Welcome to part 2 in the Marriage Talk series! Part 1 was about finding someone to marry, and part 2 will be all about speaking with your suitor.
Regardless of whether you have known your suitor for years or whether you just met him, you will undoubtedly need to have a conversation when discussing marriage. The things that you’ll want to discuss will obviously vary from person to person, but there are some big topics or ideas that most people want to talk about when discussing marriage with another person.
Lucky for us, technology gives us ample ways to speak to your suitor. Whether the person lives an ocean away or a city away, there’s no doubt that phone calls, text messages, email, Facebook, Whatsapp, Skype, etc. can all help you when speaking with your suitor.
Regardless of the type of communication that you choose, don’t forget to have at least one face to face conversation with your suitor prior to agreeing to marriage. Because as much as technology can help, you won’t be speaking to your husband via Skype: you’ll be living with him and will do it in person. So don’t underestimate the power of a face to face conversation, especially since people can be very different in person from how they appear on social media.
So here are some large topics or themes that you might want to use when speaking with your suitor.
Sometimes we might want to jump straight into the heavy, weighty topics, such as family or religious compatibility, but it’s important to start with the small talk. You don’t want to come off as too driven; you want to get to know this person completely, and so by finding out the little things about them is a good place to start.
No matter what our views on some things might be, most people live their life day to day. So ask them how they are, how their day is going, if anything good happened to them today, etc. It’s small stuff, but it’s the small stuff that fills our days, and it’ll give you something to talk about, before you dive into the more serious stuff.
Regardless of whether you choose to live with your in-laws or not, or even whether you choose to have children or not, your husband will become your family, and so want to know how your suitor currently interacts with his family. This will give you some insight on how he will treat you, his new family member.
If family values are important to you, consider asking if he’s close to his family, some of his favourite childhood memories, who he’s closest to in his family, and the role his family has in his decision making process. It’s an age old saying, but it still holds true today: you’re not only marrying the guy, but his family. His family will also become your family, so get to know them. Finding out how he treats and interacts with his family will give you an idea as to how he will treat you and your family.
Other topics around family might be living arrangements (does he expect you to live with his family or separately) or whether he wants children, and when.
Marriage means spending life together, and so you want to know how your suitor envisions his life playing out. You want to know if you could fit into those life plans, and whether your goals and ideas for your life match with the other person’s.
Some topics for consideration might be where he sees himself in 5 or 10 years down the road, or his career aspirations for the future, where he plans to live after marriage, or even personal development and how he plans on improving himself.
It’s important to discuss where both of you envision yourselves in the coming years, especially after marriage, in order to find out if you’re compatible or not. It’s better to know beforehand, prior to making a decision, than finding out after you’re already married that you’re going in different directions.
Talking money can be quite tricky and a touchy subject for some, but it’s an important one. You need to know whether he’s financially responsible or not, since financial mismanagement or incompatibility is often the cause of failed marriages.
So be upfront and ask your suitor how he spends his money, what he spends it on, whether he plans on saving, what he saves for, etc. It might be awkward and personal to ask these question, but they’re important, and it’s better to know before rather than after.
Religious compatibility is something else that’s very important. You want someone whose values are similar to your own, and so if religion is important to you, then you need to find out what your suitor’s religious beliefs are. Do they pray, do they fast, do they give zakat, what are the values that govern their life, what’s their opinion on interest or mortgage, etc.
Religion doesn’t only affect the wedding ceremony and the things that happen the day of, but they impact our lives after. So you want to make sure that you and your suitor are on the same page religiously.
So those are some broad topics of conversation that you might want to touch upon when speaking with your suitor. It’s not an exhaustive list, by any means, but a guide. For a list of actual suggestion questions to ask your suitor, check out Fatima’s Bridal House for a varied list of 25 questions.
Depending on what is most important to you, you might want to speak with your suitor about that first. If religious compatibility is most important to you, ask about that. If financial compatibility is most important to you, ask about that. It’s impossible to find someone who thinks the exact same way we do, so focus on the things that are most important to you and let the others go.
In some Muslim communities, having lengthy conversations or discussions with a suitor is seen is inappropriate, and so you’ll need to discuss with your parents and your suitor what’s right for you. But Islam has given us the right to speak with our prospective suitors to discover whether they’re right for us. Forced marriage is haram in Islam, and so you have every right to go into marriage with an understanding of the person you are about to marry.
At the same time, remember that Allah is aware of all you do. So keep it modest, keep it clean, and always, keep it respectful. Just because your parents can’t see you speaking with your suitor online or via text, doesn’t mean that God can’t. So keep that in mind as you try and get to know your suitor and decide if he’s right for you.
May Allah guide us all and make the process easy for us, InshAllah.
Hope you girls found this useful! Keep smiling.