The ABCs of Getting Married:
A~ALLAH… Remember Him in this (and any) process and He will remember you. And, if He brings you to it, He will get you through it.
B~BE AWARE… If you see something that is not right, confront it right away. A lot of us are too nice and we see the best in people no matter what.
C~COMMITMENT… Are you ready for this step in life? This is LONG TERM. Don’t start anything you cannot handle. This is not cool to do this to the other person. COMPROMISE... another important one. If you are not capable of this, then good luck!
D~DIVORCE… Think about it, and how you would PREVENT it. Talk about hypothetical situations and how you would handle them. What’s the saying? “Prevention is the best medicine.”
E~EXPECTATIONS… You are allowed to have them. In life they say “Don’t expect anything so you will never be disappointed.” This is an exception to the rule. It’s your life. It’s like you getting to choose the college you go to, the cool car you drive, etc… Also, do not expect a fairy tale. With hard work and cooperation from the other person, you can achieve the *perfect* marriage.
F~FRIENDS… They know you the best. Talk to them. They may see factors/issues that you do not see. They can help you narrow down what you want in a spouse. Get advice.
G~GO out… Try to spend time with the person without the parents around. Take siblings/friends. Admit it…You are a bit different when with your parents then around others. This is not a bad thing, but some people are too intimidated by authority. It is important to see the potential person in different situations and different environments. If this isn’t allowed in your family, at least go in the basement or in the backyard or whatever so you can have time to see them in a different light.
H~HONESTY is key…. Don’t BS. It stinks, is messy and it’ll come back to hit you in the face.
I~ IQRA…I mean READ about marriage. Read what the Quran says about it and read about relationships in other texts. And also ISTIKHARA (search the net for it if you are not sure what it is or how to do it) if you need some more help. I hear you don’t necessarily have to do it, and that if you have a gut feeling, go with it. It’s from Allah.
J~JUST BE YOURSELF. Acting like something you aren’t for a few months is may be manageable, but this deal is for a lifetime. Some may think, so what, once we are married, that’s it…No turning back. You may be fine with the false image, you may not divorce, but the spouse will most likely lose some respect for you or just live life going through the motions. That can be worse than divorce.
K~KING & QUEEN… That is what you will be to each other. Invest in this relationship and you will be rewarded by the other person and most importantly by Allah.
L~LAUGH… Can you have a good time with this person? I didnt put LOVE here, because that is a huge topic and it is something that develops out of trust and respect, which I mention below.
M~MARRIAGE CONTRACT…. Make one. Search the internet for samples. If the perspective spouse gets offended by the idea, then it may mean they have something to hide, or their intentions aren’t too good. Yeah, this is sort of like a pre-nuptial agreement, but I’m talking more along the lines of having things in writing, like mehr, polygamy (are you ok with it or not), Also, MONEY-- this is a source of MANY marital problems... talk about it openly before you decide to get married. This includes working, spending, expenses. etc...
N~NIKKAH… Have it done Islamically and legally in the place you live. It’s just the right thing to do.
O~OVERLOOK… Don’t overlook things too much. We often make excuses for the other person. Later we call those things, RED FLAGS!!
P~PRESSURE… If you feel it, step back and do something about it. Pressure is not good. ‘Ya know parents are the same no matter time, nor place…I tell you all the kids all across the land, no need to argue parents just don’t understand.’, said Will Smith… (For example, rishta comes, you don’t care for it, parents fall in love, then you go on vacation – the guilt trip… Not cool. Be respectful and open with your parents, they will hopefully come around. Otherwise, get some other influential adult –imam, relative, etc… inshaAllah they can help your parents understand).
Q~QUESTIONS… list of 100 premarital questions, copy and paste it into Word, when it comes your time to go through this process, works for arranged/non-arranged marriages Ask them or use them as a discussion guide when you talk to the potential spouse.
R~REFERENCES… Get them. You’ll kick yourself later if you don’t do this, even if the suitor seems like an angel. People lie for a living and can con the best of us. But on a positive note, it may even shed light on what a great person you are dealing with. Anyway, just do it, because I said so.
S~STANDARDS…What do you want, what are you willing to compromise, what is not important, etc. YOU ARE ALLOWED TO HAVE THEM. Don’t lower them too much.
T~TIME… Don’t rush. There is no set amount of time to wait, do what’s right for you. We spend so much time deciding about education and career, so give this time too. Marriage is half of your deen right? TRUST is another one. This takes time. Marriage is risky business. No one can be 100% percent sure of the other person (there are no guarantees in life). At one point you must decide to take the plunge and trust that the other person will catch you. (Faith in Allah helps!)
U~UNDERSTAND… that this decision is not temporary. Think LONG-TERM!! We spend months, even years, planning weddings. Very little time is spent on the MARRIAGE itself. Get pre-marital counseling. From what I hear, it is a great idea. Most of us have little experience with relationships. A counselor can talk us through what to do, and what potential problems may arise and how to deal with them successfully.
V~VIRGINITY… talk about the S word. Especially in terms of family planning. It can be pretty bad if you go into a marriage wanting to wait 3 years to have children and your spouse wants them right away. This is no reason for divorce so prevent problems like this by addressing the issue before you move forward.
W~WRITE… Come up with a list of what you are looking for… When you meet someone, come up with a Pros/Cons List to organize your thoughts. It may help you to look at the person objectively, without emotion.
X~ If you have one (EX), or any type of PAST, talk about it. Be honest.
Y~YOU… This is the main character in this story. Remind those who forget this. You are going to have to live with this person and deal with them daily. Is this possible, will you be content?
Z~ZHIKR…I started the list with HIM, and ill end it with HIM. Remember Allah… SubhanAllah, Alhamdulillah, Allah Hu Akbar… and for this cause… InshaAllah If need be, talk to Imams or Shaykhs for advice on this…Anyway, Allah is great. Have faith in Him.