We have a serious marriage crisis

There is a marriage crisis amongst Muslims and I think that is putting it lightly. I am even having trouble trying to put my feelings on this matter into words because I am at a loss of where to start. I am not really sure how this happened, nor do I know how to fix things, but I do know that change has to occur.

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Once we hit puberty, we are instructed by the community to not interact with the other gender. The boys you once raced around the masjid with are now covered in cooties, and “Circle, circle, dot, dot” is not a good enough vaccine in Islam. However, it seems to work outside of the mosque, because the Muslim boys you go to school with have no trouble talking to non-Muslim girls. What’s up with that?

In high school, which is already a precarious time, this pattern continued and I found that I was much more comfortable with non-Muslim boys than with the group of boys I once used to play with. Once upon a time, we could spend hours playing board games together at family parties, but now we can’t even manage to get two sentences out to each other without feeling all sorts of awkward.

Enter college, where MSA’s can provide an excellent space to forge friendships, make connections, and build a community in your new home. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the greatest experience with my MSA. I was judged for not being a hijabi by one group of people, but also judged for not drinking by another group of people. This was my first introduction to the idea of being “good enough,” and because I couldn’t find comfort with the majority of Muslims on campus, I found my niche amongst my non-Muslim friends who respected and valued all of my characteristics and idiosyncrasies.

After graduation, I moved back home and rejoined the community at my local mosque. At this point, aunties began to ask intrusively when I was getting married. They would make comments to my mother: “Shame, she has such nice features, but her color…she is too dark. Have you looked into bleaching creams?” and, “I don’t think she would be able to find someone from America, you’re better of finding someone from back home. You know if you find a doctor, there is still a chance she can have a good life.”

To me, they would say: “Oh, you’re going to graduate school? Why? What are you going to do with that degree? Don’t you want to get married? You don’t want to be smarter than your husband.” “You can’t be too independent, no man will want to marry you if he feels that he can’t take care of you.” “You shouldn’t be too strong. Lower your voice and walk softly. Be a lady.” “Have you learned to cook? What do you make?”

With every comment and remark, I stifled my desire to rudely retort with a sassy answer. “Of course I can cook, do you think I starved all those years I lived by myself in college?” “When am I getting married? Good question, why don’t you ask Allah. Let me know what He says.”

It was as though my life was now dependent on my ability to get married. But once again, the community I should have found comfort in was diminishing my worth; they were finding ways to tell me I was not good enough.

I did want to get married though, so I tried to go about finding a partner the “halal” way. I went to matrimonial/speed-dating events. Once, when I stated that I did not like a particular Indian dish, this one guy did not know what to say to me for the next two minutes. Another guy barely listened to a thing I said, and after a minute and half, asked to just sit in silence because he was exhausted from talking. Not everyone was like that though. I did meet some nice guys, but there was just was no chemistry. I couldn’t figure out was missing, but I just was not clicking with anyone. It was as if we were all back in high school again, overcome with bouts of awkwardness. In general, although there were a variety of guys at these events, it became clear that most were looking for a specific type of look…a tall, fair-skinned, non-hijabi who was well educated but wanted to stay at home with the kids. I’m short, dark-skinned and I am determined to use my education to help save lives, while also making time for my children. I don’t care if I marry someone who makes enough money to support the family: I am passionate about what I do, and I am not ready to give that up just yet.

I’ve tried Muslim matrimonial websites, and although I have heard of a few success stories, I just met guys from abroad who barely spoke English and wanted to know if I was an American citizen. When I called one guy out on all of his lies, he told me that I was an ungrateful woman who will never get married. Wait, what?! Just because I asked why he switched careers from medicine to owning a clothing store in Pakistan?

I wish I could tell you that I just have the worst luck possible, but I know of women in their 20s, 30s, and 40s with similar stories and experiences. What is going on? We teach children to not interact with the other gender and yet, when they become of marriageable age, we automatically expect them to woo one another and marry quickly. But how can that be possible when men are taught to value superficial things, such as beauty? Even a degree is just for the name of it. This is not acceptable.

I just want a decent guy, with whom I have chemistry and an undeniable connection. I want someone who will be my partner; I want someone who respects me, all of me. And it’s a shame that I find that respect amongst non-Muslim men, while I struggle to find it with Muslim men. Why is it that I am bombarded with messages about not being good enough for Muslim men, yet non-Muslim men value my education, strength, voice, independence, and just about every characteristic that makes me who I am. I want someone who will be my spiritual partner, someone who values Islam the same way I do. But I am not sure where I am supposed to find him and I’m not the only one looking.

We have to change our standards, system, and community. We have to find a way to cut through all of these cultural traditions and values so that we can begin putting an emphasis on the right things that make a marriage strong. Something has to give, because I am tired of hearing that I am not good enough when I know that I am more than good enough. I am worthy of love, of a partner, of a good person, and that’s more than what is on a biodata.

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Source article: https://thetempest.co/2014/10/20/life-love/love-sex/changing-our-standards-for-marriage/

 

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22 Responses

  1. Tia says:

    I totally agree with this article. I’m in my early 30s and have friends in mid to late 30s and early 40s and we are all struggling with the same issue. Muslim women all around the world are getting education and they are career oriented women. We are trying to find men who will accept us for who we are; educated, independent and family oriented at the same time. Being an independent, career oriented women doesn’t mean that we aren’t going to be good wives and raise good kids and love our husbands, but in order to enable women to do that, Muslim men out there need to change their expectations of their wives. Gone are the days when women were supposed to only stay home and raise an army of kids. Being independent doesn’t mean that we don’t need a man in our lives, it simply means a partnership with a friend and a companion. A true partnership between a husband and a wife. If both are working full time, then household chores need to be done via a partnership as well. Why is it so hard for men to help out in the kitchen, with kids and laundry? I’m not saying every man out there is like that, but it’s about time they need to understand and change their expectations of their wives. Our generation of women is trying to change that mentality, but it’ll take the other generation to turn this thing around. We all have seen our moms take care of the entire house (nothing wrong with that), and that’s what most men picture their wives as, but we live a different world now.

    I hope and pray that you find a husband who will respect and love you the way you will respect and love him. Also, you being short has nothing to do with you not being good enough to marry. Keep your chin up and things will workout for all of us. Ameen!!

    • Ali says:

      Dear Tia ,
      Thank you for illuminating the issue. We all looking for 100% security and 100%perfection which is against the law of nature.
      We muslims have a best example for our guide, the life of Prophet Muhammad PBUH. where we can see life is all about teamwork, sharing values and sharing dreams.
      While we all are looking for chemistry and click which cannot be build first sight.
      Regards
      Ali

    • AMan says:

      I really like this article. There are so many birds which ring true from both sides, its a shame cutting through foreign cultures adds so many difficulties as it has done in other parts of the world.

      Looking for perfection without flaws or being a hypocrite seems to be a common issue.

      Here’s another good looking, successful British Muslim looking for an educated independent but family orientated lady.

    • Keeping It Real says:

      Remember shaytan promised Allah that he will lead astray as many people as possible to hell. In 1960s an ideology came about called feminism. Those idiotic feminists never foresaw how society would turn into by brainwashing women that going out there being independent and competing with men is the way forward. Fast forward to 2018, you now have countless of men and women who can’t find a suitable match mainly because the woman won’t accept a man less educated, earning less than her or he doesn’t meet her standards in other areas. It’s an insult to her. She’ll turn down scores of men. She’s not bothered as she can easily find another man showing interest in her. The cycle is endless. Abundance and disposable culture. Feminists want to become men and they want men to behave in a way that suits them i.e emasculated and submissive. While the feminist is single, she fights for women’s rights for privilege which she calls ‘equality’. When it comes to searching a spouse, all of a sudden hypergamy kicks in where the man has to look after and provide for her, he has to be equally educated or higher, earning as much or higher, have his own property etc. What a joke feminists are then they start crying why they are single and can’t find a man who will put up with her feminist BS. Where are all the REAL feminine ladies these days? No man wants to marry a woman (i.e a feminist ) who behaves like a man!

      • Keeping It Real says:

        Not forgetting the fact that she drives her own car and expects the man to have a car to drive her around otherwise she doesn’t want to know him. Entitlement mentality; ‘I’m a woman you’re a man, you must do it for me’. Equality when it suits her and privilege when she expects it by default because she’s a woman. Her excuse is that it’s the man’s role to look after and provide for the woman, to treat her out, take her places, buy for her, do the hard physical labour etc. The moment the man says it’s the woman’s role to be at home looking after the home and children all of a sudden he’s sexist. A woman can say what a man’s role is but a man can’t say what a woman’s role is! Where’s equality? Feminism is the cancer of modern society affecting Muslims too!

  2. Ibrahim says:

    The only chemistry for us Muslims is Islam. Allah has put everything on the plate for us. We just have to follow it from the heart. The reasons why the Muslim ummah is struggling today is because we are forgetting Allah even for the purpose of half of Deen. If we were following Deen we would still have been superpowers of the world today. The day we forget Allah is the day Allah forgets us and we lose everything. Marriage in Islam is so simple and easy, but do we do it the right way? Hence what’s occurring now is what our prophet SAW said a time will come where it will be easier no commit adultery than to marry.
    We should not even be asking for stuff like degrees etc. We need to ask ourselves did our prophet SAW or any member of his family ask for a degree?
    Marriage is a very big act of worship, so why should we ask for dunya when carrying out this act of worship? Our focus must solely be to marry for the sake and pleasure of Allah.

    • Hassan says:

      I totally agree with you Ibrahim. Was actually thinking of writing a letter to my 7 years old daugther, about what the future holds for her with regards to marriage. I have seen many women on this app, single are numerous, divorced uncountable, while widows are not also in small numbers, yet many of them are still looking for Mr Perfect. Rather than look for Islam, they want a man with balance of seen and dunya, I keep wondering how does water and fire stay in the same container. One is either more tilted to Deen or Dunya. Its high time we encourage our Men who can to consider having more than one wife. Until we live Islam, this problem would continue.

      • A says:

        How would having more than one wife fix anything? Most Muslim men I know can barely take care of one wife, and let them marry widows then like Prophet Muhammad.

  3. VJ says:

    Interesting article, but while we the followers of things or education which is likely to change the smart white folks are heading for living off the grid because they now understand what life skills meant. Now education and careers which will surely define by corporate greed. Life was already perfected for us.

  4. Kaz says:

    The problems that the sister is experiencing i.e. being short, dark skinned, too educated and not being able to strike a conversation with muslim guys. Not all muslim guys are like that, the problem is that muslim men and muslim women are equally to blame. Because both genders instead of believing and accepting in what Allah (SWT) has in store for us, we all set our standards so high that it’s almost impossible to the reach goal you are aiming to acheive. We should accept each others flaws however big or small they maybe and try to follow the examples our Beloved Prophet (P.B.U.H) has left for us to follow, whilst trying to live our lives in this duniya with the aim of acheiving janna. We shouldn’t be picky about ones height, colour, stature, education, family background, etc… and instead we should focus and pray for Allah (SWT)’s guidance in looking for the life partner HE has choosen for us all.

    • Salam says:

      That is because the Shayṭān comes to these Muslim women. Makes them transgress and go astray. The Shayṭān makes them get a divorce. You need to have a good reason to get a divorce. I see woman with 3 children get a divorce for no reason and the children grow up without a father.

  5. Lubna says:

    I’m in the same boat being in my mid thirties and still single. I’m not really certain what a guy is even looking for. I think many fall under category of either being incapable of making a decision because there’s far too much selection out there or they are seeking someone who doesn’t exist.

    What I have learned is not to dwell on the issue anymore because the more you think about it, the more it will consume you. Rather than making marriage our purpose in life, it’s important to pursue other meaningful goals.

    I have not given up hope. I truly believe our priorities need to change. If we focus on being a better Muslim and worshipping Allah SWT the way He deserves to be worshipped then InshAllah things will get better as we can benefit both in this duniya and akhira.

    In the end, if this is our only test and everything else in life is going well, then that’s even more reason to be grateful. There is far worse happening in other parts of the world.

    Hang in there! Everything has its time and InshAllah yours will come soon?.

  6. Salam says:

    I am a man. I don’t care what college degree a woman has. I don’t care if my future wife is rich or poor. I can support myself. A woman should have knowledge about our religion (teachings of Prophet Muhammad). A wife should look good for only her husband. She should hide her beauty from other men. She should be clean and have good hygiene. God’s angels curse at a husband’s wife or wives that do not fulfil her husband’s sexual desires. If a woman’s husband is mad at her then God is also mad at her. (Reference Hadiths). Some women go to clubs and parties without getting permission from her husband. They don’t fear God’s Hell. Touching and kissing before marriage is Zina and haraam. God give us a certain appearance and skin color. We can’t change that. When I saw a blind Muslim brother recite the Quran I started to cry. Forced marriages are haraam or forbidden. We can’t date woman, but we can talk as friends. Teach our children about the dajjal.

  7. Abdel salam says:

    I am tired of all these Muslim families telling me I could not marry their daughters because of CULTURAL differences, even though they all told me I am a nice guy, respectful and on point religious wise. Since when do we put culture over religion ? Anyway, I truly believe it is better to find a non-Muslim and introduce them to the real Islam, which is non racist, non discriminatory base on skin tone, language, degrees, nationalities, etc… your culture, skin tone and degree are not what will take ou to Janna or will provide you happiness.

  8. Ali says:

    Dear writer’
    This article is precious indeed . The main issue among Muslim communities we all so much in division , 100% perfection, and high standards, which is absolutely unnecessary.
    In fact we have forgotten the life of The most successful Person called Prophet Muhammad PBUH.
    We can deal with this issue of marriages among Muslims by looking at The life of our Greatest Leader Muhammad PBUH.
    Regards
    Ali

  9. M.adnansardar says:

    Assallam-u-Allaikum

  10. Mehvish says:

    Salaam

    How’s this for a Muslim woman’s standards?

    I don’t care about your job or degree or anything.

    I just ask for 3 things:

    1. I have to find you physically attractive so you must be a good looking man. After all this is a marriage not a friendship so that will help create *some* chemistry. I’m not the prettiest woman in the world but I am pretty enough to ask for a man similar in terms of looks to me. In return I don’t care about his level of education, height and job and money too much – all those things that men accuse women of putting first.

    2. You must be of good character and understand and practice Islam. I feel like I generally do and have the desire and potential to improve as a Muslim so looking for someone on a similar wavelength. Not overly strict and not too liberal with a desire to improve like me – so there again a lot of leeway there too. So praying is important and guess what?! I would expect you to be a gentleman and not look for anything physical before marriage. Chance would be a fine thing because so far all the good looking ones who claim to pray are knee deep in fornication and expect it off you.

    3. You have to be aged between 27-35 (I am 32 but look 5-6 years younger). I tend to attract men in their late twenties and even early twenties sometimes and we are at the same level in terms of maturity. Their mums would disagree though so…but again a nice few years either way is fine. Plus Prophet (pbuh) married Khadija (ra) 15 years his senior and all surviving children came from her so there.

    It reads like the wishlist of a man. There, I applied the standards of a man – I just want a good looking young man and want to go to Jannah. Not too much to ask for right?

    The best bit…whilst all a bit tongue in cheek – this is actually my genuine wishlist.

    Good luck to me eh. I am not Khadija (ra) the best woman who ever lived to deserve the young beautiful and pious Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) but we can all dream right? Whilst life passes us by…

    In’Sha’Allah – we all find something/someone acceptable to us in the end.

  11. Nope says:

    I feel your pain. The same problems exist for brothers trying to get married. Many of the problems I face is that I’m judged on my ethnicity. The hypocrisy of the sisters I have met is unbelievable (and/or their parents), and it’s getting to the point where I don’t really want to marry a Muslim anymore. I just really don’t like them. They make this whole process, which should be easy, way too difficult. If I marry a Christian or a Jew to avoid zina,, and I hear another Muslim say there’s a marriage crisis because there are no good men left, I’ll have to fight the strong urge to slap them across the face.

    P.S. I probably wouldn’t slap them, but hopefully you feel my frustration/anger.

  12. Sally putterfield says:

    What a bunch of brainwashed idiots. The obvious is simply not obvious to you, is it?

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