Why "Biodata" Sucks!

For those of you unused to the matrimonial lingo, biodata means the factual data about a person used when matchmakers match them up with a potential spouse. This covers things like height, age, marital status, education, profession and whole host of other labels to judge how worthy someone is of marriage.

A recently aired TV show about single Muslims featured super awkward date between two of the most mismatched people ever. 

On the biodata front they were chosen as a match being from the same cultural background, possibly the same height, professional and about the same age. In their personalities though they may as well have been from different planets.

On the one side of the dinner table was a woman who was of the belief that the responsibilities in a marriage should be shared equally from the cooking to raising the children. 

On the other side of the table you had a man who was of the opinion that a woman should prioritise the home and children above everything else including her career . 

As you can imagine the meeting was a flop!

Both parties had their own valid views of what marriage should be based on factors such as their upbringing, personal values and life experiences. 

However, if they had only been matched up in the first place with people of similar upbringing, personal values and life experiences then maybe this — and many other such — disasters would not have occurred. 

We are still relying on outdated methods to pair people up for marriage.

Yes they may both be lawyers but other than being able to sue each other this guarantees very little else! 

Being of the same cultural background does mean they can speak the same language but what’s the point if all they are going to do is argue in it?

And being the same age certainly doesn’t guarantee the same level of maturity.

We don’t have to be the same as each other to guarantee a successful marriage but you do need to share the same values when it comes to the important things like family, children, money and religion.

Otherwise it’s like eating cheese and ice-cream. Same colour. Bad combination!

Single And Doing Just Fine Thank You!

When looking for a suitable image for this article I came across so many images of women jumping in the air with glee or open armed breathing in ocean air or sitting in a huge field looking at the horizon.

But that is not the clichee I wish to perpetuate in this article.

This article is just an honest look at how single Muslim women are finding happiness and contentment as their single selves.

So many articles, interviews and aunties describe the growing number of single Muslim women over 30 as some kind of epidemic or disease that is infiltrating our ummah. Yes there is an issue with Muslim women (and men) struggling to find a suitable spouse and this is a whole separate issue.

But there is a growing number of Muslim women who are perfectly content as their single selves. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they do not have hopes of finding their other half. It just means that they are comfortable as they are right now and are in a great place to receive the right guy if and when he comes along.

So many women have found themselves run ragged in the search for a spouse, filled with despair, under ridiculous amounts of pressure that often lead to quite serious consequences such as low self esteem, lack of confidence and depression. 

They have found themselves the object of ridicule and prejudice in their families and communities and they are often looked down upon for being not only 30 and single but sometimes 30 and childless . 

It is at this point that so many women have said STOP! Enough is enough. And they have chosen to not be subjected to this anymore.

They are loving life in their own terms, doing things that bring them fulfillment and contentment, mixing with people who make them feel good about themselves and going to places where they will not be judged. 

They understand and honour their right to be happy and their right not to feel ashamed something they have no control over. They understand that if they are going to create and nurture and meaningful marriage that it starts with them.

 They are taking time to work through their negative thoughts and limiting beliefs. They are giving themselves the gift of self love and ensuring that their needs are met for once instead of just doing everything for everyone else. 

They are content to acknowledge that the right man will come along when they are in the right place to receive him and they have removed any sort of deadline from their lives. 

As a singles coach I cannot be proud enough of these women. It takes a brave Muslim woman to stand up and to take a step back and take care of herself before she decides to take care of the needs of a husband. 

7 Bad Behaviours To Stop Accepting Today!

Today I want to talk about something that affects a lot of our singles sisters who are looking for a spouse and that is accepting bad behaviour from a potential spouse.

Note I didn’t say that the problem is the bad behaviour itself but rather the complicit acceptance of it in a bid to find The One.

As a singles coach my inbox is often brimming full of questions that begin “what does it mean when…” followed by an explanation of some unacceptable form of male behaviour.

So today I have gathered 7 of the most common questions I receive to explore just how much bad behaviour you are putting up with and why it should stop.

1. What does it mean when he doesn’t call or message you for a few days then calls you and acts like nothing happened then disappears again?

It means he’s not serious about marrying you. If he was he would be consistent in his communication with you and respect your time and efforts in finding a spouse. This man just likes the chase. He likes to feel he can catch you then let you go then catch you again. You are not trout!

2. I’ve been talking to this guy on the phone for ages but he hasn’t suggested meeting up yet, why is this?

Because he’s not ready to commit. He likes the perks of being in a relationship such as the long chats into the night, the text messages to brighten up his day and the adoration of his photos but that’s as far as he will go in the relationship field. You are not here to boost his ego.

3. I’ve met this really great guy, he’s perfect for me but he doesn’t want to get married. What should I do?

Forget him. He’s obviously not that perfect for you. If it’s marriage you are after then the man who is right for you will give you marriage. If he knows you want to get married and he’s still happy to string you along when you both know he’s not after marriage then he’s playing you like a lute.

4. I’ve been talking to this guy but he always asks me about sex and wants to talk about it even though I’ve told him I’m not comfortable with it.

If you’ve made it clear that you don’t believe in intimacy before marriage and/or don’t feel comfortable talking about it with him and he is still persisting then he has no respect for you, your values or wishes and is probably only after sex. This is a guy who wants a relationship on his terms only. Run!

5. I’ve been seeing this guy for a few months and he talks about marriage but he won’t tell his family about me or do anything to take it to the next level.

He’s not interested in marriage, only the fantasy of it. My guess is he’s been filling your mind and heart with all kinds of beautiful scenarios of what life will be like once you are both married right? But unless his actions match his words I’m afraid this guy , despite what his profile might have said, is not looking for marriage.

6. He says we can only get married if I give up my job/ learn to speak his language/ dress a certain way / give up certain friendships

If he’s asking you to compromise on stuff you don’t feel comfortable giving up then he isn’t accepting you as the person you are comfortable being. If he’s using it as a “bargaining” tool for negotiating marriage then it’s a form of control. Yes there is compromise in any marriage but if it feels one-sided and is taking you away from your identity and what feels right for you as a person then this isn’t the right marriage for you.

7. A matchmaker gave this guy my number a few weeks ago but he still hasn’t called. Should I call him?

No. If he can’t even make the effort to call a lady how much effort is he going to put into a marriage? He can’t expect to just switch the effort button on once he’s married, he needs to start from today!

Sister you don’t have to put up with bad behaviour!

You are a worthy, valuable and respected woman and you should not feel the need to compromise your self respect in order to find a husband just because you are made to feel like time is somehow “running out”.

Listen to your gut.

If it doesn’t feel right it probably isn’t. It doesn’t matter how great he is on paper and how much your family want the match to work and how damn handsome he is. You don’t have to say yes to him or his bad behaviour.

You have the right, like every woman, to marry a man who will treat you with the deepest respect. If he’s not doing it before marriage he certainly won’t do it after marriage!

7 Common Fears Of The Single Muslima & How To Stop Them In Their Tracks!

Being a single Muslimah — especially over 30 — can be a pretty worrying experience. Yes life is fun, you are fab, you enjoy a great social life, you have financial freedom and the luxury of going out whenever you like and pretty much enjoy living life in your own terms. All is going great…until night strikes and lying in bed at night the anxiety and doubt which you have kept at bay all day suddenly creep in…

Sound familiar? I too often used to wake up in the dead of the night in an irrational panic over my singledom and potential life alone with a cat. Or toss and turn unable to sleep as I pondered where I might have gone wrong and what I would do if I ended up some apparently unimaginable age and still single.

You then wake up fine, a little unsettled maybe, but throw yourself into work and all your other responsibilities. At some point in the day (usually at the gym or some other powerful moment) you will convince ourselves that you  are just fine and don’t need a guy to feel complete only to get home and find a wedding invitation on your welcome mat and the stomach-churning begins again!

In my work as a coach to single Muslim women a lot of the same fears and anxieties seem to come up over and again in my conversations with my clients. So today I have decided to address them directly, openly and honestly and to explore ways to rationally allay those fears so that you can continue to enjoy life and search for a life partner from a place of confidence and contentment rather than fear and insecurity.

So what are the top fears of the single Muslima today?

1. What if I settle?

This is easily the most common one I hear. You are terrified that after all this waiting, holding out and looking for just the right guy you might end up marrying the wrong one and it would all have been for nothing.

So let’s work through this one..

Think about all of the guys you could have said yes to in the past but didn’t. Your instinct was telling you that they were not right for you and your female intuition meant that you were not feeling that connection even if he seemed great otherwise.

And let’s not forget the cringeworthy times you look back over your dating history and think “what was I thinking?” when it comes to certain guys!

But you didn’t marry them right? Your common sense and gut feelings were able to override any rash decisions you were about to make.

Tune into your intuition more, trust that she will not let you down and remember that you are a smart, intelligent and powerful woman who can make the right decision even if it means you are single for a bit longer.

2. Are they right to call me “too picky”?

Being called “picky” is never pleasant especially when there is nothing you want more in the world than to just find that special guy, settle down and create a lifetime of happiness and love.

When people call you picky it is criticism and the danger is that you internalise it and make it a truth. Nobody knows what you are going through but you so firstly, don’t take their words to heart (maybe they are wishing they had been a little more discerning!)

Secondly try this exercise I like to do with my clients. Make a list of 15 things your future spouse must have/do/be like. Now narrow it down to only 3 things that you couldn’t sacrifice even if the survival of the human race depended on your union!

So long as your final top 3 are personal qualities and not in the diamonds, car or six-pack category, I think you can safely reassure yourself that fundamentally you are looking for the right things and have not yet yet found them in a guy you connect with which therefore makes you not picky just cautious!

3. Where will I be in 5 years time?

Where will any of us be?

Rather think back to where you were 5 years ago. You may have been single then too but what else have you accomplished in that 5 years that is not to do with marriage?

Maybe you started a new job, bought a home, travelled somewhere really cool, made some great friends, grew in confidence and skills. There is so much that happens in 5 years and not getting married doesn’t negate all the great stuff you have achieved. Just because your community refuses to acknowledge your successes because you are not married , doesn’t mean you should.

Think about everything you want to achieve in 5 years , as well as getting married, and spread your desires out so you are not fixated on the idea of marriage as the only indicator of success and happiness.

Yes marriage is one of the big ones but if you keep in mind how successful you have been in other areas then you can reassure yourself that you can nail this one too!

4. What if I never find anyone?

The actual fear is not necessarily about never meeting a guy but rather never meeting the right one.

The bottom line is the world is full of eligible guys.

For each one that gets married a new one pops up! There are guys out there for you to meet whatever your age, circumstances etc. Think of all of the guys you have met over the years. There’s never been a man drought (although it does feel like it a lot of the time!).

The guys are there and with the right tools and skills you can help yourself to find the right ones rather than just randomly meeting lots of them until you hopefully hit upon the jackpot!

Everyday, all kinds of women who once thought marriage was a distant dream and that Mr. Right did not exist are getting married . I bet you can even name a few personallySo why not you?

5. Have I missed my opportunity with (insert name of hideous ex here)?

Ahh the ex! The one that supposedly got away!

So often in a state of desperation you look backwards instead of forwards because you know what happened in the past but you don’t know what will happen in the futureThe past is just safer because we know it.

You convince yourself that you could have made it work with him or that maybe it could work now that you are older/wiser/thinner/richer whatever! You conveniently forget the pain, the hurt and the misery you went through when you were with him and how much better life eventually was without him.

Here’s the thing: he is no longer in your life for a reason. If it’s really meant to be it will happen naturally, by fatenot through a midnight text to ask him how he is doing in the hope of rekindling some kind of flimsy connection again.

If you are hung up on a guy from the past who you believe to be the benchmark by which all other guys are measured by then you need to release him from his pedestal NOW! Otherwise you will never appreciate the wonderful new guys you meet for who they are, you will just dislike them for who they are not.

The day you meet The One you will realise why the other one is an ex!

6. What if it’s too late to have babies?

This is a tough one and what you need is a little perspective.

Unfortunately it has always been considered a given that children will happen as the next step after marriage. This accounts for all of the horror stories you hear of women being mistreated by their families and spouses if they cannot produce a child.

However, the harsh reality is that children are not a given and therefore shouldn’t be the only reason we get married. Some couples get married in their 20s and cannot conceive. Other couples get married in their 30s and over and are still able to conceive. It really is down to Allah’s mercy as to who has children and who doesn’t.

Not having children shouldn’t spell the end of a marriage if the relationship is strong to start with. After all, unless you have been married before, it is fair to assume that as a Muslim woman you haven’t tried to have babies yet so it’s all a bit of a surprise waiting to see if it will actually happen, whatever your age.

Yes there is medical research to show that it can be harder after a certain age but there is also living evidence of so many women who conceive way after their 20s.

So don’t fixate on the idea that marriage is inevitably followed by children. Consider children a bonus blessing and work towards finding and nurturing a solid relationship that will survive any setbacks.

7. What will people say if I never get married?

Reality check: some people will always have something nasty to say. They gossip because they are bored and unhappy, not because you are single.

If tomorrow you meet the most amazing guy on earth and get married they will say “it’s about time” (I got that one a lot). When you get married they will talk about why you haven’t procreated straight away (I get that too) . If you have a child they will talk about why you only have one. And so it goes.

It’s hard not to take criticism personally especially when it is about something you feel so vulnerable about but if you let the words of people who know nothing about your struggle get to you, you are doing yourself a great disservice in that you are handing over guardianship of your self-esteem to them.

Sometimes it feels difficult to do this as you start to wonder whether you have done something wrong and are being “punished” with celibacy and loneliness.

When praying for marriage you don’t always see immediate results such as we might when praying for a promotion and getting it or praying for a good day and having one. But the principle is still the same.

Think of it this way, have you ever been in one of those situations where something happened and afterwards you said how merciful it was that you were there/it happened at this time/it happened just after..etc.? In these instances we realise how Allah’s mercy put us in the right place at the right time.

Your search for a spouse is no different. However, sometimes making the same mistakes over and again is Allah’s way of encouraging you to change something that will lead you to the man who is right for you. Maybe the man who is right for you will come to you when you are in the right place spiritually, mentally and emotionally to receive him. Allah knows better than us what is good for us and as He says in surah ar- Ra’d [13:11]Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.

So please stop fretting my darling sister, sleep soundly and trust that YOU have the power to make things happen for you!