We’ve all dreamt of the day that we get married to our soulmate. We’re expecting it to conjure the most blissful feeling and the happiest of emotions. The union of two souls that are madly in love with each other is beautiful, especially in Islam as it’s seen as completing half your Deen.
But let’s not forget that marriage is a lifetime commitment. For some it’s an easy decision, for others it’s one of the hardest things in life. To spend the rest of your life with your soulmate is the dream, but there isn’t a book that gives you the answers to all the questions you’re going to have before and during your marriage. Here are some useful tips and questions to ask yourself before you say “Yes”.
Are they the one?
“And (have We not) created you in pairs”
Surah An-Naba [78:8]
God made us in pairs. Somewhere on this Earth, our other half is roaming and living their own lives. Your soulmate could be living just across the street from you, or they might be across the globe. Whether or not we find our soulmate in this life, we’ll never know for sure. It’s hard to leave it all in the air, and while it is already set in stone who our soulmate is, it’s not like we can look it up on the internet.
Practically-thinking, marriage is a promise with your significant other. Some questions that you can think about if you’re back and forth on whether you’re truly for your partner, or if they’re truly for you:
- Can you see yourself starting a family with your partner?
- Does your family like your partner?
- Are your lifestyles compatible, or are both of you willing to make it work?
- Are there any deal-breakers that cannot be overlooked or compromised?
Am I ready?
Getting married is a magical experience, but preparing and properly planning for one gets very technical. The first (and most important) aspect to consider is your finances. Other than the fact that the wedding itself would leave a dent in your bank account, are both of you financially stable enough to support each other, and yourselves, after the wedding?
While financial matters are an important factor in deciding whether you’re ready for the married life, subjectively the emotional factor is quite significant. The transition from the single life to married life can be drastic. Take care of your emotional wellbeing and mental health first, and prepare yourself however you see fit before jumping the gun.
Foundation of a successful marriage
“Your wives are a garment for you, and you are a garment for them.”
Surah Al-Baqarah [2:187]
Marriage is not all rainbows and butterflies, even though most of the time it is. They say making a marriage work is tough work, and it should be a team effort. Building a strong foundation together for your relationship will benefit in the long run, and that includes marriage. Starting early is not wrong. Here are some tips to work on that base structure to your relationship.
1. It’s not 50/50, it’s 100/100
There’s a saying that it’s a 50/50 effort. The thing is, it should actually be 100/100. Nothing should be split into half. Both partners should give everything they’ve got in the relationship. Make each other a priority. Prioritise your time together, since most of the time you’ll be apart because of work or other commitments.
There’s no such thing as being too busy because you can always make time for someone that you deem important. And it’s no question your partner is important to you. That said, it is a team effort. Your partner should put in an equal amount of effort as you.
2. Don’t let the little things obscure the big picture
It’s not a deal-breaker if it’s just their annoying habits. Getting off at them for something so minuscule is unnecessary. Focus on the positive and the bigger picture. Recall the times your partner has made you happy, or how they make you feel. You’ll realise that how they chew their food is nowhere near a deal-breaker.
A good method of strengthening a relationship, at least for its psychological factor, is to never go to sleep angry at your partner. Even if you’re in the middle of an argument and deciding to put it off for another day, always have a proper goodnight-message or call.
3. Compliment/complement each other
You are your partner’s biggest fan, not biggest critic. Shower them with compliments if they wear a new top one day, or even if their eyes shine just a little bit differently that day. A sweet “you look nice today” or “you’re extra glowing today” can lift anyone’s mood, not to mention if it’s from your important person.
That said, you and your partner are two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. You should fit one another, and complete each other. Having complementing personalities and morals would do any relationship good. It’s a bonus if you have compatible lifestyles as well.
4. Date your mate
“And of everything we created a pair, that perhaps you may remember.”
Surah Dhariyat [51:49]
When the talks about marriage come, it’s always so technical that the initial sight and goal of it all might get lost. Or if you’re a few years into the relationship or marriage, things can get repetitive and unexciting. Here’s the thing: never lose the fine art of dating. The ‘honeymoon period’ should never end, because there isn’t one.
Setting aside a romantic evening on a regular basis can rekindle the magic of a long-term relationship. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just a special time for the two of you to remember how and why you first fell in love. Don’t stop doing the little things you did when you first started dating.
5. Mutual respect
It should be a given, but it can get overlooked subconsciously sometimes. Treat others like how you’d like to be treated, and that is with respect. Give respect to your partner and they’ll do the same.
A simple thing like making rules when it comes to arguments can assist in showing respect when the thought of it gets pushed to the back of the mind. Something like “no name-calling” or “don’t bring up past mistakes” can do a lot of good.
6. Self-love comes first
While it may sound overrated and widely used, it is a fact. Self-love is the most important thing in life, and it’s the sort of unnecessary baggage you can avoid bringing to the relationship. Heard of “how can you love someone else when you can’t love yourself”? Even though it is slightly dramatic in its sense, it is true. Finding peace, love and joy within your heart is crucial so you can bring it to the table to share.
When you’re in a relationship or first get married, it’s easy to start thinking of yourself as simply one half of a couple. It’s important to remain an individual as much as you are a sum of the equation. Stay true to yourself and love yourself.
7. Make laughter the soundtrack of your marriage
As you share moments of joy with each other, you will also inevitably share moments of setbacks and conflict. However, in these hard times, find reasons to laugh. Laugh with them, and not at them. Don’t take life too seriously; challenges seem much more manageable when you have a partner to laugh with.
8. Practice communicating
Communication has a very subjective and diverse definition, but it boils down to the same thing: understanding. Listen to one another. Hear each other out. Don’t play the blame game in arguments. Drop the shaming or needing to be right. Let go of ego and criticism.
No two people can agree on everything, and that’s okay. But it’s important to be okay with each other’s differences. And that’s learning how to agree to disagree with each other’s decisions or opinions. In a relationship, communicating openly is extremely crucial. This includes being honest and not keeping any secrets from them too.
9. Wholehearted acceptance
Don’t try to change them. Accept them. Appreciate your partner for who they are and don’t dwell on things that you don’t care for. Don’t expect them to change; if you don’t like something, look within your own heart and ask what you can do.
Coming across to your partner as a nag and wind up sending the message that they are “not good enough” leads to distance and polarisation. Learn to love all aspects of your partner, and accept all their flaws.