Tag Archives: Marriage

Can We Talk About the Obsession with Marriage and Judging of Single People?

Can We Talk About the Obsession with Marriage and Judging of Single People?

At Matchbox we spend the vast majority of our time speaking to Muslim singles. Everything from Architects to taxi drivers to Aerospace Engineers to Scholars to Chefs – we have the pleasure of getting to know the amazing single individuals that make up the global Muslim community. Lets be clear – they are not waiting around to start their life after marriage. Though they contact us because they want to get married, for the most part, it is not because marriage is the goal, but because they are incredible people who live fulfilled lives, and marriage to the right person will enhance that life. Despite this, men and women alike are often subjected to the ‘when will you get married?’ and ‘Aren’t you married yet??’ conversations/stigmas/pitying looks. We couldn’t agree more with Soraya (writing for Mvslim.com) that this really has to stop. It hurts individuals, hurts us as a community and can hurt marriages too as people get married for the sake of getting married!

The number of unmarried Muslim women aged 27+ is fast growing and it is about time that we, as an ummah, start to give these women the recognition, support and respect they deserve instead of just derision, judgement and pity.

Times are not what they used to be. We live in a world where we are surrounded by choice: what to eat, what to wear, who to associate with and who not to. It’s only natural then that, with so much on offer, the marriage process has become trickier than it was 20 years ago, and now needs serious re-evaluation. We are still urging women to find a spouse and settle down using the old-fashioned mindset then criticise them when they do not get anywhere , calling them “picky” or “past it”.

How do I know this? It wasn’t so long since I was that woman: 30+, single, going on endless first dates, trying to find that ultimate connection that would mean I had finally found the elusive One. And it’s not like I “left it too late” as many women are told. I had been looking since I was in my 20s but faced rejection after rejection for the most ridiculous of reasons.

Like so many of our sisters I went on endless first dates, disappointed each time I met the guy only to find that the “spark” wasn’t there. Or other times, I was delighted to find the spark only to be told he didn’t want to pursue it further. And sometimes I’d find that connection only to have the guy just disappear without a trace, knowing most likely that he’d found someone better. Probably younger too.

Like so many of our sisters, I’d lie awake at night, stomach churning, wondering what I was doing wrong, questioning myself as a woman, finding dissatisfaction in my looks and other such perceived superficial flaws. I’d project into the future, seeing myself as a single “older woman” and desperately trying to make the lifestyle changes in my head just in case it happened. The other option was to “settle” which was too frightening to contemplate. I wondered whether I would ever find the one for me or whether the chance had indeed passed me by and I hadn’t noticed. I avoided anything to do with weddings be it weddings shows, Bollywood songs about weddings and often just weddings themselves!

I could never understand why others could do it so easily. I remember the gut wrenching feeling every time I received a wedding invitation from someone younger than me. I imagined them making wedding plans, surrounded by loving, crooning female relatives then later on after marriage travelling the world and making a flock of babies while I was still dragging myself out on those first dates trying to turn a coffee at Starbucks into something meaningful and full of potential.

But sadly this is not the end of the pain for our single sisters. Oh no, we then have to face your criticism and judgment. The way you ignore us when marriage proposals come up, favouring the younger girls in your circle instead. The way you look at us with a mixture of pity and scorn for being where we are and not yet married, as if it is some kind of exclusive club and we are still merely children for not yet being a part of it.

And let’s not forget the hierarchy of martyrdom! Yes single sisters reading this you know what I mean. When I used to speak to my married friends about the trials and tribulations of my life I’d be met with, “wait until you are married then you will know what stress is!”. As if being married takes you to the next level of the martyrdom game and gives you extra points. (Incidentally, now I am married I get the “wait until you have kids” trump card , but I am saving that rant for another post!).

But the assumption is that your life is somehow way easier because you have no husband or kids. Oh and you also have all the time in the world to do things at the drop of a hat for people and attend all of their social events because, as a single woman, you can’t possibly be doing anything else with all that luxurious free time you have right?

You may be thinking, well what about the guys over 30? Aren’t they going through the same thing? The answer is of course they too suffer from rejection and anxiety because they too want to settle. But the difference is they have much more choice than the sisters.

A guy aged 35 with a great job, a car and a place of his own is at the top of the bachelor pile and will often overlook you for a younger sister if that is what he wants. A woman aged 35 with a great job, a car and a place of her own unfortunately does not share the same prestige. She is treated with suspicion and ridicule and God forbid she should be looking anywhere other than her age group or older!

Most of our lives we were told to stay away from boys and were led to view them as something taboo and wrong. Then all of a sudden we were told to go out there and meet someone just like that. It’s like sending us up Mount Everest in flip flops!

The problem is we have never been equipped with the tools to make those decisions. In western culture, girls have boyfriends from a very young age and quickly learn the rules of love, often supported and guided by the parents. Our sisters instead are raised to succeed in education and employment, which is great, but we were never raised learning how to choose a spouse other than looking at a bunch of useless biodata facts, making a decision based on his height, age, education and income and hoping that the one coffee we have with him after work one day will seal the deal.

But because these are the only things we have ever been told to go by, we cling to them, never daring to widen our options for fear that we are deserting all that we know to be correct in the art of choosing a spouse.

We are so preoccupied with getting married now that we fail to remember that we are choosing a man who will journey with us into old age one day and hence we make decisions based on our current needs and lifestyles.

So why am I sharing all this with you today? Because I want us to recognise the pain and trials that our single sisters over a certain age have to endure and to show a little empathy and understanding towards their situation. Most of these women are dying to find that one guy who will be their companion, their best friend and their soulmate and your criticism of them will only destroy their self-esteem further.

It’s like telling a sick person to just “get better already” or telling a poor person to merely “get more money”. Next time you meet a sister who has been single a long time, ask her how she is feeling not whether she has met anyone yet, empathise with her pain even if you do not understand it and treat her like the smart, valued, worthy member of society.

Article Source : mvslim.com 

5 changes that can improve your marriage

5 Changes That Can Improve Your Marriage

It’s true that with time, every relationship comes to a point where things become more of a habit and the spark begins to die down. However, here is the silver lining. Not everything that’s lost is lost forever. Reigniting the initial spark in your marriage is not unachievable. With little hard work and a walk down a few extra miles, you can bring the charm back into your marital relationship and coax the spark back into a burning flame.

It does not require a gigantic intervention to bring the colors back into your marital life. All it takes is a shift in your daily routine and habits and watch your marriage come back to life. Following are the few little changes that can make a big impact on your marriage.

1. Redecorate Your Room and Turn it Into a Romantic Retreat

With kids in the house and a huge pile of household chores waiting to be done, your bedroom gets the least of your attention. Your bedroom is the only place where you and your spouse can retreat after a long tiring day. If you’ve got a child sleeping between you, sheets that haven’t been washed or changed for the longest time, or a pile of unfolded clothes laying around the bed, chances are that whatever little spark that you could have felt by the end of the day would go flying off the window with the first look on the huge mess lying in front of you.

Put some efforts into redecorating your room a little and cleaning up the everyday mess to avoid putting out any flicker of passion between you two. Paint your walls into a color that energizes and invokes cheerful vibes in you. Rearrange the furniture to bring about a pleasant change in your room. With a little tweak here and there, there is a great chance that the next time you enter your room with your spouse, the changed outlook of your room will instantly put the mood back into the bedroom.

2. Pay Close Attention to What You’re Giving, Not What You’re Getting

It’s understandable that when years have passed on a marriage, the focus shifts from what you’re giving to your partner to what you’re getting in return. Bring back the focus on what you’re contributing to the relationship and watch sparks fly right back into your marital life. Readjusting your focus on making life easier for your partner will avert your eyes from what’s making life more difficult, and your marriage will ultimately grow stronger and healthier.

3. Words of Encouragement and Endearment Cost Nothing At All

There is nothing more powerful than the words of endearment and pure encouragement. Sometimes your spouse does things that invoke critical comments out of you and you find it hard to suppress your disapproval for their actions. However, words of genuine praise and encouragement play a better role at brining improvement in your spouse’s life than criticism and disapproval.

4. Set a Daily Goal for Your Marriage

Setting a goal for your life is already very important. Imagine the amount of improvement you can bring in your marriage when you set a goal for your marriage. When you set small goals to improve your marital relationship and make a conscious decision every day to achieve them, the very gesture will send out a positive message towards your spouse, reflecting how invested you are in fostering your relationship with your spouse.

5. Pay More Attention than is Necessary

One of the things that can instantly put out a flame of passion before it even sparks up is lack of attention. If your partner’s voice is blending into the background and you appear tuned out, chances are that your spouse would sense your lack of interest and drift away from you. Lack of interest can give birth to communication gap and can ultimately become one of the reasons of your relationship’s demise. The next time you’re sitting with your spouse, put own your phone, set your laptop aside, shut the TV off, and stop what you are doing to pay attention to what they are saying.