Thursday, September 13, 2012

101 Questions to Ask Before Marriage

 My Dear Reader,

So, this post is a little unusual. Let me tell you why.

I was just going about my business, pursuing Facebook, when I noticed a Muslim dating ad* on the side of the screen. And I clicked it. Not because I was interested in dating a Muslim, but I was interested in learning about other people and the way they see the world.

The ad lead me to a page that listed 101 questions to ask before marriage, and boy, was I intrigued. To be honest, I would have clicked that link whether it related to Islam or not, just because I'm interested in what people think is necessary information before marriage. But the Muslim factor made me at least three times as curious. What questions would they ask, and how different would that be from things that I would ask? How do Muslims see marriage in comparison to how I see it? So many things I want to know!

So I started reading through these questions, and I realized that I wasn't just reading the questions; I was also answering them internally. And they were deep and thought-provoking. Soul-revealing, even. So why not go ahead and share it with you? Why not let you experience this with me?

And here you have it: my answers for 101 questions to ask (a Muslim) before marriage. You're welcome.

Just to be clear: this is a thought experiment. Nothing else is implied. 

1: What is your concept of marriage?

I see marriage as two people who work together as a team in order to combat the challenges that face them in life, and to create and nurture new life.

2: Have you ever been married before?


3: Are you currently married?

 Nope. (It occurs to me here that in a Muslim context, this would be important because plural marriage is acceptable in Islam. But I also think that this is probably something you should know before getting married, in any culture or context.)

4: What are you[r]** expectations from marriage?

 I expect to work very hard in order to create a lasting and edifying union. I expect to sacrifice in order to benefit my husband. I expect to put my husband above all other relationships, except for my relationship with God. I expect the same in return, on all counts.

5: What are your goals in life long/short term?

 Short term: to become a published author, get married, have children, buy a house, and to benefit the lives of everyone around me.
 Long term: to be the kind of person who people turn to when they need hope, help, and love.

6: Name three things that you would like to accomplish in the near future.

 A. Make enough money to get out of debt and support the lifestyle that I want
 B. Publish a novel
 C. Find a place where I want to live long-term

7: Name three things that you would like to accomplish in the long term.

 A. Have a writing career
 B. Go, do, and be where/what/who God wants me to go, do, and be
 C. Enjoy a multitude of fulfilling and edifying personal relationships

8: What do you think is special about 'me' as a potential spouse?

You? Well, I don't know. Maybe you're tall?

As for me, I'm faithful, honest, loyal, hilarious, loving, intelligent, creative, and not too hard to look at. Most importantly, I am constantly striving to better myself, and I never give up.

9: What role does religion play in your life right now?

My religion is, and always has been, the most important thing in my life. I am inseparable from my faith.

10: Do you class yourself as a spiritual person?

11: What is your understanding of an Islamic Marriage?

I'm pretty sure that I don't understand it at all. I understand that a Mormon marriage is not only the most important decision I will ever make in my life, but it will open or shut the door to many, many other important decisions I will face. I understand that a Mormon marriage will fundamentally change my course in this life and the next, and that it is the only way for me to be the kind of person I truly want to be.

12: What are you expecting of your spouse, from a religious [perspective]?

I expect him to have the same religious commitment to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as I do.

13: How active are you within your local Muslim community?

I don't have a Muslim community, but I am very active in my Mormon community.

14: Do you volunteer for any Islamic activities?

No, but I volunteer for Mormon activities as often as I can.

15: What can you offer your spouse spiritually?

I am a true believer in Jesus Christ who continually tries to shape her life around His teachings in order to be as like Him as possible. That should count for something.

16: What do you see as the role of a husband?

I think a husband should be primarily responsible for providing an income, he should at all times be supportive of his wife and find ways to build her up, he should be a loving and caring father, and he should be willing to sacrifice everything in order to provide for his family's needs.

17: What are your views on polygamy?

I prefer not to think about it, honestly.

18: What do you see as the role of a wife?

I think a wife should be primarily responsible for managing the household, she should at all times be supportive of her husband and find ways to build him up, she should be a loving and caring mother, and she should be willing to sacrifice everything in order to provide for her family's needs.

19: What is your relationship with your family?

We get along most times.

20: What do you expect the relationship with your spouses family to be?

I hope to get along with them, too.

21: What do you expect your spouses relationship with your family to be?

Here's hoping that they don't turn and run away.

22: What are your current living arrangements?

I live with two awesome female roommates. 

23: What will be the living arrangements, after marriage?

I assume that it will just be me and my hypothetical husband.

24: If, for any reason, your spouse didn't get on with your family, how would this be handled?

Wow, that's a tough one. It would be really difficult to have a husband who doesn't get along with my family! I guess I would try to build a bridge between them, possibly pointing out similar interests and values. I'd do everything I can to help them at least appreciate each other.

25: Tell me a bit about your best friend(s)?

That's a little private for a blog, but I'll say that I have a lot of close friends who are kind, compassionate, friendly, trustworthy, and who get my sense of humor.

26: How did you get to know your best friend(s)?

I met them all through church; I got to know each of them by spending time with them and persevering through the rough patches.

27: What activities do you do with your best friend(s)?

Depends on the friend! Going out to eat with friends is one of my favorite things. We also watch movies, explore strange new worlds and new civilizations, and talk.

28: What do you like most about your best friend(s)?

I like that they are willing and eager to spend time with me. Quality time is big for me.

29: What will your relationship with your best friend(s) be after marriage?

I hope that it will be similar. I hope we can all become better friends as the years go by.

30: Do you have any/many friends of the opposite sex?


31: What kind of friendships do you have with people of the opposite sex?

I live with two girls, I'm close to my two sisters, and I have lots of female friends. I need guys just to balance that out. My guy friends are interested in things that my girlfriends aren't, and they help me with things that my girlfriends aren't comfortable with. I'd be lost without them, really. It would throw my whole world out of balance.

32: What will be the level of your relationship with people of the opposite sex after marriage?

That's probably what will change the most. I expect to bring my husband along on almost anything I do with my male friends in order to maintain an appropriate relationship.

33: What type of relationship do you want your spouse to have with your friends?

My hypothetical husband doesn't need to be best buddies with all of my friends, but it would be preferable if they could all get along.

34: What things do you do in your free time?

Write, spend time with friends, watch TV, read, play video games, go for walks, and try new and exciting things.

35: Do you like to have guests visit your home?

On occasion.

36: What are you expecting from your spouse if/when your friends come to the house?

I expect him to be pleasant.

37: What is your opinion of speaking other languages at home that everyone may not understand?

It's rude to speak a language that someone else doesn't know if it's at all possible to speak a language that everyone knows. That said, I really want to teach any future children a second language.

38: Do you like to travel?

Yes. I haven't done much, but yes.

37: How do you spend your vacations?

I like to visit new places and experience new things in a leisurely way. I find that the best vacations strike a balance between being bored and being stressed.

38: How do you think your spouse should spend vacations?

With me?

39: Do you like to read?


40: What do you like to read?

Anything mildly interesting. I mostly read fiction, but I'm also into English linguistics and history. I'll try any genre at least three times.

41: Do you think that you are able express romantic feelings verbally?


42: Do you express affection in public?

It depends on what is appropriate for the situation.

43: How would you express your admiration for someone?

Probably vocally or by trying to imitate them.

44: How do you express your thanks to someone who has done a favor for you?

Probably vocally or with baked goods.

45: If you wrong someone, how do you apologize?

Immediately and profusely.

46: If someone has wronged you, how do you expect them to apologize?

By being honest and sincere. Offering a solution would be nice.

47: How much time passes before you can forgive someone?

Depends. Honestly, forgiving is hard for me. It's easier if I know it won't happen again.

48: How do you make important decisions in your life?

By examining every option and bringing my conclusion to the Lord. It usually takes me a very long time to come up with an important decision.

49: Do you use foul language?


50: Do any of your friends/family use foul language?

 Some of them. My closest friends don't.

51: How do you express anger?

When I was a kid, I used to yell a lot. Now, I mostly write very angry letters or confide in a friend until I calm down.

52: How do you expect your spouse to express anger?

 With maturity and civility.

53: What do you do when you are angry?

I try to keep it inside until I'm removed from the situation so I can process it in a healthy way.

54: When would you think it was appropriate to initiate mediation within marriage?

I assume here that mediation means some form of counseling, in which case it becomes appropriate when the couple becomes incapable to resolving issues on their own.

55: If there is a dispute in your marriage how should it be resolved?

By a calm and respectful discussion.

56: What is your definition of emotional or physical abuse.

It becomes abuse when attacks continue, even though the other party is unable to fight back.

57: What would you do if you felt that you had been abused?

I would try to get out of that situation as quickly and cleanly as possible.

58: Who would you call for guidance if you needed to?

Anyone who is trustworthy and knowledgeable on the subject.

59: Do you suffer from any chronic medical condition?

Depression. Nothing else that's serious.

60: Are you willing to take a [pre-marital] health check?


61: What is your understanding of proper health and nutrition?

I believe in abstaining from tobacco, coffee, tea, and alcohol. In addition, I think it's important to eat reasonable portions of a variety of foods as well as exercising regularly.

62: How do you support your own good health and nutrition?

By doing (or not doing) what is listed above,

63: What is you[r] definition of wealth?

Having more than you need.

64: How do you spend your money?

I mostly spend any extra money on books, music, and eating out. I occasionally save up for big items. I try to be sensible with everything else.

65: How do you save your money?

By managing my spending and putting extra money in a savings account.

66: How do you think that your use of money will change after marriage?

I expect that I will have to make spending decisions with my hypothetical husband.

67: Do you have any debts right now?

Yes, but I hope to get rid of them soon.

69: What is your opinion of taking loans, like a mortgage, to buy a new home?

When you buy a home, you should get only what you can afford once you have a stable income and a reasonable savings. Loans can help you accomplish that if used properly.

70: What are you expecting from your spouse financially?

I expect him to have a stable career in a field he enjoys.

71: What do you see as your financial responsibility within marriage?

I'm willing to work as much as needed to make ends meet, but eventually I would prefer to be a homemaker.

72: What is your opinion of a working wife?

I think it's fine if there are no children or of it's necessary to pay the bills.

73: How do you think a dual-income family should manage their finances?

I think they should still co-mingle their funds like a single-income family. Otherwise you're not spouses, you're roommates.

74: Do you currently use a budget to manage your finances?

Not a budget that is written down, but I stay aware of how much I have in the bank so I can adjust my spending. I always stay within my means unless there is some kind of emergency.

75: Are their people to whom you are financially responsible?

Other than the banks that have my loans? No.

76: What is your opinion of baby-sitters or house staff?

It's the primary responsibility of the parents to provide day-to-day care for their children. Baby-sitters are great for the weekend so the couple can have some alone time. I've never had "house staff" and never intend to, except maybe hiring someone to mow the lawn.

77: Do you want to have children?


78: Do you have any children already?


79: What is the best method(s) of raising children?

Love, patience, faith, and fair discipline when needed.

80: What is the best method(s) of disciplining children?

Teaching them why what they did was wrong and then assigning them to do something that will reinforce the lesson. Violence of any kind will not be tolerated in my household, ever.

81: How were you raised, as a child?

I was expected to help clean the house, to help take care of my younger siblings, to do well in school, and to be active in church.

82: How were you disciplined, as a child?

Mostly by spanking and grounding.

83: What is you[r] opinion on disciplining children?

Any discipline must be done out of necessity, not out of anger. The purpose of discipline is to teach a child how to behave properly, and violence only teaches children to be violent.

84: What is you[r] opinion on public school for your children?

If you have to send your kids to public school, send them to the best one you can find. Move if necessary.

85: What is you[r] opinion on Islamic school for your children?

I'm not opposed.

86: What type of relationship should your children have with other non-Muslim children?

My hypothetical children should treat everyone with respect regardless of their faith. I hope they have close friends of all faiths, as long as their friends have good values.

87: Would you send your children to visit their extended family if they lived in another state or country?

Yes, if I thought they were mature enough to travel on their own.

88: What type of relationship do you want your children to have with all their grandparents?

I want them to have a tender, loving, and respectful relationship with both sets of grandparents.

89: How many languages can you speak?

One and a half. One of these days I'll master Spanish.

90: If you could choose the career of your ideal marriage partner, what would it be?

I don't have an ideal career, but I would prefer a husband who had a job that had regular, reasonable hours and nice benefits.

91: Do you think it is important to finish your education, before getting married?


92: What is your education level?

I earned a bachelor's degree in English from Brigham Young University.

93: In terms of distance, if you could choose where your ideal marriage came from, would it be?

Somewhere along the west coast would be great, since it would be easier to visit each other's families.

94: Do you think it's important to marry someone with the same nationality as yourself?

It certainly makes some things easier.

95: How many people do you think you will be inviting to your wedding?

I have a big family, so a big wedding is pretty much the only option.

96: What style of wedding are you planning to have; an Islamic wedding, a Western wedding or a [m]ixture of [b]oth?

I plan on having a Mormon wedding with a Western-ish reception.

97: What style of wedding clothes/dress are you planning to wear during your wedding celebrations?

A traditional, white, classic wedding dress.

98: What do you think is the best way for a Muslim to meet their ideal marriage partner?

I really have no opinion on the subject.

99: What does Ramadan mean to you?

It actually seems really interesting. I respect the dedication and sacrifice it requires.

100: Who is assisting you in your search for an ideal marriage partner?

God, hopefully.

101: What is your number one criteria when looking for an ideal marriage partner?

They HAVE to be willing to marry someone with life-long, clinical depression. Otherwise, I'm happy to die alone.

Regards, best wishes, and see, I can still surprise you,

-Cecily Jane

*Facebook apparently is convinced that I am interested in dating Muslim men. Not really sure how that happened.

** I didn't change any words, but I did correct some typos along the way.


Jonathan Northrup said...

That was a very thorough questionnaire. I loved how you answered the Muslim-specific questions.

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