Do You Think Practically About Marriage?

// August 13th, 2008 // Blog

A question I was asked very recently.

My answer was not particularly impressive. Perhaps due to the tension of the moment. But more likely because it is a question that requires some real thinking. Can any of us think practically about a subject that is tied to heart, mind, body and soul?

I had a post all written out, but who cares what I think? I want to hear from you.

So, single people… do you?

Married people… did you?

26 Responses to “Do You Think Practically About Marriage?”

  1. Organica says:

    I don’t know.

  2. iMuslim says:

    It is proving hard to think of a comment that does not involve the use of sarcasm to point out how non-inspiring the brevity of your answers are! So instead I chose to pursue the avenue of writing an excessively verbose response in my attempt at satirical juxtaposition.

    In short: please. write. more. ta.

  3. Organica says:

    LOL.

    Your cute ya jaan.

    I don’t know if anyone can be 100% practical when it comes to marriage. As you’ve mentioned, there are emotions involved which makes it sticky. But here is what I think:

    1) When the heart grows fond of someone, it’s usually because the person hits a number of criteria they believe they would need in a future spouse. What happens post this stage is the scariest. Because you will find that meeting the criterion isn’t enough to make a successful marriage. For example, you might find a potential spouse funny and extremely practicing Muslim but with no proper income to speak of. Their future will be limited, and you will have to make the choice of whether you can handle it or not. Unfortunately, if the heart has already too attached to this person, it’s almost impossible to strip away unless you have some powerful outer force: namely friends and family who have some type of control over you. But from what I’ve seen, people still do what they want at the end of the day, even if it’s not the best decision. Sometimes they regret it; sometimes they don’t.

    2) I’m a big advocate of practicality. I think it’s useless to set your hopes high when you know that there is a very slim chance that something will workout. For example, I know a sister who is extremely young and is involved with a brother for all the wrong reasons. She knows that there is 0.9% that it will ever work out, yet she still pursues to keep in touch with the brother. She thinks he will change; she thinks her parents’ opinion of him will change; she thinks she will always care for him the way she does now, although she is only a teen.

    3) However, when you say being practical it could be taken both ways. One might compromise their criterion of a potential spouse to face the practicality of a situation. For example, I live in the United States. My chances to marry an Egyptian man from my parents’ city is really slim to none. If I limit my choices to only Egyptian, then I am passing up some good opportunities. A practical solution will be to open up my options to different ethnecities(which, duh! I chose to do and think it was the best choice for me) or travel to my parents’ country to find someone (never!). That is being practical.

    4) What I’ve personally seen that people who are ready for marriage are usually practical. They’ve experienced enough in life and are now ready to settle with someone. They might find someone that potentially be the future spouse, and be practical when it comes to nurturing the relationship. For example, if someone found a potential spouse but will have to be impractical when it comes to some future choices relating to the spouse (like giving up career, living with in-laws) I believe that is normal and sometimes needed. What is a girl to do?

    5) I think Islam teaches us to be practical. Marry someone of your same living conditions, religious convictions and practice, beauty, and education. It makes life much easier

    6) Also, I think parents’ and friends’ approval is vital for a healthy marriage.

    :D

    Verbal diarrhea

  4. iMuslim says:

    Miss Organica is a fibber. She do know!

    All valid points, masha’Allah.

    Disney should be banned. The liars. I am gonna sue: false expectations.

    Sigh.

  5. I would like sue Little Mermaid.

  6. iMuslim says:

    I’d like to add Beauty & The Beast to that list.

    As if what’s inside really matters… pfft.

    Btw, I am speaking as the Beast, not the Beauty! Just in case anyone gets the impression that I’m, like, totally shallow, ya? {resumes buffing her nails}

  7. LOL. The beast turned out to be quite a handsome lad. I don’t know!

  8. IveGotUrNumber says:

    When it comes to marriage I guess th emost important criteria fo rme HAS to be ‘is the person Islamic’ that has to be the critically most vital criteria. And by Islamic I dont mean a vague interest or a fleeting level of concern. But rather i think watsmost importnat is a true geniune desire to achieve jannah above all else. If thats there then the rest are still important but not as much.
    I think I would also look for intellect – i mean we do need to converse

    I wud also look for a sense of humour. This is critical since for me the wife has 3 become my bestest friend. If dat aint there, then how can she ever become my bestest friend, surely it has tobe based on us having a few(i mean loadsa) good laughs together and really really enjoying ech others company. And I guess that can only happen if we have a similar sense of humour. I mean if I’m like joking all the time and she is like the serious type…things are just not gonna work out!

    I will post more iA soon

  9. Faraz says:

    Wouldn’t the Beast be the shallow one? I mean, it’s the Beauty who didn’t let the Beast’s beastly appearance affect her feelings. The Beast mostly just fell for a pretty face.

    Thinking practically is critical, but it’s often very hard to separate the feelings and emotions from the practical aspects of such a commitment. Often, it takes a few bad experiences to loosen the grasp of emotion, and let the brain take over. I personally think those experiences are of benefit, but you also don’t want to lose your emotion entirely.

    My first foray into the marriage scene involved me being the unknowing pawn in an effort by a rather aggressive woman to break up the potential marriage of her daughter to a Muslim of another culture. With close members of my own family playing roles in hiding the reality of the situation and deceiving me, I became quite bitter and dejected for years after, and became extremely apathetic.

    To some extent, I think the apathy has served me well in being able to isolate my emotions from the warnings in my conscience. Four years later, though, I realize that too much apathy also looks bad on a person, and emotion should still play a part. It is, after all, the emotion that drives our prayers and puts sincerity in our hearts, so it’s best not to lose touch with it completely.

  10. iMuslim says:

    “The beast turned out to be quite a handsome lad.”

    EXACTLY. Now, if the moral of the story was really about inner beauty, why did it end with him turning into a cute prince?

    IGUN: Compatibility is actually harder to gauge than you may think, especially when it comes to a GSOH. Most people like to laugh, so I don’t think you’d have a problem in that dept. If you were introduced to a reserved sister, you may be put off, but she’s probably just shy and nervous. I made that mistake with one brother, only to later realise that he probably was very quiet because he was not used to talking to the opposite sex.
    I’ve been told of guys who hardly say two words outside the house, whether it be to men or women, but when they’re alone with their wives, they are complete chatterboxes. It’s quite a sweet thought, masha’Allah.

    Faraz: You make a good point as always… it’s probably impossible for me to be truely apathetic. But I know where you’re coming from.

  11. Muneeb says:

    The more you think over it, the more unpractical it get. As presumably for every point to cater, there are 10 points where we are totally not in control.

    You can end up getting the iddeeaaaalll person and still it won’t be enough. And that again is no exception. We see so many love marriages falling down.

    Simply, we don’t know who is best for us. We even don’t know what makes us tick.

    I blogged it before. Delaying marriages for whatever social, economical, financial, this-al, that-al reasons..makes it more difficult to adjust. And later in life the over-the-top so-called mature reasons becomes such a spaghetti of thoughts that we see people simply getting freaked out thinking of marriage, something we have seen pretty often in the posts/comments of this blog.

  12. Sumera says:

    Im with Organica, I don’t know :-/ All I know is compromising is bloody easier said than done!

  13. Sumera says:

    Actually I *think* I am quite practical, but only time really tells. You can practise all sorts of scenario’s in your head and expect xyz to happen but sometimes it doesnt. Which can be a good or bad thing.

    What am I on about? im losing the plot :-|

  14. mummyjaan says:

    Sorry for the brief answer – I couldn’t resist it. After all, you were asking a straightforward question: “Married people – did you?” and you got the logical, simple answer :). How would I have been married if I hadn’t been practical about it?

    I assume that by ‘being practical’, you mean keeping realistic expectations, being able to compromise on some things, and not being overly romantic?

    People are not made to order. Not men, not women. In spite of this astounding fact, many married ppl I know have found their mates and are happy with them. Some have compromised on a few aspects; some haven’t. Those that have compromised have not compromised on what they think are ‘essential requirements’ in a spouse.

    I searched for about 5 years for my man. When I finally married him, I realized that the sort of person I had *imagined* I would marry and the sort of person I actually *did* marry were two verrrry different people.

    But were they? Not really. The essential qualities I was looking for were there: a practicing Muslim, devoted to family, with similar educational background and a sense of humour. These ‘qualities’ came in a very different packaging: a huge joint family and differing interests and the fact that the ‘sense of humour’ is often at my expense (*grrrrr).

    I won’t ramble on, because Miss Organica has left many words of wisdom there. Print out her comment and frame it, esp points 5 and 6.

  15. organica says:

    subhanallah, we can plan all we want but Allah is the best of planners. He has our hearts and he can change them as he pleases. We pray that our hearts remain on taqwa and our choices reflect that!

  16. Haleem says:

    i DID think about it – in fact i BLOGGED about it – the whole thing, from start to finish! Now when I go back to my archives and look back on the whole thing, what my thoughts were when i met some prospect etc… i find some of them so funny and out of touch.

    As for marriage (in the West) i find it’s tough when you limit yourself to choices here, especially if you restrict by your own nationality. If you are marrying in the West, i suggest opening up to the possibility of other cultures.

    i disagree VERY STRONGLY with someone who said the most important thing is how islamic they are. it is EQUALLY important with how well matched they are to your mindset, your way of thinking and your attitudes to life – otherwise you are going to have conflicts all the time.

    Of course hotness matters.

  17. iMuslim says:

    All your answers are great, masha’Allah. I don’t even know how to respond. I am thankful I have such ‘practical’ people in my life, and on my blog! Alhamdulillah… maybe it’ll rub off on me eventually, hehe. Insha’Allah.

  18. AnonyMouse says:

    Before Mr. Mouse showed up: Definitely not. I had castles so high up in the air that you’d need a telescope to find them.

    When Mr. Mouse showed up: Definitely yes. I had no choice… something called maturity kicked in and wouldn’t let me make a stupid decision like rejecting him (alHamdulillah!).

    Actually, now that I think about it some more – I had most things marriage-related sorted out in my head even before I was ready for the marriage market (at age 14, haha)! Thennnnn when I actually had my eye on someone (not Mr. Mouse) I kinda buckled and wasn’t so practical and acted more like a silly teenage girl… and then alHamdulillaah I was saved from my own silliness and got someone who met the most important criteria on my list, both personally and in terms of future plans.

    So my advice is, think about it practically BEFORE there’s actually someone… and then when someone shows up, analyze them and the situation carefully and decide what’s okay to compromise on and what’s not.
    Have a healthy balance of practicality/ objectivity along with a healthy sprinkling of dreamy romanticism :D

    Thus spake I, the mature married Mouse! :D ;)

  19. HFM says:

    I’m glad you raised this question, I love reading the replies.

    People have some steady, practical intelligent heads on!
    :)

  20. Shahrzad says:

    To be honest, when Shahryar proposed me, i could never believe that i want to marry. I was a busy woman that time, living alone with its difficultires, studying masters, working hard 15 hours a day. Even when i was at home, i had a couple of reports and articles to write for journals.

    When he proposed me, i laughed at him. lol Then where i had time for such a thing name as marriage?
    It took six months and i can say he was completely sticky for what he wanted. And he completely changed my mind about being a woman, wife, mother etc.

    Alhamdulilah for everything. There was difficulties after that (visa issues, being away, distance) but not among us. We’re very much friends and i am so happy that i changed my mind.
    I dont think one has to think or not to think practically. It happens automatically when you see the right one. Actually if it wants to happen, the mouth gets closed. Just Allah’s will and your heartbeats..

  21. Shahrzad says:

    I also disagree completely with “how islamically they are”.

    Shahryar and i are from different sectrial background. Mine is Shitte and his is Sunni.
    Also i am an eastern, was born and raised in the East, in Iran whole my life. He is a westerner revert and he has been raised with the western culture and among christians. Later he reverted to Islam.
    For some people it’s completely start of a conflict. But never for us it happened and it was not an issue for us.. We’re matched. Even if we are in a multi cultural sectorial marriage, we’re absolutely fitted.

  22. Leibniz says:

    Yes, every single day.

  23. iMuslim says:

    Mouse & Shah… jazakumallah khair for your stories. Very enlightening!

    I have to say that like Mouse, I already do think practically and know what I want, but have also let these ideals slip when affected by soppy emotion.

    We’ll see what Allah brings me in the future. May He protect me from bad decisions and bad people, and protect others from my own evil. Ameen.

  24. I think if you look to the life of the Prophet peace and blessings be upon him, he contemplated all his marriages practically and the same goes for the righteous generations who succeeded him. But I think our generation (or perhaps our parents’) have unduly complicated the whole affair from start to finish.

    Cheer up iMuslim! TheMarriageRevolution.com looks very promising and it’s headed by Sh. Yasir Birjas (the Faqih of Love himself)! There’s a webcast tonight @ 9:30EST, insha’Allah, I’ll tune in and I hope you do to :)

  25. Aalia says:

    I thought I looked at marriage in a practical manner until I read a couple books about it…turned out I had a few very backward ideas. Apparently we’re supposed to be a whole lot more subservient and patient than I thought, and we really should let men be in charge always.

    Which is fine in theory, but it’s not going to be very easy to implement.

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