Ask M: Your questions about online courtship/dating and preparing for the wedding night

Ask M answers your questions about online courtship and wedding night anxieties.

Question #8

Dear M,

I am 23-years old, currently in medical school, and eager to meet the “right person.” However, no opportunities have come my way to even meet any potential matches. I feel I deserve to find someone, but worry that I may never meet my partner or meet him in 10 years when I will likely have reached a point in my life where marriage no longer feels relevant. Marriage shouldn’t feel like such a farfetched goal, but in my circumstances, it does.

I live in a small town with an even smaller Muslim population, am shy and introverted and spend practically every waking moment immersed in my studies. All this leaves me feeling as though my chances of finding a compatible Muslim man are bleak. To top it off, my faith is deeply important to me so I’d like to find someone who shares my values and outlook. I don’t want to resort to asking my parents to help set me up just yet because I’d like to meet my spouse on my own in an organic fashion.

I’m considering making the leap into the world of online matchmaking, but the Muslim matrimonial sites seem to have a relatively small pool of members and I am doubtful as to whether or not the likelihood of finding someone compatible with me in both personality and beliefs is any better in the online world than the real one. As someone who is happily married, do you have any advice on the channels or ways through which I can meet my future husband?


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Dear Pessimistic,

You could meet your soul mate tomorrow, next week, next year, or in 10 years. Trust Allah, know that He has created a spouse for you who you will one day meet and marry. In the meantime, enjoy the journey and try opening your heart to new people, places, and experiences because not only will that enrich your life in the now, but it may be the very thing through which you meet you future spouse! So don’t let the uncertainty of the future frighten you into inaction.

Even as an introvert pressed for time, you can find new activities that stretch your comfort zone but require a minimal time commitment—for example a painting class or a volunteer group that meets once every two weeks. Online dating can certainly be the “new thing” you try. Pushing yourself to sign up for something like this is understandably intimidating, especially for a shy, risk-averse person like yourself, but remember that to meet your soul mate, you have to sometimes let go of matchmaking avenues that haven’t been successful and try a new, untested approach. You have nothing to lose and a companion to gain so take a deep breath, say a prayer and give it a try.

Good luck,


Dear M,

I am engaged to be married this year. This is happy news because he is a lovely man, but the thought of our wedding night leaves me anxious and queasy. I was raised in an observant, conservative Muslim home so right now my fiancé and I only spend time with one another in the presence of a chaperone. To go from this to holding, kissing and being intimate with each other seems terrifying to me!

We are both, of course, virgins and I worry that my lack of experience and knowledge about this aspect of marriage will make for an unpleasant night. I want to enjoy a healthy, wonderful love life with my husband, but fear I might be put off by and come to dread any act of intimacy (kissing and sex) or, even worse, my husband might think I’m a poor lover. My low self-esteem about my body size and shape only exacerbates my anxiety. How do I shed my nerves and prepare myself for this night of intimacy?


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Dear Anxious,

Congratulations on your upcoming wedding and, more importantly, on finding a lovely partner with whom you have a good understanding. Brides and grooms-to-be have been experiencing pre-wedding night jitters since time immemorial so you are not alone in your anxiety. In fact, I’m willing to bet that your fiancé has the very same concerns you do!

I would recommend that the two of you begin preparing yourselves for your wedding night- and any night thereafter – with some light educational reading. The Guide to Getting It On! by Paul Joannides and Daerick Gross ( is an easy-to-read manual for basic sex education. Used in college courses, this book can help both you and your fiancé become more familiar with the intricacies of sex, and overcome your nerves, which are typically the result of not knowing what to do or expect.

Remember to keep your expectations realistic though. Sex, at least in the beginning, is never the steamy perfection they show in the movies. It is most likely going to be awkward, but if you and your partner can keep that in mind and have a sense of humor about it, you’ll be fine. The good news is that it gets better with time, so long as both the husband and wife gently and respectfully communicate their likes and dislikes to one another to make sure the experience remains pleasurable for both.

As for your body-image issues, know that we all have them to some degree. Clearly this man loves you just as you are, otherwise he wouldn’t be willing or excited to share his life with you. If low self-esteem continues to nag at you, try silencing the negative thoughts by focusing on the parts of your body you like most about yourself. You can also try clothing (including lingerie) you think looks most flattering on you to boost your confidence. But remember, in both life and the bedroom, confidence looks best on everyone.

Good luck!



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This post was originally published on July 11, 2014.

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