The process for marriage is arduous riddled with all sorts of stumbling blocks because there are no hard and fast rules to help guide “the process” just a few bright-lines. Very few “rules” are followed. A lot of Muslim experiences are actually cultural norms, often times conflicting with our American social environment. I wrote up a piece on “5 Things Muslim girls shouldn’t do on matrimonial websites” which lead to a host of conversations offline. I realized I had more to say on this subject. The following are my thoughts on ways single Muslims talking to someone for the purpose of getting married shouldn’t end the process (a couple of them have happened to me and I admit I might have used one of them), again none of them are “defined rules” so use your judgement and be civil:
1. Visiting the Dark Side of the Moon
People tend to disappear during the conversation process without so much of a warning. Its like when Apollo missions went to the far side of the moon and lost connection with Houston, sadly, NASA had prior warning, today people aimlessly play the guessing game. Guys tend to be the biggest offenders of this. The assumption that crosses peoples minds is that the person isn’t interested and just doesn’t want to tell me, or the person fears telling the individual why they don’t want to consider them, so they feel that the nicest way to end things is to just go silent. I think thats a bad idea, especially if you’re just busy with life. Just communicate it. Do not end the process by just stopping communications, tell them its time to go your separate ways. Thats called having class and being civil.
2. Texting Demise
The first person to use this method was a self absorbed arse. This method reeks of selfish emotional tendencies and a complete lack of civility. I am sure if the other person made the process so difficult as to elicit a “break up text” then we could all call it a deserved ending. However, Muslims aren’t (or at least shouldn’t) be engaged in that type of dependent “relationship” but rather talking to one another to figure out if there is room for a relationship. Ending the process through text, no matter how easy it would be, is a BAD IDEA. People owe it to themselves to not take the easy route on this, the challenge is to be honest to yourself and others while trying to look for your prospect spouse, so don’t cop out by ending the conversation via a text message. (Especially if you have been talking for some time)
3. Shifting the Responsibility
Much like texting, asking someone like a friend or a relative (i.e. Mom) to end the conversation in a process where you have taken the time to talk to one another is not acceptable. Again, it might seem like the easiest or safest or harmless way to end things, but thats selfish. A person deserves to have an adult conversation about this and an opportunity to digest the incident rather then be abruptly told that its over. You feel guilt over wanting to end the relationship, so this seems like an easier way to do things. You will feel like you’re the one causing pain and you don’t want to deal with the guilt. Relinquish the guilt, its part of the process, but don’t take the easy route.
4. Pimpin’ yourself out
Don’t be talking to two people and decide that you’re going to end it with one of them because you like the other. Worse, ending it by saying you were talking to someone else at the same time and that the other person is they are better for you is wrong. That person never stood a chance because of your selfishness and you consciously lead them on. Worse, if you were indecisive and couldn’t choose between the two, so you strung them along, shame on you. (People like you shouldn’t even be considering marriage, get your shit together first!) First of all, don’t lie about it, better yet, don’t put yourself in that predicament by talking to two people simultaneously. I think its not Islamically permissible, but I need to double check that.
5. Murky waters of emailing
When is it OK and when is it not OK? I think there is a degree of relativity as to how you hand each one so take my advice as being a general guide in how you act. If its someone you have been talking to really in depth about things, face to face meeting even, you can’t just send a one-line e-mail that its over without any explanation. That person deserves the courtesy of a explanation. And if its at a whole different level of serious- like on verge of engagement or pretty darn close to it- you cannot send an e-mail at all – have to tell that person to their face!
6. Don’t be a jerk
Before you decide to break things off, consider how you would have wanted someone to break things off with you. What didn’t work, didn’t sit well with you, stung badly. That process is called empathizing. This might be something that the person will take personally, so that fear of a confrontation is always present. Most of us don’t want confrontation in this process, but don’t be surprised if the person does take it personally. To better manage that internalization and your response to it, use honesty to frame the message and reason why it wont work out. However don’t be so honest as to be mean. Remember to have sympathy for the other person, their expectations or perceptions might be greatly different then yours.