Someone asked, "In your wedding documentary video, you mentioned about marrying the right way as opposed to marrying right away. How do we know if we're marrying the right way and not right away?"
I'm afraid, like so many things in life, the answer is not black and white.
Life is not like math.
In the video, I gave a general description of what "the right way" means i.e. to get married when one is mature enough to take the relationship to where it is supposed to go - to Paradise.
Maturity is not one thing, rather it is a harmonious blend of many things such as physical maturity (puberty), mental maturity (how you view the world), emotional maturity (how you control your emotions), spiritual maturity (how you are with God), material maturity (having survival skills, like cooking), intrapersonal maturity (how you are with yourself), interpersonal maturity (how you are with people), etc.
At the same time, I am not suggesting that we all become angels before we get married. That is impossible. Angels are made of light, while we are made of clay. So we are not and will not be angels; we will always carry with us flaws and shortcomings. I hope we can get that unrealistic expectation out of our heads.
Hence, in the video, I balanced my maturity argument by saying "I am not a finished product, and I will never be a finished product. I'll always be a work in progress", meaning that I will always have things that I need to improve upon. I was not perfect when I married my wife, and I am still not. The same thing can be said about my wife.
If one manages to find the equilibrium point between being mature enough and realizing that one is not perfect, then one would have an idea of the difference between marrying right away and marrying the right way.
One key thing that will help with finding that equilibrium point is seeking consultation, from wise people (Istisharah) and from God (Istikharah).
With regards to Istisharah, one thing that people, especially young people, needs to realize is that we don't know everything, even though we might be able to convince ourselves that we do. We just need to stop lying to ourselves, to humble ourselves, and to seek necessary advice from wise sources. A huge part of maturity is our ability to suppress our ego and listen to advice (and criticisms).
If you can't do that, then that might be a good sign that you are not ready to get married yet - start fasting.
With regards to Istikharah, this is the final step in our decision making process. In my view, this is what makes Muslims different from others when it comes to making decisions; we rely solely on God, after we have done our due diligence.
One needs to humble oneself and to realize that one doesn't have all the variables, but God does. So we ask God to show us if this decision that we are about to make is the best for us in the short term (our worldly life) and in the long term (our Afterlife). Even if we think that this decision is the best for us, it might be not. We might miss something in the equation and our calculation might not add up in the end.
So we ask God to check our math, and show us the right answer i.e. to give what is best for us, not what we think is best for us.
Hmm...I guess life is like math after all.