A student asked me a very popular question that I got: how I got married. It is one of those stories that I have told many, many times. But I don’t feel bored by it, because that is one of the best stories in my life. I don’t think I will ever be bored by that story.
I told him that I wanted to get married when I was 18. That time I was in Taylor’s University College, studying in a pre-university program before I flew to Canada. From that moment, I was searching for a potential partner in life.
5 years later, I found my wife, who happened to be my classmate back when I was in secondary school.
He took a moment to digest the story, and then he asked me a very interesting question, “So, you started with the intention to get married?”
I was taken aback a bit by the question, and just said, “Ummm…yeah.” I thought that was common sense. You always start with an intention, and then you do the action. But he pointed out something that I have never thought of before.
He said many people start with having a romantic relationship first. They invest their emotions in the relationship, and spend months or maybe years together in the relationship. Then, one day they make the intention for marriage if they feel like they want to tie the knot.
The intention for marriage comes later.
He pointed out something in my story that I didn’t see. I told my wife about it, and even she didn’t see it. We both learned something new about our own love story. I didn’t start with the intention to have a romantic relationship first. I immediately started with searching for a potential partner for marriage.
Romance was the second thing on my list, because I always thought that I want to be romantic with my wife. Not my girlfriend. Why? Because I always wanted to say “I love you” and get rewarded by Allah for saying it. From my perspective, that can only be achieved after marriage.
I am not saying that my love story is the best one there is out there. My love story is just one story of many. But through my conversation with that student, I got an insight into what might be the reason why many young people face difficulties getting out of a bad relationship.
“I know he’s not the right guy, but I love him so much.”
I don’t know how many times I read that line in my inbox.
I totally understand the difficulty of letting go of someone dear to our heart. It is especially difficult when you are thinking of marriage and then realizing that the person you are emotionally attached to is not really the husband or the wife you are looking for.
It hurts. I know.
That is why I would advise to postpone emotional attachment until after marriage, not before marriage. If you start with romance, then you might be putting the cart before the horse. That doesn’t look right to me. Romance should come later.
Okay, at this point I understand that people might not see the sense in how I see marriage. We were taught to find love first, right? That is true, we were taught that way. That idea is in novels, movies, and in real life. Undeniably, there are marriages out there who started that way and they last longer than many others.
I don’t want to make the mistake of saying that if you find love, then you will definitely fail. No, but I do believe there is a risk in finding love first. Getting emotionally attached to someone before deciding to marry the person has a risk of not having a clear mind to analyze the person as a potential life partner.
When you are already emotionally attached, it is difficult to think about the person objectively. Emotions can blur the mind. If you can think clearly about the person and determine that the person might not be the husband or the wife you’re looking for, then you have a new problem.
It is hard to let go.
When you have invested so much emotions into the person then realizing that he or she is not the life partner that is best suited for your ultimate goal in life, then you are torn between love and long-term happiness.
On one hand, you know that you should pursue your ultimate goal in life (attaining Jannah). On the other hand, you are too emotionally attached to the person that you don’t want to let him or her go. Either you go with your principle, or you go with your feeling.
Sometimes, you try to achieve both. What if the person changes and becomes the life partner I want? That could happen, right?
Yes, definitely. People can change.
But, you have to see the commitment to change happening before marriage. Not after. If you are seriously considering marrying the person and the person shares the same feeling, then both of you should already be committed in doing whatever it takes to start the marriage on the right foot.
In other words, if the man or the woman you are marrying isn’t showing the effort to change, then you have to ask yourself if the person is truly committed or not. We are not talking about completely changing, of course. That would be unrealistic.
But, we are talking about commitment to change. The person is taking the first steps and seriously make the effort to better himself or herself. It is possible that people will change, but there has to be evidence to show that the commitment is there.
Words alone is not enough.
It is a risk to hope to marry someone who might change. I understand that because you love the person so much, that you cling to that hope. I am not asking you to abandon the hope, I am simply saying you are taking a big risk.
That is why this post is about not getting married because of love. This is not to say that there is absolutely no love before marriage. No. I did love my wife before I married her, but it wasn’t a romantic love. It was attraction-based love. I was attracted to her, and that is important to start a marriage.
Don’t get married with someone you’re not attracted to. If you want to start a fire, you have to start with a spark (that’s the attraction before marriage). Once the spark starts the fire, then you have to maintain the fire and not let it fade away (that’s the romantic love after marriage).
Start the marriage with attraction, not romance. The question is, what are you attracted to? That is something you have to figure out for yourself. Your attraction depends on what you value most in life. Your priorities will determine your attraction.
If you are superficial, then you might be mainly attracted to superficial things like the looks, the money, and the status. If you are non-superficial, then you might be mainly attracted to non-superficial things like character, attitude, and personality.
Your marriage will stand on the priorities you set. If you set strong priorities, then your marriage will stand on something strong.