Now that Valentines Day is on the horizon and the idea of dating seems so prescribed in Hollywood ideals, it can be daunting for a single Muslim who is getting to know someone for marriage. The space between falling in love and finally get married becomes a canyon of question marks and uncertainty. There may be a yearning for a deeper sense of connection, but how can you do that before getting married?
Here are 4 tried and tested ways to enjoy meaningful intimacy with your partner before marriage without opting for the usual candle-lit dinner in a restaurant.
Thanks to the advancements of technology, it is now easier than ever to feel like you’re in the same room as someone else even though they could be thousands of miles away. With tools such as Skype and Face Time, you can set up your camera and log on with your partner to enjoy conversations, share screens and media. Get creative and organise your space as though you’ve planned a cosy date. Get your favourite snacks or a cup of tea and share your day with each other. You can even plan to watch the same movie or documentary and hit play at the same time whilst sharing your commentary throughout. As long as you've got reliable wifi, the possibilities are endless.
Remember to be mindful of the same Islamic guidelines of modesty and respect between the opposite sex whether you’re both using your camera or not.
Set up a book club for two
Remember what it was that drew you to each other in the first place. Was it a common interest in comic books or Netflix documentaries? Did you both make a pact to improve your knowledge of the Quran or specific books? Use these shared interests as focal points for meaningful conversations. You can decide to read a chapter of a book a day and share your thoughts on your readings with each other, or you can discuss a podcast that you both listen to. Seeking knowledge and having intellectual conversations can be a form of creating intimacy between you and it helps to envision a future together based on shared interests.
Send each other thoughtful gifts
Nothing that says intimacy and thoughtfulness more than a well thought out gift; and thanks to the postman, you don’t have to be in close proximity to take part in this. Sending a gift to your partner is a great way to show them that you are a great listener and that you seek to understand them and celebrate them. These gifts don’t have to be sent on a special occasion. In fact, a ‘just because’ gift can be a much more considered gesture.
To do this, you’ve got to pay attention to the little things. Pick out a small inexpensive gift based on something they mentioned in conversation. Choose a gift that is related to the hobbies and activities they enjoy doing in their spare time. Or, you can get them something that helps to tackle a problem they’re having. For example, if they’ve told you they’ve been struggling to sleep you could get them a nice pillow spray or a warm blanket. You can be as creative as you can. After all, it’s the thought that counts and they will feel touched by the fact that you were thinking of them.
Volunteer for a common cause
If you’re focussed on building a marriage that is founded on common Islamic values, then getting involved in a charitable cause with your potential spouse is a practical way to nurture this vision. There are so many benefits to doing so: you get to invest in your own hereafter, you can observe your potential spouse in settings that involve dealing with people (often those less fortunate or vulnerable) and you make meaningful memories along the way.
Ultimately, your efforts to sustain a halal and meaningful way of getting to know your potential spouse will be noted by Allah. Remember who you’re doing it for. It’s not about what society wants, or even what your friends and family say you should want, it’s about listening to your own gut and having tawakkul. It’s about making time for the person you hope to spend the rest of your life with and having sabr. All good things are worth being patient for.