Ah, university Muslim Students’ Associations, where would we be without you? A lot of us would be single, no doubt. Here’s the story of yet another cross-cultural MSA couple, enjoy! 😀
*Disclaimer: author’s identity has been kept anonymous.
1.) How and when did you first meet your husband? What were your first impressions of each other?
We were both on the MSA shura at uni (how original) and worked on a project together so got to know each other that way. I actually used to confuse him for one of the other guys on the shura at first so it took me a while to remember his name lol! He was very focused at the time which was something I liked but it took quite a while for me to actually think of him as anything other than a friend. His first impression of me was apparently of someone who was really smiley and just a little bit ditzy. Hey, opposites attract!
2.) How did you guys commence getting to know each other?
We were working on a project together at the time so had frequent meetings and got to know each pretty well pretty quickly. It definitely wasn’t love at first sight for me but friends were telling me all the time that he was interested- I just couldn’t see it. Eventually we had a bit of an awkward conversation online where we both sort of admitted that we liked each other in a very roundabout way and it kind of went from there. Needless to say, meetings got pretty awkward after that!
3.) How did you get to know each other? (i.e. phone, email etc)
We were friends first so we used to catch up when we were at uni to get to know each other, phone calls, emails etc. Our parents knew that we were getting to know each other so it wasn’t in secret or anything like that. They were pretty flexible about it and knew it was inevitable given we were at uni and on the shura together.
4.) How long did you get to know each other before you got married?
Our relationship was slightly complicated given we both came from different cultures, we were both at uni and he moved interstate for work while I had to stay here to finish my degree. We knew each other for 3 years before we got married and were engaged for about 2 and half of those years. I cant say it was a particularly pleasant time given the length of time but it gives you the opportunity to really get to know someone before tying the knot.
5.) What were the main obstacles, if any, as you got to know each other?
We came from very different cultures so accepting the “way things are done” between each others families was a bit difficult. We were very fortunate though in that neither of our families had an issue with the culture thing- it was more an issue with age and having the financial ability to setup house that caused us to take so long to get married ( and the fact that he was living a thousand km’s away for a year or so!).
6.) When were you certain that you wanted to get married to each other?
Right away really. As I said, we already knew each other before even considering marriage so it was easy to go from friends to “ hey…so lets get married!”. There’s always fluctuations in a relationship where you second-guess and wonder whether it will really work but you need to trust your gut really. At some difficult stages in the relationship, people around us would tell us its best to break it off but it really does boil down to what you think is best.
7.) Did you have a social engagement before your wedding reception? (i.e. some kind of party/exchange of rings)
Yes, we had a fatiha at home ( which they don’t do in his culture so it was a bit of a surprise for his parents!) where he gave me a ring and a katb ktab (nikkah) party around a year later.
8.) Did you do nikkah (Islamic marriage ceremony) 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 had our nikkah done around a year and a half before we got married and just before he moved interstate. We had been together around a year and a half before that and it felt right to do it. We were seeing each other often and were aware of the Islamic considerations in this situation. Also, he was moving interstate and we wanted to be able to visit each other and remain within Islamic boundaries.
9.) Do you have any advice for single people on the process of meeting someone/getting to know someone?
Trust your instinct. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t push it. Don’t be too picky- look for qualities in a person that you know will see you through a lifetime. It’s not about his financial status, car or career prospects- those come later. And boys, her looks will fade so judge your future wife by her personality not the size of her waist. Ultimately you need to be able to look at that person and be comfortable knowing that they will be the mother/father of your children. When it comes time to dowry/wedding/rings etc, be humble and stop at your limits. I’ve seen countless great couples break up because of stupid materialistic things. If he cant afford a massive wedding or dowry, make do with what you can afford. There will not only be more barakah (blessings) in your marriage but he will appreciate you more for it. Definitely don’t go into debt for a wedding- that’s a disaster waiting to happen!
Boys, understand that there’s a lot more to a relationship than physical attraction. Yes, it’s important but it’s marginal. Look beyond the exterior. You’ll be surprised by what you might find.