The FYI’s Marriage Prep Toolkit

The how-to guide for tying the knot

 

The FYI Marriage Prep Toolkit was developed to help you prepare for the commitment of a lifetime. This toolkit will guide you in identifying personal expectations around marriage, navigating courtship, determining compatibility, and making the decision to marry. The FYI Marriage Prep Toolkit is based on Islamic principles but can be useful for anyone seeking resources to prepare for a strong and healthy marriage.

Throughout the toolkit, we’ve used the term courtship to describe the process of finding a marriage partner. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, courting is “to engage in social activities leading to engagement and marriage” and “to act in a way that shows you want or intend to get married.” It is a sexually abstinent relationship, often with parental involvement, enabling two people to learn about one another for marriage, within the context of honor and respect for one another.1 This approach allows potential spouses to determine compatibility through a process that is aligned with Islamic principles. Read this article to learn more about why we’ve chosen to use the term courtship.

Note: To create this toolkit, The FYI team selected relevant resources from a variety of platforms while keeping cultural and religious sensitivities in mind. Other content, views, and opinions expressed on these platforms do not necessarily reflect the vision and views of The FYI. Some resources in this toolkit were developed by individuals who are not licensed counselors, such as content writers and personal coaches. While still incredibly helpful, these resources should not replace the consultation of a trained mental health professional when needed.

Please note that this toolkit is not a replacement for premarital counseling. It is our hope that individuals and couples will use it as a resource along with premarital counseling. 

This toolkit is based on content from a 6-hour marriage prep workshop offered by The Family and Youth Institute. Our Before You Say “I Do” workshop is an in-depth interactive program that helps individuals considering marriage to make informed decisions as they search for a life partner.

Learn more about The FYI’s Workshops

Book this workshop for your community today! 


This toolkit was authored by Issra Killawi and Amal Killawi, LCSW with help and support from Munira Ezzeddine, MS; Salma Abugideiri, LPC; Aneesah Nadir, PhD; Sameera Ahmed, PhD; Zaied Abbassi, Madiha Tahseen, PhD; Sarrah AbuLughod, MA; and Nadeem Siddiqi, PhD. This toolkit was vetted by a variety of experts with professional and personal experience in marriage preparation. We pray that you find it beneficial.

You will find this toolkit beneficial if:

  • You envision marriage to be part of your future
  • You plan to pursue marriage soon, but have not yet started meeting potential partners
  • You are in the process of meeting potential partners
  • You are currently committed to a partner
  • You are a parent
  • You are someone helping others through the marriage process (e.g. friend, religious leader, community leader, counseling professional)

How to use this toolkit:

This toolkit was built as a resource to guide you through the many stages of finding a spouse. You can read the sections in order or navigate to the section that applies to your circumstance. You can also search for any topic within the toolkit.

  • If you have just started to consider marriage, check out Section 2 on personal preparation.
  • If you are a parent, refer to Section 3 to learn how you can support your child on this journey.
  • If you are talking to a potential partner, share the toolkit with him/her and refer to Section 4 for a roadmap to help you navigate the courtship process.
  • If you are someone who helps with the marriage process (e.g. friend, religious leader, community leader, counseling professional), you can use this toolkit as a guide for your meetings or discussions with individuals and couples. You can encourage them to review different sections and follow up with you, or you can refer them to the toolkit to benefit from on their own.


Click on the section that most applies to you, or go through section by section for specific resources.

The Benefits of Marriage Preparation

“I didn’t know that marriage is something you should read about or study. When I had my baby, I read so many books before and after she was born. I felt this is the most important thing I’m doing, and I wanted to learn everything. But marriage –  it never occurred to me that that’s something you have to work at.”

– Divorced Muslim Woman2

What is marriage preparation?

Marriage preparation is “any intentional effort delivered before marriage that is designed to help couples form and sustain healthy marriages.”3

It is also known as premarital education and premarital counseling.

The goal of marriage preparation is to educate individuals and couples about potential problems in marriage and provide them with information and resources to prevent or address these problems.4

Marriage preparation can take on many forms, for example: participating in premarital counseling, attending a workshop, reading and discussing a book about marriage, completing a relationship assessment, or utilizing a combination of these methods through a resource like this toolkit.

Who is marriage preparation for?

Marriage preparation is for everyone! Regardless of where you are in the marriage process (i.e. searching or engaged), the knowledge and skills you gain from marriage preparation will enrich your relationships.

Why prepare for marriage?

Many people lack awareness about the importance of preparing for marriage. Couples often spend more time planning for their wedding than for their marriage.

Research5 has found that many Muslim couples are unequipped and unprepared for the challenges of marriage. Some contributing factors include:

  A lack of awareness that marriage requires preparation.

   Mismanaged expectations around the day-to-day realities of marriage.

  Red flags that were left unaddressed before commitment to the marriage

  Limited guidance during the courtship process, leaving potential couples feeling helpless, confused, and frustrated, and without a proper framework to assess for compatibility.

Given these factors and the changing divorce rate among Muslims,6 marriage preparation is incredibly important in helping couples build and sustain healthy marriages. Most mosques don’t have requirements for premarital education, beyond a brief meeting between the couple and the imam.7 Because there is no standard process, Muslims need to be proactive in seeking marriage preparation on their own.

 

Click on the infographic above to learn more about the top reasons for conflict among American Muslim couples.

Research shows that premarital education benefits individuals and couples by improving their communication and conflict resolution skills, increasing their satisfaction with and commitment to their marriages, and reducing their conflict and odds of divorce.8

Marriage preparation can also:

 Encourage and stimulate an individual’s self awareness in preparation for marriage.

 Help a potential couple assess for compatibility, identify red flags and potential issues, and determine whether they are a good fit for one another.

 Help frame expectations around marriage and develop an understanding of what it takes to build a strong marriage.

Watch the video below to learn more about the importance of marriage education.

 

Additional Resources about Marriage Preparation:

Want your Marriage to Last? Get Premarital Counseling

The Case for Marriage Preparation

Recommendations for promoting healthy marriages and preventing divorce in the American Muslim community

Perceptions and experiences of marriage preparation among U.S. Muslims: Multiple voices from the community

 


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Personal Preparation

In this section, you will find resources to help you determine if you are ready to pursue marriage, identify your expectations about marriage, and better understand yourself and your needs in a relationship.

Click on the question that feels relevant to you in this process.

Why are you pursuing marriage?

Are you prepared to pursue marriage?

When is the right time for you to pursue marriage?

How do you prepare for marriage?


Why are you pursuing marriage?

In the life of a Muslim, every action is evaluated by its intention. Marriage is no exception. It is a companionship that should bring a person closer to Allah SWT and set the foundation for a tranquil home and a pious familyThis intimate relationship with another human being takes time, commitment, and patience on behalf of both spouses in order to yield a loving and rewarding bond. The personal growth required to develop a strong companionship between two individuals underscores the sanctity that Allah SWT has placed within the union of marriage.  

It’s important to ask yourself why you are pursuing marriage, because your intention will inform the kind of spouse you look for and the process through which you will find him/her. What goals do you have for your relationship with a spouse, and what do you envision your relationship with him/her to look like ten years from now? Why is marriage the right step forward for you, spiritually? How will being married strengthen your connection to Allah SWT?


Are you prepared to pursue marriage?

Think about what you believe it means to be “ready for marriage.” What do you notice about your expectations? Often, it’s easier for us to assess our material readiness – for example, “Can I afford a wedding?’ or “Have I met my fitness goals?” – than it is to evaluate other aspects, such as our emotional readiness. Are you also emotionally ready for marriage? This article discusses emotional intelligence as a critical component of any relationship, especially marriage.

Consider the following questions to help you explore any significant or unresolved emotional issues that may impact you in marriage.9 It may be helpful to have a good friend or close relative help you answer these questions as well.

Ask yourself these questions:

 Am I unwilling to talk about my feelings with others?

 Do I have trouble dealing with my anger?

 Do I have difficulty with commitment?

 Do I often feel spiritually or emotionally empty within myself?

 Do I dislike the person I am?

 Do I have any addictions that I’m not addressing or treating?

 Do I feel so lonely and desperate that I’m totally miserable without a relationship?

 Am I comfortable asserting my needs and desires? Am I able to be assertive about leaving a relationship should I come across a red flag?

 How honest am I with myself, and how honest will I be with a potential spouse during the courtship process? 

This premarital guide includes a personal checklist to help you reflect on your marriage readiness (see page 9). Another way to assess your readiness is to take the READY assessment tool. This 30-minute assessment is designed to help single individuals determine if they are ready for marriage and identify areas to work on to prepare for that commitment when the right person comes along.

Realize that coming across something you need to work on does not mean putting marriage aside until you’ve become the perfect version of yourself. Self-development is a lifelong process and, as the video below explains, a pillar of a successful marriage.

If the issue is a significant one that will impact your ability to be in a healthy relationship with another person, take active steps towards your growth; explore counseling and self-help books to develop your personal awareness and coping skills. See Section 7 for a list of counseling resources. What do you need to do to be more prepared? Where can you find support to do so?

Set goals for yourself around these areas and a timeframe by which you’d like to accomplish them. Get creative to learn more about yourself: try new things, step out of your comfort zone, and reflect on your experiences. Get to know the thought patterns that influence your opinions and decision-making.


When is the right time for you to pursue marriage?

Some people may associate a specific age as a marker for marriage readiness. Although emotional maturity and personal responsibility do generally come with age, the readiness of an individual varies based on their personal experiences and circumstances. There is simply no ideal time that will guarantee the health and happiness of a marriage.

However, if you are considering marriage, you should realize that each phase in your life will present you and your spouse with circumstances that benefit and challenge the relationship.

In addition to assessing your emotional readiness, consider the following:

  If you were to get married in the next 6-12 months, how will this impact you and your spouse and the lifestyle that you will share with him/her?

  How will the relationship impact your studies, career plans, and finances? How will your finances, studies, and/or career plans impact the relationship?

  Considering your existing commitments, what adjustments will you need to make in order to offer the time, and mental and emotional space required during the courtship to make a grounded decision?

What adjustments will you need to make to prepare for marriage?

Reflecting on these questions will help you understand how your circumstances can impact your relationship with a potential spouse. During the courtship, you can use this insight to manage expectations around what your marriage and lifestyle could look like, in addition to understanding the circumstances of your potential spouse.

Additional Resources on Marriage Readiness:

10 Ways to Know You’re Ready for A Relationship

You’re Never Really Ready for Marriage


How do you prepare for marriage?

Know your expectations. What are your expectations about marriage? How do you envision searching for a partner? It’s never too early! Below are some hand-picked resources that you can begin exploring.

 

  Before You Say “I Do”: This free Family and Youth Institute webinar outlines the importance of preparing for marriage and explains how to engage in self-reflection and assess compatibility.

 5 Things You Can Do Now to Prepare for Marriage: 5 things you can do to intentionally prepare for marriage

  How to Pick Your Life Partner: This article sheds light on 3 key ingredients that help create a happy marriage.

  How to Get Married by Qalam Institute:  In this six-part “How to Get Married” video series, Ustadh AbdelRahman Murphy breaks down the core components of the marriage process with advice from the Quran, Sunnah, and marital counseling experts.

  Pre-Marriage Course by the Islamic Center of Southern California: This includes 3 hours of video content, downloadable notes, and online quizzes and covers the myths and realities of marriage, self-reflection, qualities to look for in a spouse, getting to know someone, important topics to discuss, assessing compatibility, and commitment.

Get to know yourself. Often, when thinking about marriage, people begin to make lists in their head about who their ideal partner would be. Preparing for marriage, however, requires you to first assess your own readiness for a relationship. In the present moment, what is important to you, and what can you offer a potential spouse? A strong sense of self-awareness will help you know if you are ready to be married, how you might behave in a relationship, and what kind of spouse will help you grow. Self-knowledge can equip you to make a wiser decision when choosing a spouse.

One way to know yourself is to engage in self-reflection. This will help you gain clarity on what you want for yourself and in your marriage before engaging with a potential partner.

Challenge yourself to answer some questions from each category in this questionnaire around some essential topics that should be discussed in a courtship. Here are some additional questions to help facilitate your self-discovery. You can find more questions in the Courtship Roadmap For the Potential Couple section of this toolkit.

Don’t underestimate the power of journaling as a tool to help you better know yourself. If writing doesn’t come easily to you, try spending time in solitude and recording yourself as you think out loud.

Take a personality assessment to learn more about yourself. You can find a list of assessments in the Courtship Roadmap For the Potential Couple section of this toolkit.

Another way to know yourself is to talk to family, close friends, and mentors. They can help you understand yourself from a different lens.

Ask your family, close friends, and mentors these questions:

How would they describe your personality?

What are the strengths and weaknesses they see in you? How do their answers compare with your own?

What are the characteristics of someone they can see you with? Why did they choose those characteristics?

Do they have any words of advice about getting to know yourself, improving yourself, and preparing for a healthy, happy marriage?

Once you’ve invested some time in improving your self-knowledge, then you can move on to explore what you’re looking for in a marriage partner. The following questions can help you begin this process:

Ask yourself these questions:

What are you looking for in a partner? Make a list of characteristics that your future partner MUST HAVE, and a list of NICE-TO-HAVES. Note if they change over time.

What are your expectations for marriage?

What are your deal-breakers? A deal-breaker is a characteristic or circumstance related to a potential spouse that, if present (or absent), would keep you from moving forward with the relationship. Examples: smoking, relocating, living with in-laws, prayer habits, general religiosity, etc.

How have past relationships impacted you and impacted your expectations for a future marriage?

What type of lifestyle do you hope for when married? What lifestyle would you consider ideal for your family?

What do you believe to be the role of a successful wife/husband?

What would the ideal process of getting married look like to you? 

Recognize that you may come back to the self-knowledge piece even as you are talking to someone. You should feel comfortable asking for some time and space at any point in the process, if that is what you need.

Whether you decide to pursue marriage or not, harness the power of duaa and istikhara and ask Allah SWT to guide your mind and heart to what is best for you.

 


 

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Involving the Family

This section is focused on how individuals and their families can successfully manage their preferences and expectations during the marriage process. For many (but not all) people, family will play a significant role in their courtship and choice of marriage partner. If your family plays a significant role in your life and this is a decision they expect to be part of, it is wise to consider their opinions early on and often in the marriage process, preferably before you begin courting someone. This can help prevent unnecessary heartache and conflict. Often, many families experience tension because a couple has already made the decision to marry without involving their families. Therefore, it is important to honor them by including them from the start.

It is important to note that some families take the role of a wali (guardian) very seriously, with fathers often being the primary wali of their daughters and expecting that men will approach them first for permission to court or marry their daughters. For a full discussion about the wali, refer to chapter 5 in Before You Tie the Knot. Please also note that some of the advice in this section may not apply for people in a variety of circumstances, for example, if they are much older or if their family does not play a large role in their life. If this is the case for you, consider involving a trusted friend, elder, or community leader instead.

Click on the titles below to jump to that section.

Navigating Family Expectations about Marriage and the Courtship Process

Conversations to Have with Your Parents

Conflict with Family

Navigating a Limited-Contact Courtship

A Note to Parents


Navigating Family Expectations about Marriage and the Courtship Process

Families will vary in their expectations around courtship and selection of a partner. While expectations and values should be guided by Islamic principles, they may be influenced by regional and cultural norms, as well as ethnic and racial prejudices. Conflicts often arise when assumptions are made by either parents or adult-children and when there is poor communication in a family. These hurdles must be addressed during the marriage process, which can intensify existing relationship dynamics. Read this article to understand how family communication styles can impact the marriage process.


Conversations to Have With Your Parents

It is important that you have honest and respectful conversations with your family about your (and their) expectations regarding courtship and an ideal mate before you pursue someone. Ultimately, both the parents and their adult-child want each other to be happy. If they can articulate that to each other, it can result in more positive conversations.

 

 

Ask your parents these questions:

What type of person do you hope I marry? Tell me more about why this is important to you.

What do you think it means to be prepared for marriage?

What role do you see yourself playing in the marriage process?

How would you ideally like me to meet someone for marriage?

If I am interested in someone, how do you expect me to proceed?

What types of boundaries do you expect me to uphold before marriage?

What are your thoughts about texting, phone calls, online, in-person meetings, etc.?

How long do you feel the courting process should take?

How will our family and my potential partner’s family get to know one another?

What is your wish for me?

If we don’t agree, how can we meet in the middle where we are both pleased?

How did you get married? What worked and didn’t work in the process for you?

What advice do you have for me?

What role do you see yourself playing in my life when I get married?


Conflict with Family

Some people may find that their parents or other family members disapprove of their choice of partner. It’s important to distinguish between genuine concerns or red flags your family may have observed about the person and less sensible reasons for their disapproval, such as their own cultural preferences or cultural or racial biases. Some parents also discourage a marriage because they were not involved at the start of the courtship process.

In situations where families unreasonably assert their authority in preventing a marriage, it is important to balance between respecting their wishes and making your own choice. If you find yourself in such a situation, it is important that you seek a counselor and/or a mediator such as an imam or trusted friend, relative, or community leader to help facilitate these difficult conversations.

While marriages that begin with peace and family blessings are easier to navigate and maintain, religious rulings in Islam address the rights of the individual when parents are obstructing a marriage for invalid reasons. The Quran states, “Do not prevent them from marrying their husbands when they agree between themselves in a lawful manner.” (2:232) A couple that does not have the blessing of their parents to marry has two choices: end the relationship or proceed with the marriage without parental consent. Both options have long-term consequences, and a couple will be making a decision that will forever impact their future relationship with their parents.

  What to Do When My Parents Reject My Choice of Spouse Because of Cultural Reasons?

   Parents Disapprove of My Marriage Choice: What to Expect

   When Your Parents Disapprove of Your Partner: Do’s and Don’ts

   Family Interference: Establishing Boundaries

Finally, there is no compulsion in marriage. Both parties must agree to marry one another and they cannot be forced to marry one another. The Prophet said, “A woman who has been previously married has more right concerning herself than her guardian, and a [previously unmarried woman’s] consent must be asked about herself…” (Bukhari and Muslim).

  Arranged Marriage is Not Forced Marriage

   My Parents Keep Trying to Get Me Engaged to My Cousin


Navigating a Limited-Contact Courtship

Some families might have strict expectations about courtship and limit speaking or interacting with a potential spouse until after the marriage ceremony. It is important to have conversations with your parents about their expectations regarding courtship and to discuss options that allow you to get to know a potential spouse before making a decision. If your parents expect you to have no contact with a potential spouse and are uncompromising about this, you may need to get creative in using various methods to gather information about this person before making a decision:

 Consult with an elder in your family and/or community whose values you trust and who knows you well – perhaps an uncle or aunt who is close to you. Ask them to meet with the potential and give you feedback about them. Give them a list of questions you would like them to ask the person. Ask them what their impression was, and whether they see compatibility between the two of you.

 Ask the person for references, and have a family member or trusted mentor speak to each reference. See the Courtship Roadmap For the Potential Couple section for a list of questions to ask a reference.

 Find the person on social media, and observe what you can about their posts, likes, friends, and people they follow. Does their online presence reflect a person whom you’d consider committing to?

The information that you gather from different sources should yield a consistent characterization of the potential spouse. An inconsistent testimony about his/her character, for example, would be a red flag to note and address. See Section 4 for a discussion on red flags.

If you feel that you still need more expansive and direct contact with the potential spouse before moving ahead, re-engage your parents about the courtship process. Explain to them why you feel the expected process is not working for you. If that does not work, seek out the help of a local community leader, imam, or family friend/elder that your parents respect and ask them to intervene on your behalf.


A Note to Parents

If you are a parent looking to support your adult-child through the marriage process, consider the following tips:

 Make duaa. Do not underestimate the power of your duaa as a parent. Ask Allah SWT to bless and guide your child towards what is best and to grant him/her a happy and loving marriage.

Understand the proper application of this hadith and advise your child about the lessons to be learned from it. This hadith about women being married for four reasons is one that is often misunderstood by both parents and adult-children looking to get married.

 Befriend your child. Use this opportunity to learn more about your child and walk through the process with them, making sure to listen and understand where they are coming from and what they are seeking in a spouse.

Communication matters. Read this article to learn how family communication styles can impact the marriage process.

Talk to your child before he/she begins the search for a partner. It is vital that you have honest and respectful conversations with your child about your (and his/her) expectations regarding courtship and an ideal mate. Ultimately, both the parents and their adult-children want each other to be happy. If you can articulate that to each other, it can result in more positive conversations.

Use the following questions to guide your discussion:

  1. What type of person do you hope to marry? Tell me more about why this is important to you.
  2. What do you think it means to be prepared for marriage?
  3. What role do you see your parents playing in the marriage process?
  4. Ideally, how would you like to meet someone for marriage?
  5. If you are interested in someone, how do you expect to proceed?
  6. What types of boundaries will you uphold before marriage?
  7. What are your thoughts about texting, phone calls, online, in-person meetings, etc.?
  8. How long do you feel the courting process should take?
  9. How do you expect our family and the potential partner’s family to get to know one another?
  10. If we don’t agree, how can we meet in the middle where we are both pleased?
  11. What would you like to know about my own marriage process?
  12. What advice do you have for me?
  13. What role do you see your parents playing in your life when you get married? 

  Learn how to share your own observations and experience about marriage without dismissing or undermining your child’s perspective. Know that this is their decision to make at the end of the day, but that there are ways to guide their decision.

  Give your child space and time to make a decision, as it can be a challenging and emotional experience. Avoid deadlines and ultimatums that pressure your child to make a hasty decision.

  Explore what unhealthy parental involvement looks like in a young couple’s marriage, and how it can severely hinder their ability to develop a thriving relationship.

  Seek support to help you understand what your role during this process should look like. As your child embarks on the journey towards marriage, you may be experiencing your own internal conflicts, dealing with unresolved issues, or be struggling to separate your worries and needs from that of your child’s. You may also be struggling to understand generational or cultural differences and to identify appropriate boundaries. Talk to other parents whose children have gotten married, consult a mentor in your community, or visit a counselor.

Realize that marriage will change the parent-child relationship you have currently, but that you can adjust in ways that can bring about positive changes for you and your child. For more content about the role of the family, refer to chapter 5 in the book Before You Tie the Knot.

 


 

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Courtship Roadmap for the Potential Couple

You’ve met someone. How do you know this person is the one you want to marry?

The resources in this section will help you to assess for compatibility and navigate the courtship process. This phase can feel awkward, uncomfortable, or confusing. Take comfort in knowing that this is usually the case on both sides.

Start by reading this excellent article on 10 Considerations When Searching for the One. Then, watch the video and explore each section below.  


Click on the titles below to jump to that section.

Get to know yourself first

Keep it halal

Get to know your potential partner in a variety of ways

Use both your head AND your heart

Discuss EVERYTHING

Utilize personality and relationship inventories

Get premarital counseling

Take a marriage education course

Pay attention to red flags

Ask others about one another

Appreciate the process


Get to know yourself first

Before embarking on this journey, you must know yourself well. Check out Section 2 on Personal Preparation of this toolkit for guidance through some self-discovery.


Keep it halal

How you get to know someone for marriage will vary depending on your cultural context, family expectations, and personal preference. What is important is that you are both intentional and principled in your interactions and that your communication is purposeful and within Islamic guidelines.  

 

 5 Tips for Courtship

 Co-Ed Love for the Sake of Allah

 10 Guidelines for Gender Relations in Islam


Get to know your potential partner in a variety of ways

You should think about what your courtship will look like. What will help you assess for compatibility and determine if there is a connection? In what kinds of settings would you feel comfortable meeting a potential spouse? Would you prefer a family or group setting over a one-on-one meeting? Will you be engaging in-person, online, on the phone, etc? If your family will be involved, remember that you may need to communicate with them about their expectations regarding the courtship process.

Below are some suggestions of how you might get to know someone for marriage. It is important that you get to know the person in a variety of contexts. Be creative but intentional.

Suggestions for Courtship:

 Meet with each other and have a regular ‘ole conversation! Some people prefer to meet in public spaces, like a park or restaurant, while others prefer more private spaces, such as a family home.

 Participate in an activity together. For example, visit a museum, volunteer, or go hiking.

 Spend time with each other’s family and friends to learn more about each other.

 Ask for references and speak to them about one another. Check out this list of questions to ask references.  

 Make a bucket list and share ideas with one another.

 Discuss your social media habits together. Share about what you like to post and why.

 Make a collage of images about yourself, your identity, or depicting a specific period in your life, like your high school years or a trip abroad. Talk about the images you used and the process of putting together the collage.

 Print out a list of questions and go through them together. Here is a list of topics to discuss together and questionnaires to explore.

 Go through a book together and discuss. Here are some books to explore together.

 Take various personality tests to learn more about each other. Here are some to take together.

 Take some relationship inventories. Here are some to explore together.

 Send articles and videos about various topics to each other and ask if anything resonated. Discuss your perspectives.

Additional Tips:

 Consider holding off on more casual and intimate forms of communication until you’re fairly confident that you will be moving forward in the relationship.

 Alternate between different forms of communication. Email exchanges, for example, allow for deep reflection and articulation of thought, providing insight to the other person’s writing and thinking. Meeting in person, however, provides more unscripted and dynamic conversations.  

 If geographical distance is a problem for you, video conferencing can be a fun way to meet, but note that the same Islamic guidelines apply.

 Don’t record any interaction or share any personal details from your conversations without the other person’s permission. Only share what is needed with an advisor if you need guidance or you’re trying to make a decision.


Use both your head AND your heart

As you get to know someone, your mind should work in harmony with your heart. Both are important and serve a purpose. You want to be in it both logically and emotionally.

 

 Temper your emotions with realism. It can be easy to get caught up in the excitement of a new relationship. When you become too emotionally involved, you may forget to ask critical questions, miss red flags, or find it difficult to remain objective. Treading carefully during this phase will protect your heart and the other person’s heart from spiritual and emotional consequences. On the other hand, some people mistakenly handle courtship like it’s a job interview. Your emotions are important, so pay attention to them. Be yourself, but be critical. Read this excellent article on 10 Ways To Avoid Marrying The Wrong Person.

  Don’t get lost in the fairytale. We’ve been inundated by our culture (think Hollywood and Disney) that love and romance is the only thing that matters in a relationship, and that love conquers all. Love is an important element of relationships, but it develops over time and rarely looks like the infatuation we see on-screen. Infatuation is fleeting and means you are so consumed with the other person that you ignore his/her faults and make risky decisions to be together. If you find yourself infatuated, you must take a step back and reevaluate if this person is right for you. Read this article to learn more about the love delusion.

  Don’t confuse chemistry with compatibility. Just because you’re attracted to someone doesn’t mean he/she is the right person for you. Chemistry is defined as a strong emotional and physical attraction between two people. You are drawn to the other person and want to be close to him/her. Compatibility is MORE than just chemistry. Compatibility is about connecting and understanding the person, sharing values and life goals, and being able to communicate positively and honestly. You feel comfortable being around the other person, feel that he/she understands you, and you enjoy his/her company. An ideal relationship is one that has both chemistry and compatibility. Read this article to distinguish between chemistry and compatibility in a relationship.

  Remember that attraction can develop over time. Most people don’t fall in love at first sight. You may not feel an instant attraction when you meet a potential spouse. It can take time to develop a connection with someone, and as you get to know him/her, you may find that ‘spark’ of attraction develop and deepen over time. If you are unsure about how attracted you are to someone but you align in all the important ways, consider giving him/her a chance. Some people have found this program to be helpful in managing their anxiety about attraction towards a marriage partner. Refer to the Troubleshooting section for more resources about this topic.

  Don’t just passively wish and wait. Many people want to get married so badly that they hang onto relationships that have no potential. Fear of being single can make it difficult to let go. Keep these 5 things in mind as you get to know someone and avoid selling yourself short for the sake of “making it work.”

  Take a breather and make time to be alone. You should feel comfortable asking for some time and space at any point in the process–if that is what you need. Practice mindfulness. Reflect on the process thus far by journaling and talking to family and friends you trust. Look through the “Navigating your Thoughts and Emotions” portion of Section 5 to help make sense of your mental and emotional space during the courtship process. Recognize that you may come back to the self-knowledge piece in Section 2 even as you are talking to someone.


Discuss EVERYTHING

Start with and focus on the issues that are most important to you. Address all the deal breakers first. The secondary issues can be explored continuously. Be honest with the person about your needs and expectations. Share about your hesitations. It is important that you both feel comfortable sharing and that you feel heard. How you navigate this experience together will demonstrate how you might manage difficult conversations in the future.

As you have these discussions, pay attention not only to the other person’s answers but also to how he/she responds to your questions, his/her thought process, the nuance in his/her answers, the words he/she uses, the things he/she doesn’t say, etc. The types of questions asked by a potential partner can also be revealing.

No issue or subject should be off-limits during this process, but it will take time to grow the trust needed to approach more sensitive and possibly difficult conversations. Refer to the section below on Guidelines for Sharing with a Potential Partner for more about this topic.

Topics to Discuss:

This list covers the core topics you should discuss with a potential spouse to assess for compatibility and connection. The questions listed are not comprehensive and are only there to provide some examples. Please refer to the questionnaire section for a more thorough list of example questions to be used in your discussions.

Attitudes and Beliefs About Marriage
“What purpose does marriage fulfill in your life?”
Personal Values
“What is it that grounds your actions and spurs your motivation?”
Personality
“What are the strongest parts of your personality?”
Past Relationships
“Have you been engaged or married before?
Family and Upbringing
“Growing up, what were your family dynamics like?”
Religion and Spirituality
“What role does religion play in your life?”
In-laws
What do you expect your spouse’s obligations to be towards your own parents?”
Culture and Tradition
What culture and traditions are important to you?”
Gender Roles and Expectations
What role do you expect your spouse to uphold in your family and home?”
Communication and Conflict
How do you respond to conflict?”
Emotional Intimacy
What would make you feel loved?”
Friends and Community
“Who do you consider to be your people?”
Children & Parenting
Would you like to have children, and if so, what type of parent do you envision being?”
Finances
What is your current financial situation, and how will this impact your future spouse?”
Health
Are you at an elevated risk for any diseases, whether hereditary or self-induced?”
Daily Life/Lifestyle
“What would an ideal weekend look like for you?”
Fun and Leisure
“What does ‘relaxation’ mean to you?”
Career and Life Goals
“What does your career pathway look like, and where are you in that journey?”
Physical Intimacy*
“What are your expectations around sex and intimacy?”*
The Getting-To-Know Process
“How do you envision the courtship process to look like?”
The Wedding**
“What do you wish for your wedding to look like?”**

 

*Note that some people may prefer to discuss these questions during the later stages of the relationship, for example after the marriage ceremony (nikah or kitab). In general, conversations about sex and intimacy are important for the health of a marital relationship and should be approached respectfully and honestly. If you feel that these questions need to be addressed in order for you to feel comfortable moving forward with the relationship, then be honest with your potential spouse about this.

**Notice that this is the last item on the list of topics to discuss. It is important to cover the topics listed first before discussing wedding plans.


Questionnaires to Explore:

Below is a list of questionnaires to facilitate conversations around the essential topic areas listed earlier. Some people find it helpful to review each questionnaire and select the questions important to them. You can choose to work through one or all of the questionnaires. Just make sure to discuss all of the essential topic areas listed.

 

 FYI Premarital Questionnaire: This questionnaire was compiled by The Family & Youth Institute and includes sections on personality, personal development, family, conflict and communication, and culture, amongst many others.  

 74 Questions Questionnaire: This questionnaire was adapted by the Haute Hijab team and features questions from the following categories: getting to know yourself, the first meeting, soul-searching, money, family, faith, and deal breakers.

 ADAMS Questionnaire: This questionnaire was developed by the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) center in Virginia to help you explore where you and a prospective spouse stand in terms of core values, finances, raising children, health, religion, social relationships and beyond.

 276 Questions to Ask Before You Marry: This is a popular and extensive list to help you explore questions about health, family, politics, religion, culture, leisure, racial and ethnic differences, and many other topics.    

 36 Questions That Lead to Love: This is a list of creative but perceptive questions to help you organically explore each other’s interests, personalities, values, sense of humor, and beyond. Make sure to combine it with one or more of the other questionnaires on this list to ensure that you are assessing for compatibility in various ways.  

 Compatibility Discussion Guide: Written in Arabic, this list of questions helps couples explore their compatibility, and is from the “Mabrouk…You’re Engaged” Toolkit developed by the Jordanian government and USAID.


Questionnaires to Explore (In Book Form):

Below is a list of excellent reads to review with your prospective partner. Each of these books is framed around the important topics listed earlier, and will provide you with further questions, scenarios, and exercises to explore with one another and to help you assess for compatibility. Feel free to combine with the questionnaires listed earlier.

 Before the Wedding: Questions for Muslims to Ask Before Getting Married

 1001 Questions to Ask Before You Get Married

 Just Engaged: Prepare for Your Marriage before You Say “I Do”

  101 Questions to ask Before You are Engaged

  The Hard Questions: 100 Essential Questions to Ask Before You Say “I Do”


Guidelines for Sharing with a Potential Partner

As the courtship progresses, you will each begin to learn about one another more deeply. It’s important to consider when and how you will share more personal experiences with a potential partner. Some details about you or your family may feel private. It’s important to be transparent, but also important to safeguard your (and your family’s) privacy. The best time to share more personal information might be once:

 

  You’ve moved beyond the preliminary stages of getting to know one another.

  You know that both of you would like to move forward with the relationship.

  You’ve built a level of trust with your potential spouse.

Your ultimate priority should be to share that which is in the best interest of your relationship. This does not mean that you owe it to a potential spouse to divulge all of your private information before marriage and expect them to do the same. Rather, it means that you carefully consider the following question: What benefit will this information provide to the overall health of the relationship in the short-term and long-term?

People often wonder whether they should share about their past behaviors, for example, bad habits or emotional/sexual relationships. The general Islamic principle is that once you’ve fully repented from a sin, you are not to reveal it voluntarily. Therefore, you are not expected to divulge behaviors of your past if they are no longer a part of your life and will not impact your potential spouse and marriage. However, consider that behaviors and people of the past may resurface in the future, and this may impact your marriage.

In thinking about whether or not to share, consider the following questions:

  What benefit will this information provide to the overall health of the relationship in the short-term and long-term?

  What is the potential impact of withholding this information?

  Will it create emotional distance in the marriage?

  If I do share, can I handle the potential for conflict, suspicion, or insecurity that may arise in the relationship?

If you decide to share about your past, take ownership of the situation. Sincerely reflect on what you’ve learned from the experience, and how it has impacted you.     

It should also be noted that there is a significant difference between a sin committed in the past and an addiction. If you are struggling with an addiction, this will undoubtedly impact your marriage and should be communicated to a potential spouse. Addictions require treatment and thrive off of secrecy and isolation. Recognize the signs of addiction and seek help.

You are also obligated to share when your past or present behaviors can impact your potential spouse and your marriage. For example, if you’ve contracted a sexually transmitted infection (STI) from a previous sexual relationship, you must share this information with a potential spouse. Other examples include mental health disorders, physical illnesses, significant debt, experiences of abuse that prevent you from forming healthy emotional bonds, and/or alcohol/drug addictions. A perpetual sin that is not an addiction may also need to be shared. Your potential spouse has the right to know about these behaviors before committing to the relationship.

Be wise in when and how you share information. Don’t share to gain pity or sympathy, and don’t reveal your shortcomings aimlessly. You should still make an effort to allow your potential spouse to see you in a good light while being as genuine as possible. Consider sharing these guidelines with him/her and agree to apply them when discussing sensitive topics. Making the decision to share can be difficult and complicated. It requires nuance and must be addressed on a case by case basis. If you are not sure about whether to share something or to withhold it from a potential spouse, consult a trusted advisor or see a counselor to help you think through this decision.


Utilize Personality & Relationship Inventories

Inventories can help you learn more about yourself and your potential spouse. You can use these assessments early on in the process of getting to know each other or later on as the relationship becomes more serious.

 

 Personality Inventories: These inventories are designed to help you gain insight about your own personality traits, strengths, weaknesses, and interpersonal skills, as well as that of your potential spouse. Explore the list below for a variety of personality tests. Please note that these tests are merely indicators and not all may be scientifically validated, so take the results with a grain of salt!

 Truity: This site offers various personality tests including one based on the Myers-Briggs, and another based on the Big Five personality dimensions. Free versions available.

16 Personalities: This assessment identifies the degree to which you exhibit certain traits based on a combination of the Myers-Briggs and the Big Five personality traits. Free version available.

iPersonic Personality Test: This personality test is based on the 16 personality types of the Myers-Briggs. Free version available.

 PsychCentral Personality Tests: This sites offers a few personality tests including one based on the Myers-Briggs and another based on the Big Five model. It also includes quizzes that identify problematic personality traits such as narcissism and other personality disorders. Free versions available.

 Relationship Inventories: These assessments are designed to help you and your potential spouse identify compatibility issues and risk factors in your relationship. You can take these assessments on your own, but they can be more beneficial when interpreted by a professional during premarital counseling sessions. Some inventories can be taken by one person, but it is highly recommended that both partners take the assessment for best results. Most of these assessments will provide a summary report that you can use to have important conversations about the strengths, challenges, and concerns related to your relationship.  

 Personality Audit: This short tool from ForYourMarriage.org allows you to assess your personality style, compare it to that of your potential spouse, and provides some insight on the type of couple combination your personalities would create.

 Relate Assessment: This assessment focuses on four major areas that influence marital satisfaction: personality/values, family and friend support, communication skills, and upbringing/background. You can view a personalized report after you and your potential partner complete the assessment.   

 Couple Checkup: This inventory from Prepare/Enrich explores twenty topics and identifies strengths and growth areas across the relationship. You can view a summary report about your relationship and download a free discussion guide to help you improve your relationships skills.

Please note that inventories are designed to help you identify and discuss differences between you and your potential spouse.

 Inventories will not determine whether you should continue or end a relationship. Only you can decide that.

 Inventories will not address deeper dynamics between you and your potential spouse.

If you are struggling to make a decision about the relationship or you are experiencing more serious problems such as distrust, lack of connection, or poor communication, counseling can be helpful for you. Refer to Support During Courtship and Beyond in Section 7 to locate a counselor.

 Inventories are more powerful and effective if you combine them with premarital counseling.

During premarital counseling (see the section below), a professional can help you make sense of your results and use the inventories to guide your discussions. You may also be required to complete another inventory designed specifically for premarital counseling.


Get Premarital Counseling

Premarital counseling is one of the best things you can do to prepare for marriage. There are many benefits to premarital counseling.

Premarital Counseling:

  Improves your communication skills

   Strengthens your relationship

   Increases your self-awareness

   Encourages conversations

   Enhances your relationships skills

   Decreases your risk for divorce

One study on divorced Muslims found that most participants wished they had more premarital counseling.10 Another study on Muslims found that most participants would have participated in premarital counseling if someone had encouraged them or required them to do so.11


What’s the point of premarital counseling?

You can think of premarital counseling as a series of customized meetings with a professional who will help you:

  Assess for compatibility by learning more about yourself and your potential spouse

  Identify and address any potential areas of conflict in your relationship

  Discuss expectations for marriage

  Improve your ability to communicate and learn conflict-resolution skills

  Discuss sensitive issues or work through any fears about marriage or commitment

  Develop couple’s goals

  Help you make a decision about the relationship

Watch this video or read this article to learn more about premarital counseling.


When should I consider premarital counseling?

  When you’re seriously exploring marriage with someone

  When you’ve made the decision to marry someone

  After engagement

  After the nikah (kitab)

  After marriage

It’s best to get premarital counseling before you commit to marriage with someone, but it can still be incredibly beneficial at any point in the relationship.


What happens during premarital counseling?

  During premarital counseling, your counselor will likely use an evidence-based relationship inventory to help guide the discussion about your relationship readiness, strengths, and areas for improvement. This inventory will assess your relationship across many categories such as communication, conflict resolution, finances, personality, family of origin, religion, and parenting.

  After you complete the inventory, you will receive a personalized report that helps to focus the discussions on topics relevant to your relationship. If you have already completed an inventory, your counselor may ask you to share it and can help you make sense of the report.

  You will also discuss your expectations around marriage and learn healthy communication and conflict resolution skills. You may also develop marriage goals and a resource plan in case any challenges arise.

  Some counselors may prefer to meet with you and your potential spouse for a few sessions, while others may encourage you to participate in more sessions.

You can also read this article to learn what you can expect to address in premarital counseling or watch this couple’s experience with premarital counseling in the video below.


Who offers premarital counseling?

It is highly recommended that you seek out a trained professional, someone with experience in clinical counseling. Although some imams may offer or require premarital counseling, it is rare that they are trained in relationship counseling, family dynamics, and/or mental health issues. Premarital counseling with an imam can still be a helpful and valuable way to prepare for marriage, especially if you have questions about religion or religious practice. However, know that there may be limitations in your sessions with an imam. Trained professionals will offer different types of premarital counseling, and they tend to incorporate their clinical expertise into the sessions. When you’re exploring your options, ask about their approach and process. Many couples have found it beneficial to meet with both an imam and a counseling professional for premarital counseling.  


Where do I find premarital counseling?

One way to find a counselor is to ask family, friends, or community leaders for leads in your area. You can also use the following sites to find premarital counseling:  

These relationship inventories are the most common ones used by counseling professionals for premarital counseling. You can use their websites to search for someone in your area who is trained to facilitate the inventories. You can even filter your search by religion.

Prepare-Enrich  

FOCCUS

SYMBIS  

Muslim Mental Health features a directory of Muslim counselors, some of whom may provide premarital counseling and couples sessions. Also, see location-specific Muslim therapist directories below:

Bay Area Muslim Therapist Directory

DC Metro Area Therapist Directory

Michigan Therapist Directory

Dallas Fort Worth Therapist Directory

PsychologyToday also offers a therapist directory where you can filter your search by location, religion, gender, speciality, and other characteristics.   

Good Therapy also provides a search directory for counselors in your area.


Take a Marriage Education Course

Most of us aren’t born with strong relationship skills. These skills are often learned through experience or self-directed learning. Taking a marriage education course will help you learn about and prepare for the issues most essential to building a healthy marriage. It will also provide an opportunity for you and your potential spouse to explore your expectations together.

 

Prologue: This free online course equips a couple with five lessons to complete together, covering the following topics: family of origin, ideas on love, personal values, relationships, and communication.

Rock Solid Marriage Ready: Through the Rock Solid Marriage Ready course, you’ll explore readiness for marriage and learn the skills necessary for a successful relationship. This online course is taught by a father-daughter doctor duo.

Getting Ready for Marriage Bundle: This bundle includes course material for two. It features an app, two books, two workbooks, and access to six video lessons that cover the topics of compatibility, money, intimacy, in-laws, communication, and spirituality.

Dr. Aneesah Nadir’s Marriage Preparation Course: Preparing for a healthy marriage is one of the nost important jobs we can have, yet most people spend more time planning for the wedding then they spend on this lifelong commitment! Check out the advertisement to the right for more information.

IMAGO Start Right, Stay Connected Workshop: This is a one-day group seminar that will teach you how to communicate effectively with your partner and includes lectures, demonstrations, dialogue, and exercises.

The Muslim Marriage Guide Course: This online course includes ten video modules addressing topics such as gratitude, forgiveness, intimacy, communication, and when things go wrong. Please note that this course is affiliated with a Muslim matchmaking site.

 


Pay Attention to Red Flags

 

Red flags are signs that something about your potential spouse is not sitting well with you. They are indicators or clues warning you about issues that can create serious trouble or conflict in marriage. Some people explain away or deny the uneasy feelings because they want the relationship to work out or are afraid of upsetting their families or their potential spouse.

 

You should never ignore red flags. They require your immediate attention and should be questioned.

What Are The Red Flags To Look Out For In A Relationship?

10 Relationship Red Flags

Ten Important Questions You Should Ask a Potential Partner (and which responses might be red flags)

What Is Gaslighting?

What is Abuse?

Recognizing the Signs of an Abusive Relationship and Getting Help

Signs of Emotional & Mental Abuse Infographic

Cycle of Abuse

Don’t assume change. You should never marry someone with the expectation that they will change or that you will change them after marriage. Assume that what you see is what you get. Stay critical, trust your intuition, and give yourself time to observe and discuss your concerns with the person and others.

Look for relational self-awareness. This is key to a healthy relationship. People with this characteristic are able to identify and respond to their emotions in a healthy way, and they have a nuanced understanding of relationships. This article explains how you can assess for relational self-awareness when you are getting to know someone.  

Realize that you may encounter a red flag or a behavior from a potential spouse (or his/her family) at any point in the process, possibly just days before the wedding. Don’t dismiss this. Address the behavior directly, and do not be pressured into moving forward with a marriage at any point in the process if you are not comfortable.


Ask Others About One Another

You can learn more about your potential spouse by engaging with others who know them. Ask to meet with the person’s parents and siblings. Observe how he/she interacts with each family member. What are the overall family dynamics like? Introduce your potential spouse and his/her family to your own family and discuss with your family members what they observed, any concerns they might have, and the overall vibes they felt in their interactions. Don’t be quick to dismiss your family’s observations if they may conflict with your own. Instead, listen and keep an open mind to what they share with you.

Another way that you can learn more about a prospective spouse is by asking him/her to share a list of references with you – people who know him/her very well and can speak to his/her personality, character, behavior patterns, family, etc. You can speak to the references directly, or have a parent or family member who you trust engage with them and ask them any questions you may have. Also, offer your own list of references to the potential spouse so that he/she is able to get to know you through the people closest to you. Some people use this process to determine whether they will even begin the exploration process with a potential partner. Others will engage references as they get to know the person and assess if their own impressions are aligned with the reputation that the potential prospect has with others.

If you are in a circumstance where you will not be speaking to a prospective spouse directly or your interactions are kept minimal by family, make sure to take advantage of this part of the process as best as you can. Create a list of questions that cover the essential topics for marriage as well as what you feel is crucial for you to know about him/her before making a decision. Reference the questionnaires, add your own questions, and consider this list for references below.

Questions to Ask a Reference:

How long have you known him/her? And in what capacity?

 Do you think that he/she is ready to get married? Why?

What type of person would be compatible with him/her?

What are his/her best qualities? Worst qualities?

How would you describe his/her personality?

Describe him/her in five adjectives.

Can you give me an example of when he/she dealt with anger and/or frustration? How did he/she cope?

Who does he/she rely on when making decisions?

Have you seen him/her strive towards certain goals in life? What kind of goals is he/she working towards? 

How would you describe his/her role in his family? With friends? In the community?

How does he/she relate with other men and other women?

Does he/she abide by his commitments?

Do you have any concerns about this person?

Are there other people you think I (or my family) should speak to?

Is there anything else you’d like me to know about him/her or his/her family?

Finally, consider conducting a background check to identify if the person has any concerning personal, financial, or criminal histories. Although it may make some people uncomfortable, it is helpful in verifying someone’s identity and confirming that he/she is trustworthy and legitimate. 


Appreciate the Process

A common mistake people make is to rush into marriage without appropriately utilizing the courtship process to assess for compatibility. Getting to know someone thoroughly takes time. Courtship is not just about the end goal of marriage. It is an opportunity to learn more about yourself and your needs in a marriage partner.    

 

How much time is enough time to know if someone is right for me?

There is no magic number for how long courtship should last before you know that you want to marry someone. What’s important is that you are spending quality (halal) time with the person, which means that you are asking the critical questions and following the roadmap listed in this section of the toolkit. This can look differently for couples depending on their life circumstances, cultural and family values, emotional and spiritual states, and whether the relationship is a long distance one. Some people get to know their partners deeply over a shorter time period, while others require more time. The duration of your courtship does not determine how compatible you are with someone.

Note, however, that allowing for more time during courtship can have three positive consequences:

1  It allows for that initial burst of excitement about the new relationship to wear off a bit so that you can both be more objective in your decision-making;

2  It can provide you with more information about each other as you let your guard down and get more comfortable with time;

3  It ensures that you have done your due diligence in learning more about yourself, identifying your needs, and assessing for compatibility.

Don’t attach yourself to the outcome.

Courtship can feel like an emotional rollercoaster. Both of your feelings may change throughout the process. There are many possible outcomes when you are communicating with someone for marriage:

 You find that you learn a great deal through personal reflection and honest conversations with someone, and this knowledge makes you feel more prepared for marriage.

 You find that this process confirms your expectations about a marriage partner, and the person you are considering meets your needs so you decide to move forward with marriage.

 You realize that you or the other person have significant personal issues to work through, so you decide to stop or pause the process to focus on these issues.

 You find that this process clarifies your expectations about a marriage partner, and the person you are considering does not meet your needs, so you decide to end the relationship.

It’s important that you check in with each other about where you are in the process, be honest about your feelings, and accept the possibility that feelings and decisions can change. Continue praying istikhara and making duaa, and know that whatever happens, it is decreed by God as being best for you.

 


 

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Troubleshooting

This section of the toolkit addresses various concerns or issues that may arise during the courtship process and how to navigate them effectively. 

Click on the titles below to jump to that section.

Navigating Your Thoughts and Emotions During Courtship

Conflict Management

Long Distance Relationships

Intercultural/Interracial/Interfaith Relationships

Remarriage

Attraction

Age Difference

Pornography Addiction

Finances

Miscellaneous Must-Reads


Navigating Your Thoughts and Emotions During Courtship

Determining compatibility can be an exhilarating, messy and overwhelming process. Our thought patterns and beliefs influence our emotions and actions profoundly. You may feel a great sense of excitement and gratitude during courtship. You may also feel anxiety and uncertainty and deal with resurfaced insecurities or projections throughout the process. Use these resources to help you work through what you are feeling. What you’ll learn about yourself will be immensely helpful in your decision-making.

 What Should Love Feel Like?

 Is Your Gut Leading or Misleading You?

 “But How Do I Know Which Thoughts Are True And Which Feelings To Act On?”

 Working Out Whether Your Fears Are Genuine Or Misplaced

 Can I Make It Work With Anyone?

 Figure Out How You Feel & What You’re Experiencing With A Feelings Diary

 Break Free from Relationship Anxiety: A Course to Help You Understand if Your Doubt About Your Relationship is Your Own Anxiety or a Warning That You Are With the Wrong Person

Is it The Grass is Greener Syndrome?

 Is The Myth Of Finding “The One” Holding You Back?

 I Wish (S)He Was Taller

 The Grass is Greener Where You Water It

Practicing Mindfulness

 Navigating the Process with Mindfulness

 Mindfulness For Difficult Conversations

 Thoughts Are Not Facts


Conflict Management

Every couple will experience differences of opinion. This is the natural result of individuals learning how to balance their own needs with that of their partner’s. If handled with respect and open communication, conflicts can help you learn more about your partner and strengthen your relationship.

 

 

 Debunking 5 Myths About Premarital Conflict

 Conflict as a Path to Self-awareness

 4 Behaviors Destructive to a Marriage

 12 Unhealthy Relationship Mindsets

 How to Avoid the Pursuer-Distancer Pattern in Your Relationship

 The Little Things That Will Make or Break Your Relationship

 For Better or For Worse: The Post-Honeymoon Reality Check

 Exercise: The Art of Compromise

 What Did You Say, Honey?

 How You Say It Matters!


Long Distance Relationships (LDR)

In today’s world, it is likely that you may get to know someone through a long-distance courtship. Getting to know someone virtually comes with its own challenges, but you can build a strong relationship if you are both creative about the process. Take your time, pay special attention to red flags since they may be more difficult to discern, and arrange for multiple in-person meetings.

 Love Notes by YasGuru: Search Radius  – 3 rules to help guide your process if you’re considering a LDR

 Why Meeting Someone Online Promotes Casual Intimacy (And How To Protect Yourself)

 6 Things to Know if You’re Considering a Long Distance Relationship

 10 Tips for Conflict Management in a LDR

 6 Options When It Feels Like There’s Nothing To Talk About In Your Long Distance Relationship


Intercultural/Interracial/Interfaith Relationships

If you are considering someone who was raised with a different cultural, racial, or religious background from you and your family, you may experience additional challenges and will need to learn how to negotiate these differences between you both and your families.

 

 

 Challenges in Intercultural and Interfaith Marriages

 Interracial Marriage: Is It Worth it?

 Interracial Marriages: Between Ignorance & Couple Goals

 Thoughts & Advice on Interracial Marriages

 Interracial Marriage in the Prophetic Era

 Would It Be Wrong to Avoid Interracial Marriages for Cultural Considerations?

 Addressing Intra-Muslim Racism

 Sunni-Shia Marriage

If either or both of you are immigrants from another country, you may find these questions adapted from 1001 Questions to Ask Before You Get Married helpful to discuss together.12

Discuss these questions if either of you is an immigrant from another country

 What type of visa are or your partner using to stay in the country? When will this visa expire, and what documentation will replace it so that you/he/she can stay in the country?

Are you or your partner staying in the country illegally or with forged documents? 

Will you or your partner be seeking residency or citizenship status?

What would you do if you or your partner were suddenly deported?

How familiar are you with immigration law?

Have you spoken to friends or family who knew your partner before he/she left his/her country?

Will you be sponsoring any relatives to become citizens?

Where will you be living after you are married?


Remarriage

Remarriage is a reality for many couples. You may need to consider what history and experiences you are bringing into the new marriage and how you will navigate the impact of your previous relationships, as well as the dynamics of co-parenting if children are involved.  

 

 

 

 

  10 Rules for a Successful Second Marriage

  8 Questions to Ask Your Partner Before Remarrying

  4 Questions to Ask Yourself When Considering a Divorced Potential Spouse

  Things to Consider When You Marry a Widow or Widower

 

 Children/Blended Families

Questions to Ask Your Potential Spouse About Their Kids

  Remarrying Well with Children

  Seven Tips for Stepfamily Success

Stepfamilies: Is Remarriage a Step in the Right Direction?

You may find the questions below adapted from 1001 Questions to Ask Before You Get Married helpful for discussions with your potential partner if either or both of you have been married previously.12

Discuss these questions if either of you have been married previously

If this is a remarriage for you, what are your hopes and fears with this relationship?

Has your divorce been finalized? Are you sure your partner’s divorce has been finalized?

Do your children approve of your marriage?

 Have you met your partner’s ex-spouse?

Do you only know your partner’s version of what happened in his or her previous marriage?

Will you be taking your partner’s name once you’re married?

Are you always comparing your wedding or marriage to a previous one? Is either of you trying to outdo a previous wedding?

Do you and your partner disagree over how formal the wedding will be?

Do you or your partner keep any pictures of your previous wedding(s)?

Will your former in-laws or other members of your ex’s family be invited to your wedding?


Attraction

When considering marriage, some people can struggle with physical attraction in a few ways.

 

 

 

 

 They don’t know where physical attraction should be on their list of priorities, so quite often they fall into extremes, for example:  

 They may have a specific profile in mind and only want to consider people who fit that physical profile. This tends to be more common.

 They may completely negate the importance of attraction, and refuse to consider physical attraction in their search for a spouse.

 They don’t have enough self-knowledge to identify what it is that they’re attracted to. Thus, they are unable to distinguish between purely physical factors and factors that have more to do with how others carry themselves, their personal style, personality, etc, both of which are equally important.

 They lack trust in the idea that physical beauty may change over time, and that attraction can grow through other means.

If you are having problems with attraction, refer to the resources below. Also, refer to the “Use both your head AND your heart” note in Section 4.

 When You’re Not Attracted to Your Partner

 I Wish S(He) Was Funnier

 Should I Consider Him for Marriage if I’m not Attracted to Him?

 Problems With Attraction


Age Difference

If you are meeting someone who is older or younger than you by some years, know that your marriage may be impacted by the age difference and that there are several things you both should consider before committing.

 

 

 

 On Age Differences Between Spouses

 What Does Islam Say About Marrying an Older Person?

 Can a Relationship Succeed if One Partner is Much Older?

 Five Considerations for Relationships with a Big Age Difference

If there is a significant age difference between you and your potential partner, you may find the questions below from 1001 Questions to Ask Before You Get Married helpful for discussion.12

Discuss these questions if there is a significant age difference between you and your partner:

Have you ever felt a generational gap in your conversations?

Do you each have your own group of friends who closely match your own age?

Do you each have a separate group of friends who don’t socialize together?

Are you afraid that in a few years you won’t be able to keep up with your partner?

Is your mutual attraction based on the strength of a single area of compatibility?

Are you attracted to your partner because he or she is helping you to mature? What will happen once you’ve matured and feel you no longer need guidance?

Do you feel you are being treated like a child or acting like a parent in your relationship?

Do you fear being abandoned for a younger spouse?

Are you afraid that you or your partner may not be able to keep up with you or any children you may have together?


Pornography Addiction

A pornography addiction can undermine the health of a marriage if left unaddressed. An addiction to pornography is not simply resolved by marriage – it requires an action plan and support from someone who cares. If you are struggling with an addiction to pornography and are also considering marriage, seek help to treat your addiction before proceeding with the marriage process.

 

 

 How Porn Kills Love

 Why It’s a Bad Idea to Watch Porn Before Marriage

 Pornography is What the End of the World Looks Like

 Sex, Porn, and Paradise: Sexuality and Pornography in the Muslim Community

 Porn Addicts: Do You Know What Triggers Your Behavior?

 Using Pornography is Not Really About Sex

 Kickstart Your Recovery Video Series by Purify Your Gaze

 How to Overcome Porn Addiction and Be Productive Again – Part 1 and Part 2

 A (Recovered) Man’s Marriage Readiness Checklist

 Conversation Blueprint: Let’s Talk About Porn

 Purify Your Gaze Blog

 Find An Addiction Therapist


Finances

Discussions about finances are often overlooked during the courtship process. Unfortunately, this causes significant financial ramifications and puts a great deal of pressure on the marriage. Use these resources to guide your conversations around how you both plan to manage your money.

 

 

 Debt & Marriage: An example of how student loan debt can impact the marriage decision

 Podcast on Marriage & Money: Listen to this podcast with Ustadh AbdelRahman Murphy about what financial questions to ask before marriage, financial habits and compatibility, disagreements about money, and other financial issues before and during marriage.  

 Budgeting & Marriage: Watch this video to learn how to create a budget for your marriage.

 An Ode to Cultural Wedding Debt: Is the big wedding worth it?


Miscellaneous Must-Reads

These handpicked articles cover various relationship topics that are relevant to the modern marriage.

 Which Of My Needs Can I Realistically Expect My Partner To Meet?

 Self-Interest is Not Selfish in Relationships

 The Effects of Changing Gender Dynamics in Muslim Spouse Selection

 How to Adjust to Changing Gender Roles in the Modern Family


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Making the Decision to Commit (or Not)

 

This section of the toolkit features resources to help you work through the decision to commit (or not commit) to someone. Use this list as a final checklist before moving forward. Remember that no decision is fool-proof, nor can you control the outcome. All you can do is commit to a process of sincerity and thoroughness in your decision-making, and leave the rest in the hands of Allah SWT.

 

 Istikhara – How To and Why? A piece by Sheikh Abdul Nasir Jangda detailing the purpose and proper application of Istikhara. For a shorter how-to on istikhara, read this.

 Am I Marrying the Right Person? What does it feel like to be in a healthy, compatible relationship?

 How do I Know They are “the One?” The belief that there is one individual who will meet all of your needs is faulty and limiting.

 When You Marry for Four Reasons, Don’t Forget Your Reason: Misconceptions about this classic marriage hadith, and how to holistically apply its wisdom.

 Making Really Hard Decisions: This decision may not be an easy one for you. Explore four pitfalls of difficult decision-making and seven strategies that you can use to make the choice that is best for you.

 Trust Your Gut to Pick Your Partner: How to use your intuition to help guide your decision-making.

 Got Cold Feet? Listen to Your Head: What to do with doubts you may be experiencing.

 11 Tips to Consider When Proposing for Marriage: Some tips to help you move forward with the proposal.

 Knowing When to Say Goodbye: How to lead your decision-making with a commitment to yourself, first and foremost.

 Ending a Courtship: How to move forward if you decide that the relationship is not right for you. Be nice, be assertive, and set boundaries. Example script: I really appreciated xyz about you. However, the more we got to know each other, the more I realized that we aren’t compatible on xyz, and they are deal breakers for me.”  

 How To Reject a Proposal: Listen to this podcast for some tips on how to kindly and respectfully reject a marriage proposal.

 Dealing with Lost Love: Some practical suggestions for dealing with and moving on from a relationship that has ended.

For more resources on how to sort out your decision-making, refer to the “Navigating Your Thoughts and Emotions During Courtship” in Section 5.


 

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Support During Courtship and Beyond

Understanding yourself and a potential partner for marriage requires a substantial amount of time, thought, and emotional energy. As you move through each stage of the courtship, be sure to seek out any support needed to help you make decisions that you feel comfortable with. Below are some ways that you can utilize the support systems around you during your courtship. 

Click on the titles below to jump to that section.

Marriage Mentors

Premarital Counseling

Mental Health/Counseling


Marriage Mentors

Find a marriage mentor. Marriage mentors are helpful in offering an experienced perspective during the courtship and after commitment. A marriage mentor could be a trusted elder or someone who has been married for several years and whose marriage you look up to. This person understands what you are looking for in a spouse and can help guide your courtship. This mentor may also be a person of support after you’re married, helping you and your spouse navigate the different stages of marriage gracefully.

5 Reasons You Should Have a Marriage Mentor


Premarital Counseling

Premarital counseling is one of the best things you can do to prepare for marriage. There are many benefits to premarital counseling.

Premarital Counseling:
  Improves your communication skills

   Strengthens your relationship

   Increases your self-awareness

   Encourages conversations

   Enhances your relationships skills

   Decreases your risk for divorce

One study on divorced Muslims found that most participants wished they had more premarital counseling.10 Another study on Muslims found that most participants would have participated in premarital counseling if someone had encouraged them or required them to do so.11


What’s the point of premarital counseling?

You can think of premarital counseling as a series of customized meetings with a professional who will help you:

  Assess for compatibility by learning more about yourself and your potential spouse

  Identify and address any potential areas of conflict in your relationship

  Discuss expectations for marriage

  Improve your ability to communicate and learn conflict-resolution skills

  Discuss sensitive issues or work through any fears about marriage or commitment

  Develop couple’s goals

  Help you make a decision about the relationship

Watch this video or read this article to learn more about premarital counseling.


When should I consider premarital counseling?
  When you’re seriously exploring marriage with someone

  When you’ve made the decision to marry someone

  After engagement

  After the nikah (kitab)

  After marriage

It’s best to get premarital counseling before you commit to marriage with someone, but it can still be incredibly beneficial at any point in the relationship.


What happens during premarital counseling?

  During premarital counseling, your counselor will likely use an evidence-based relationship inventory to help guide the discussion about your relationship readiness, strengths, and areas for improvement. This inventory will assess your relationship across many categories such as communication, conflict resolution, finances, personality, family of origin, religion, and parenting.

  After you complete the inventory, you will receive a personalized report that helps to focus the discussions on topics relevant to your relationship. If you have already completed an inventory, your counselor may ask you to share it and can help you make sense of the report.

  You will also discuss your expectations around marriage and learn healthy communication and conflict resolution skills. You may also develop marriage goals and a resource plan in case any challenges arise.

  Some counselors may prefer to meet with you and your potential spouse for a few sessions, while others may encourage you to participate in more sessions.

You can also read this article to learn what you can expect to address in premarital counseling or watch this couple’s experience with premarital counseling in the video below.


Who offers premarital counseling?

It is highly recommended that you seek out a trained professional, someone with experience in clinical counseling. Although some imams may offer or require premarital counseling, it is rare that they are trained in relationship counseling, family dynamics, and/or mental health issues. Premarital counseling with an imam can still be a helpful and valuable way to prepare for marriage, especially if you have questions about religion or religious practice. However, know that there may be limitations in your sessions with an imam. Trained professionals will offer different types of premarital counseling, and they tend to incorporate their clinical expertise into the sessions. When you’re exploring your options, ask about their approach and process. Many couples have found it beneficial to meet with both an imam and a counseling professional for premarital counseling.  


Where do I find premarital counseling?

One way to find a counselor is to ask family, friends, or community leaders for leads in your area. You can also use the following sites to find premarital counseling:  

These relationship inventories are the most common ones used by counseling professionals for premarital counseling. You can use their websites to search for someone in your area who is trained to facilitate the inventories. You can even filter your search by religion.

Prepare-Enrich  

FOCCUS

SYMBIS  

Muslim Mental Health features a directory of Muslim counselors, some of whom may provide premarital counseling and couples sessions. Also, see location-specific Muslim therapist directories below:

Bay Area Muslim Therapist Directory

DC Metro Area Therapist Directory

Michigan Therapist Directory

Dallas Fort Worth Therapist Directory

PsychologyToday also offers a therapist directory where you can filter your search by location, religion, gender, speciality, and other characteristics.   

Good Therapy also provides a search directory for counselors in your area.


Mental Health/Counseling

During the courtship process, you or your potential partner may come across unresolved issues in your past, face an ongoing problem you’ve avoided, or feel a lot of fear and anxiety about marriage and the changes it may bring. This is because the marriage process is one that invokes a great deal of self-awareness. Entering into an intimate relationship can also make us aware of the issues we may have experienced in our own families. Some people realize that they have no good role model for a healthy marriage. Others realize that they have fears related to observing their parents’ marriage (divorce, abuse, betrayal, etc). Some people discover that they have a lot of anxiety about marriage but don’t know why. It is normal for unresolved trauma to show up at this time in your life, even if it didn’t show up before. You may also experience conflict or uncover more serious concerns with your potential spouse.

Whatever you may be struggling with, a trained professional counselor can help you work through these issues. Use the following resources to help you understand family and mental health issues and to find a counselor in your area.

The Muslim Mental Health site features a directory through which you can find Muslim counselors and clinicians in your area.

 

Also, see location-specific Muslim therapist directories below:

  Bay Area Muslim Therapist Directory

  DC Metro Area Therapist Directory

  Michigan Therapist Directory

  Dallas Fort Worth Therapist Directory

 

PsychologyToday offers a therapist directory where you can filter your search by location, religion, gender, specialty, and other characteristics.   

 

Good Therapy also provides resources around what to expect from therapy, how to choose a counselor, and much more – along with a search directory for therapists in your area.

 

Mental Health America provides many resources on its website, including an FAQ page and a quick search method to find a mental health organization near you.

 

MentalHealth.gov provides numerous resources that cover warning signs, different forms of abuse and disorders, and how to talk about mental health.

 

 MentalHealth4Muslims provides a list of articles and resources for everything mental health with a focus on Muslims.

 


 

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Additional Resources

Below is a list of additional resources that you may find helpful.

Sites/Blogs

  Virtual Mosque: Marriage and Family Archive

  Marriage Archive from Seeker’s Hub

  Gottman’s Blog

  Pre-Marriage Advice from Marriage.com

  Prepare Enrich Blog


Books

Muslim-Specific

Before You Tie the Knot by Salma Abugideiri and Imam Mohamed Magid:This book is invaluable for anyone seeking marriage, as well as for parents who are involved in their children’s marriage process. Those getting remarried after a divorce or death of a spouse will also find this book extremely useful. The authors raise thought-provoking questions to help readers increase self-awareness, clarify what is desired in a spouse and in a marriage, and help them get to know a potential spouse.” For the prospective couple to help explore and adjust their expectations about their relationship and the reality of marriage.

Blissful Marriage by Dr. Ekram & Dr. Rida Beshir: “This book contains the right mix of theory and practice due to the authors’ wealth of experience in marriage counseling in North America. All its contents are based on Islamic references from Qur’an and Sunnah and their applications to the contemporary environment.” Basing the principles of a blissful marriage on inspiration from the Islamic and Prophetic tradition, this book can make for great discussions with a potential or committed partner around the spiritual dimensions of a marriage.

Dwell in Tranquility: An Islamic Roadmap to a Vibrant Marriage by Kamal Shaarawy: “Virtually everything we embark on in life requires some training and education, and marriage is no exception. This practical marriage guide combines the sublime knowledge of Islamic teachings with scientific research and over 20 years of professional counseling experience. Thought-provoking exercises help spouses or potential spouses understand themselves, recognize true compatibility in a partner, avoid common pitfalls within marriage, and build a strong and loving partnership.” This is a great read for a couple that has found compatibility in the initial stages of the relationship and wants to continue exploring one another as they prepare for marriage.

The Muslim Marriage Guide by Ruqaiyyah Waris Maqsood: “Far from the sociological analysis or list of rules that fill other books about Islamic marriage, this book draws from the wisdom of the Sunnah to show how to love your partner in this life and prepare each other for the next. Written with plenty of real-life experience (and even humor) from Muslims living in the West, the author balances the issues of male-female differences, respect for each other’s rights and needs and raising God-conscious children.” Basing the principles of a blissful marriage on inspiration from the Islamic and Prophetic tradition, this book can make for great discussions with a potential or committed partner around the spiritual dimensions of a marriage.

Like Glue: The Little Book of Marriage Advice We Should Have Stuck to from the Beginning by Zarinah Al-Amin and Dr. Halim Naeem: “Marriage is like gardening. The farmer cannot reap what the farmer does not sow. Put in the work, and your marriage benefits. Leave it stagnant, and the weeds take over. Plain and simple. LIKE GLUE by Dr. Halim Naeem and Zarinah El-Amin Naeem is filled with practical advice to help you build love, respect, and FUN in your marriage.” This book is a fun read for a couple to share and discuss at any stage of their relationship.

Classic Must-Reads

Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married by Gary Chapman: “This book features learning experiences from the author’s own marriage, such as realizing “that toilets are not self-cleaning” and “that romantic love has two stages.” Each chapter ends with questions and activities for the couple to explore together. This is a relatable, easy read for a prospective couple to help explore and adjust their expectations about their relationship and the reality of marriage.

The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by G. Chapman: “In the #1 New York Times bestseller The 5 Love Languages, you’ll discover the secret that has transformed millions of relationships worldwide. Whether your relationship is flourishing or failing, Dr. Gary Chapman’s proven approach to showing and receiving love will help you experience deeper and richer levels of intimacy with your partner—starting today.” This is a great read for a couple that has found compatibility in the initial stages of the relationship and wants to continue exploring one another as they prepare for marriage.

Why Marriages Succeed or Fail: And How You Can Make Yours Last by Dr. John Gottman: “This breakthrough book guides you through a series of self-tests designed to help you determine what kind of marriage you have, where your strengths and weaknesses are, and what specific actions you can take to help your marriage.” This is a great read for a couple that has found compatibility in the initial stages of the relationship and wants to continue exploring one another as they prepare for marriage.  

His Needs, Her Needs by Dr. Willard Harley: “In the classic bestseller His Needs, Her Needs, Willard F. Harley, Jr., identifies the ten most vital needs of men and women and shows husbands and wives how to satisfy those needs in their spouses.” This is for the prospective couple to help explore and adjust their expectations about their relationship and the reality of marriage.

12 Hours to a Great Marriage: A Step-by-Step Guide for Making Love Last by Howard Markman: Based on the highly sought-out PREP workshop, this book outlines 12 strategies to develop, protect, and enhance your marriage. This is a great book for a couple to explore together. Each chapter is designed to be covered in one hour.

Fighting for Your Marriage by H. Markman: Also based on the PREP approach, this book is a practical guide to build the skill of handling conflict in a relationship, and strengthen the marriage with a lasting bond. In this edited version, the author draws from the most recent developments in the field of marriage and relationship research. This is a great read for a couple that has found compatibility in the initial stages of the relationship and wants to continue exploring one another as they prepare for marriage.   

7 Habits of Highly Effective Families by Steven Covey: “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families shows how and why to have family meetings, the importance of keeping promises, how to balance individual and family needs, and how to move from dependence to interdependence.” This book is for the couple that has decided to commit to one another; after working through one of the recommended resources that focus on building the marriage and your understanding of one another, read this book together to explore and create traditions for your relationship as it grows into a family.

Sex and Intimacy

Real Questions, Real Answers about Sex: The Complete Guide to Intimacy as God Intended by Melissa & Louis McBurney: Written by a Christian couple from a Biblical perspective, this book touches on sex and intimacy from a spiritual, physical and therapeutic perspective. With the honest, humorous insight of both a man and woman, the authors answer all types of questions around sex. This book can be helpful for couples to read just before, or after marriage.

Islamic Guide to Sexual Relations by Muhammad Al-Kawthari:While being respectful and dignified in the language he employs, the author does not shy away from discussing sensitive issues. He records, in thorough detail, the guidance Islam provides regarding sexual encounters with one’s spouse.” This book can be helpful for couples to read just before, or after their marriage.


Videos

Before You Say “I Do”: This free webinar by the FYI is an introduction to marriage education that shares with the audience practical tips and resources to help prepare for the commitment of a lifetime. It will help you recognize the importance of preparing for marriage, engage in self-reflection, learn how to assess compatibility, and identify resources to help you prepare for marriage.

How to Get Married by Qalam Institute: In this six-part “How to Get Married” video series, Ustadh AbdelRahman Murphy breaks down the core components of the marriage process with advice from the Quran, Sunnah, and marital counseling experts.

Love Notes by Yas Guru: A witty and truthful series of 1-3 minute videos about common myths, conflicts, and “rules of engagement” within a relationship.

Before You Tie the Knot: Fictional stories to help illustrate concepts that will lead to happier marriages, based on the book “Before You Tie The Knot” by Sister Salma Abugideiri and Imam Mohamed Magid.

Marriage Success Film Series: This series, sponsored by Baitul Maal and the Faith of Life Network, features short enactments of couples engaging in various types of behavior, with the perspective of counselors and marriage experts.

Book Summary in Video Form: 7 Principles for Making Marriage Work: An animated summary of the book by Dr. John Gottman.

Muslim Advice – Marriage: A candid series of videos and perspectives around marriage – before, during, and after making the commitment – by Br. Q.

Marriage Makeover Video Series by Quran Weekly and Haleh Bannani: A five-part series on the relationship between self-development and marital bliss.


Miscellaneous Resources for the Wedding

The Marriage Contract
Islamic Marriage Contracts: A Resource Guide

Sample Marriage Contract 1

 Sample Marriage Contract 2

Insights on Wedding, Mahr, and Honeymoon Planning-Ustadha Zaynab Ansari

What’s Permissible Post-Nikkah & Pre-Marriage?

An Open Letter to Nervous Brides

Like a Garment – an introductory course on marital intimacy by Yasir Qadhi

Proper Etiquettes of the Wedding Night

 


 

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Footnotes

1. Ezzeldine, M. L. (2010, November 17). Let’s Talk About Dating. Retrieved January 2, 2018, from http://www.virtualmosque.com/ummah/community/lets-talk-about-dating.

2. Killawi, A., Daneshpour, M., Elmi, A., Daras, I., & Hamid, H. (2014, June). Recommendations for Promoting Healthy Marriages & Preventing Divorce in the American Muslim Community, 7.

3. Wilmoth, J.D., & Fournier, D.G. (2008). Barriers to providing marriage preparation. The Journal of Family and Community Ministries, 22(4), 31–41

4. Carroll, J.S., & Doherty, W.J. (2003). Evaluating the effectiveness of premarital prevention programs: A meta-analytic review of outcome research. Family Relations, 52(2), 105–118.

5. Killawi, A., Fathi, E., Dadras, I., Daneshpour, M., Elmi, A. and Hamid, H. (2018). Perceptions and experiences of marriage preparation among U.S. Muslims: Multiple voices from the community. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 44, 90–106.

6. Alshugairi, N. (2010). Marital trends in the American Muslim community: A pilot study. Journal of Muslim Mental Health, 5(3), 256–277.

Ba-Yunus, I. (2000). Divorce among Muslims. Islamic Horizons Magazine.

Ghayyur, T. (2010). Divorce in the Muslim Community: 2010 survey analysis. SoundVision Foundation. Retrieved August 15, 2016, from https://www.soundvision.com/article/divorce-in-the-muslim-community-2010-survey-analysis.

Macfarlane, J. (2012). Islamic divorce in North America: A Shari’a path in a secular society. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Siddiqui, S. (2009).Divorce among American Muslims: Statistics, challenges & solutions. SoundVision.com. Retrieved August 4, 2016, from http://www.soundvision.com/article/divorce-among-american-muslims-statistics-challenges-solutions.

7.  Macfarlane, J. (2012) Islamic Divorce in North America: A Sharia path in secular society. New York: Oxford Press.

8. Carroll, J. S. and Doherty, W. J. (2003), Evaluating the Effectiveness of Premarital Prevention Programs: A Meta‐Analytic Review of Outcome Research. Family Relations, 52: 105-118.7.

Hawkins, A. J., Blanchard, V. L., Baldwin, S. A., & Fawcett, E. B. (2008). Does marriage and relationship education work? A meta-analytic study. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 76(5), 723-734.

Stanley, S. M., Rhoades, G. K. and Markman, H. J. (2006), Sliding Versus Deciding: Inertia and the Premarital Cohabitation Effect. Family Relations, 55: 499-509.

9. These questions were adapted from the following book: Angelis, B. D. (1992). Are You the One for Me?: Knowing Who’s Right and Avoiding Who’s Wrong. New York: Delacorte Press.

10. Macfarlane, J. (2012). Islamic divorce in North America: A Shari’a path in a secular society. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

11. Killawi, A., Fathi, E., Dadras, I., Daneshpour, M., Elmi, A., & Altalib, H. (2018). Perceptions and Experiences of Marriage Preparation Among US Muslims: Multiple Voices from the Community. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 44(1), 90-106.

12. Leahy, M. (2004). 1001 Questions to Ask Before You Get Married. McGraw Hill, 205-206.

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