It can become very challenging being single in this day and age. Social media outs that much pressure on us to have the perfect life, which is usually depicted as having a spouse, a cozy little house and a kid or two.
Some of us get depressed when time has passed, and we still haven’t met that certain someone and we look at the ticking clock. We cringe and shy away from social functions because we dread that question, “So when is it your turn?”
It is only natural that we look for “The One,” as even Prophet Adam A.S. felt lonely and empty despite living in Paradise. But I sometimes observe that in our search for “the One,” we sometimes forget about the characteristics that we should look for.
I am frequently asked to pair someone with a friend, and when I ask what are the attributes the wish to look for in a partner, usually the (many) attributes listed are so specific and rather rigid, such as a certain weight, height, skin colour, monthly income etc. Rarely am I told that someone is looking for a partner who shares the same fundamental values. It seems like the first attribute one would look for, but surprisingly people forget that. People start to believe that wealth, charm, looks and even which state the person comes from would contribute to their everlasting love and happiness.
I am frequently asked how I knew I have found “The One?” Truth be told, there is no black and white answer. It isn’t an exact science. But in my experience, love and marriage are very much connected to my faith.
As I young child, I was very much influenced with Disney stories. I very much wanted my prince charming and my happy ending. I was shocked when my mother told me she did not choose my father because of love. All my romantic notions and childhood ideals of love and marriage went crashing down. Then my mother explained that while she did love my father, it was not the determining factor. She chose him because he was a good man, she choose him because he would make a wonderful father, she chose him because she believed there would be no one better to bring her and her future children closer to Islam than my father.
As an adult, I really and truly appreciate her wisdom. And it became how I chose my husband. I decided that in finding a LIFE partner, it should not simply be a matter of the heart, because the heart can easily be influenced. It is not simply a matter of the mind, because the mind can be deceived. It involves the soul. A choice you consciously make, believing your partner will bring comfort to your soul, make you feel tranquil and guide you closer to The Only One, Allah SWT. I had asked Him not to bring a specific man closer to me, but to bring the BEST one for me. I asked him to distance anyone who was not good for me. I made my choice, after much prayer, and put complete faith in Him. My choice meant that I had to walk away from what I thought I had wanted. But Allah knows best, and that meant walking away from what I thought was meant to be, for something better for me.
We may be afraid to leave the situation we are comfortable with and have grown accustomed to, we may be afraid of being alone, because we are scared of the unknown. But we must learn to trust His plan, and listen to His signs. He may be showing us the right person but we choose not to see due to perceived incompatibilities and unmet expectations such as the person is not of the “right” background, or does not have the “right” job, or cannot meet the dowry set by the family (and society). If our choice is dictated by all the wrong reasons, it may not guarantee love and a happy life.
- Follow what is right, what feels right, choose the one who eases your fears, not the one who brings you tears.
- Choose the one that is unafraid to tell you when you are wrong, as opposed to the one who only sings you songs.
- Choose the one who brings you peace and guides you to your Creator, as opposed to the one that brings you flowers and only whispers sweet words into your ear.
I believe these are the criterion for true love, and a happy marriage insyAllah. Looks may fade, wealth can be taken away, family lineage may one day be immaterial when political or social settings change. But faith, now that is something real. Something tangible. Something you can hold on to together, and grow with each other, and bring you closer to the Creator. A man who loves his Lord and fears His punishment will, insyaAllah, be a good husband and father. He would treat you well, and try to emulate the Prophet’s actions, and be kind and gracious as a husband. Loving and patient as a father. For he knows if he does not, Allah’s wrath awaits.
It may not work for everyone, but Alhamdulillah it worked for me.
Did I choose to marry just for love? No, I chose to marry for all the reasons above.
And I trusted in Him, as He is the best of planners. I even remember feeling that perhaps I made the smarter choice, as my future husband was a man I could be in love with, but still maintain my “sanity.” I thought that I would still be in control of my heart and my soul because I loved him, but I wasn’t madly in love with him.
Well, as it turns out, when you are married and your husband is your better half and serves as your gate to Jannah, you still end up madly in love with him. For your husband guides you to be better, together, so that you will be prepared to one day meet your Creator. Now, that is a love story to last a lifetime.
Murni binti Wan Mohd Nor is a UPM lecturer in the field of government, civilizations studies. She is passionate about human rights issues and works towards promoting peace, understanding, respect and tolerance in a multi racial and multi religious country. She is the founder of the community group, The Middle Community. She is a Muslim, wife and mother first, above all else.