These are not icebreaker questions. These are relationship-defining questions. Too often, I’ve seen couples in the early stages ask one another a series of interview-style questions. And here’s the problem with doing just that: You’re not hiring for a position here, you’re building a halal relationship that is meant to be a place for both of you to thrive on your journey to Allah, the Most Gracious. The team at Khadijah Elite cares about more than just Muslim matchmaking -we want to see couples come together, grow together and thrive together.
Here’s the catch with the questions below:
- You’ve got to process them for yourself too!
- Don’t drill someone new with these right away, rather find a time where a meaningful conversation is possible.
- There is no right answer to these. Each one is a powerful door to open for a world of discovery together for you and your future spouse’s healthy Muslim relationship.
- What have you done to process your past trauma/difficulties and how do they still affect you today?
No one has gone through life unscathed by difficulties that have shaken them emotionally and left some scars. Everyone has a story that can break your heart or cause you to shed a tear. Often when relationships are at an early or pre-marital stage, we talk about difficult situations without diving deep into what they meant. It almost feels like proper etiquette to offer some words of support, a kind prayer, and to avoid triggering the other. The problem with doing this polite tip-toeing is that it causes us to bypass difficult conversations that will inevitably come challenge not just the other person, but your marriage later on.
Now, do you see why you’ve got to work on these for yourself? Let’s be clear: It is not your job to become your future spouse’s therapist, nor do you need to know every dark detail of their pain. You’ve got to accept this person and all they’ve gone through, and not only the snapshot you just met. Everyone carries some pain with them. Getting to know what that load looks like for your partner will help you develop compassion for what they’ve gone through.
Look at our beloved Prophet Muhammad; may God continue to nourish our connection to him. When he remarried after the passing of our Lady Khadijah, may God increase her light in our lives; the love he had for her did not die. Even though his life moved on, his heart continued to feel pain when her loving memory came up, and he let the tears flow down his blessed face. Our spiritual mothers, his other spouses after Lady Khadijah, understood this and would hold loving space for him and his very human, completely acceptable pain. This is what Islam teaches us about love in relationships. You cannot change your partner’s past, you cannot remove the pain for them, but you can always be a testament of God’s love in their life and show up as a light and share the space for their process.
Marriage comes with an ocean of emotions, so this will do two things: trigger emotions from other times in your life and finally give you the safety for some buried emotions to surface. Knowing this about yourself and sharing it will allow you to prepare yourself to be vulnerable with your spouse so you may grow together as you lovingly support one another with mercy and compassion.
- What are your best hopes and plans in caring for your elderly parents/relatives?
You’ve obviously heard the expression when you marry someone, you marry their whole family. This is only as true as the sky being blue. No matter what relationship someone has with their family, this will always come into your future marriage—and this does not have to be bad news!
This means you’ll need to be aware of this person’s dynamic with their family and the emotional responsibility they carry.
The physical responsibilities are often clear and easier to see, assisting with certain tasks, living situations, family dinners, etc. However, the emotional responsibility is something else, and this is the unseen dynamic that governs the expectations this family has of this person. These require some deeper conversations and observation. Observe the person as they speak of their family; observe to understand, not to judge. Are they uncomfortable when they talk about their family? Are they nervous or uncertain? Do they not have an answer because maybe you’re the first one asking about their future intentions for their aging parents?
Sadly our parents often age faster than we are ready for. This means we are not always prepared to plan too far in advance for our presence nor to have these important long conversations when the need arises. Having these conversations early on and often will make sure that whatever happens, you and your spouse will show up as a team. Family challenges can cause painful fragmentation when someone is made to feel like they have to choose or like they have to work to get their spouse on their side. So make it crystal clear from the start, and make sure you can live with the intentions you make together.
Intentions set for the sake of Allah at the very beginning will only yield blessing for your marriage. Set intentions together to take actions based on the guidelines that God has set for us. The Prophet Muhammad told his companions that it was more blessed for them to look after their aging parent in need than to fight along him in battle. Every family’s situation is different and can change over time, however, unified intentions can help you both stay on the same page as needs arise. Plans change, intentions shouldn’t.
These conversations require a heightened level of honesty. Even though someone has no intention to lie to you, they sometimes have not even been that honest with themselves. That’s why these conversations are not a one-stop shop. They need to be something that as future partners and as husband and wife, you can approach talking about your families as a team rather than different sides of the table.
- What do you do when you’re at a spiritual low?
We all fall.
We all self-sabotage.
We all fail.
We all have regrets.
Unfortunately, not everyone knows what to do with those moments and feelings. This is an area of our lives that looks completely different between men and women and from one person to the next.
Some require space, some require support.
Some want to talk it out, some want to keep it to themselves.
Some need to dive into deep repentance and grief, some need to tap back into joy and gratitude.
Some have never had support, some may have a supportive network they need to turn to.
Many of us are still on a trial-and-error basis, and we need to learn to communicate through that. Often times it’s not something between a couple that breaks them apart, rather something that one is going through and the other couldn’t support them through. We are often the toughest on those closest to us, and that is not because we are angry with them, but often because we are angry with ourselves.
Similarly, your relationship with Allah is between you and your Creator, however, it does involve those around you. Have you given thought to what you do when you need to reconnect with Allah and what this means for your future partner? How can they support you in this?
Zamilooni, our Beloved Prophet said. Cover me, comfort me. Before even telling what happened, he communicated what he needed.
A relationship between a man and a woman in Islam, for the sake of Allah, is more than a marriage of two humans, it is the marriage of two souls. Your partner’s spiritual lows are not yours to carry, however, you’ve got to work as a team to create an environment that supports both of you. Spiritually bonded relationships are not only a matter of the heart, they also require skill and tact. Our Deen has given us the guideposts for all matters of life and requires us to work with the potential Allah has created us with. We cannot coast in life, faith or marriage.
Set lofty, holy intentions.
Place your full trust in God.
Firmly hold the hand of the one you are starting your life together and remember you are always on the same team.
Blog written by Dhouha Haddad
Family Social Worker
Certified Life Coach Practitioner
Proud Wife and Mother