We live in an age where many marriages easily crumble to pieces. Where marriages are not surviving, where two people who were so sure about their love for one another before marriage are unable to declare their love for each other on a daily basis after they’ve tied the knot.
One of the reasons for this is, many cluelessly get into marriage, or the process of getting married is incorrect, where they lack the right etiquettes. As with all major life decisions, one is required to go through a series of steps before making the final decision- and this includes contemplation, consultation, and communication: the 3 Cs.
Many believe that it is the end that matters but we must remember in Islam, the end doesn’t define the means. If two people who are in a haraam relationship get married, whatever relationship they had is not made okay just because the end was a halal reunion.
Similarly, when it comes to the actual process of marriage, the means is just as important as the outcome. It is important that we follow the guidelines when it comes to choosing a spouse. It is important we ask the right questions and get to know our spouse in the halal way before we agree to spend our life with them.
Therefore, this article thoroughly discusses the 3 Cs. So let’s get straight into it. Bismillah!
The Treasure Hunt
When we first go spouse hunting, we look for the creme de le creme. The guy or girl must be practicing but not so practicing, the beard shouldn’t be too long nor too short, the girl must be educated yet want to be a stay-at-home, and it goes on. But raising the bar so high comes with a price, and that is, that such perfectly trimmed treasures are rare to find! I’m not saying that we should lower our standards but we should be willing to compromise on some things. After all, we can’t aim for perfection every strip of the way.
The 3 C’s
This means that even before you prepare a list of questions, you have to do some contemplating and prepare a list that looks something like this (of course with a lot more content under each heading):
- Things I most definitely want in a spouse
Things you most definitely want in spouse are things you are not willing to compromise on no matter what. Most of this category should include things like praying Salah regularly and fasting in Ramadan – if someone can’t fulfil their obligations to Allah, how will they to you? Note: there are different levels to this. There may be someone who is striving to pray regularly for example, struggling with Fajr, or praying on time or at the Masjid. Depending on how much of an influence you feel you may be in motivating them and helping them become better, will determine if you would even consider this prospect or not. For some people, if they are not praying five times a day at the masjid (for men) it’s a no-no. But this ultimately boils down to how you feel.
- Things I’d like in a spouse
Things you’d like in a spouse are things that are nice but not necessary- that’s the key. For example, when I was considering marriage, I really liked if my spouse had a beard and wore thoub every day. I might even say I was a little obsessed with beards. Funnily enough, I’m happily married to a man who can’t even grow one! It obviously would have been great if he had one, but for me at that moment, other things such as akhlaaq were much more important to take into consideration for this important life decision.
Another example is age. It may be something you’re not willing to compromise on. You may want a husband who’s older or a wife who’s younger, and won’t settle for anything other than that. But if you don’t mind, then this should also go under the second category. And remember, I’m not talking about compatibility here.
- Things I won’t tolerate in a spouse
The third category are things you don’t want your spouse to have. They could be traits like being foul-mouthed or disobedient to parents or actions such as the fact that they earn their living through a haraam means or that they smoke.
- Red flags
Red flags is a very important category. They are things embedded within a person’s history that may affect your marriage that should be flagged up. For example, any past marriages, relationships or children that may affect your marriage should be discussed. Also, you may want to look out for the imposters, those who are not seeking to get married anytime soon but are using marriage to be in an on-the-fence relationship. Remember, if they really want to get married, they will speak to the wali.
Furthermore, if – and this is for sisters especially – after speaking to a potential, you find he has the “it’s my way or the highway” attitude or already tries to dictate control and authority in the first meeting, then that’s a red flag. The last thing you want is an abusive, controlling partner. Of course, these things you can’t tell from just looking or speaking to a person, but that’s when the whole aspect of consulting others comes in. It’s important to ask others about the potential so you know what kind of reputation he has within the community.
In addition to this list comes one more list, or it could even be a journal entry before proceeding to the next C. This list is not about your dream spouse but you. It’s time for YOU to contemplate on things you want to change before you enter marriage. But even before that, are you ready for marriage? What more do you need to know about? Do you know how the process works, islamically? What parts could you know more about? Is there anyone that can help you when it comes to the dreaded first meetings? Think about these questions, then write your answers. After all, you too are going to be a spouse but are you also striving to be what you’d want your spouse to be like?
When making any big decision, our religion beautifully advises us on Istikharah – seeking Allah’s counsel or putting our trust in Allah. However, part of doing that is to exhaust our means (hence contemplation and communication) and tie our camel. And part of taking the means is consulting others.
This means speaking to the person’s family, consulting your teachers, friends, experienced closed ones or also a Sheikh who knows you both, on marriage and your potential. When I was considering my spouse, I ensured that not only me, but my father also consulted people who knew him and found out more about the brother.
If you look at the Istikharah Du’aa, it reminds us that it’s our choice and therefore we must make an informed decision. Consulting people makes us more aware, gives us more insight, helps us make a better, more fair and informed decision whilst allowing us to feel loved and guided each step of the way.
Communication is the pinnacle of the entire marriage process. Without communication, it will all be a tangled mess.
Sisters, whether you know the guy, fell in love with him, or were recommended someone who you would like to get to know further, it’s important that you communicate this to your wali first and foremost. As much as we may love and our close to our mothers, it’s important we don’t do and discuss things behind our wali’s back.
The wali should be available and be a part of each step. He should be the one communicating with the brother initially at his own pace and if he isn’t quite comfortable with face to face meetings, we sisters must respect that.
At the end of the day, our walis want what’s best for us and therefore they will closely judge and get to know the potential before introducing communication between you and the brother. When it is time for that step, it may just begin with a WhatsApp group chat or email exchange (with the wali CC’d or in the chat).
Now that the important guidelines for choosing a spouse are covered, it’s time to make a list of questions to ask your potential spouse. Before I provide my list, we would like to hear what questions would you ask your potential suitor, and what are the questions that lead you to finding the one today?
Write to us and win a chance of being featured on Ink of Faiths next article- “Questions to ask your potential suitor”.
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