Author: Pure Matrimony
Did you know that one of the most nerve-wracking moments in your life is when you meet face to face with a potential marriage partner?
The awkward silence, staring at the floor, dealing with embarrassing parents, being asked tricky questions, getting ‘grilled’ by the family…
It’s a wonder anyone ends up married at all!
So we’ve come up with 5 top tips to help you get through your first meetings with less drama and more confidence!
1. Do Your Homework
Before you meet a potential partner, do your homework and ask key questions about them from their family and friends. It’s also vitally important to look into the person’s character and background by talking to people in their neighbourhood, where they work, the local mosque and study circle. This will help you decide whether or not you even want to talk to them in the first place! What do they do, where do they work, what’s their personality type, what kind of family are they etc etc Then based on what you know. draw up a list of all of questions you can ask them.
2. Request Privacy To Speak
Talking to a potential partner is awkward – especially with family in your presence. Clear permission with your family to speak with a potential partner away from the family – in the other room or the garden etc. We recommend you have ONE person and one person only such as a sibling or someone else whose opinion you trust to be in the room with you. Pre-agree questions with the person you have nominated to be in the conversation with you – and be clear about your outcomes from this first meeting. You need to make it clear to whoever you take into the meeting with you the topics which are on or off limits.
3. Ask About THEM
Any first meeting should never be about YOU talking about yourself without the other person asking you first. If you start your conversation about ‘you, yourself and I’, you’ll come across as selfish and self-centred. Ask lots of questions about THEM to show you are interested in them – and they will naturally ask YOU many questions in return. Great ice-breakers include asking them to describe themselves in three words, asking about their hobbies, what they like and what their idea of relaxing is like. And don’t forget about the most important question of all – whether or not they are practising!
4. Ask About Their Expectations of Marriage
This is always a difficult one, but necessary for you to make a decision as to whether you want to continue speaking to this person. What do they expect from their marriage partner? What does marriage mean to them? How do they view their role in the marriage? Do they have a joint family system? Where does deen fit into their daily life? Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and certainly never feel embarrassed about asking what they expect from their spouse – especially if you are a sister. The outcome of your marriage and whether this experience is good or bad, happy or sad will hinge a LOT on the responses you get from a potential partner in your initial meetings. Plus, asking these questions will catch them off guard, so you’re more likely to get a better response. Your aim is not to make them feel uncomfortable, rather, you’re trying to establish whether or not it’s worth your time to pursue additional meetings.
5. Speak To The Family
Most people only focus on the person they are looking to marry in the first conversation – the family seem to be an after-thought. But, and here’s the key – knowing how the family works and what their expectations are is crucial in understanding where you will fit in – especially if you are a sister marrying a brother who lives with his family. Don’t be shy to ask appropriate questions such as what the family routine is, how much they lean on each other for support and watch for any clues as to whether or not this is a family you want to be involved in. If the family have other children who are married, where do they fit in? Do they live with the family, how involved are they etc. Getting a picture of the family is vital to understanding how well the dynamics of the family function and what THEY expect of YOU.
Some parents can be extremely embarrassing – so always be prepared for awkward questions from future in-laws and be mindful, gracious and respectful at all times in your answers – even if you feel they are being rude. Always remember that a true Muslim has the best of character, and when someone comes to your home, you MUST give them the right of a guest by making them feel welcome and taking care of them.
Even if nothing comes of the meeting, at least the other family will leave with a favourable impression of you and your family 🙂
If you’ve made it through your first meeting in a positive way, continue the momentum by requesting further meetings and see what happens…and don’t forget to do your istikhara!
Pure Matrimony – Helping Practising Muslims Get Together & Stay Together