you are willing to relocate for your spouse but it is still important for you to maintain strong ties with friends and family back home you could ask,  “If I relocate to your area how often would we take trips to visit my family?” That way you know ahead of time what to expect.

Even questions that might not seem important are worth asking. If you’re an avid foodie who enjoys experimenting in the kitchen your best match might not be someone who is perfectly content with traditional foods and has no desire to change! So ask what their food preferences are. Or if they are more comfortable eating gluten free or organic. While these issues might seem insignificant compared larger ones such as “Would our children attend Islamic Schools, public schools, or be home schooled?”, if it’s important to you it’s still worth asking.

Verifying a potential match’s identity

In Islam we are taught to acquire as much knowledge as we can about a potential spouse in order to feel confident about the decision to move forward with the marriage. This is even more true when the potential spouse is not from our area or someone that was introduced to us by a friend or family member. So how can you be sure of someone you meet through Half Our Deen?

1) Once you are seriously considering a match ask them for the contact information of family members, friends, or even their local Imam. No one will know them better than these people and you will able to get first hand knowledge of how they conduct themselves on a daily basis.

2) Another option that people have used is by gaining information through social media. Most people have accounts on sites such as twitter and facebook and they can be a way to see who their friends are, how they speak to others, and what type of manners they have.

3) Lastly, if you want more assurance on the identity of a person you can use people search and background check websites that will tell you everything from where they have lived to what their financial status is. One of the more respected sites that offer these services is www.ussearch.com.

After all, age really is but a number

My family and I recently relocated across the country. In the months leading up to the big move I spent hours and hours planning. But what I spent the most time doing for those 5 months was house hunting. I picked the neighborhood I wanted and then proceeded to try and find a house with ALL our specifications in that neighborhood. Two months passed and I still couldn’t find one that fit our criteria. But I was stubborn and determined to have everything I wanted in the location I wanted. Needless to say I failed. With less than a month left till moving day I finally relented and searched in other neighborhoods and Alhamdulilah, Allah (swt) blessed us with an amazing house in an amazing location.

So you’re probably wondering why I’m boring you with my moving diaries? Because as humans we create a precise picture of what we want (in a house, in a spouse, in our kids) and set out to full fill that picture. What we fail to realize is that real life and our imaginations don’t always line up. And just because we can’t find what we think we’re looking for doesn’t mean that what we really need isn’t out there.

One of the points that brothers and sisters looking to get married often get hung up on is the age of their potential spouse. Brothers usually want someone a few years younger than themselves and sisters want someone who is older than themselves. This idea of the perfect age gap in marriage is one of the first requirements that goes down on our spouse list and is often one that we have a hard time letting go of.

In reality though, having a “proper” age gap does not necessarily lead to a successful marriage or to a compatibility. In fact, if we were to look back at the most significant marriage of all times, that of the Prophet Muhammad (saws) to Khadija (ra), you will note that they had the most nontraditional of all age gaps. Yet, you will never find a more loving, compatible, supportive, and nourishing coupling than theirs despite the odd age paring.

Age is much like the neighborhood in my moving example. By holding onto that ideal and not looking or considering anyone outside of it you are limiting yourself from finding someone that fits you. Brothers, just because a sister is a bit older than your ideal match doesn’t mean she will be any less beautiful or righteous. And sisters, just because a brother is a bit younger than your ideal match doesn’t mean he will be any less mature, caring, and responsible. So let’s step out of our “neighborhoods” and see what Allah (swt) has for waiting for us!

Next HOD Offline Event in San Diego, 14th July 2012

It’s that time again. We are running our first HOD Offline Singles Event of 2012 in San Diego on 14th July Inshallah.  In our first event, 48 people got a seat and we had 10 people matching up! At our next event, 70+ people got a seat and 18 people matched up and 1 couple got married. At our third event 42 people got a seat and we had 17 people matching up.

Half Our Deen Offline is different than your typical Muslim Matchmaking events, and the results speak for themselves. Of course, we cannot guarantee success, but we are waorking hard to make the event different and fun with the hope that there will be success in it InshAllah. 

The typical matchmaking event held by other organizations is limited to the “halal speed dating” method. Where you speak to one person for a few minutes, and speak to many throughout the evening. Then, you have to decide which one you want to speak to at greater length for the potential of marriage down the road. It is understood that you need to spend more than three minutes with someone to find your other half. A typical HOD Offline event allows more than a few minutes interaction through several activities. We spend alot of time in planning our events to ensure the best possible success. 

Below is some of the positive feedback we received from our previous attendees to show this: 

• “The chance to interact with potential candidates on a HUMAN level”

• “It was very well organized. I liked the table groupings. The people at my table were very easy to get along with. The activities were well thought out, and executed very well”

• “Interactive and comfortable. Right amount of times for each activity.”

• “I really appreciated how much work you all put into keeping everything so organized and sorting everyone out according to preferences and religious compatibility. That kind of extra care really made me feel like you guys truly care about all of us finding our partners.”‘

Spots are already being filled so don’t procrastinate. If you know you can’t make it, please tell the single brothers & sisters you know InshaAllah. 

We hope to see you soon filling out your survey and registering for HOD Offline by clicking http://halfourdeen.polldaddy.com/s/offline-hod-registration-san-diego

We look forward to helping you find your other half! :)

Jazakhallah Khair,

HOD Offline Team

www.hodoffline.com

The importance of Pre-Marital Counselling

We came across this the other day and as this is growing need for our single and married couples, we thought we should share this. As Aman Killawi rightfully said, going through pre-marital counselling can avoid heartache and boiling issues that will arise after marriage. It is very important to understand the benefits of counselling and how it can help those about to get and already married.

Date Published: FEBRUARY 6, 2012 5:00 AM

Author: Amal Killawi

I spent my time at a recent wedding listening to people’s marriage problems. As the guests danced the night away in celebration, I sat in the back of the hall talking about shattered dreams and unfulfilled expectations. Sometimes, we had to scream to hear each other over the music. There was the young woman whose husband wouldn’t let her finish her education. Then, a friend wanted advice about dealing with her in-laws. And a mother cried as she shared her worries about welcoming her daughter home as a divorcee.

What a night! The reception ended with the passing of favors and du`a’ (supplication) for the newlyweds. I remember making extra du`a’ for the bride and groom.  Dear God, please bless them with a lasting and healthy union. Ameen. I left the wedding in deep thought and had trouble falling asleep that night. I was so moved by the irony of that experience.

In just the past few months, a significant number of marriages in my community have ended in divorce.  I know many more couples are on the verge of separation. Don’t get me wrong. I personally believe that divorce can be a healthier, and sometimes necessary, option.  But why are so many marriages ending so soon? What needs to change to foster a culture of commitment and responsibility?

All the stories shared with me that night had a common theme: None of the couples had premarital counseling before they got married.  No one had prepared them for the challenges of marriage, and many of their problems stemmed from issues that were not discussed before the wedding. A recent study1 about divorce in the Muslim community found that none of the divorced men and women in the study had formal premarital counseling, other than a brief meeting with an imam. Many of them wished they had been offered more extensive premarital counseling, and that they had easier access to counseling services once they were married and experiencing problems. It’s a sad testimony to the lack of marriage preparation in our communities.

When a couple announces their engagement, we rush to celebrate. Have we stopped to consider how much preparation and support the new couple will need for this decision of a lifetime? How many couples truly know what they’re getting into when they’re smiling for pictures on their wedding day? The love and excitement of the new relationship often blinds them from comprehending the reality that marriage is a sacred covenant with God. Wouldn’t it make sense to prepare for this spiritual partnership?

How is it that we invest so much time, money, and energy preparing for the wedding celebration and not for the marriage? We consider the smallest details for that special evening; yet we ignore the essential reason for our celebration—a commitment to spend a lifetime with another human being.  As one woman said to me, “I had two months to plan for the wedding. I was in love, and didn’t have time to think about any issue!”

Many couples mistakenly believe that they don’t need counseling before marriage and that conflict should be avoided. However, a certain level of conflict is healthy and necessary, and premarital counseling can offer an opportunity to discuss potential problematic issues.

Consider premarital counseling before you make a commitment for marriage.  According to Lisa Kift2 , a marriage and family therapist, premarital counseling will help you:

  1. Discuss role expectations. It’s important to talk about the responsibilities of each partner in marriage – who will take care of the finances, chores, etc? Discussing roles early on will clarify expectations for the future.
  2. Explore your spiritual and religious beliefs. What are your views on music, hijab, zabiha meat, and following a certainmadhab (school of thought)? Discussing these issues ahead of time will help determine your compatibility and help you learn to manage different opinions.
  3. Identify any family of origin issues. Much of what we learn about relationships comes from our parents and other family members. Identifying our early influences and discussing our learned behaviors will help us understand how this might play out in marriage.
  4. Learn communication and conflict resolution skills. Couples that communicate effectively can resolve conflicts more effectively. This will allow you to spend less time arguing and more time understanding.
  5. Develop personal, couple, and family goals. You are committing to share a life with someone. Isn’t it important to discuss what you want your future to look like together? Where do you want to be in three years? How many children do you want to have? Outlining a plan for life can be a wonderful way to learn about each other and to strengthen your commitment to each other.

Premarital counseling can protect couples from much heartache and conflict. Since prevention is central to our deen, many imams and community leaders now require premarital counseling and education prior to the marriage ceremony—a guaranteed investment in happier couples and healthier marriages.

What’s your take?

  • Do you think that premarital counseling would be helpful to prospective spouses?
  • What issues should be covered/ discussed in premarital counseling?
  • How can couples be encouraged to attend premarital counseling?

Share your thoughts below.

Source: http://www.suhaibwebb.com/relationships/marriage-family/spouse/want-your-marriage-to-last-get-premarital-counseling/

Put Deen, Not Dunya, at the Forefront of Your Wedding

 

We live in a dunya where “bigger is better” and “bling” is a word in our vocab. People will go through financial difficulties to show people they don’t really care about that they have money/status/a place in society. Currently, the average wedding in the U.S costs approximately $27,000.

Did your jaw drop? Mine certainly did.

And somehow, Muslim weddings have managed to be taken over by this falseness. Somehow, our brothers and sisters are throwing bigger and more expensive parties for the sake of a union that is already abundantly beautiful and blessed no matter how big the event hall is.

Here we are, an Ummah that is blessed with a glorious deen, a deen that is not interested in money or wealth, but on character and akhlaq. To our Lord who tells us “The material things which you are given are but the conveniences of this life and the glitter thereof; But that which is with God is better and more enduring: Will you not then be wise?” (The Holy Quran, Chapter 28, verse 60)

There is too much pressure on our brothers and sisters for a lavish wedding. Have you been through this? It could be your spouse who wants a big, fancy party, or your parents who are determined to throw the best event(s) money can buy. Or even yourself. Perhaps you are imagining a lavish wedding that has your guests gazing in amazement?

There are people who are set to get married, but want to save up thousands of dollars to have an unnecessary and over-the-top event. Money is thrown around at every angle, from the centerpieces to the cake, and some Muslim weddings have even been seen to have men and women mixing and dancing together because “it’s a special day.”

This day, like everyday, is being watched by Allah. He sees and hears everything we do. Is this how we want to start our lives as husband and wife? With money and material objects being at the forefront of our minds?

The Prophet (saw) was a humble man. He encouraged us to be humble and give in charity. How about having a small gathering at home, with the people that truly care about you? Or a simple masjid gathering? Why not take this money and do something beneficial, like plan a trip to Mecca, or donate it to the many starving children across the world? Start your life without debt.

If we took all the thought, and planning and time that is taken to plan such a huge event, and put it into bettering ourselves as Muslims, and putting the effort into preparing ourselves for marriage, surely this would be more rewarding? The wedding at the most will be a few hours. Your marriage will last a lifetime InshAllah!

So please, ask yourself this: Does having a lavish wedding make a difference to the life my spouse and I will have?

Understand before being Understood!

 

Communication is one of the most important constituents in our life. Everyday we use some form of communication.  We know how to read, write and speak. In fact we do it very well. What about listening? Listening in a way that you understand the other person from his or her own viewpoint and feelings, not from yours. Before offering advice to anyone, like your spouse, and expecting them to accept it, you must really make the effort to first understand what they are trying to say. Not just the words that are coming out their mouth but the feelings attached to them as well. You have to listen with an open mind and no prejudice.  We usually listen so we can reply, we are either always speaking or preparing to speak and just can’t wait to tell them our take on their situation. We do all this before even understanding them.

Here are four things we typically do when others speak to us. We ignore them, not really listening. We pretend to listen and nod our head “Yeah. Uh-huh. Right Right.” We listen selectively and hear only bits and pieces. We listen attentively and really pay attention to the words. But not many of us listen with empathy. Listening closely to really understand the emotions and feelings behind these words. Your spouse won’t be talking to you if they didn’t feel the need to. You hold that special place in their lives; keep that respect by just listening.

Statistics say only about 10% of our communication is through words, 30% is by sound and 60% is body language. Listening with empathy means to not only use your ears, but your eyes and your heart. We are so quick to add how we feel and tell our side of the story; “OMG! Yeah I know EXACTLY how you feel. Same here, I also…” It’s not about you. They are talking to you to be expressive, to connect, to inform you because they feel you are worth their time. If it were about you, then you would be the one speaking and hoping your spouse would listen.

The greatest need for a human is to be understood, affirmed and appreciated. If we take this away then everything else is just superficial. Quite often we try to figure the other person out, we interpret and assume based on our own experiences, motives and behavior. Everyone is unique regardless of how many similar qualities you may share as a couple. Humans are so scripted that sometimes we already know the answer before the question has been heard.

The most honest and well-rounded person to walk this earth was the Prophet (SWAS). He(SWAS) wasn’t just our Messenger, but also a counselor, a wise judge, a devoted father and a righteous husband. Not only did he fulfill all his responsibilities but also excelled at each one. He treated everyone in his Ummah in a way that was compatible with that person’s character and personality. As much as he preached the message, he also listened to his companions and gave importance to their viewpoints and feelings. This only increased the respect given to him by his companions and others alike.

You choose your spouse as much as they choose you. Try for once to just listen to them and control the urge to interrupt with your personal experiences. Concur what they are saying by using words of affirmation and empathy. If you have listened well, they themselves will ask you for your advice or point of view. Just be patient, you will have your chance. A person is more receptive to advice if they are given the chance to be heard completely and understood wholeheartedly.

Understand before being understood. It’s only fair!