Giving serious thought to some of the questions one may ask a prospective spouse is usually the last thing on your mind especially when you start your search. However if certain questions are not asked before marriage then they will most likely have to be asked and answered after marriage. This can open one up to a host of issues and dilemmas to address.
To further emphasise this one statistic points to the current rate of Muslim divorce at 32%. When asked about the reason for the separation many Muslim divorcees simply respond with the following three words – “I didn’t know”, i.e. that they didn’t know their partner well enough and the incompatibilities that were there had then become apparent during marriage.
Asking the meaningful questions i.e. about expectations, marriage roles, finances, children and family may feel awkward and really uncomfortable, however this is far better than divorce or spending your life with someone who is not compatible.
It is also really important to understand that if a person is genuinely looking for marriage, they ask the meaningful and difficult questions and be receptive to them when asked.
Marriage, especially for Muslims, consists of far more than the husband and wife relationship; it is often referred to as being equal to half your deen (Faith). A marriage is a true blessing and is the fabric of the Muslim community. It can bring two families together as well as two individuals.
It is mentioned in the holy Qur’an:
“And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquillity in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.” [Qur’an: Chapter 30, Verse 21]
Below are some questions to ask a potential spouse:
- How will we approach disagreement and arguments? While the honeymoon period lasts usually nothing about each other can annoy and distract you on what a blessing marriage is and what a great spouse you have JIt can be all doom and gloom after the first argument
- How will decisions be made together?
- Are we both willing to face into difficult areas or do we try to avoid conflict?
- Do you think we have problems in our relationship that we need to deal with before our wedding?
- Do we handle conflict well?
- How are we different?
- Do you think our differences will create problems in our marriage?
- Do you expect or want me to change?
- Can we both forgive?
- Are we both willing to work on our communication skills and to share intimately with each other?
- Will we seek professional help if we can’t seem to get a handle on things?
Family and Children:
- Do you want to have children?
- Do we want to have children?
- If we decide we do, how many children do you want to have?
- How long should we be married before having children?
- What kind of parent do you think you will be?
- What is your parenting philosophy?
- Will one of us stay home after we have children?
- How do you feel about adoption?
How do you see the role of a husband/wife?
The roles of men and women in society and relationships have changed dramatically over the years. You need to consider how these role changes might affect your marriage. For example: Will both of you continue to work? Who will do household chores? Who will look after the children if/when you have them?
How is your relationship with your parents?
Traditionally in the Muslim community people are very close with their parents but this isn’t always the case. Does your partner like to see their parents often or just a few times a year? Another tradition in Muslim families is the parents moving in with their children when they reach old age. Would your partner be happy for your parents to move in with you? Would you be happy for your in-laws to move in?
Which personal habits really bother you?
Whilst some of the following examples may seem trivial and not worth thinking about they are very important to consider. These are the day to day things that can bother you and build up frustration in the marriage over time. Knowing each other’s habits can help you work on ways of dealing with them.
How important is religion and what expectations would you have/expect from your partner?
Religion plays an important role in Muslim marriages so you must understand where you and your spouse stand on religion. Must they conform to your vision and practice of religion? Do you pray, keep fasts, pay zakah, would you like to complete umrah or hajj with your partner, what school of thought do you follow, what expectations would you have of each other after marriage.
Who will be financially responsible in the marriage?
Money and financial issues are a major cause of stress in many different kinds of relationships let alone a marriage. Some people say it is not polite to talk about money but we believe it is essential, especially when it comes to marriage. Do you both work? Would do you contribute 50:50 to the household or do you split it dependant on your incomes? Do you have a joint bank account or separate accounts? Who would pay the bills? Would you take out a mortgage or rent? Other questions mat include:
- How do you feel about having a prenuptial agreement?
- Are you a saver or spender when it comes to money?
- Do you always have a budget?
- Do you consider going to the movies and having a vacation every year a necessity or a luxury?
- How much do we owe in debts before marriage and whose responsibility will it be to pay them off?
- What will be your financial goals as a married couple?
How important are you friends?
Everyone has their life before marriage and it always seems not so great before marriage and magically becomes awesome once you have been married for a while J. You need to decide how this life will change and agree with your partner how marriage will affect it. Do you have a large group of friends? Do you discuss your problems with them? Do you prefer going out rather than staying in? Are you happy with having lads/girls only nights out?
How important is your health to you?
Does one have habits or tendencies that concern the other (e.g., smoking, excessive eating, poor diet etc. Are you a regular at the gym or are you a couch potato? Do you watch what you eat or do you eat your fill?
We understand that all of these questions and subjects are difficult to broach but the responses could mean that expectations are set correctly which could lead to a long and healthy marriage. They will also help you plan and work through any conflicts and prevent them from taking over your marriage.
Please remember that at the end of the day that you are not dating, rather looking to make a lifelong commitment to someone. The more informed you are on your future spouse, the more you increase the chance of finding someone who will complete half your deen.
Ultimately it is best to remember that everything is in the hands of Allah (SWT) and that he is always aware of what we do. Allah (SWT) knows our actions online and offline and our intentions behind each and every action. If we are sincere then Allah (SWT) will bless you with a pious partner who will be the coolness of your eyes.
We hope you have found these tips useful and pray they guide you in your search for your future spouse. Please remember the Mature MuslimMatrimony.com team in your du’as also.