Constantly Arguing

>> Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Salam Sisters!

I am university student who has a quick question.
 Me and my older sister don’t get on at all and I want to make a difference but she just doesn’t listen to me at all, I try and be patient and tell her nicely but she still doesn’t listen. What should I do, she is getting married in 5 months and I will be back at Uni so won’t see her very often. How should I act toward her, I’m just so lost.

Wa'alykum as salam wa rahmatullah wa barkatoo,

It's great that you want to improve your relationship with your sister! Ma'shaAllah. Now, here's the talk about 'telling her something nicely'....and wanting her to 'listen to you'. 

My question is: do you listen to her? And no, I don't mean 'let the air waves carry the sound of her voice to your ears'...I mean, really LISTEN to her.

Have you ever considered her view point?

Now, I'm not talking about something that the Sharia says is haram. You didn't mention what it is exactly that you disagree on...but the thing to keep in mind is that sometimes there is more than one way to see the picture. Perhaps you look at a zebra and think that it is black with white stripes, and she looks at it and thinks that it is white with black stripes. Neither one of you is wrong. You just see things differently.

The trouble arises when you try to force her to see it the way you see it. As human beings, we want our view points to be considered/ respected/ validated. We dislike feeling pressured into seeing things a certain way. Chances are, if you just tell her, "I can see your point but I still see things differently", that will solve a lot of trouble.

Try to use these ways to express disagreement (I'm taking a couple of them from e-how :P):
  • "Interesting––it seems we have different points of view. Do you mind if I explain where I'm coming from?"
  • "Really? I've had some different experiences that make me see things a little differently. Can I tell you what I think?
  • "How about we try your way one time and try my way one time?"
  • "You know, while I still think we have different approaches, I understand yours a little better now....

The other thing to do if you want your relationship to be better is to ask HER what it is that she's waiting for :)

Try telling her or writing to her something like the following: I really want our relationship to be better and I'm really sorry if I've done something to hurt you.  What can I do to make this situation right?" siblings, you guys don't necessarily have to be best friends or see everything eye to eye. But you should be polite to each other and have a generally good relationship with each other. She should know that she can count on you and that you will miss her when she gets married :) Tell her that. Invite her to eat out with you at a restaurant when you're both free. Surprise her with a small gift. Thank her for the small things she does for you (things even like making you tea, etc. :P). Send her a funny joke in an email or on facebook. Give her a nice Islamic message on her mobile...whatever. She will appreciate all of these things :)

Think of how you would treat your good friends....and treat your sister the same (if not better). Your relationship will soon improve, inshaAllah :)

May Allah make things easier for you,


What Should I Look For?

>> Saturday, June 22, 2013

Sisters I want advice for the things I should look for in a man, and how I should behave. I’m very confused and I feel stuck. My esteem is so down right now. There was a Muslim brother, who I thought was the most decent guy who I ever had interest in so far. I told him to get our parents involved...and then, it became apparent that he wasn't serious or interested in marriage. I'm just so down now. What should I be looking for and how should I act?

Dearest Lost and Confused,
I'm so sorry, sister, for all that you went through. Let me give you a big big hug. 
It sounds like you were really hopeful about this guy only to have it completely crushed. Alhamdillah that you told him to get your parents involved...Alhamdilla that he walked away and you found out he wasn't the one for you. InshaAllah just by letting this person go and reflecting on how you should behave next time/ who you should be looking for, you're on the steps of finding your REAL habibi/hunny who will help you on the path to jannah.  

Now, let's get to your questions! 

 What Should You Look For in a Man

I know most of us have/had some kind of dream list...the whole "sweep you off your feet, make your heart flutter, tall, handsome, a da'ee, a hafiz, etc." 

But sisters...we need to be a little (ahem...a lot more) realistic. 

Here are things you should be considering:

A) READINESS: the first thing that should catch your attention is whether or not the person is ready for marriage and its responsibility and commitment. That means put a big fat X on signing up on any 'Muslim dating websites' or that kinda thing. Remember: you want someone who is seeking "marriage" and not "friendship". Someone who understands the responsibilities of the husband  in Islam and has the means fulfill them. Someone who asks you for your wali's number and how to contact your wali for marriage or even has his mother/sister bring up the topic with you.   
I also want to stress on the fact here that the person should have the capabilities for marriage. If he doesn't have some place for you to live in or any kind of plan for you to get married, it's really not going to work.  Don't get me wrong, though. I'm not saying that he has a 6 digit salary...but that he has an appropriate financial plan/ some kind of thought process of how you're going to be living together. Prophet Mohammed sallah Allahoo alyhee wa salam said:
Young men, those of you who can support a wife should marry, for it keeps you from looking at women and preserves your chastity; but those who cannot should fast, for it is a means of cooling passion."

B) Religion: This one is pretty easy. We all know the famous hadith:

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
“If there comes to you one whose religious commitment and attitude pleases you, then marry [your female relative who is under your care] to him, for if you do not do that, there will be tribulation on earth and much corruption.” (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi and classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Sunan al-Tirmidhi, 1084)
You want someone who has the correct aqidah and prays their 5 prayers...someone who always attends the Friday prayer, lowers their gaze around women (and not has a zillion girls on his facebook account), makes an effort to be a better Muslim. Maybe attends Islamic seminars or listens to lectures. If he knows the Imam of the mosque and hangs out with him/has religious friends, that's even better...(since friends have a huge huge effect on us).

You don't want someone who has no problems with going to a club to chill out, watches R-rated movies, only prays during Ramadan, doesn't have a problem eating pork/not halal meat, etc. 

C) Character: Honestly, this is related to the religion (since it is religion in action), but I thought I would break it down a bit. You really want to look and ask about  his manners, work ethics, how does he treat the neighbors, what do the people in the community say about him...what kind of language he uses, what volunteer work he does/any charity projects, etc.

d) Compatibility:
Here's the thing. You’re not looking for your mirror reflection in a male form…but someone who shares your vision.
 Studies have now shown that being similar is not as important as having the same goals/ values/ perspective

Let's Bring in the Research:

Having similar interests and hobbies isn’t necessary, agreed [says] Terri Orbuch, Ph.D, a psychologist who specializes in couples and author of 5 Simple Steps to Take Your Marriage from Good to Great. But being similar in underlying values and beliefs is key to the happiness and stability of your marriage, according to her research study tracking the same couples for almost 24 years.

The other traits...depend on you: some girls need a guy with a funny bone...Others don't care if he's funny but want him to be driven/ ambitious. Some look for a guy with confidence...These traits are relative and really depend on what you find attractive, mentally stimulating, etc. 

II.Now, what to do when you find someone you are interested in:
Well, if the brother approaches you and asks you for your wali's number, that's all set :) You arrange a time for him to visit the house and have a meeting...

If he doesn't, that's where things get trickier.....

You can have your own brother contact him...have an "aunty" talk to his mom......
Point is: get some third person involved that can broach the topic with him and see how he feels

But how do you behave once the prospective suitor comes over/ you meet him?
The simple key is this: he is a non-mahram to you. Yes, he's someone you're interested in...but, he's still NOT YOUR HUSBAND. So, you treat him the way you treat any non-mahram.
 You're never alone with him but always have chaperoned meetings. IF he's calling you, he's calling you when your family is around and can hear the conversation (and not in the middle of the night. Not even to wake you up for fajr, hunny bunny :P). 

Remember, you're not flirting but talking with a clear intention and purpose to get to know each other. You're asking things like: what his goals are, where he plans to live, what he's looking for in a partner, what he won't tolerate from his wife, how he wants to raise his children, what makes him angry and how he reacts when he's angry, etc. You have a kind of time frame for your're not just talking endlessly.
You smile and make eye contact sometimes...but you also lower your gaze and not stare openly. 
You dress neatly and modestly...
This is a website that may help you:

Well, sister, I hope this was a little helpful for you :) Sisters, share your advice and 'dream lists', too =) I'm sure I forgot some key points :D


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