Most of the talk surrounding if we are ready for marriage or not, is covered by three bases that act as signifiers:
Let’s be real, in many cases just one of the three is enough. It’s all very tick box, the bar is very low and once those are done or are on their way to – it’s “right you’re ready to get married”.
Where are we going wrong? The conversations surrounding the time should be an internal one first. Questions we ask about something as deep seeded and sacred and personal as marriage should first be asked by ourselves. Before asking questions about our material/practical needs, a deeper more raw reflection must take place, which we are not used to doing when caught up in the rat race of our busy lives. As a start, sit down and ask yourself.
Here are some things to consider when asking yourself if you’re ready to start looking to meet someone:
Have you closed the gap between who you are and who you want to be?
There’s a difference between chasing ideals because it improves who you are and then chasing ideals because it improves the PERCEPTION of who you are. In the digital age, it’s very easy to build perception without any real depth.
We see perception building through association all the time and we all do it in some shape or form. We say “I love going to the theatre” – as it says something about your artistic side or “I love cute coffee shops” – which says you’re quirky. But sometimes we need to question if we like these things or if we just like what associating ourselves with these things sounds like, and says about us. It is easy to become a walking shell, the person who you want to portray rather than who you REALLY are.
Closing the gap between who you are and who you think you are is hard, but living a life ‘for show’ is harder and ironically even more exhausting.
There will ALWAYS be people out there who will accept you for you, the only way to find them, is if you accept and celebrate who you are. If you don’t know the things that make you, you! Your values and, qualities, in times of hardship when you are in a relationship, it will become very easy to lose yourself.
Do you operate in your home like it’s a hotel? When you get married you’re marrying into a new family.
Are you happy to be up until 3 am on the phone with the guy you’re talking to, but short with your family if they ask you to do something?
Are you there trying to go above and beyond for your friends, but for your family barely know what’s going on in your life?
For me, how a person treats and interacts with their family speaks volumes about who they are as a person. How do they deal with conflict in the family? How do they show affection and gratitude? And one of the most important things to think about is how do you communicate? Communication with family members for some may feel difficult or awkward, but I believe it’s a huge marker of a person.
Maybe you have a toxic past relationship that you want to get over? Maybe you’re fed up of being let down and feel like marriage will sort you out. Maybe you see marriage as your path to the freedom, with no curfews, that life you’ve always wanted.
A relationship isn’t something to look to in order to fix or heal yourself. And it definitely isn’t fair to impart that on someone else.
Are you getting married because of external pressures?
I get it. I really do. Your family keeps saying they want to introduce you to this guy your aunt mentioned. At weddings and events everyone asks when your turn will be. And it truly feels like no one will even care about your accomplishments until you’ve signed on the dotted line.
But ticking the box of marriage just to tick it isn’t fair on any parties involved.
You need to reconcile with yourself that your relationship status does not in anyway determine your self-worth.
If your situation is living with your parents who cook, clean and pay the bills, and you still have a stressful life. You better get ready. If you’re working full time and coming home to cooked meals and clean sheets don’t think you will somehow magically transform into a domestic goddess in day one of marriage. While I’m not saying start paying the bills. Start taking ownership of your life, does your fridge magically restock with groceries? How about offering to do the grocery shop? Girl I hate to break it to ya but once you and boo move in together responsibility is real.
Another thing is once you get married you’re then managing your personal life, your family, his family and your relationship along with work. If you’re not used to managing the several components that make up your personal or professional life, it’s time to start figuring it out.
Whether single, married, or never want to see another human. This is important. It’s easy for everyone to have these ideals that you will be learning about deen together, going on umrah together, and praying fajr together, but if you aren’t doing the most by yourself, for you to nurture your relationship with Allah, for me it’s selfish to put that expectation in a relationship. In fact, that reflects your entitlement.
Self-confidence in your body image, your face, your personality and who you are, isn’t the same as knowing where you want to be in life. This is about being content with this version of you, even if you have plans to become the best version of yourself in the near future.
Ultimately, we are all a work in progress, none of us will ever reach perfection. But, it’s important to ensure that we have strong foundations before embarking on a union of that magnitude. It starts with being raw, authentic, and honest with ourselves. There is liberation in that!
Co-founder of Amaliah, Nafisa is passionate about women's rights and putting the wrongs of our ummah right. She also secretly wants to be a Taekwondo champion. Sometimes known as “Mrs M”.