Ask M: Should we divorce? How to find the one?

Dear M,

I converted to Islam when I was very young, and feel that I chose my spouse only on the criteria of  piety, without really considering other compatibility traits like common interests. We have been married for over a decade, and although he is a kind man and a good and husband and father, we do not have much in common, apart from our shared history and a child.  I feel life is passing us both by, and if we remain together we will never experience the kind of joyful companionship marriage ought to provide. We both recognize the void, but are unable to make this tough decision. Should I ask for a divorce? 


Dear Unhappy,

I agree with you–compatibility is essential for a successful marriage.  However, I also believe that divorce ought to be the last resort, unless of course it is a physically or verbally abusive relationship. That does not appear to be the case here, as you described your husband to be a good and decent man.

You mentioned that you both recognized the fractures in the marriage. The next step would be to try to fill the void you describe. Have you done any work to grow closer together? Remember, this step will take time and will require both of you to demonstrate emotional integrity. Each of you  must be completely candid about your respective needs, priorities and expectations, and together identify the stressors in your relationship. Talk to one another about how the values of both parties can be honored. Couple therapy where a neutral party can facilitate and guide the process may be a good idea.

Only if this step fails should you begin to consider a trial separation or a divorce. It takes two to make relationship work. Expecting our mate to fulfill all our needs or to change is a recipe for unhappiness. May Allah open your hearts and allow you both to regain love and tranquility in your marriage.

Love, M

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Dear M,

I am nearly 30-years-old and would like to marry, but often face rejection in my attempts to meet someone. I have talked to several guys on a matrimonial site, but to my dismay they all disappeared after one or two conversations. There are some young men in the masjid that I’d like to be introduced to and although I communicated to the Shaikh that I’m looking to marry, I’ve been told he recommends other single girls in our community and bypasses me. I’m beginning to feel as though people do not like me. What do I need to do to find a mate?

 Lonely and Rejected


Dear Lonely and Rejected

You can either allow rejections or perceived rejections to define your self-esteem or to see them as a signal, an opportunity for self-development. People with low self-esteem tend to internalize setbacks or rejections; in other words, they feel them deeply and for a long time.

One of the exercises I’d like you to try is to distinguish between reality and your thoughts. Let’s try with one of the situations you presented:

Reality: Young men do not approach you at the masjid.

Your current thoughts: “I am unattractive. Other girls are prettier than me. People don’t like me because I have nothing to offer.”

Once you are aware of these self-deprecating thoughts, turn these assumptions on their heads. Consider the reasons why a perceived rejection might have  nothing to do with you specifically.

New Thoughts: “These guys don’t know how to approach me. They fear of rejection! They are shy and the religious environment of a masjid is not conducive for them to come talk to me.”

Does it still look like a rejection?  Once you adopt this habit of transforming your thoughts to more positive ones, you are ready for self-development. Begin by asking for feedback only from honest, trustworthy family and friends. Let’s say they tell you that the young men at the masjid said they found you intimidating or unapproachable. Again, the key is to not internalize this reality; in other words do not take this feedback as an indication of your self-worth and feel badly about yourself. Instead use this information to develop your interpersonal skills. For example, ask your friends and family why these men felt you were unapproachable. Could be your tone of voice, body language, etc.? Don’t assume. Get the facts. And once you have them, use the information to improve yourself rather than put yourself down. Once you gain confidence, you will attract people into your life, and inshallah find your mate.

Love, M

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M is a skilled dating coach with many years of experience in helping women find suitable spouses online. She utilizes lessons learned from her own personal experience along with decades of proven professional skills as a business consultant with focus on human behaviors, communication and relationship development. 


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