This weekend I headed to a small conference about marriage.
It's not what you think.
My first impression was also that there were going to be a bunch of aunties hovering around the room looking for potentials for their sons.
This initial perception I had is what made me hesitant to go forth. Plus, I'm not a big 'attending conferences and talks' kind of person, so my inner introverted self was telling me to avoid it majorly. But I can honestly say this was the most refreshing couple of hours I encountered in a really long time.
Let's set the scene:
I'm 21 right now, and I'm not overly-eager to the tie the knot but being married at a young age has always been a preference of mine. I never believed in this idea of being 'settled' before marrying because – as my dad always says – when will we ever truly be settled in life?
My objective in attending this course was to conquer any fears I had around the big M word, and have somewhat of an idea as to what marriage is supposed to do for me.
Here's what I learnt:
1.What it Means to to Tie our Camel and Rely on Allah SWT
Have you ever said to yourself (or heard someone else say) any of the following phrases? –
"I don't need to get married"
"Better alone than in bad company"
"It will come when it's meant to come"
"If I have tawakkul, everything will be just fine"
Can you notice some sort of pattern here?
All of these mindsets are reflecting some level of fear. This could be a fear of bad experiences repeating themselves, or maybe the fear of ultimate rejection, or the fear of how marriage can disrupt their life.
It's normal to have these lingering fears and limitations surrounding marriage. There's been many times that I've felt weary about even talking about the subject.
But we often have to remind ourselves that we shouldn't let our past shape our future. We are deserving of love, and being loved.
Let's start off with one thing that none us can truly ignore:
As humans we crave companionship. As much as, perhaps, witnessing a divorce or a broken relationship can put us off marriage – we can't deny that each and every one of us want to feel... wanted.
"It will come when it's meant to come"
Yeah, you're right.
Marriage will come when Allah has willed for it to be.
And yes, we should actively make sincere dua for it.
But this doesn't mean that we do nothing.
We wouldn't expect to have our dream job by waiting around. We'd take the approach of filling out applications and seeking work opportunities where we can.
The reason we're reluctant to being proactive when seeking a potential partner is because the perceived risk is so much bigger.
What if we make the wrong choice and cause so much distress to those around us, too? – But what if you made the best decision of your life?
Put your trust in Allah, but don't forget to tie your camel and take the necessary steps to finding a spouse. Speak to those closest to you and always keep an open mind! 😌
2. We Need to Stop 'Projecting' Before Marriage
The amazing instructor leading this course said something so profound – and it went a little something like this:
When we're excited about something, we project ourselves into situations as if we have already experienced them. In reality, it was all in our minds the whole time.
People who find themselves in long relationships before marriage will fall into something called 'intense projection'.
We start to think about life with this person as if it has already happened. And I don't mean things like logistics, finances or views on children. I mean things like personal expectations, and how this person will fill gaps in our lives.
We start to say, "life with him will be so amazing when..."
Now, we've immersed ourselves into this world that doesn't yet exist with this person, so if, for whatever reason things, don't work out, our emotions come crashing down because this perceived life has 'escaped us'.
We begin to feel that Allah has taken all this from us, when in reality, it was never promised.
The biggest reason for heartbreak before marriage is projection.
How do we avoid projection?
- Do not doubt Allah when things don't work out the way you expected, and remind yourself that you are not 'missing out' on anything.
- Be conscious of how you are going about the marriage process to make sure it is a way that pleases Allah.
- Hold onto gratitude, and know that rejection can be a form of protection.
3.Seeking the Perfect Connection 😌
At some point in our lives, we've all mapped out our ideal person.
The reality is, we all have this human need to have the perfect connection. That's completely natural.
If we think about the connections we've had in our lives, it may go similar to this:
- As a kid, our perfect connection was with our parents / guardians. They could do no wrong. They comforted us, made us feel secure, and gave us everything we needed
- As teens, the perfect connection became our peers. We placed so much value on friendships and had an overwhelming desire to fit in
- As a young adult, we looked towards building the perfect career
- And then we think about achieving the perfect connection with a spouse
In every stage of our lives, we're on a constant hunt for something that makes us feel successful, comforted and wanted. And at some point, we have to realise that this true level of perfection comes only from Allah.
When we delve into marriage, we got to remind ourselves that every single person is flawed.
The question isn't, "how do I find the perfect person?".
"Does this person align well with me, and am I willing to accept the flaws that they do have?"
We need to fulfil that crave we have for perfection by becoming closer to Allah, otherwise we start seeking perfection in people, who were simply designed with weaknesses.
Sometimes we search for Jannah, whilst forgetting that this is Dunya.
When your heart is attached to Allah, you'll remain in alignment with your emotions through every trial because you're no longer depending on people who have the human capability to constantly fall short.
4.The Power of Istikhara
The Istikhara dua is as follows:
“O Allah, verily I seek the better [of either choice] from You, by Your knowledge, and I seek ability from You, by Your power, and I ask You from Your immense bounty. For indeed You have power, and I am powerless; You have knowledge and I know not; You are the Knower of the unseen realms. O Allah, if You know that this matter is good for me with regard to my religion, my livelihood and the end of my affair then decree it for me, facilitate it for me, and grant me blessing in it. And if You know that this matter is not good for me with regard to my religion, my livelihood and the end of my affair then turn it away from me and me from it; and decree for me better than it, wherever it may be, and make me content with it.”
The Istikhara dua is for when you are seeking guidance.
The instructor at this conference did a beautiful job of explaining fundamental parts of this dua.
The first part of this dua is talking about asking Allah from his knowledge and ability, and recognising this is something that, as humans, we don't have.
The middle part is referring to whether what you're asking is "good for you with regard to religion and livelihood".
☝🏻 This is interesting because we're not asking Allah to give us what will make us feel good, but instead we're asking for what is better for the sake of our deen and our afterlife. Sometimes what we think is going to give us complete happiness will actually cause us distress in the long run or be a barrier between us and Allah.
The last part says, "if this matter is not good for me...then turn it away from me and me from it". This is highlighting our weaknesses as humans to go back to old habits and constantly fall short, so we ask Allah to also keep us far away from what is detrimental.
Istikhara is such a powerful tool that can help us through decisions in life (big or small).
Marriage Talk Summary ✨
So that was a quick round up of the notes I took from this awesome marriage conference!
I'd highly recommend attending conferences for the sake of seeking knowledge and expanding on what you may already know. I'm so glad I took the plunge and went along because of how eye-opening the experience was.
Some points to take away 👇
- Remember your perfect connection with Allah SWT first and foremost
- Come to terms with our marital fears – are we placing barriers for ourselves? Could we be more open-minded?
- Stop projecting before marriage
- Understand and utilise the powerful tool we have of Istikhara
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