Understand You- Expectations Ascertain the expectations you hold for marriage. Many couples enter a marriage with unspoken and usually unconscious expectations of what their spouse is going to provide and fulfill. Honestly examining your expectations of marriage and your potential spouse is a necessary step in preventing disappointment. Ask yourself,
"What do I think marriage will be like?" "Who and what have influenced these
"What is my
parents' relationship like?" "How does this play a role in what I expect in my
marriage?" "What does the term 'husband' mean to me?" The answers to these types of questions will help spotlight your expectations about marriage and the basis for those expectations. Understanding your expectations and assessing how realistic they are is a vital step toward helping you enter into marriage with open eyes.
Everybody should acquire two critical skills before getting married:
Communication and conflict resolution. These are essential to making a marriage successful. You and your potential spouse will begin to understand how you each communicate as you get to know one another. Not communicating and misinterpreting communication will cause numerous problems in a marriage. This is the time to ask yourself;
"Am I good at communicating my feelings and thoughts?" "How do I resolve a conflict: do I ignore it, solve
it?" "Am I a good listener?" Understanding your approach and identifying your weaknesses are valuable because marriage carries the responsibility to communicate
your needs and frustrations with your spouse. It is equally important to understand your
spouse's communication style and conflict resolution skills and how compatible they are to yours. Ultimately, the effort you and your spouse put in this area will form the backbone of your marriage.
Entering into a marriage is a time to grow as an individual and to grow interdependently with a spouse. Having the courage to discover your expectations and weaknesses and taking responsibility for the direction of your marriage requires a mature approach. To grow spiritually in your marriage requires that you learn to be
less selfish and more loving, even during times of conflict. Move beyond the fantasy and unrealistic expectations and realize that marriage is about making a conscious choice to love and care for your
spouse-even when you do not feel like it. A marriage needs love, support, tolerance, honesty, respect, humility, realistic expectations and a sense of humor to be
These values will help a marriage survive
conflict, disappointment and problems. Marriage is a beautiful relationship that Muslims should enter with an understanding of all of its dimensions. If Prophet Muhammad reminds us that marriage is
"half our faith," then how can we as Muslims go into something this central with a lack of preparation and understanding? We can only be good spouses once
we understand what it means to be married and mentally prepare ourselves for the
Munira Lekovic Ezzeldine is the author of Before the
Wedding: 150 Questions for Muslims to Ask before Getting Married. Munira has also
written two Islamic Studies textbooks for the Bureau of Islamic and Arabic Education. She received her undergraduate degree from UCLA and is currently pursuing her
master's degree in Marriage and Family Counseling at California State University, Fullerton. For the last eight years, Munira has worked with youth groups, teaching classes and mentoring. Her extensive speaking on the topics of marriage and gender equity coupled with her experience of being raised as a Muslim in the United States gives her the ability to connect with the young
Muslim generation. Munira is happily married and has two children.
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