10 Important Questions to ask a prospective spouse or to get to know someone you’re interested in

10 Important Questions to ask a prospective spouse or to get to know someone you’re interested in

One of the best ways to get a someone you are interested to get to know to open up is by asking engaging questions. It’s always best to start off sharing something about yourself, that makes the other person feel less vulnerable. Here are 10 great questions that you can edit and or add to so that they work for you.

Photo by new Frank van Leersum available under a Creative Commons Attribution-license

  1. Growing up what is one of your favorite childhood memories?
  2. How would your friends describe you?
  3. Who do you most admire in life?
  4. Share a defining moment in your life?
  5. Who was the most pivotal person in your life and why?
  6. If you could meet 5 people past or present who would they be?
  7. If a startup you worked for went IPO what would you do say with your $10M equity?
  8. What are you most proud off?
  9. If your home caught fire and you could only carry 5 things what would they be?
  10. If could go back and repeat your life what would you do different?

10 Reasons to have a Perfectly Arranged Marriage

10 Reasons to have a Perfectly Arranged Marriage

A question that I have to field lately by my co-workers when we get into social conversation is “where did you meet your wife?” or “how did you meet your wife?” While trying to be truthful but also present it in a positive light, I stumble through my words and give an answer. It’s not a surprise to see the shock and awe when they hear for someone grown up and living in the West, that it was an arranged marriage. Whether it be innocent non-desis (South Asians) or our grown/growing children they can’t believe that we (my wife and I), by God’s infinite mercy are happily married since almost the stone age, we’re madly in love and continue to explore and grow in our love and yet our lives started as two total strangers.

Photo by Azlan DuPree available under Creative Commons Attribution License.

Even in the present, Perfectly Arranged Marriages have a place in society. Note, I am not talking about “Forced marriages” or examples of arranged marriages gone horribly wrong. It’s unfair to take outliers and use them to demonize a norm of society. After all arranged marriages were the norm in pretty much all Western and Eastern societies until the Renaissance in the West changed to a “market model” associated with love. As a disclaimer, I will be the first to say that arranged marriages of the past do NOT have a place for children of immigrants where this was the cultural norm.

Below are,10 Reasons to have a Perfectly Arranged Marriage:

  1. Your parents pay for the wedding (usually but not always).
  2. You have a whole lifetime of discovering each other.
  3. With parents as filters your social and family compatibility is almost guaranteed.
  4. There are no matchmaker fees as the Aunties just love to make introductions.
  5. You hopefully only emotionally invest in one person, so so there is no dating game and heartbreaks.
  6. You will be the happiest couple when you agree to share your parents guidance over only your decision.
  7. Stress Free Parental Introduction. Yes that’s right, you don’t need to worry what the parents are going to think about your choice because well, they have the inside scoop.
  8. The honeymoon lasts about 2 years instead of a week, as you are two total strangers getting to know each other.
  9. Free childcare. When your parents are bought-in to the idea of your marriage and now that you’re married and you both want to go on vacation or to the movies what better way for your child to bond than with their grandparents.
  10. Less chance of being accidentally left out of your parents will and living trust if you get their buy-in before the wedding.
  11. Bonus. There are no blind dates, as Mom, Pops, Auty Ji, and the whole extended family is with you on the date.
  12. Bonus+Bonus. You will have a Hollywood or Bollywood Happily ever ending, you just now have to fill in your love story, and work hard on it, be patient,committed and pray, that’s all.

 

References

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-life/10880548/Why-I-want-an-arranged-marriage.html

http://www.cosmopolitan.com/sex-love/q-and-a/a33627/what-its-really-like-to-have-an-arranged-marriage/

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/aug/27/my-arranged-marriage-thrived-after-my-marriage-for-love-died

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-science-behind-behavior/201511/why-are-so-many-indian-arranged-marriages-successful

http://www.vogue.com/article/arranged-marriage-that-ended-happily-ever-after-30-years-later

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ArrangedMarriage

http://www.therevival.co.uk/forced-arranged-love-secret-marriages

http://muslimmatters.org/2011/12/22/arranged-marriage-is-not-forced-marriage/

http://themuslimgirl.com/the-problem-with-arranged-marriage/

 

 

Detachment, Contentment and Inner Beauty

Detachment, Contentment and Inner Beauty

It is not easy bringing our heaven and earth together. Unless you are a scholar or a student of deen, it is sometimes very challenging to connect our faith to every day life. In the last post we covered Retox.

Photo by livnir available under a Creative Commons Attribution-license

 

In this one we would like to share some of the highlights from The Guru in You: A Personalized Program for Rejuvenating Your Body and Soul by Cameron Alborzian.

It is an amazing book, we do not know the authors faith, but many of the questions he asks and the spiritual path he shares overlap with Islam and the Prophetic way. Below is most of the table of contents, can you make a connection?

  • We become attached to the material world. First step towards happiness is intention (niyah)
  • The practice of nonviolence, kindness towards ourselves and others.
  • The practice of detachment, allowing what nature intends for us.
  • Letting go of excess, knowing when enough is enough for the perfect amount.
  • Posture, practice, and the pursuit of inner beauty.

Here are some of the highlights that we got from browsing the book.

Questions to ask ourselves

  • Do you fill your life with constant chatter and entertainment?
  • Am I constantly eating or drinking (even if its soda)?
  • Do I constantly watch TV or films?
  • Am I always in front of a computer or phone?
  • Am I constantly watching everything that passes by on the street?
  • Am I constantly listening to music or talking on the phone?

To detox the author says we don’t need products, just drink hot water for several days. Here are some more nuggets.

  • With the above examples, when our senses our stimulated our breath goes out of balance.
  • Our stimulated senses induce attachments and desire.
  • We love our opinions, we love having them. Learn to listen to difference of opinion.
  • Detachment. eg when watching a a game, rather than hoping one side wins, just enjoy the game. You will be less drained from the experience.
  • Enjoy friends company. You don’t have to fill silent gaps with meaningless chatter. It is good to have silent moments.
  • The author shares a great example of attachment. We apply for a job. We see that we have a perfect fit.. We see ourselves in that role. We are attached to it, and then crushed when we don’t get it. Detachment means telling ourselves that experience may not pan out as we would like, another one is around the corner, nature (God) didn’t intend it for us.
  • If we are attached to getting an object (maybe a car or whatever) detachment from goods and objects when you don’t get them means there may be a better time to get that object or it may be beneficial to not have it all.
  • A great example he share which we can put into practice, is going to a bakery where you love the smell and are tempted to try out the pastries. Instead we go, take in the aroma, but control ourselves. The next time we go again we can up the ante, but each time you are in control. The key takeaway is we don’t need instant physical gratification.
  • What happens when we become fearful of not getting something. Fear leads to desperation (not inspiration).
  • We need spiritual freedom, a fully realized state, beyond material, mental, and emotional limits.
  • Practice non-violence towards self and others. In self talk this means avoiding ‘I’m not smart enough, I won’t ever find success, I’ll never get married.”
  • Cultivate sexual energy. The practice of guarding and cultivating our sexual energy and finding that balance of extremes of frustration (not having sex) versus excess.

It is hard to encapsulate a wonderful book like this, bu hopefully it gives you a flavor.

Detox or Retox for Your Muslim Wedding and Life

Detox or Retox for Your Muslim Wedding and Life

Do you want to look awesome on your wedding day? If so you should consider a complete body Detox.

Photo by istolethetv available under a Creative Commons Attribution-license

If we follow Prophetic ways detox should come naturally. Of course for Muslims the month of fasting in Ramadan is the best detox. Given our modern lifestyles we found something to compliment our busy and crazy lives.  We came across a great book on the subject titled RETOX: Yoga*Food*Attitude Healthy Solutions for Real Life by Lauren Imparato. Here are some of the highlights from the book.

  • Go for nutrients over calories. eg if for lunch you have a choice of beef over chicken, although both have protein and most health conscious people will opt for chicken, instead go for the beef. Why? Beef has more iron, zinc, phosphorous and vitamin B. Another example is for a snack if you have a choice of a 100 Cal snack bar, or a 300 Cal Avocado, opt for the the Avocado for its Omega 3’s.
  •  Nutrients feed dells, cells construct you, so watch what you eat and drink. Processed food is bad, fast food even worse. Make H2O your beverage of choice.
  • Your body needs 72 hours (3 days) to fully process everything you ingest. So the body is constantly working to digest and metabolize, so it too needs a break. Try to leave a 10-12 hour break (fast) between dinner and breakfast.
  • Follow the 2/3 rule. Make 2 out of 3 meals healthy. Make 2 out of 3 things on your plate to be pure nutrient.
  • Nourishment is not about dish but ingredients. Instead of fries or other fried food, order a side of greens when eating out.
  • Don’t mix proteins (this was a new one for us). Have only one protein in your meal. eg have a veggie starter and then fish for main course. Mixing proteins adds additional stress to the digestive system. So forget the combination Kabob or the Lamb/Beef Gyro.
  • When you  buy fish, make sure it is Wild and not farm raised. Beef should be grass fed.
  • Drink tap water (not ice water)
  • Watch out for Asian restaurants that use MSG.
  • Mexican restaurants avoid the fried foods and go for eg a Fish Taco.
  • With Pizza have a salad
  • Go light on hummus and yogurt based starters. Falafels are fried, so opt for anything grilled.
  • Sugar is an inflammatory agent. Sugar is associated with expansion headaches. Cut out sugar of all sorts to allow your body to neutralize.
  • Also watch out for too spicy, fatty, foods and focus on water, mint, ginger.

Depending on your level of knowledge you may find these tips helpful or not. But here is what we find amazing in the book.

  • Share a meal at least once per day.
  • Talk to someone you love every day.
  • Take one minute each day to connect to your breath and thoughts.

We’re not scholars, but isn’t this Sunnah, it’s the way of our Prophet (SAW)? InshAllah with your spouse and family this will come naturally, but if doesn’t then try to make it a practice. It is hard to summarize a book in a short blog post, but we hope you find this useful. Anything you would like to share?

 

Weddings by the Numbers

Weddings by the Numbers

According to The Knot, the average wedding cost $32,641 in 2015 in the US.

hoto-by-Varin-available-under-a-Creative-Commons-Attribution-license

Photo-by-Varin-available-under-a-Creative-Commons-Attribution-license

The top 10 list is dominated by the East Coast with Manhattan leading at $82,299 and Alaska the lowest, at Alaska$17,361.
The average cost of a wedding is $32,641. Of course a lot is lost in averages, but it still provides a useful reference point.
Here at Perfect Muslim Wedding, we continue to provide you the best ideas about how to plan a wedding and get the most bang for your buck.
In the Knot’s survey, the average wedding has 139, guests at a cost per guest of $237. Muslim Weddings are typically larger with an average around 250 guests, with a lower cost per guest.

Although money is an important factor in the kind of wedding you can throw, we will leave you with a quote, for where to focus your energies in wedding planning by Maya Angelou: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Other 2015 Interesting Wedding Statistics

Wedding Dress Cost (average): $1,469
Marrying Age (average): Bride, 29; Groom, 31
Most Popular Month to Get Engaged: December (16%)
Length of Engagement (average): 14.5 months
Most Popular Month to Get Married: October (17%) and September (15%)
Popular Wedding Colors: Ivory/White (47%), Blue (39%), Pink (30%), Metallics (34%), Purple (21%)
Percentage of Destination Weddings: 21%

7 Tips for Brides: Preparing for Your Wedding Night

7 Tips for Brides: Preparing for Your Wedding Night

Although Muslim culture is changing, with conservative cultural norms, important knowledge like sex is sometimes left to hearsay. Yes old wives tales, advice from mothers, relatives, and friends. We covered some important details in our very popular post, 44 Things You Should Know Before The Wedding Night.

Photo  by Moyan Brenn available under a Creative Commons Attribution-license

Photo by Moyan Brenn available under a Creative Commons Attribution-license

All the well-intentioned advice about first-time sex is never really enough to prepare you for what appears like a herculean effort. Yes everyone’s experience will be unique and different, but there are seven tips that can really help you and your spouse to be prepared for your wedding night. We want to help you reduce the anxiety and make it a memorable and pleasurable event. Without further ado, here they are:

  1. Talk to a married friend of the same gender. We recommend a recently-married friend.The purpose behind it is not to pry into their intimate and private lives, but to seek lessons learnt in terms what worked and what didn’t. Select people who you know are open-minded and willing to share specific and practical details. Ask questions and take notes.
  2. Expect to be tired, interrupted, emotional, and/or confused. Muslim weddings, due to cultural influences, are known for their many rituals and multi-day events. Trying to meet everyone’s expectations, the long day before, the photo shoots, the separation from your family and home, will leave you exhausted. To have good sex, you need to be relaxed. If there is a way for you to communicate expectations with your soon-to-be spouse, please do so.
  3. Location, location, location. Yes, it is not only the real estate mantra, but again your first night’s location together really matters. Are you going to be getting together at the venue’s wedding suite, family home, your new home, or heading for the honeymoon right away? There will be pros and cons of each. If it is the family home, there is always the fear that someone is going to interrupt, or they can hear you through the walls of the bedroom or bathroom (yikes). We cover honeymoons in more detail in other posts, but even though it is more private, the stress of heading straight for the honeymoon will only make things more challenging. There is no one simple answer for the best location, just be prepared to have a dialog. One more tip: prepare the room. Have family or friends get it ready to suit the ambiance you would like to create. This can be done with candles, music, chocolates, linen, flowers, towels and other decorations and useful aids.
  4. Go slow. One of the secrets of great sex is foreplay. It is all the touching, hugging, exploring and kissing each other before intercourse. Men especially are aroused quickly and for women it may take 15-30+ minutes to get aroused. Help slow your spouse down by getting them to breathe, and giving it time and not rushing in. Tantric sex has good lessons for breathing and slowing down. Sex should be a mutually satisfying experience and the more generous you are to each other, the more enjoyable the experience. Be willing to learn and grow for a lifetime of passion.
  5. Build memories from day one. There will be a lot that goes on during the wedding. Take turns recounting the good things that came your way and thank Allah (SWT), as well as laugh off the things that went miserably wrong. Remember stuff happens, so rather than get uptight about it, use humor as the antidote.
  6. Share expectations. A key part of life is sharing, setting and meeting expectations. Discuss your hopes and fears about sex. Remember no one can read minds. Fear of pain, fear of not making your spouse satisfied, fear that your spouse may not approve of you are all real fears. Intimacy is built by sharing your vulnerabilities and the more you share with each other the greater the bond. Set the bar for the wedding night low, so all you can do is match or exceed it. Be sure to share expectations about contraception.
  7. It’s okay to ask for a rain check. You have both waited a long time for this, but if you are not ready for whatever reason, period, ate late dinner, didn’t get any dinner, just plain exhausted, and/or too upset, these and others are great reasons to ask for a rain check.

Sex is a divine gift of God to married couples. There is a lot of learning involved and your first union God-willing will be one of many to come. They say “practice makes perfect” and that applies equally to sex, along with being gentle, generous, patient, and creative. We want you to be excited and enthusiastic about your first night. Never use sex as a barrier to control or manipulate your relationship. Sex, when it goes well, is an out-of-this-world experience. May you have a blessed first night and a fulfilling sensual marriage.