Why? How? What went wrong? Where do I look?
I need some help!
Lets start the fact that everything is a test from Allah (SWT), and we no longer live in traditional Muslim societies. Most of us are very individualistic and independent and thus have to create our ‘own eco-systems’.
“Allah will not change the condition of a people as long as they do not change their state themselves” [Quran Surah Al-Ra’d 13:11]
With that in mind and having a positive and pro-active ‘can do approach’, here are some of our tips to improve your search in finding a marriage partner: [Please note that many of the points raised here are no different when searching for a job!]
2. Writing effective profiles for events, websites, and intermediaries. Irrespective of where you look, everyone will want some basic information about you! Like a CV for a job, make sure it’s legible with correct grammar, spelling, and has the vital information with facts clearly in bullet form, and include an honest recent photo! Lay your cards on the table, but strike balance between clarity and bluntness. Avoid making promises you can’t realistically uphold and don’t ask for things inconsistent with what you can offer. Finally, be selective with information if necessary, but do not lie. Use the ‘other information’ section wisely.
3. Where to search and how to search: Start off with family and relatives, but be clear about what you want and get help from others, and be respectful. Also ask married friends. Don’t be afraid to consult your imam, amir or shaykh or Mosques and Islamic organisations. Sometimes you meet great people when you get involved in community projects and voluntary work. Attend marriage events which are relevant to you and make an effort! Finally, realize the fact that most people prefer to communicate online. Whether you like it or not, it’s how you manage the whole process.
4. Appearance and body language – Looks do Matter: A Hadith in Sahih al-Bukhari mentions this as a point! It’s not everything but something, as it’s important to get connected physically, mentally and spiritually. First impressions do sometimes last! Try to be tidy, clean, smart-casual, modest and slightly understated. Maintain an attractive look, and dress in a way that is true to your inner self!
5. Face-to-face meetings: 5-7 meetings is enough, but choose sensible time and location for face-to-face meeting and take suitable married mahram or friend with you! Don’t get into an argument over who to pay for tea or meal. Balance your body language between rigidity and exaggerated movements. Maintain some comfortable eye contact, but also look away – lower gaze as required but don’t stare incessantly or perv! Moderate your voice level between too loud and enthusiastic, not too quiet and uninterested. Listen to others, tell things about yourself and show interest in what others are saying. Do a follow-up with a thank you text or e-mail, and allow a few days to think over then proceed to next stage.
6. What to say and how to say it: Keep online communications to a limit and if no reciprocation, politely decline or graciously accept being declined, but make sure to be pleasant and polite at all times. Don’t waste time – no excuses and don’t start planning wedding dates. Instead, focus on end goal – suitability for marriage. If in doubt, ask someone but don’t lie, especially about the basics, otherwise it’ll bite you later. Don’t rush, feel pressured or unduly pressurize others.
7. Optimizing Your Search – Be realistic and keep all halal options open. Be focused and positive without getting obsessed or depressed. Narrow down your criteria to main priorities that matter. Don’t put all eggs in one basket. Try all legitimate avenues. If you are interested in someone, don’t think too much. Identify the appropriate avenue to inquire and then get on with it. Try to understand whom you are dealing with as soon as possible, and try to get a family member involved early on as things begin to progress.
Finally, learn from mistakes, as getting married is in the hands of Allah – always remind yourself about this!