>> Monday, August 27, 2012
Although we usually give advice to sisters on this blog, this is a ONCE in a DLA life time post intended for brothers. It's a sort of guideline to help them out when they go to propose ;)
What Not To Say
You've asked for this girl's hand in marriage.
Your friends of mutual family friends...You don't exactly know her, but your mutual friends reassured you that she's nice looking ("Chillax, bro, she's good-lookin"), from a good family ("They're like all doctors and engineers"), and knows her deen well ("Ma'shaAllah, she does her salah on time"). You've googled her, checked her facebook account, exchanged a few phone calls with her dad, and now...finally...
you're walking through her door.
Face to Face. What do you tell her?
And more importantly, what do you NOT not tell her? What must you- as a groom- avoid at any cost saying?
As a sister whose been there-seen that- heard that (OMG, he didn't just say that, did he?!)- I thought it was time I helped you guys out a bit.
1. "Are you going to quit your job/ studies?"
When you ask this question, many women hear: "Look, woman, you better stay home all day...every day..30 days a month, 24 hours a day...in fact, every minute of the day/year."
I know you're thinking, "But I didn't say that". Yeah, you didn't, and I'll be the first to admit that this is a legitimate question. You have every right to want a traditional lifestyle. But you need to understand that unfortunately, most of us (men/ women) are brainwashed into thinking that we are what we do. For women who have been working for a few years, it can be scary to imagine quitting their job suddenly. They're used to going to a certain place every day, meeting their co-workers, getting a certain salary, etc. When you word the question like that, it's like you're asking them to give up their identity and everything they're used to.
Instead, try a more neutral question, like: "So, how are you planning to balance married life with work?"
2." Did you cook that? Can you cook?"
First of all, if it looks like something Martha Stewart made, there are pretty big chances (90%) that she did not make it. And when you ask her "Did you make it", you basically set her up for a mini-heart attack. She starts thinking, "I knew it. He just wants a professional cook/ maid. If she's fluent in sarcasm, she might be thining, "It looks like he's looking for a partner for his stomach."
Instead, try saying: "So, what do you think you need to work on more or develop more before married life?"
If she needs to learn how to cook, she'll probably let you know with that kind of question.
3. "You know you have to obey your husband?"
We know that. When a man says it on the very first meeting (or even the 2nd or 3rd), though, especially if he's looking very serious, it can often be (mis-)interpreted as a threat. The woman hears: Be my slave.
And her instinct is: Run!
Instead, say: In Islam, men and women have rights and obligations on each other.What do you think is the most important right you have as a wife over your husband? And what do you think is the most important right your husband has over you?
4. "I expect you to fully respect my mother". [This is the sister of "My mother is #1 in my life.]
Put yourself in a woman's shoes, for one sec. Do you know how many horror mother in law stories we have heard? When you ask this question or say this statement, a woman hears, "You have to do my Momma's laundry, cook food for her, and of course, wipe the ground she walks on."
Whereas in question #3, she hears that you want her to be your slave, this time she hears that you want her to be your mother's slave. Again, her instinct is: RUN.
What to say: "You know, Islam has placed so much emphasis on the rights our mothers have on us. I would love it so much if my mother and wife could get along well. I want the 2 most important women in my life to be friends.[You can add something like: I just hope my wife can remember that my mother's growing a little older..."
Here's the thing. Many women are indirect/shy. If they ask you a question, and then another question, and then another question, they're probably hoping that you'll ask them the questions back in turn. They want to be given a chance to share with you, too, and talk about themselves but don't exactly know how to let YOU know that they want to talk.
So, if a woman asks you a question like: "What are your hobbies", answer her and then, when you finish, don't say "Any other questions? What else would you like to know", but say:
"What about you?"
Say things like: I'd love to know what you think/ What about you/ How do you feel about that?
If it's usually you talking when you go to a sister's house and you've never actually had a sister ask you questions, try asking the sister, "So, is there anything you want to discuss?"
And that's the key point. It's not a one sided university lecture. It's a discussion.
Well brothers, these are a few small clues to help you out. I leave it to my sisters here to add any more points they think you should know.
Remember to pray istikharah beforehand (and afterwards) and bring a special gift with you (hint: a box of chocolate is always good). And one last hint: it is a good idea to have some sort of plan of what you want to DO with your life BEFORE you go :)
May Allah bless all the singles with beautiful and pious partners who help them on the path to jannah.