Engagement Period For Muslims - Is There A Problem?

There really is no reason to keep up that persona, to keep wearing that mask, and that is when problems start to creep into the relationship.

What about extended periods of engagement - will that solve the problem? Will that allow us to get to know each other so as to minimize any surprises later on and down the road? The answer is no. Again, you'd think that that is the desired result you are going to get, but that's not the case. Why? Because I would like to refer to the engagement period in general, whether extended or short... engagement phases are the biggest deceptions ever. Who are you trying to fool? Are you kidding me? Who acts like themselves when they are engaged?

Don't you hold yourself to a very high level of excellence when you are engaged to someone? The way you conduct yourself, the way you dress, the way you talk, how you are such an attentive, compassionate listener when you are out there having dinner at a restaurant. Whereas as soon as you get married and tie the knot, problem starts. they say if you want problems to start - get married. Right? As long as you are engaged, you do not reveal your true colors.

And the same goes for your spouse. The same goes for your fiancée. Nobody reveals their true colors during those sweet, beautiful days and nights that you spend together as an engaged couple. As soon as you get married, you let yourself go. As soon as you get married, that is the point where you do not really feel a necessity to keep up that act of being the gentleman who always opens the door for his fiancée and what not. Suddenly you see yourself as an equal and suddenly you see yourself, you feel comfortable in being married now.

You have tied the knot, you have recited the contract, you have thrown that big wedding. There really is no reason to keep up that persona, to keep wearing that mask. And that is when problems start to creep into the relationship. So extended periods of engagement - do they solve the problem? The answer is an emphatic no.

As a matter of fact, I would argue that extended periods of engagement act to the detriment of the relationship. They make it worse. Why? For a number of reasons. One of them is because, again, you are wearing a mask that whole time. You just hold yourself to a much higher standard than you really are. And so when the mask drops, you reveal your true self. You become really comfortable. And at that point, the contrast between the premarital you and the post marital you will be a lot more discernible, a lot clearer to detect. And so you are going to start thinking, hang on a second, you were not like that. When we were engaged for like three years, you were not like that. You never said this. You always did that. And now look at you today. So that is the first reason.

The second reason I think extended periods of engagement act to the detriment and the disadvantage of a successful marriage is because while you are engaged, you are not technically married. And because you are not married, essentially you are giving Shaytan a window. You are giving him an opportunity to attack this prospective union that is about to take place, this marriage that is about to happen, you are giving him a window. You are like a sitting duck. You are saying here we are, we want to get married, but we are not quite committed to it yet. We have still got a few issues to sort out. You are inviting the Shaytan to come and destroy that relationship.

Whereas when you tie the knot, you have already declared to the Shaytan that you are no longer welcome. You are telling the Shaytan I am fully committed to this relationship and so you close that window. It does not mean that the Shaytan is going to stop trying, but you will make his job just much, much more difficult. So extended periods of engagement not recommended whatsoever. Make it as short as possible. I am not saying you should not get to know the individual.

I am not saying that you should not look under the hood. I am not saying that you should not see what she looks like or see what he looks like. I am not saying that. In fact, we have religious provisions for those circumstances.

When you wish to see your wife before getting married, if you are out there actively looking for a wife, you do not want to go on a blind date or a blind marriage. You want to see what your wife looks like. You do not want any surprises. You do not want that extra toe. You do not want that massive mole on the nose. So you want to know what she looks like and whether she ticks the boxes, that is fine. That is actually permitted in Islam.

There are provisions, there are legal frameworks that allow you to see more than what you could ordinarily see in terms of the rules of Mahram and a non Mahram. So, by all means, take your time, even if it takes three days to get to know your spouse. I am just kidding. You could go on for a whole week if you want, but that is really all you need to know.

You need to pick up the basics. You need to you know how sometimes they say that, and there are many books about that, one of them by Malcolm Gladwell Blink. The whole idea is that sometimes all it takes is a few seconds of interaction before you make up your mind about someone. That is really all it takes. The rest of it are details. The rest of it are things that you really do not want to invest too heavily into for the purposes of marriage. Those little quirks that a person has, those tiny habits, whether good or bad, these things really should not have any massive bearing on the success rate of a prospective marriage.

So get to know them, have a few conversations if you insist, but really do not extend the period of engagement.