Be very careful online
If you must resort to the online arena use it as a means. A lot of the time what you are actually falling in love with is an essay. It is how you imagine the person to be and not who they actually are. Our imaginations can be generous and take us far from what is reality. Therefore look at the potential before discussing marriage instead of conversing with your imagination.
How it is done online is not representative of how it is done in real life. The first thing that attracts you to a potential in real life is the appearance, demeanour and shyness, etc. Then you inquire about Deen, compatibility and chemistry. A long (exaggerated) essay (full of praises and no mention of problems) and vague generic descriptions black hair, medium build, brown eyes etc) is not reliable. To fall in love with an essay and some generic descriptions is ludicrous. Even photos a lot of the time are a very poor reflection of reality. A lot of the time, if you were to see in real life the person behind the impressive profile you might not look at them again, let alone propose and converse.
Also bear in mind characters that can’t make it in real life will resort to the online arena to try their luck as it easier to get in contact with people (and to maintain it). It is also easier to hide shortcomings and to write a long exaggerated essay. A lot of the time naive people are lured in. Once attention has been given to an insecure person they might find it hard to let go. This can cause you all sorts of problems. A lot of the time if it is too good to be true it is. Insecure people wil try to use the online arena as they can eulogize themselves and conceal their undesirable traits. They can take it bit by bit as they know an encounter in real life will blow their cover and no one will be interested in them. Even just getting a bit of contact with someone is an achievement for them.
Arrange a meeting with the guardian and see the potential in real life. Social media is not representative of a person’s life.
Outlook on the relationship determines it’s health
There are two extremes when it comes to an outlook on the relationship. One that thinks relationships are destined to work on their own and no input is needed. The other being a relationship is all about hard work. The balanced outlook is one where there is compatibility making the foundation strong but at the same time recognising that some hard work must be put in. Some men after the honey moon phase run away as they can’t get to terms with the fun ending and having to face the normal life comprised of difficulties. Others will spend years in an incompatible marriage thinking they can make it work.
Don’t fall prey to any of the two extremes. Make sure that the hard work being put in will reap fruits. That is done by being with someone compatible where there is a deep friendship, mutual respect and progress together.
A lot of eastern culture is detrimental
In eastern culture people want a perfect title even at the expense of the substance. You will find rigid rules and criteria put in place. People are so people-pleaser oriented to the point how they come across to others takes precedence over inner tranquility. If someone is unhappy with his career and marriage his family could prevent them from exploring other options. To them telling people he is a Doctor in a marriage (even if he is miserable) is better than saying he is divorced and looking for a job (even if that is temporary). To them to deal with the stigma of divorce will ruin their ostentation. It is all about the fancy label even if beneath the label there is chaos.
Desirable traits are recommended. However they are a means for a happy life and not to be sought just for the sake of it. Pursue a potential with good traits. However if there is incompatibility then avoid that marriage. If there is a potential who on paper doesn’t sound impressive but upon meeting in real life there is compatibility and chemistry then don’t give too much weight to what is on paper.
Put substance over connotations from descriptive titles.
One size doesn’t fit all. Even women are different.
The diversity in the nature, inclinations and demeanour of women is something to recognise, embrace and appreciate. As a Muslim my outlook is much more comprehensive, profound and appreciative than any extremist ideology (e.g making beauty the be all and end all or making beauty a crime). The monolithic narrative (that says women should be the same or one size fits all) is a detrimental one. Some women are strong, independent and intelligent. Some rely more on their adornments to allure men into marriage. Some hope their charisma will do the job . Each have a unique way of dealing with them. So long as they are not doing something wrong you can’t blame them or accuse them of doing wrong.
Piety, beauty, intellect, personality, emotional intelligence, being talented etc are all things to admire. Tastes vary and even what constitutes a quality differs from person to person e.g what one man finds attractive could be different to another. One man could have intellect at the top of his list while the other doesn’t have it on his list at all. Some women like to be fully docile to men while others prefer the man to have a collaborative leadership style. If something is permissible and is what suits both parties that is what matters.
Go for what you find attractive and suitable. Don’t criticise qualities which are fine to have and could be attractive to others. Don’t impose your expectations of marriage onto others. If a woman doesn’t find your style suitable for her then best to avoid her and not talk negatively about her especially if what she prefers is a marriage set up that is permissible to have.
Think before deciding to have another spouse
Consider the following things when wanting to replace your spouse with someone else
- Is the unhappiness emanating from your mentality e.g Is it your treatment of your spouse that is causing the problems and the problems will just repeat themselves in the new relationship.
- Look at the positives in the current relationship and recognise they might not be available in the next relationship. Also a different set of problems could crop up.
- Perhaps the exact same problems could occur in the desired relationship as what you find problematic are inevitable problems in any marriage.
Try to change your outlook. Be more positive. Improve your manners. Perhaps that could adjust the relationship. Focus on the positives and enjoy them. That should distract you from the negatives. Discuss your problems and see if they are unique to your marriage or universal problems encountered in any marriage.
However if you are sure it is best to move on and have looked before leaping then pray Al-Istikhara prayer and put your trust in your Lord.
Don’t get angry
How many marriages have been spoilt simply because the man couldn’t control his temper. It made him either lash out or pronounce divorce or carry out something highly regrettable and irreparable. Anger is an emotion you don’t want in your feelings. Don’t get angry and you will be successful both in this world and the hereafter.
Not getting angry will make you think rationally, have deliberation and will keep you in a calm state. Any action you take is more likely to be sound when anger is out of the equation. It will make you avoid the atrocious consequences of major acts e.g losing it, pronouncing divorce etc. Besides, a composed state looks good and majestic. People love the look and demeanour of a lion when it is calm. Your wife will also appreciate your composed demeanour. It is a sign of strength, confidence and stability. No woman likes a grouchy angry husband . Women love gentle, easy going, calm and forgiving men as well as strong, firm and powerful men. Not getting angry is a part of empathy. Empathetic people tend to be patient and know that getting angry will just spoil things for everyone. Therefore calmness is the best option.
Not getting angry is pleasing to the Creator SWT and is following the beautiful Sunnah. Controlling anger is from the traits of the pious. It will make you enter paradise and is a big part of good manners. If you suppress your anger and forgive your unjust spouse while you are capable of inflicting harm on them you will get to pick any Hooriyah you desire. The benefits from not getting angry are so many. Suppress your anger and enjoy a happy marriage. If your spouse gets angry- try to be silent and don’t respond with anger.
Never suppress the nature of a woman
Allah SWT has created the woman with a distinct nature. A woman is very different from the man (in many ways). If a man tries to be antagonistic towards her inclinations there will be friction (and unfortunately it happens). Women love to chat and converse for ages especially to express their emotions. They have a love for material possessions and shopping. They like to spend lots of time and money to adorn and beautify themselves. You will find them spending hours at the hairdresser, jewellery store and the beauty products section etc. Going to girls’ gatherings and henna parties for weddings is something they enjoy. Don’t invalidate their feelings whereby you brush them aside and ignore them. Don’t suppress their nature. Let them be who they are. To restrict your wife to household chores and prevent her from doing anything else is not right. You would be miserable if your wife suppressed your needs and desires. Don’t apply the psyche of a man to a woman. Recognise that they are different and allow room for that in order for the marriage to flourish. It requires patience. However patience is better than oppression. Give your wife the right amount of freedom to enjoy herself, manifest her emotions and express all aspects of her psychology. Don’t be oblivious to the fact that pampering your wife is part and parcel of marriage.
Suppressing the nature of your wife will lead to detrimental consequences. It is incumbent upon us to understand and accept the dynamics of the opposite sex and act accordingly- even if it means sacrifice.
I ask Allah SWT to bless us with wellness and to protect us from anger.