Not all love stories begin with sparks or a tingly feeling or “chemistry”. But the movies teach us to expect them to. They train us that “love at first sight” is a real thing. In American Muslim culture today, the story of meeting our future spouse can go as romantically as this--a young man sees a young lady at a friend’s wedding at the bride’s side. She has a beautiful wide smile, an infectious laugh, a kind aura that makes those around feel comfortable and welcome. He usually asks a friend to approach her, and if she is interested, their conversations begin.
Or, it can go as traditionally (by today’s standards) as this-- friends set up a guy and girl on a halal “date” at a coffee shop, the two bring a friend or sibling along and the “checking him or her out” starts there.
We all dream of that perfect first meeting. The chemistry. The feeling we’ll have when we look into his eyes. The feeling of longing for the next “date.” And, yes, that yearning stage is fun. It does feel good. It’s like dreaming, a secret only our heart knows. A secret that leads to daydreaming and smiles and chirpier mornings.
Our desire or our secret expectation is that the initial meeting will be a moment to remember, catch us unaware at our finest, cause fireworks that only the two of us see. The truth is, however, that how we meet isn’t important. Our meeting could very well be an awkward meeting over chai in our parents’ living room. It could be as co-workers whose first year of friendship is just work-related. Or, the most dreaded meeting could be not a meeting at all, but a suggestion from our parents to consider marrying a relative!
Most of us today will shut out the idea of any of these types of meetings. We’ll do this before even giving the person a chance. Our hearts and minds are so closed to these ideas that we do not even realize that one of these types of meetings might be what Allah has written for us. We don’t consider the person we’re meeting; we consider the meeting only.
The meeting does not determine our lives together. It does not determine the happiness and laughter in our future home with the family we build together.
My advice, not as an auntie, but as a seasoned married person who has had very real and difficult struggles is this--meet! Unless someone does not meet #1, 2, and 3 on your “list,” at least meet him or her with an open heart and an open mind.