When my ex-husband decided he wanted a divorce, I remember feeling like my life was coming to an end. I could feel the physical pain of grief and anxiety over what my life would now look like. I kept thinking to myself, why didn’t I act upon the obvious red flags I saw prior to marrying this man? It’s not like his actions or behavior was completely different from the person I was getting to know. But I wanted to marry him so much that I ignored so many things that were not only important to me in my future spouse, but what I discovered further down the road, are also destructive to a marriage. How was I going to move on or meet someone new?
Now that I have moved on and am considering marriage again, what actions should not be tolerated in a marriage, and how can one save their marriage if they are going down a road of destruction? In this piece, I came up with a few FAQs that I remember wanting answers to post-divorce. I have also had discussions with close friends and family who also experienced a divorce about these very questions.
These questions were answered by Marriage and Family Therapists Amal Killawi and Nadia M. Bazzy.
Some red flags to look for in a marriage include hidden bank accounts, secret online identities, a major change in your spouse’s schedule that was not communicated, and new behaviors like drinking, gambling, pornography, and drug use. It is also equally important to look for red flags in how the relationship is functioning. Turning away during conflict, withdrawal, yelling, not resolving issues, anger, and resentment are all signs of relationship breakdown.
2. What are some things that are “unforgivable” and should not be tolerated in a marriage?
Every marriage is different, and each person will determine what he/she is willing to tolerate in a relationship. Some situations may warrant a divorce because it is healthier for the family. For example, in cases of physical or emotional abuse, it is rare for a marriage to survive without major rehabilitation of the perpetrator, and it is usually safest to leave the relationship. Some marriages can heal from major challenges such as infidelity, substance abuse, gambling, and porn addiction, but it will ultimately depend on the willingness of the partner engaging in these behaviors to receive professional counseling and on the level of support, emotional stability, and commitment to the marriage.
3. What are some things you can do if your spouse is asking for a divorce and you do not want one?
Ideally the person who wants a divorce should be able to name and identify the breakdown in the marriage that is prompting them to ask for a divorce. Many times, couples go to a few sessions of counseling to decide if they want to stay together or not. A couple may attempt to separate before they divorce to see if they feel differently about divorce. Many people express that they want a divorce because they are flooded with overwhelming emotions that they cannot work through. Oftentimes, couples counseling can help establish new patterns. While you may want to stay married, you also have to ask: How are you helping the marriage stay together? Change has to occur for the couple to survive.
4. How long and how much should you keep trying to reconcile? When do you stop trying? What should you do if your spouse is not open to couples’ therapy?
Does saying no allow you to have more agency in your relationship and create a power struggle? If your partner does not want to be married to you and is unwilling to attend couples counseling or seek out third-party help, it is best to ask yourself: What you are trying to hang on to? What are you afraid of? Address the fear of the divorce process.
Does your partner say they only want a divorce in the heat of an argument? Often, one partner feels “done” with the relationship but is really just done with the patterns in the relationship that are not fulfilling his or her needs. If that pattern can be addressed, the couple can overcome the situation.
Some people choose to seek individual counseling, and through that, make personal changes in their relationship that may as a consequence, encourage their partner to stay in the marriage. Some people may request their partner to participate in at least one session. Others may seek friends, family members, and/or community leaders to encourage their partner to seek couples counseling. Ultimately, change cannot be forced, but rather has to come from within. No one can force another person to remain in a marriage, and there is no timeline for reconciliation. If your partner is adamant about divorce and is not willing to reconcile, then you do your best to separate in kindness and seek support to heal through the divorce.
5. If your ex-spouse keeps reaching out to you and wants to maintain communication but does not want to return to the marriage, why might they be doing that and what are ways to stop it? Can exes maintain a friendship?
It is not uncommon for people to want to maintain a friendship after the marriage. While it is rare, it is still possible and healthiest if there are children. The Qur’an instructs us to deal with each other in a kind and civil manner. However, there are different types of communication. If they are reaching out with intimate communication, that is a boundary issue and should not be tolerated. You need to say no, and mean no. If they are reaching out in a friendly way that is respectful, it is your personal preference at that point to maintain a relationship or not. Some people find it emotionally difficult to continue a relationship with an ex for many reasons—inability to deal with the separation, dependency on the partner, and hope that they will get back together. Note that being friendly and able to communicate after a divorce does not mean that you can manage being married!
6. What are some things a person can do to help with the difficulty of divorce and the pain?
Healing from a divorce is a journey that will take time. It is important to allow yourself to grieve the loss of the relationship, but also not lose sight of the big picture. Your life does not end with divorce. Divorce may provide you with an opportunity to make changes in your life, to embark on new adventures, and to grow personally and spiritually. Seek support from family and friends, solace in prayer, and challenge yourself to learning something new. Counseling can also be helpful in your healing process.
7. Should you share with a potential suitor about your divorce? When and how much do you share?
You are in charge of what you share about your previous marriage. You may prefer to share openly from the beginning of the courtship or wait until you get to know them more and feel a sense of trust. However, it is important that a potential suitor knows that you were married. If you do not share, you will be keeping a secret, and secrets are a sign that there is distrust in the relationship—which can eventually lead to breakdown of the relationship. It is easiest if someone is aware upfront that you are divorced. This will establish trust and demonstrate that your potential suitor is aware of the situation and willing to work through it. Also, often times there are multiple connections with the person that you are divorced from if there are children, or if the person was from within the family or community.
You should be able to successfully identify why your marriage ended. This is a sign that you have the needed insight to move into a new relationship. If you are afraid of being rejected by a potential suitor because you were divorced, that is an issue that you will need to work through.
8. How soon after a divorce should you consider remarriage?
It is important to not use a new relationship to heal the hurt and pain of the last relationship. This is dangerous, as it sets you and your new partner up for failure. Additionally, the chance of divorce in a new relationship increases if there was a previous divorce. Divorce is a form of loss, even if divorcing was for the best.
It is normal to experience a range of emotions after divorce including depression, anxiety, loneliness, and identity confusion. Many people remark that they need to focus on themselves, rebuild self-confidence, heal the hurts of the last relationship, gain perspective, and learn new relationship skills. Often times, people can be attracted to a personality type that is unhealthy for them, so it is important to identify this before you move on to the next relationship so that the pattern can be broken. You will know you are ready to move on when you have created new insights from your last relationship, are no longer wondering “what if” when you think about the last relationship, are emotionally stable, and have healed from the pains of divorce. If you are asking: “Am I ready?” it is important to press the pause button, and ask, “How will I know when I’m ready?”
9. How soon should you introduce your children to a potential marriage prospective?
There is no standard timeline, but a sudden remarriage can be difficult for children to accept. Children will need time to deal with their parents separating, changes in their life as a result of the divorce, as well as feelings about the divorce. Introduce a potential slowly and communicate openly with your children about their feelings with this new person in your life.
Get married, free, on muzmatch.
By Jennifer Dawson
Preparing for a date can end up being a stress inducing activity most of the time. Fixing up hair and makeup alone takes up nearly forty minutes of a woman's time on an average day. As new trends in fashion continue to pop up, it can seem overwhelming trying to maintain a consistent style and routine, while still being current with today’s fashion. Here are a few ways to enhance your beauty for contemporary styles, while remaining true to the fashion that makes Muslim culture one of the most beautiful.
Dating can be intimidating, and our own insecurities can creep up, preventing us from putting ourselves out there to meet someone special. But those fears can be overcome. We should take pride in the modesty of our culture and commitment to Allah, especially with how we wear our hijabs. It’s fine to cut loose and outfit your hijab in a way that expresses both your beauty and inner devotion. Muslim fashion continues to develop side by side with contemporary fashion, letting diverse appearance flourish within modern fashion.
Styles such as the “casual chic”, which involve letting both sides of your hijab hang loose over both shoulders, are great for pulling off an effortless look that emphasizes your natural elegance and modesty. As long as you stay true to the core principles of modesty found in the Quran, then the elegance of your fashion sense will also shine through.
Make-up is the most powerful way for a Muslim woman to express her beauty while staying true to her faith. Whether with or without a hijab, cosmetics offer the chance for women to emphasis the facial qualities that make them beautiful. Women like Asha Hussein are excellent examples of how beauty conventions of both contemporary culture and Muslim tradition can fuse to create a captivating and popular look. Taking the time to learn eye makeup application and trends, such as having bold colors or strong brows, can be completely complimentary to your visual appearance and upstand the Muslim code of Modesty.
Modern culture is more than prepared for accommodating the belief that supports the styles that support and validate Muslim cultural practices. The fashion world is embracing the empowering virtue to be found in Muslim modesty. Whether through makeup or clothing, the diversity and energy put into your wardrobe should be expressed with pride and confidence. The principles found in our faith are wonderful and should be recognized as such. Claim your style as your own and embrace the beautiful principles that enchant your dress and appearance.
The world around us continues to diversify in ways that are supportive towards the beliefs and attire of our faith. There’s no need to place unnecessary restraint on your wardrobe, as long as you adhere to the principles of modesty which already come so naturally us Muslim women. Trust in your faith and your own uncompromising beauty.
Finding Love After Divorce
By Jennifer Dawson
‘Grey divorce’ has come to be a catchphrase of the millennium, largely because in contrast to general divorce rates (which are declining), the divorce rate among people over 50 is on the rise. Longer life expectancies mean that those who are in their 50s or even 60s can look forward to many decades ahead of a healthy and happy life and for many, this is a quest they would not like to undertake in their current situation.
As noted in a study by Z. Mohamed, Muslim divorce rates, particularly in Western countries, have been on the rise in recent years, with a dramatic increase in the U.S., the U.K., Canada, and Australia.
Divorce can be liberating but also bring fear and anxiety. If you have been through a divorce and you are fearful about what the future holds, find inspiration in the Quran and consider online dating as a way to ensure those you date have the same life values as you. When you are ready, know that you can find love once again online and begin a new path in life.
Divorce is one of the highest entries on the Holmes-Rahe Stress Scale. In a way, it involves saying goodbye to many things – including (in some cases) one’s home, extended family and social circle. The Elisabeth Kubler-Ross model on the different stages of loss are also applicable to divorce. You may have to go through many stages – including sadness, anger, and regret, before you are ready to move on.
You will probably know you are ready when you feel that you need to be out and socialize. Positive ideas may pop in your head, such as the thought that you are young and have retired or have free time on your hands, you would love to try out a new hobby or sport, or you feel like dressing up in your finest garb and feeling appreciated as a man or woman once again. Check out what other singles are up to on muzmatch; what starts out as a friendship could develop into something very special.
Online dating has been a big boom for singles who may not have a huge social circle. Muslim men and women who do work and have a good professional network may not necessarily have a wide social one. This is especially true if most of your friends are couples that you only saw when you went out with your ex. As noted by the BBC, online dating is big, especially among Western Muslims.
In Islam, marriage is considered equal to half your religion. It holds great importance, so it is important to make the right decision. Online dating allows you to ‘test the waters’ beforehand, so to speak. For instance, if you are a Muslim woman with a firm believe in feminism, you can ensure the people you date think along the same lines. Because devout Muslims of a mature age may be reticent to go to bars and other establishments were others enjoy meeting,
online dating gives them the safety, choice, and discretion that is unique in the dating sphere.
You are indeed never too old to love or be loved. Muslim scripture espouses the importance of love and marriage in many passages.
“We not see for those who love one another anything like marriage,”
says Sunan Ibn Majah 1847, while Al-Adab Al-Mufrad 1322 notes: “When you love someone, you become infatuated like a child.” These and other words may inspire you to experience the beauty of love and marriage once again.
If you are a Muslim who is aged 50+ and who has just been divorced, you certainly are not alone. So-called ‘gray divorce’ is rising in numbers the world over, but that does not mean you need to be lonely.
Internet dating is booming for Muslims, especially those who don’t want to have to seek love in clubs and other establishments that can seem more about casual encounters than long-lasting ones. If you’ve never been online, sign up on muzmatch and go into it with a view to simply meet others. In time, friendships can unexpectedly bloom and you may find the love of your life.
Hey everyone, it’s Ayesha from My Big Fat Halal Blog (MBFHB)! MBFHB is one of the UK’s biggest halal food platforms where I share halal restaurant reviews, recipes and travel guides! You can find out more about what I do on my website or Instagram.
Today, I’m collaborating with muzmatch to share some of my top Ramadan recipes. We hope you try them out and we would love to see any of your recreations.
Here’s a simple recipe for this delicious, filling smoothie bowl packed with nutritious dates… the only dates you should be having this Ramadan! ;)
1 banana, plus extra slices to garnish
5 pitted medjool dates, plus extra, chopped, to garnish
250ml semi-skimmed milk
2 tsp cocoa powder
1⁄2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp ground nuts, to decorate
Simply put all the ingredients in a blender, and whizz until smooth. Pour into a bowl, over ice, if you like, then arrange the nuts, extra banana and dates over the top to serve.
Let’s be honest, it wouldn’t be Ramadan without fried treats! Below is a recipe for my spicy, moreish potato cutlets. They’re always a hit with everyone!
750g Maris Piper potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
11⁄2 tbsp garam masala
2 tsp chilli powder
1 tbsp ground coriander
Handful of coriander, roughly chopped
2 tbsp plain flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 tbsp vegetable oil
Chutney/spicy salsa, to serve
1.Put the potatoes in a large pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, then cook for 18-20 mins, until tender. Drain and set aside for 15-20 mins, until cool enough to handle.
2. Add the garam masala, chilli powder, ground coriander and fresh coriander to the potatoes. Season, then mash until smooth.
3. Wet your hands, then shape the mixture into 10 round patties, about 1cm thick.
4. Put the flour, egg and breadcrumbs onto separate plates, then dip each patty first in the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs to coat.
5. Heat the oil to medium-high, then fry the patties in batches for 2-3 mins on each side, until golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper, then serve with a chutney/ spicy salsa for dipping.
A feast would not be complete without dessert! Try out this delicious Egyptian bread pudding known as Um Ali. It’s made with croissants, nuts and condensed milk and it’s absolutely delicious!
850ml semi-skimmed milk
1⁄2 x 397g can condensed milk
1⁄2 tsp ground cardamom
1⁄4 tsp ground cinnamon, plus extra to serve
1 tsp vanilla extract
100ml double cream
1 tsp unsalted butter
4 all butter croissants, roughly torn
2 tbsp desiccated coconut
2 tbsp flaked almonds
2 tbsp unsalted pistachios, chopped
2 tbsp seedless raisins
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/Gas 4.
2. Stir the milk, condensed milk, cardamom, cinnamon and vanilla extract together in a saucepan. Slowly bring to the boil and simmer gently for 2mins, stirring occasionally. Add the cream and carefully bring back to the boil, then remove from the heat.
3. Using the butter, grease a round baking dish, roughly 22cm in diameter and 5cm deep, and cover the base with half the croissant pieces.
4. Sprinkle over half each of the coconut, almonds, pistachios and raisins, then pour over the milk mixture.
5. Top with the remaining croissants, nuts and raisins, plus an extra pinch of cinnamon.
6. Bake in the oven for 20-25mins until golden and bubbling, then leave to stand for 10 mins before serving.
I hope you enjoy these recipes and will try them out! You can find more of my recipes at mybigfathalalblog.com.