I’m a 22-year-old Muslim girl about to graduate from college. I do not wear hijab and am often in the presence of non-Muslim males who have asked me out/tried to date me. I politely tell them that I am Muslim and do not date. Recently, I have been feeling as though I ought to get married, but when I express my desire to my parents, they brush me off saying that I’m too young. How do I persuade my parents to take my desire to find a spouse in a halal manner seriously and to help me in this process?
-Stressed and Confused
Dear Stressed and Confused,
I can imagine how frustrating it is to want to do the right thing, but to feel as though your parents are not supportive. It sounds like you and your parents would benefit from some conversations aimed at increasing mutual understanding. Perhaps you could demonstrate your level of maturity (one of the requisites for being “ready” for marriage) by asking them calmly to help you understand why they feel you are too young, and what are they looking for to know you are ready for marriage. By initiating this type of conversation, you show them respect and drive home the message that their opinion and support is important to you. Try to approach this conversation with the intention of understanding your parents’ point-of-view so they, in return, will be willing to understand you. Remember, understanding does not mean agreeing. As they lay out their reasons, consider how you might address their concerns. For example, if they are worried that you might not complete your education, think through a plan of how you would manage your schooling after you get married.
Once you have a grasp of where your parents are coming from, ask them if they would be willing to hear you out regarding your reasons for wanting to get married. Explain the pressure you are facing, as well as the reason you feel “time is running out.” Help them see what it is like in your shoes.
Parents are generally focused on what they think is in their child’s best interests. Despite their good intentions, sometimes their worry or desire to protect their child can interfere with realizing that their child has grown up and is ready to move on to the next developmental stage. If you can receive what they say as coming from a place of love, it will be easier for you to connect with them.
If you are persistent, firm and calm when you talk to them, you may be able to persuade them to help you in your search for a spouse. Before approaching this conversation, reflect on other times in your life when you needed your parents to understand or support you. How did you gain their support? What do your parents tend to look for in order to be convinced of something?
If you have these conversations, but still feel frustrated, consider inviting a third person, someone both you and your parents respect and trust, to intervene. May Allah give you the patience and wisdom to navigate this challenge, and may He bless you with the support of your parents and ultimately, a wonderful marriage.