What to think of and look for in marriage

Marriage is the union of two people who want to feel closer and make their relationship stronger. Let’s explore what marriage is in different contexts.

Marriage has a different meaning for a lot of us. Around the world it has different meanings. This meaning is influenced by any number of things. Marriage could be defined by trust, commitment, teamwork, friendship, open mindedness, love and understanding. But is there a specific time for marriage? A place? An age? A reason? These are all questions that pop up when considering this special lifelong occasion. 

There are many facets to discuss given the nuanced topic of marriage, how it is perceived by others and what should be done before marriage. Many young children grow up hearing fairytales with a prince and princess getting married and living happily ever after — an idea that transcends childhood and influences marriage decisions later in life. But, marriage is no fairytale unless both sides put in the effort and time to ensure a successful union. 

“There isn’t necessarily a best age to get married, but there definitely is a best time to get married. The best time to get married is when you feel comfortable and confident in your job and personal life. If you were to give yourself an exact age, you might find that you settle for whomever you’re with at that age,” said April Davis, the founder of LUMA Luxury Matchmaking.

Whether they be physical or personality traits, there are also numerous expectations that relate to the notion of a perfect partner. We build the concept of a perfect spouse in our minds. When people who  enter and pass through our lives do not meet these expectations, we may lose hope. We ponder who our husband/wife/life partner will be and question when they will come. Some of us restrict ourselves by doing this, or we are too open. 

When I say restrict, I mean that often we have an overwhelming amount of expectations, sometimes to the point that finding someone we deem perfect seems impossible. Through each person that enters and exits our lives we either think “Will I find someone like that again?” or “I hope I never meet someone like that again.” We add new rules in hopes of protecting ourselves and we put up more barriers to avoid heartbreak. Now, this can be beneficial if the person was toxic and manipulative, but sometimes too much protection can block ourselves from amazing people truly meant for us. 

What I mean when I say we are too open is this: we get too tired of looking for the perfect one that we settle with what we already have. We may also think that the specific person we are infatuated by is the one and no one else could take their place. But this is dangerous — it can make us be accepting of red flags that they give off. We may start accepting their toxic behavior, thinking that we or a relationship could save it. 

Oftentimes we face many constraints in our search for a life partner as well, and some of these constraints commonly stem from the communities we inhabit. For instance, people interjecting themselves or poking around in our business regarding who we should marry. Restrictions are placed on us. The person we are marrying is expected to be from the same culture, be a specific ethnicity, religion, age, hold a specific job or career and so many more. When we already have expectations of who we want to marry, this places an added layer of stress on something that should be entirely up to us.

In my religion, Islam, marrying someone is as if you’ve completed half of your deen, or religion. I take the topic of marriage very seriously due to my religion, as I want to find someone who will bring me closer to Allah and Jannah while also being a good husband and best friend alongside me on this Dunya. It is important for me to have a husband who has a close and positive relationship with our religion while also possessing empathy, love, kindness, sincerity, loyalty and self-love. 

We should always have and practice self-love first before seeking that love from someone else. 

“People with low self-esteem tend to underestimate their partner’s love and view their partners in more negative terms, perhaps because they don’t believe that ‘a good person’ could love them. As a result, they tend to also report less satisfaction with their relationship and less optimism about its future,” said Dr. Juliana Breines, a social and health psychologist. 

When you love yourself you’re less likely to doubt yourself, you’re able to make the right decision evaluating who will be the best spouse to spend your life with. You’re able to attract people with the same positive energy you give off. All of which will lead to a healthy marriage. 

Oftentimes, we might judge someone by first glance and pay too much attention to detail. We might want someone who has a specific body shape, facial features, height, hair, ethnicity, etc. while not paying attention to the person themself. In the end, aren’t we all just souls living inside of a meat shell? 

It’s okay to be attracted to specific physical features such as height, beards and hair, but we need to keep in mind that physical beauty is temporary. What’s most important is inner beauty, personality, positive energy and the love a person radiates and sends your way. What matters is how much you laugh with them, the intimacy you share and how much you care for each other. You both need to understand each other and be ready to make sacrifices. 

We need a life partner that will help us grow and help ourselves to become a better us every day. This world is big, and to be able to be with the one we love, travel with them, practice self-love, grow, cry, love, laugh and live is one of the best feelings in the world.