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Amaliah Agony Aunt: Will My Past Trauma Prevent Me From Having a Happy Marriage?

by in Relationships on 3rd December, 2023

We know that Amaliah is like a Big Sis and sometimes our DMs have been filled with requests for advice on a range of life issues including relationships, friendships or work troubles.

We have started a new segment where we field dilemmas from the community and answer them as frankly as we can with love, truth and honesty.

Need some advice on a dilemma? Send them all here!

Dear Aunt Maya,

I am currently on my journey to find a spouse as an undergraduate student. My primary concern is that my family trauma will define my marriage prospects and hinder me from finding somebody who fulfills my standards in the best way possible. I have incredibly dysfunctional family dynamics and a mother who has been the victim of psychological abuse for over thirty years. My older brothers have abusive tendencies for this reason as well. I don’t want this to be a “turn-off” for a potential spouse who will marry into my family, especially if he comes from a family with healthy relationships and has not been exposed to this kind of household. My sister, who has been married for over a decade with children, now suffers because she used marriage to escape our family. She is married to somebody who focuses on worldly affairs instead of the Akhirah. She advises me to look for somebody truly invested in Islam, have my non-negotiables ready, and never lower my expectations for a man or my family. Yet, when I told her I was interested in somebody, she believed “we are not what his family is looking for” and that they were “too high up there” for us. So, we would be incompatible despite sharing the same level of education and Islamic values. Of course, this greatly discouraged me. I am actively working on my Deen, focusing on my academic/career endeavoUrs, and seeking professional help through therapy. However, I still struggle to maintain my Tawwakul in Allah that He will grant me the person I deserve. Do you have any guidance for me? JazakAllahu Khairan.

Maya Areem Responds:

Salam alaykum, 

First, I want to acknowledge the strength it takes to seek a healthy relationship while navigating through challenging family dynamics. It’s clear that you’re committed to not letting your past define your future, and that’s truly something to be proud of. I am sorry that you had to witness such difficult experiences within your family. I also understand your concerns about how your family trauma might impact your marriage prospects, but remember that your past does not define your worth or your potential for a fulfilling marriage.

Every individual comes with their own unique set of experiences and challenges. While some potential spouses might be initially concerned about your family background, it’s equally possible that others will appreciate your strength and dedication to breaking the cycle of dysfunction. What truly matters is finding someone who understands and respects your journey, and is willing to support you in building a healthy family of your own.

Before committing to a relationship, it may be worth doing the work of understanding the depths of your family dysfunction and how it may manifest for you. Having an awareness of your triggers and the ability to communicate your needs to feel safe are vital steps.

This can be best explored with the assistance of a specialised therapist. Think of therapy as your armour, helping you process your experiences and cope with any triggers that may arise. It’s a significant step to even acknowledge your trauma, and seeking professional help is a powerful way to manage it.

In your future relationship, setting expectations and having an open communication with your partner about what you may need to thrive is key. When you do get to know someone for marriage, don’t hesitate to share your story with them. Acknowledge it as your history while emphasising your personal strengths and values.

Also remember that it’s natural to be anxious about the future, don’t be too hard on yourself for your moments of doubt but always remember the Hadith of our beloved Prophet : “If you were to rely upon Allah with the reliance He is due, you would be given provision like the birds. It goes forth hungry in the morning and returns with a full belly at dusk.” [Tirmidhi]

Healthy relationships are also a form of rizq. Trust Allah to provide for you, and you will not be disappointed. 

Your sister’s advice may be well meaning but before you act on it, consider seeking guidance from a trusted mentor or even a scholar.  They can provide you with valuable insights as you navigate this important phase of your life.

A happy marriage is not solely based on never having experienced trauma; it’s about what you do to work on yourself and process what you’ve been through.  Your journey is unique, and no two paths are the same. Your family’s history does not define your future, and you have the capacity to create a loving family of your own. Keep your heart open to the possibilities, trust in Allah’s wisdom, and stay true to your values and aspirations. May Allah bless you with a spouse who is a source of comfort, support, and love.

Love + duas, 

Aunt Maya

If you would like some wisdom from Aunt Maya, send in your problems here! Please note Aunt Maya may consult the opinion of others from time to time and ask the Amaliah community for their advice too. Aunt Maya is not a licensed therapist or mental health professional.

Maya Areem

Maya Areem

Maya is a teacher by day and student by night. She hopes to pass on what she learns.