Muslim Marriage Tips

Live Call with Baba Ali…Coming Soon

Assalamu alaikum

Quick heads up.  Alhamdulillah we’ve gotten amazing feedback from the launch of the Muslim Marriage Movement and clearly there is lots of work to do.  I wanted to give you a heads up to look out for a special LIVE call Baba Ali that we will be doing very soon in shaa Allah. (more…)

Education vs. Marriage

A question that often arises on the road to marriage is, “Should I complete my education first or get married first?” Everyone has an opinion on the matter and there is not a universal answer to it as every person, and situation, is different. However, there are a few points to take into consideration when you are contemplating this question.

1) While intellectual compatibility is important, that does not necessarily translate to having the same number of degrees or years of study. Just because a person has had more (or less) schooling than you does not necessarily mean that you are not intellectually compatible. Instead of writing someone off because they don’t have the right level of education speak to them and see if perhaps you are both on the same intellectual level.

2) Getting married does not necessarily mean the end of your education. A lot of singles (particularly sisters) feel they have to make a choice between either marriage or education. While, it is true, that getting married does add more responsibility to your plate it can also motivate you to take your studies more seriously and complete them faster. If you are interested in getting married but aren’t sure how education will fit into your married life, discuss it with your potential other half. You can even outline a plan together beforehand.

3) It is possible to afford both marriage and education. Pursuing higher education can actually be more affordable after marriage. There is more financial aid available to married couples than singles. Financial aid is also calculated just on the income of you and your spouse, without your parents, so you are more likely to qualify. You will also learn to be more responsible with your money as you have a spouse and a future together to look forward to.

There is no doubt that education plays an important role in our lives. It is a means of growing for us as people as well as way to improve our economic status. Education should be pursued however we should also keep in mind that learning occurs not only in school but throughout our lives. Pursuing higher education should not come at the expense of other things we want in life. Instead, we should find a way to reconcile between the things that matter to us and approach it from a practical angle. We should also take the time to learn about other people instead of dismissing them based on their level of schooling.

Getting Overly Attached

The search for your other half is an extremely personal journey filled with ups, downs, and a lot of hard choices. Making these tough choices can be hard even when you are able to keep an objective mind. Once you allow yourself to think with your heart instead of head it becomes harder to distinguish between the right and wrong decisions.

Islam has set clear guidelines for how to interact with the opposite gender and even how to approach them when you are interested in them for marriage. While these guidelines may seem stringent they are there to protect you from the inevitable heartache that accompanies the search for a partner as well as to help keep you objective when deciding who you would like to spend the rest of your life with.

One of the mistakes that a lot of people make is not asking the hard questions first. They decide that they need to get to know the person first before they are comfortable asking some of their deal breaker questions.  The problem with this approach is that by the time you get to ask a make it or break it question you are already emotionally invested in the other person and find it much harder to move on, even once you have realized they are not the right fit for you.

In order to avoid this rough aspect of the spouse search here are a few guidelines to help you stay within the boundaries of Islam and avoid becoming overly attached before the time is right.

1)      When meeting with a potential spouse or exchanging correspondence make sure to have someone else privy to the conversation. It is less likely that the conversation will steer off topic and become more personal when you know someone else is also listening/reading it.

2)      Make a list of your deal breaker questions and ask them first. If there are certain aspects that you can’t budge on make sure to get them out of the way before you waste both of your times.  Encourage the other person to do the same.

3)      Keep your conversations to the point. There is no need to share all of your childhood memories and everything that happens during your day now. Save these amazing stories to tell your spouse later on. Not only will it keep you focused on the important matters now it will ensure that you have fodder for all the conversations you will have after you are married. And if the person turns out not to be right for you then you wouldn’t have shared the personal and cherished conversations with them—which can make it harder to move on.

The beginning of a relationship is an exciting time. It is easy to focus on how you feel, letting that guide your decisions, instead of thinking rationally about how you should conducting yourself. The important thing to remember is that one of the blessings of Islam is that only your spouse gets to share the special moments of a relationship with you. It’s up to you to ensure that happens by only investing emotionally once you have cleared out any doubts that this person is the right one for you.

Setting Expectations from the Start

Newlyweds in the early stages of falling in love often find themselves going above and beyond for their spouses. A wife may try to make elaborate meals and husband might return home each night with a surprise for her. While this is admirable and it can foster love between the spouses it is also impractical.

Throughout a marriage spouses should try their hardest to please each other and do nice things for one another. However, if they overextend themselves not only will they eventually burn out they will also leave the other spouse with expectations that are too high.  Instead, from the beginning of the relationship both spouses should talk over and set a precedence of how they view the rest of their lives together being.

If a wife would eventually like her husband to take on some household responsibilities, such as helping her with the vacuuming once a week, then she should let that be known from the start. Instead, most will happily take on all the household chores by themselves until they are tired of it at which point they will snap and state that the husband “never helps”. When the reality is in the beginning of the marriage when he offered to help they would turn him down and he got the impression that was not something he needed to contribute in.

The same applies to a husband, if he has certain expectations of his wife they should be established from the beginning. If these expectations are not discussed and acted on from the start it will be much harder to change them later. It is easier to create a habit than to change a habit.

Don’t keep it bottled up

Another two weeks will mark the 5th anniversary of Ahmad and Asmaa’s wedding. They have two kids, a nice house, and what everyone assumes is a happy marriage. They go to community events, have gatherings with their couple friends every other week, and play dates for the kids once a week. Ahmad works full time to make sure his family has everything they need and Asmaa makes sure the house is in decent shape, the kids are taken care of, and a delicious dinner is on the table each night.

Ahmad comes home late, exhausted, all he wants is to sit down and eat something while he zones out on his phone checking the basketball scores. Asmaa finally got the kids to bed and is hoping for an adult conversation. When she sees Ahmad isn’t up for it she decides to head to the kitchen and see what needs to be done. Less than a minute later she remarks “Ahmad, the garbage is starting to stink. You promised to take it out yesterday. You think you will have time in your oh so busy schedule to get it done tonight?”. He responds in a snarky tone, “Can you just shut up about the garbage and let me eat in peace for once?”

These comments set a chain reaction in motion with each one beginning to list every action and habit the other does that they can not stand. Each accusation becomes more hurtful and loud than the previous. They part ways an hour later. Broken, resentful, unsure of what to do next.

Underneath it all Asmaa is feeling unappreciated. While she knows her husband works hard for the family she wishes he would acknowledge the effort she brings to the table. She longs for the times when he would spend hours talking to her and making her feel like she was his whole world. On the other hand Ahmad thinks his love and appreciation  for her is made obvious by all the hard work he is putting in. He longs for the days where she wasn’t as needy and didn’t nag about taking the trash out but instead did it herself if he forgot. He wishes she was more appreciative of what he brings to the table. They both wish things could go back to how it was when the weight of the world wasn’t on their shoulders and they still gave each other butterflies with every look.

Although this particular set of events is pure fiction it is an all too common reality in our communities these days. Spouses are so focused on the day to day of their lives that they don’t take the time to truly communicate how the changes in their relationship make them feel and how to deal with it. Instead, they bottle up all their annoyances with their spouse and sweep it under the rug until it all explodes and the mess, is sometimes, too big to clean up.

In order for a relationship to grow and flourish the lines of communication have to be open. Both spouses need to commit time and effort to really listen to how the other feels and accept it. Just because you feel that you give your spouse enough attention does not mean they agree—and that’s ok! After all no two people are created exactly the same and everyone has their own emotions and feelings.

Marriage is the cornerstone of our communities. They will produce the next generation. And they are worth working on and fighting for. While there are many steps that can be taken to support couples and help them make it work the simplest, and first, thing that needs to happen is for both of them to be open and honest with each other.

Being Ready for Marriage

During your journey to find your other half everyone will have an opinion on how ready you truly are for marriage. Your parents may tell you that if you want a spouse you need to find a better job first. A friend might make an off handed comment about how you should be more organized if you are serious about getting married. Maybe they think you should take better care of your appearance or start taking the deen more seriously.

While everyone will have an opinion of what you should or shouldn’t do in order to be ready for this life altering occasion the truth is no matter how prepared  you think you are for marriage it will take you by surprised. Every relationship will come with it’s own unique set of of extreme joys and trials. Just because they are speaking from experience does not mean your experience will mirror theirs. There is no check list that you can go through to ensure you will know how to respond.  That is why getting ready for this momentous occasion will be different for everyone.

The best thing you can do as you await your other half is to begin doing everything you put off doing till you found (or dreamed of doing with) your spouse. Take an inventory of the important aspects of your life such as your education, your deen, your happiness. Identify the goals you hope to achieve in each and begin to aspire to them.

If you had always desired to continue further in your education go ahead and apply to universities or grad schools. If you hope to wake up for fajr every morning, set your alarm across the room from now instead of waiting for someone else to be by your side to wake you up. If you have always wished to take a trip to a new country each year start now—the stories you will have to tell your future spouse will be priceless.

As much as you love to share your life with your spouse and as much as they  make you a better person you have to start on your goals yourself. By doing so you will be more content, happy, and have healthier relationships. As you search for your other half, begin to create the life you want to share with them instead of waiting for them to appear in your life to give you a push in the right direction.

Why Men Feel the Need to be Right About Everything!

In continuing with our weekly articles that offer a bit of insight into the strange minds of the opposite gender today we will be delving into why a man always needs to be right. A common joke that women make is, “I married Mr. Right I just didn’t know his first name was Always!”And while humorous it does have truth to it.

To understand why most men develop this habit it is important to take a look at what they are brought up to believe a man should be. From a young age boys are told to “man up”. If they show weakness or cry they are seen as weak and unable to fend for themselves. They look up to superheros such as batman or to emergency workers like police men and firemen who don’t need to be rescued because they are capable of rescuing not only themselves but everyone else.

Now fast forward a dozen years when this boy has grown up and married the girl of his dreams who he now feels is his responsibility to protect and take care of. She is his damsel in distress that he will focus all his manly powers on in order to keep from harm. And then the unthinkable happens, she dares question his tactics!

While a simple suggestion such as, “Are you sure we are going the right way? Whey don’t we stop and ask someone for directions?” may seem as a helpful gesture on a woman’s part it is taken as a lack of trust in a mans ability from the male perspective. The larger the issue the more threatened they may feel. Instead of voicing this they get defensive and lash out which escalates or creates problems.

There is no true solution to this issue as it is not possible to change how something makes someone feel. It is also unrealistic to expect the other spouse to never give a suggestion or have input that may trump yours. There are two things that can be done to lessen the consequences.

1) The wife can word her suggestions in a way that is less of an attack on his skills and more about how she feels in the moment. So for example, in the situation above she could say “These streets are really confusing. I would feel much better if we stopped and asked a local”.

2) The husband can learn that his wife’s suggestions come from a place of love. She sees someone struggling and is trying to help. It’s the mother in her. So instead of getting defensive he can respond coolly and explain his view in the matter. A good response to the above example could be, “Honey, I know you are trying to be helpful but I would really appreciate it if you gave me a bit more time to figure it out on my own”.

The importance of asking personal questions when looking to get married.

A typical Muslim matrimonial website barely scratches the surface when it comes to details that are vital to showing who you are and what you are looking for in a spouse. The questions generally revolve around superficial topics such as how much you weigh and how tall you are. While this information could be intriguing to a potential suitor the reality is they do not express enough about your goals for life, wants for the future, ideals for raising children, or what a compatible spouse for you would be.

The focus at Half Our Deen is to dig deeper and allow the couples to match up not only based on who they could be attracted to but also who they could lead a fulfilling life with. The personality quizzes help set a baseline for who would seem the most compatible for you but at the end of the day the only way to truly know is to view their profile, read through their information, and respond to any questions they may have posted. Not only do your answers help them learn about you by responding to their questions you are able to infer what is important to them and have the opportunity to counter with your own inquiry.

Answering the personal questions on Half Our Deen, whether the general ones on every profile such as “About Me” and “Who I’m looking for”, or the more detailed questions that others post to their profiles is the best way to increase your chances of finding a match on Half Our Deen. These answers are the first impression that a potential match will have of you. So take the time to think through your answer and insure that it is an honest representation of yourself.

Sharing a candid imagine of who you are online may not be the easiest task. However, the same way you are trusting that others are representing themselves honestly they are trusting that you are doing the same. You want to find a spouse that compliments who you are, not who you think they want you to be. So spend an extra few minutes going over your answers or even have a friend take a look at it and give you feedback in order to insure that you are putting forward a true reflection of who you are.

More Half Our Deen Offline Coming Up!

Along with running Halfourdeen.com we also strive to bring Half Our Deen Offline events to as many cities as we can. These events take all the things you love about HOD and deliver them in person. They are unlike any other Muslim matchmaking event you have ever been to.

One of the ways we differentiate ourselves from other events is by screening those who wish to attend, in order to insure that there is a balance in the attendees. An HOD member who attended our last offline event noticed how helpful this was and had this to say on the matter, “The fact that there were an equal number of men and women was helpful in terms of making it more convenient to socialize”.

The greatest difference, however, is how the events are structured. A lot of care is put into facilitating an environment that allows everyone to feel comfortable and to get to know as much as they can about their potential matches. This comfortable setting is one of the aspects we get the most feedback on. After our last event one attendee wrote us to say, “I like the openness of the event. Everyone had a lot of freedom” and another said “I thought it was a great idea to have a somewhat casual dress code because it lets everyone be themselves and see others as they would if they bumped into each other, say, on a sidewalk or at a park.”

These events have been a great success, Alhamdulillah, with over 70 mutual matches. The HOD Offline team works hard to ensure they provide the best event possible but it is also important for those wishing to attend to take initiative in order for it to be a success for them. Some of the ways you can do that is by:

1) Come to the event with an open mind. Even though you may have an idea in your mind of who your ideal match is be open to the possibility that the perfect person for you may be slightly outside of that box.
2) Write down the questions that matter most to you. In the moment it is easy to get flustered and forget what you had wanted to ask. This insures that you gather the necessary information to make an informed choice.
3) Present yourself honestly. Don’t dress to impress if that’s not who you are! There is no right or wrong way to act or dress what matters is that the person that shows up on the day of the event is a true representation of who you are.
4) Put your trust in Allah and make duaa. No matter what you do or what the Half Our Deen team does, the only way you will find your match at an event is if Allah (swt) wills for it to be.

In the next few months we plan on bringing Half Our Deen Offline to the East Coast, Arizona and California. For more information on a certain event be sure to click on the link.

New York City – February 22nd 2013. Sign up here
Boston – February 23rd 2013. Sign up here
Chicago – February 24th 2013. Sign up here
Phoenix – March 2013 – Sign up here
Santa Clara – March/April 2013 – Sign up here
Orange County April 2013 – Sign up here
Texas – TBD

Thank you for letting Half Our Deen services be a part of your search for a partner. Please keep us your dua’as as we will continue to keep you in ours. May Allah guide you to that which pleases Him.

Having an Open Mind

Getting married is a huge, life changing, event. We can spend years searching for the perfect person to be our other half. And for some of us, we’ve spent even longer dreaming about who this person will be. We’ve imagined every single detail about him/her and we plan on settling for nothing less than the ideal version of a spouse that we have conjured up. Considering how much this person will impact our lives, why should we?

Allah (swt) controls the matters of the heart and it truly is beautiful to see it in progress. The whole reason we got into Muslim Matchmaking was to do our part in helping the Ummah pair up! Hearing the success stories of those who found their other halves through HOD is beyond rewarding. You would be surprised to hear how many of these stories begin with; “I would have never thought of considering this person due to age/race/relocation issues but I can not be happier that I did”. By keeping an open mind and taking a chance on someone who did not seem to be the ideal match at first they were able to see deeper into who the person really is; ultimately finding their ideal spouse.

This is not to say that preferences do not matter when looking for a spouse. However, getting to know someone offers you insight into them that simple statistics on paper can not provide. So for example, on paper you might dismiss someone because they do not fall into the ideal age bracket for you. Instead, had you given them a chance and gotten to know them you might find that they are compatible with you and the fact that they are slightly older/younger than what you had in mind does not bother you as much as you thought it would. The same thing can be said for any number of characteristics that are used to determine who a valid match may be.

The truth is, when it comes to matters of the heart there is no way to predetermine where it will lead us. A lot of times chemistry and compatibility can be found with the most unlikely of suitors. And while, no one should ever marry someone they are not attracted to or do not feel is right for them they should likewise never turn a person down simply because they do not seem to line up with the image they have set. Instead, one should give them a chance. Get to know them. And who knows you may be surprised to find out that you have more in common than you could have imagined.