When Parents Don’t Approve
Parental disapproval of their adult child’s mate selection is a big problem for the fictional ‘Ali and Khan families.
Mrs. ‘Ali wants her daughter to marry a doctor from their culture. Mr. ‘Ali thinks the person his daughter is interested in is not good enough for her. Their daughter Amina argues:
“He’s a good Muslim, and he cares about me. Just because he isn’t a doctor it does not mean he cannot support our marriage”.
Mrs. Khan thinks the girl her son wants to marry is not good enough for him. Her son Tariq says:
“Mother I love you, and I value your opinion. I realize Mariam is not from our culture but she is a good Muslim, I care for her, I want to marry her and I want your blessing”.
Arguments over differing perspectives regarding who our children should marry impact on healthy family relationships, which often leads to future marriages starting off with a really rough start.
The Prophet peace be upon him, reminded us that people marry for four reasons-beauty, wealth, status and piety. The qualities of piety or strong faith are considered to be the best reasons to marry. However, even though the person you want to marry is a good Muslim sometimes your parents feel he or she is just not suited for you or they just can not get past some of their personal or cultural preferences and expectations about who you should marry.
So, what should you do when your parents don’t approve of the person you want to marry even though he or she is a good Muslim?
· Of course you could argue with your parents and ruin your relationship with them.
· You could determine that you plan to marry the person you’ve chosen whether they like it or not.
Both of these strategies have challenging consequences. Marriage is difficult enough when you have your parents support. Married people need the support of family and friends. Starting off your marriage without your parents support can cause undue stress in the new relationship.
You risk blaming your spouse for the discord between you and your parents. It inevitably pulls the family apart at a time when the newlyweds need the most support. Yet, what are you to do when you really care for the person you want to marry, and you want to maintain the pleasure of your parents?
Consider the following:
· Try to soften your parents’ hearts by showing patience, kindness and generosity to them. Have someone they respect talk with them to try persuade them to consider the person you have chosen to marry. See if that family friend or imam can encourage your parents to see how much you love each other, and want to establish a marriage built on strong faith and God consciousness.
· Spend time developing your personal relationship with Allah and the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. Get to know Allah, and what he wants for you. Spend time in sincere prayer and worship.
Tahajjud and Fajr prayers are among the best times to spend sincerely calling on Allah for guidance. Get to know Allah by getting to know his 99 names. Spend time pondering over His signs in creation. Spend time reading, reciting and pondering over the words He left for us in the Qur’an.
· Get to know the family life of the Prophet, peace be upon him, as the best example of family life. Work to implement as many of the Prophet’s behaviors and characteristics in your family even before you meet your future spouse. Practice his example on your parents, your siblings and other relatives. The Prophet’s kind treatment, patience, care and concern for his family are examples we should all work to emulate.
· In addition to developing your relationship with Allah spend time improving your relationship with your parents. Spend time with your parents. Visit them regularly. Have dinner with them often. Participate in mosque and community activities with them regularly. Join them for their special events and projects.
Demonstrate your concern for them. Talk with them about the kind of person you would like to marry, the characteristics you would like your future spouse to possess so that your choice is not a surprise, and they feel you have involved them by sharing your thoughts with them.
Communication, love and respect between parents and young adults are a secret ingredient for a healthy relationship. Pray to Allah to guide you to the person who will love you and your parents. Pray that your parents will come to know and love the person Allah chooses for you.
· Serve your community while you are waiting for Allah to send you the person He has chosen for you. There are so many needs to address in our communities. Join an organization that addresses poverty, homelessness, hunger environmental problems, youth development, or global warming.
Not only has Allah placed a trust on each of us as stewards or khalifa, staying active while working on a good cause will hopefully give you time to put your marital choice into perspective. Allah has a plan for you.
· Remember that your ultimate goal should be to fulfill what Allah wants for you.
· Exercise patience. Be patient and ask Almighty Allah to help you recognize the person that is truly right for you, that fears Allah, and loves you and your parents. Ask Allah to bless your parents to accept and love the man or woman He sends for you and not put up obstacles to your marriage.
Dr. Aneesah Nadir is a PhD level social worker and CEO of Dr. Aneesah Nadir & Associates. She provides marriage education and preparation programs for singles and couples throughout the United States. Her Before the Nikah © Marriage Education and Preparation Program is a must for Muslims planning to marry today or in the future. Learn more about Dr. Aneesah’s programs and services at www.DrAneesah.com. Dr. Nadir is also President of the Islamic Social Services Association-USA and manages ISSA’s Sakinah Healthy marriage Initiative and coordinates MANA’s Healthy Marriage Initiative