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So, you think you have found “the one” in your college MSA? You’ve been chastely observing this person for the better part of a semester or even a couple of years at this point. You’ve noticed great things about their character and the potential compatibility between the two of you. You also have a pretty big crush on them, to be honest. You think you’re ready to be married–maybe even to that person! But now you’re wondering, how do I move forward towards getting married? 

First off, I am so excited and so happy for you! Yay! Not only did you find someone you might potentially spend the rest of your life with, but you are also wanting to stay on the straight and narrow and keep everything above board. Great for you, mashaAllah! I pray that this endeavor is successful and that it works out for you two, inshallah.

Secondly, here is some advice on how to move forward from your older sister-in-Islam. This suggested four-step method ensures that you keep some crucial guardrails on to keep it halal. Single ladies–please don’t think this guide is just for the brothers, this is also for all the Khadijah’s out there!

Introspection: Are You Ready to Be Married?

The first piece of the puzzle you have to sort out is the half of the marriage that already exists: you. You will need some time for introspection and real-talk with yourself. Are you ready to be married? After that, move on with family discussions once you’re ready.

Go out to the park or a beach for a few hours with a notebook and a pen for some deep, uninterrupted thinking. Leave your phone in your car or turn it off while you’re considering the following questions. Take this person you’ve been envisioning yourself with and remove them from your thoughts as you go through this journey with absolute integrity. At the end of the day, if you’re not ready to be married then it is not the right time to move forward. You have been thinking and daydreaming about this fellow MSA-er as the person you’ll end up married to, but you’d rather be ready to marry the right person at the right time in order to have a great chance at success and happiness. It’s also important to imagine what your goals are for yourself as a spouse, parent, child-in-law, etc., and then consider if you are in a position in which you could meet those goals.

Gauging Your Marriage-Readiness

Questions you need to ask yourself in this park to determine if you’re ready to be married:

  •  Is this the right time in your life (~1 year) to be approaching someone for marriage? 
  • Are you mature enough to handle being in a committed, life-long relationship? 
  • What is your life going to look like in the next few years in terms of finances and further education or career growth?
  • What do you expect your relationship to look like a year from now, three years from now, five years from now, and ten years from now?
  • Will you be able to handle the logistics and responsibilities of running a household between you and another person? 
  • What can you offer(material, spiritual, emotional, etc.) to any potential spouse you’d marry at this time? 
  • What past traumas, character flaws, spiritual issues, addictions, etc. can you identify that will be obstacles in your marriage that you and/or your spouse will have to overcome? 

Considering What You Want in Your Spouse

The last thing you should think about is what you want in your ideal marriage, knowing that no marriage or life will ever be perfect. Without thinking about the particular person you’ve got your eye on, think of the essential things you do and don’t want in your spouse. I call this the list of “must-haves” and “deal-breakers.” 

List 3-5 things for each category. I like my items to be specific and measurable, a tip I learned from Shaykh Yaser Birjas. Try avoiding things requirements like “he is religious.” Making something more concrete that you could pinpoint with words or actions like “she goes to the masjid more than once a week.”

Some examples that could be your deal-breakers are:

  •  doesn’t fast in Ramadan (and has no valid excuse to skip)
  • smokes or vapes
  • works for a company that supports the Israeli occupation
  • isn’t college educated

 Must-haves you might think of are: 

  • wants to have children
  • prays all 5 prayers punctually every day
  • speaks a certain language
  • open to pre-marital/marriage counseling  

Now you have a list written in ink about what you won’t compromise on when it comes to considering any person for marriage. Your approach to sticking to all points of this list are up to you–perhaps if a potential spouse doesn’t have any deal-breakers but is missing a single must-have, you’ll consider speaking to a marriage counselor or trusted advisor about this issue before moving forward with them…or perhaps that one thing is so important to you, you’ll wait for a person who has everything you’re looking for.  


Remember that you make up half of the potential marriage. Although it seems counterproductive to spend so much time looking inwards at yourself, you’ve laid the foundation for a huge step in your life.

[In Part II, we’ll tackle your family]

Related reading:

 – “Are You Prepared for Marriage and Building a Family?

Are You Prepared for Marriage and Building a Family?

 – “What Is The Role of Expectations In A Marriage?

What Is The Role Of Expectations In a Marriage? | Haleh Banani

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Source: Muslim Matters