Potential Marriage Partners

When Looking for a potential spouse there is much to consider especially if you are a single mum, but one thing I never thought I would have to think about was asking a man if he could think as a father rather than as an individual.  Call me naive, but I automatically assumed that he would have thought about the sacrifices he would have to make as a father and also would have carefully thought things through.  Maybe it’s just in my experience, but it seems men are somewhat clueless as to the degree of responsibility they face if they choose to marry a single mum.  When they go to such intimate lengths to do their research on a car, check it out, make sure its worthy enough to own and don’t judge it on appearance alone, I dare say I had hoped they would apply the same formula for marriage; obviously not.  They see someone they like and try to squash them into a Stepford Wife mould; they want their wife to wrap her and her children’s lives around them instead of doing it the other way around.  Is this fair? Is this what we have to expect now as single mums?

I am all for doing things in the correct Islamic manner, but I’ll admit I’m a bit fuzzy on where it is stated that a woman should be happy to shift her children into a situation where they will be worse off just because the guy got a job in Saudi and decided he had no problem living in a studio flat.  Studio flat? with two kids, one a girl who is on the verge of puberty?!  The man still thinks of his own desires and aspirations and not of the needs of the children.  It’s true, money isn’t everything and rizq IS already written, but who willingly puts themselves into a worse financial situation if they can help it in the hope that it will get better?  Perhaps it is my eeman that is low but I would have trouble doing this; call me selfish, but my children have already lost so much and I simply cannot do that to them, is that really a wrong thing to do?  Many brothers mashallah, have this desire to get to the Middle East no matter what, they forget that it isn’t going to be easy.  They forget that you wont necessarily get the same creature comforts guaranteed as you do here, they forget you have to pay for medical care and school fees and that some foods like fish (in Dubai) is super expensive.  I have lived in Dubai, I know a little of what life can be like there if you aren’t one of the rich ones.  Thinking its all cushty just because your job as an ESL teacher provides you with accommodation, is naive.  Those jobs are paid less than others and the accommodation will reflect this; top schools which pay the best, demand the best.  You may be putting in greater hours over there, and if you are used to luxuries here, going without them for less money may not make you as happy as you once were just because you are in Saudi.  If men say that this is NOT  the case then every woman has the right to expect her man to never moan or complain!  The brothers tell you that you have no faith and should leave it up to Allah swt, but couldn’t we say the same back to them? “Let’s stay here and raise our kids to be the best Muslims we can be and leave it up to Allah”??

My point is, I wonder if these men would say the same if it was their own children’s lives they were talking about.  Is it just because the children are ours and not theirs that they don’t really care if the children have to suffer somewhat?  I know many people will say “no way!” but let’s face it, you have to build up the love and many men don’t know if they will be able to love a woman’s children like their own.  This saddens me because I think that subhanallah this is just ANOTHER one of the sacrifices that single mums have to make as divorced/widowed mums.  Many women would refuse a suitor like this but some would consider him, maybe because they are told no-one else will want them so they should take whatever they can get.  The point is though, it would be a tough decision to make and one that would hurt me a lot as a mother; take away from the kids to gain a husband and father for them?

It shouldn’t have to be this way, but it is.  In Islam we are told to look at a person’s character and deen and to marry for that rather than for other things.  It’s true, attraction is important, but whereas us single mums are told that we can’t have pick of the bunch so we should grab any decent guy regardless of looks; men still think that attraction = trying to get the ‘America’s next top model’ hijabi.  Quite a few brothers have told me that they met really pious sisters but turned them down as they weren’t ‘feeling her’ in favour of a gobby hijabi whose eeman and deen is worse with a pretty face.  Come on brothers – do the math!  It’s not fair on anyone to expect this sister to suddenly fix up and change when you say so!  Women are told not to try and change the man they married so why do men??  Encouraging someone to better their character for the sake of Allah swt is one thing, but having a go at her for not being the perfect Muslimah when that didn’t bother you when you married her- is wrong.  We should take people as they stand now, if you can handle them and are happy with their character then so be it, but if your are not happy then move on.  Where is your faith now brothers, don’t you think you will find another pretty sister with all the right characteristics?!!  It’s NOT enough of a justification saying men are weak because sometimes it ends up becoming an excuse!

It’s amazing the amount of brothers I have spoken to that had no clue whatsoever what it meant to be a dad.  Granted, they wont know it all but if you tell a guy you don’t have anyone to leave your children with, why do they hold it against you when you say you can’t dump your kids somewhere to go on a honeymoon?!  Some men think that they can still lead the same lives they had before, they don’t understand that kids don’t get that they wont be loved straight away; if they are craving a father figure they may latch onto the guy immediately.  They wont know that their step-dad needs time; HE needs to be sensitive to this.  You can’t just have couple time to be intimate whenever you want during the day if you have kids, you can’t expect the kids to watch a movie whilst you get jiggy with it and you can’t expect to swan off for dinner alone whenever you want if you have no babysitter!!  It’s funny, as soon as you tell a man these things his expression drops!  They are in it for the reward of marrying a divorcee/widow but they forget that nothing comes easy and we are all tested.  I think some brothers honestly think being a step-dad only means financially providing for the kids and taking them to the Masjid.  What about being a role model and showing kids by example how to behave?  What about giving up those bad habits and watching what you say?  What about playing with them and doing ‘dad stuff’ ?  What about remembering that the kids had a life before you and a routine and that if anything its YOU coming into THEIR family and therefore it’s YOU who somewhat has to adjust?  It’s hard for children to adjust to a new dad especially if they still maintain ties with their old one, how are YOU going to tackle that?  Why should it be the woman’s responsibility to fix everything just because the kids are hers?  You don’t work as a manager for a company and expect the CEO to handle everything do you, or else what’s the point of there being a manager?!

Some men just assume their mothers will watch their step-kids automatically from day 1.  Do these men not understand how delicate the relationship will be in the beginning for everyone –  finding their feet?  Do they not understand that this is one of the biggest fears a single mother has?  Do they really think she will be happy to leave her children with strangers just because they are now her in-laws?  You have to build the trust and love and respect, you can’t demand it straight away.

A few home truths for the brothers out there:

  • Single mums are pickier than single women
  • we may have ‘baggage’ but we also have experience, wisdom and maturity that not many single women will have
  • you may say it’s easier for you to remarry than us but it is ALLAH who decides so watch your arrogance!
  • we understand sacrifice better than any other single woman
  • we may be ‘second-hand’ but if we had to choose between a man and our kids, our kids would ALWAYS come first
  • we may want marriage, but NOT at the expense of making our childrens’ lives worse
  • don’t mention faith to us because it is faith ALONE that has got us as far as we have come!
  • And to all the ignorant brothers who say it is easy to sit at home on the dole and be ‘taken care of’ by the government, don’t forget: we cook, we clean, we take our kids to school/dr’s appointments/activities, we carry heavy shopping ,we pay our bills and manage our finances, we do basic DIY, we parent our kids,
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10 thoughts on “Potential Marriage Partners

  1. Jazak Allahu Kheir for your insight, these are very salient problems that have to be overcome in established Muslim communities.

    Just an aside, In Canada we have a growing proportion of multiethnic marriages and children growing up multiethnic who find common ground in Islam, not culture. Thus cultural hard headedness from men who expect too much compromise from a potential wife and behave like they are ‘a kid in a candy store’ when it comes to marriage is thankfully restricted to a small group of people.

    Unfortunately the practice of overseas spouse searching is alive and well which has the downside of making it even more difficult for women who are already here to re-marry if they have been divorced, abandoned or widowed. Its probably a combination of generational and Asian cultural beliefs that create an overwhelmingly positive reception of overseas spouses which further encourages greater levels of hard headedness from men. In my demographic, there are some truly unreasonable men who feel like they can have it all and get away with contributing little to the vibrancy of the community by isolating within ‘safety zones’ of those practicing exclusively overseas marriages. Then again there are also some more openminded individuals, but mostly of those whose first attempt at overseas marriage had failed.

    Sadly, there are usually career/lifestyle/emotional/language obstacles for women to adapt from overseas which could be avoided if men would instead consider women already here who were at one time previously married. Many community based pressures to ‘settle’ are selectively exerted on women who are looking to marry who were once previously married but not men. This disturbing double standard is probably the root cause of the problem.

    After all, the family is the basic unit of any Islamic community and it must be inclusive of the needs of all of it’s members.

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  2. I’m a single muslim mum. I’m appalled at how superficial Muslim men are, make me rather want to marry a kind and noble kafr but they don’t believe in Allah and I wouldn’t accept that. Though seriously. My husband left when I was 3 months pregnant after a year of marriage. And now it’s likely I’ll live alone for the rest of my life because I’m Muslim. Just gets better and better!

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    • I know its easy for me to say. I am a newish convert european, to islam. I have had some very traumatic experiences in my life. Parenting alone is one of them. My youngest is 13. My children are not Muslims and i love them. I have just ended 4 mths ago a marriage to a middleeastern man. Arguments , violence, no control of my life and feeling down, no friends and no daughter with me – she stayed with her dad. I left him and am back with her now. Have entered a Muslim community where I feel like a leper with women having a go at me siledntly or directly in case i am after their husbands whom I have never met and do not know their name or that they exist. I am struggling with my faith and being a parent and am lonely. I know I have to trust Allah swt. I am so sad and cry every day of my life. Please can someone comment, nothing hurtful please.

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      • Asalaamualaikum sister, please dont feel like you are alone in this, there are so many of us sisters going through this and I’m here for you insha’Allah. If you want to, then please do join our facebook family, its full of amazing sisters mashallah who are very supportive and friendly and don’t judge because they understand what it is like to go through it alone. You need to fall back in love with Allah swt and Islam because only He can change your life and mindset. When you build up your eeman I promise you you wont feel alone and so sad anymore. We need to change our way of seeing things but to do that we have to understand Islam fully. Have you tried contacting SOLACE? They help revert sisters who are struggling and offer counselling. Have you also contacted your local masjid to see if they can help? Maybe they know of other revert single mums who you can make friends with? If you need a sympathetic ear sis then please do contact me on: misbah.akhtar66@gmail.com. Also please read the posts here, I have blogged about domestic violence and depression and having sabr, you need to have sabr with your situation but also with yourself. It’s OK to admit to yourself that you’re struggling and finding it hard to cope. No-one is perfect and Allah swt tests ALL. Hope this has helped somewhat sister, my thoughts and prayers are with you.
        Misbah.xx

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      • Asalaamwa’Alaikum Sister, I hate to hear that your having such a hard time. However hold on to the Rope of Allah, Allah promise after hardship comes ease. And know with certainty that any pain you feel Allah is removing sins from you. Islam came to Liberate women. Don’t let NO-ONE tear down your self esteem. This is Not the way of the Prophet(pbuh) If those Aunties are insecure about there relationship with there Husbands that has nothing to do with you. Insha’Allah Uhktii when you get the time please read Surah Al-Nisa, Insha’Allah this will bring you comfort. If you want to speak with me more feel free to inbox me on facebook; Aaminah Umm Mustafah

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      • All the true answers always hurt good things And bad things keep happening that’s life but as long as ur single the pain is unexplainable but when ur with some 1 the pain & joy in explainable I’m a single male 40

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  3. No community, no concept of group economics. I’ll assume that the men you are talking about are black. The past has had serious consequences on their thinking process. You will rarely find a black man with the ability to think beyond self or one or two close friends. Black men have no group no community no market no wealth.
    You are asking these men to provide you with things beyond their reach. In a capitalist country wealth gives you power and control. But these men want jobs. Income is to pay bills from one week to the next and keep you from begging. Wealth give you freedom to have a room for each child and many other things beyond bills, wealth can be inherited. How many bros are building communities in the Muslim lands? Instead of practicing group economics we get jobs in Saudi teaching English.

    Stuck on me and not the community
    20 men 20 ideas stuck on pride envy
    Find a brothers wanting to build a community
    Find a brotha with empathy.

    Sadly, you cannot expect these men to change unless they are searching for answers.
    The deen has the cure.

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  4. Maa shaa Allah. May Allah continue to keep you strong sis.
    Although I appreciate your strength and determination, please refrain from comparing “single mothers” and “single sisters. Each person has a story ad different people have different challenges. Some people may have no kids and never married, yet have better skills of sacrifice because of other personal life experiences.
    We should all support each other.

    May Allah give Jannah to all Muslim women and all the Muslims.

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  6. Salaamu aleikum

    I came to this blog a year ago. Read some of the post and got expression that we all are in same mess. I have being divoced for 3 years. Past years I tryed to remarry but no luck. Muslim men serm to be the worts human being walking on this earth. How is that men who say following the perfect religion think the way they do. Are we divorced women not humans who are not broken?

    Its sad that women have to choose celibacy than marrying so call muslim man.

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