My latest article on marriage is up on the Aquila Style site.
Here is the original unedited version that I wrote:
Many people are looking for love. And if they don’t find it nearby, they turn to the internet.
There is nothing wrong with that in my opinion, and I actually have a few friends who have successfully found their match online.
Over the years, the number of Muslim matrimonial sites has grown and I believe that it’s because it’s such a huge business.
People are literally quite desperate to find someone that they can connect with.
I’m happily married Alhumdulillah, so it’s hard for me to remember what it was like to feel single.
I do have a vague recollection of wanting to meet someone who could understand me and appreciate me for all of my good and bad traits. It was also exciting to think of starting a new journey in life with someone by my side.
So, I can’t really imagine anymore what it is like to be alone and single and seeking that bond with another person. I do understand that I’m blessed, and I want very much for others to be able to find a relationship where they feel safe and happy.
The online world has helped in some way enable those who have never thought they’d leave their small town or big city to start a new life across the globe.
It’s a wonderful tool when used correctly and with proper intentions. But, similarly it can be a scary thing for those who are only there to misrepresent themselves and cause harm to others.
Back in the day it used to be correspondence through letters, or personal ads in magazines or word of mouth through friends who lived overseas, “You would be a great match for this one guy I know, I’ll have him send a picture and letter in the mail introducing himself.”
I heard those kinds of stories growing up. But sometimes, they were downright scary.
Particularly when new convert Muslim women were involved.
They would correspond with what I would consider was a stranger, and then decide to meet and get married the day they met in person.
Often times I think they were led to believe it was an Islamic duty to get married, and these women were eager to please and do the “right thing”.
The sad part in cases that turned out badly is that man didn’t always end up being who he claimed he was in his letters. And maybe the friends who vouched for him, didn’t really know him that well. It was based on a friend who had a friend who had a friend-if you know what I mean.
These situations ended up in heartbreak, domestic violence, women leaving Islam because of their horrible experience, or even finding out the man was already married!
The list goes on and I’m sure some of you may know of people who’ve been through similar situations. And of course the situation can also be applied to men, who marry a woman only to learn that she isn’t who she claimed to be.
It is because of this, I believe that those who wish to go the virtual route, or based on someone who they’ve heard about through the grapevine, that they really do their due diligence to know who that person is and what they’re all about.
For example, you should always meet in-person with others present and never alone. Of course you can have your conversations in private, but make sure you’re in a public place like a cafe with friends sitting nearby.
If you can find personal references who can vouch for this person, and meet them in person as well, that’s a good start. I understand that isn’t always feasible if it’s long distance, but I would personally hesitate to marry anyone, if I didn’t meet at least a few relatives.
Before I even got engaged, I told my husband I had to meet his family members that lived in the U.S. since his mother was overseas. I was able to meet his brother and his sister in law. I also spoke with his family members over the phone before we got married so I was sure that I knew what I was getting myself into.
I also offered for him to get to know my friends and ask them questions about me if he wanted to.
He came every weekend to visit with me and my family as he lived 3 hours away, and eventually we started to have dinner together and get to know each other one on one without everyone listening to our conversations.
I would also bring a friend along if we went on a trip somewhere for the day, just to make things comfortable for me since he was still technically a stranger in a way.
Of course, being diligent doesn’t always mean that you’ll know what you’re getting yourself into.
You could grow up with someone who lives down the street and that you’ve known your entire life, only to marry them and find out that you’re not compatible at all, or that he has a secret life he’s hiding.
The most important thing is to get know someone with your eyes wide open and not become swayed too quickly by feelings and emotions.
A popular online quote I’ve seen a few times “Don’t make permanent decisions based on temporary emotions” is a great rule of thumb.
Be strong and sure of yourself and what you want when you’re looking for that special someone to share your life with. Don’t get sucked into the fantasy and always make sure you have support around you.
Once you’ve made the decision based on the time you’ve spent with the person getting to know their character, behavior and way of life and you’re ok with that, then you can let yourself get carried away.
Next week, I’m going to address the issue of online dating and the era of fake profiles.
Why people do it and whether it really accomplishes anything. Stay tuned!
Please feel free to comment below on the article or the book. Would love to hear your thoughts!