Every couple has a story. It begins with a meeting, whether by chance or by design. It continues due to mutual interest and culminates in marriage if that interest proves to have staying power. I’m fascinated by the journey of each and every couple I meet. I often want to bombard them with a million and one questions on how and when it all began, but can’t in case I seem like a total creep. But through this blog I finally get to indulge my creepiness and share it with the world :p
Reading about how other people met and got to know each other could impact singles in two ways. It could potentially depress the hell out of you, inevitably resulting in the consumption of copious amounts of icecream. (I recommend Connoiseur’s Cookies and Cream for this purpose.) The other impact it could have is to give you some hope that you too will meet Mr/Ms Right, and maybe even give you some ideas about how to go about it. I’m hoping it’s the latter, because this is only the first of many ‘How I Met Your Brother/Sister’ posts to come iA. Enjoy!
*Identities have been kept anonymous at the interviewee’s request. Drawing was also kindly provided by the interviewee!
1.) How and when did you first meet your husband? What were your first impressions of each other?
We met because we both volunteered at a detention centre. I met his best friend and partner in crime, who thought I was strange and thus good for Reginald (yes, this is the absurd fake name my husband has chosen for this interview). Then the friend organised a lunch with a group of people and we both came. I thought he seemed interesting and funny. A disclaimer: I had no idea then about his predisposition for choosing ridiculous fake names.
2.) How did you guys commence getting to know each other? (I.e. who expressed interest and how it was conveyed)
I guess we were lucky in that we had an easy setting through which to meet appropriately, that being the detention centre. Not that we were volunteering specifically just to hang out with each other, but we would generally say hi and have a chat if we were there together, and often I would use Reginald to translate for me if the detainees didn’t speak English. We hung out a lot in groups of friends. Reginald eventually was kind of like, so shall we get married? I was at the time holding a toy monkey called ‘Screamy’ because it screamed when you catapult it. It wasn’t exactly the most romantic moment in history. I immediately turned bright purple as I am wont to do when feeling nervous, and mumbled yes.
3.) How did you get to know each other? (i.e. phone, email etc)
Both phone and email, and hanging out with friends, family and, when we were engaged, going out for coffee. I went on holiday for two weeks while we were getting to know each other and we emailed a LOT. We did endless amounts of those online Muslim marriage quizzes, which are really good because they make you ask hard, practical and revealing questions that, when you’re in a tizzy of romance, you tend to brush over. I highly recommend them.
4.) How long did you get to know each other before you got married?
Between engagement and marriage? Two and a half months. And from meeting to engagement, seven weeks, so all up that’s three and a half months (ish?). My parents were like, wut? And to be honest if my sister met someone and married that fast I’d tell her she’s a majnoonah (the perfect insult as she would have no idea what it means and thus wouldn’t beat me up) and to hold her horses, but I knew, inshallah, it was right and it was.
5.) What were the main obstacles, if any, as you got to know each other?
Meeting up with each other and getting to know each other in an Islamically appropriate way, I guess. It was a major concern for both of us and honestly it’s REALLY hard if you don’t do the nikkah within 20 seconds of initial meeting. Of other married people I know, this was a major issue for them, too. If you’re not doing the tea and coffee circuits, it’s really hard to get to know someone well enough to know you’re interested in marriage, without crossing the lines. It’s a constant balancing act and we talked about it a lot, and I’m sure we got it wrong sometimes. But we did our best and overall I’m really proud of how we stuck to the restrictions and boundaries that are necessary to be in the clear Islamically.
6.) When were you certain that you wanted to get married to each other?
This is super sappy, but the first time I ever met Reginald, I thought to myself that I could see myself married to him. That sentence sounds so ridiculous with his fake name. Over the course of getting to know him, I only became more and more certain. I prayed about it a LOT. When he proposed there wasn’t a single bit of doubt in my mind that this is what I wanted.
7.) Did you have a social engagement before your wedding reception? (i.e. some kind of party/exchange of rings)
No, I don’t think that was either of our cup of tea. We were pretty cavalier about the whole thing. We had a family meet and greet and left it there.
8.) Did you do nikkah before your wedding reception? If yes, then what influenced your decision to do so? If not, was there any reason you decided to leave it until the wedding reception?
We did our nikkah at the wedding reception. This is because my family are Christian and I wanted my wedding to be something they could enjoy and understand as a wedding. We spoke about this with the sheikh who did our marriage and he agreed that it was important to respect family and was happy to do the nikkah at the reception, and give a bit of a speech as well. I think it was a bit unusual for everyone there, but we loved it and so did our families, which is all we needed really.
9.) Do you have any advice for single people on the process of meeting someone/getting to know someone?
– If you have married friends, ask them if their husbands have any single friends. Ask your (blood) brothers, if you have any. (If it’s not completely embarrassing, that is. I would probably have preferred to die surrounded by cats than to consult my brother. He would have had way too much fun. Married friends are definitely the way to go).
– Volunteer. Join MSA or whatever, any Muslim volunteer organisation. Or not Muslim- just something you’re interested in and passionate about and maybe you’ll find other Muslims there who are interested in the same thing. This is how I met Reginald (obvs). Aside from possible snagging yourself a spouse, volunteering is a great thing to do for yourself.
– There are great new initiatives in Sydney for people looking for marriage, like the Mission of Hope ‘The M Word’ program. It seems like a pretty great way to get straight to the point, and in an Islamically appropriate setting. You can find that one on Facebook and sign up there.
– Pray. Make dua. Stress less because you know that your life is guided by the best of planners.