The beginning of a new year usually signals a spring clean. It’s also a time to clear out emotional clutter, and hopefully make resolutions to become better versions of ourselves. At the beginning of this new year 1437 Hijri, Umm Abdillah from Radio Islam examines factors that could be hindering women and men over 35 years of age from finding a suitable partner.
Aboard the Fate Bus
Belief in Qadr or Taqdeer (Divine Will and Fate) is one of the pillars of the Islamic faith. What is meant by al-Qadr is that Allah Ta’ala has decreed all things and they unfold according to His decree.
To understand Qadr or Taqdeer we need the sincere belief that Allah loves us and will never want to cause us any harm. Allah is the Most Kind, the Most Caring, The Most Compassionate and the Most Loving.
Marriage too is one of the things that Allah has decreed. Allah knows the person whom we will marry, whom he or she is, when they were born, where and when they will die, and how they will turn towards us. As we don’t know what is decreed for us, our job is to adhere closely to Allah’s commands and prohibitions. At the same time we have to seek the help of Allah and pray to Him for our wants and needs. Marriage is not a benchmark of success or acceptance in the sight of Allah. Postponed prospects merely indicate that Allah intends our focus, sacrifices and efforts in other realms.
Taqdeer is not however contradicted by implementing all permissible means to find a life partner. While prayer, dua, and adhering to the Shariah have their place, this article looks at how we can help ourselves.
Women over 35
By the time anyone is 35 they know themselves better, be it life dreams, goals and personality. Most people over 35 are more mature, less anxious, and less likely to freak out over little things. Also, they’ve learned how precious love, life, and marriage is, so able to appreciate this rite more acutely.
However, according to popular and world-renown counsellor and therapist, Mary Jo Rapini, many beautiful, successful, educated and healthy women over the age of thirty-five who would make the ‘perfect’ wife are still very single.
These women often think their problem rests with the opposite gender. They mention that men in their age range want younger, less established women, or prefer cougars who are self-made and don’t need the man’s financial backing, or his ability to procreate in order to share a life together. Her counselling experience has shown her otherwise.
As a therapist she has isolated that many times the way women feel toward themselves or what they project outwardly may be what is actually limiting their ability to find a suitable partner for marriage.
Many of us don’t understand that how we feel inside projects on the outside. If we feel cynical, judgmental or unhappy, no matter how much we spend on clothes or personal trainers, expensive holidays, or diet fads; our looks and energies will reflect how we feel.
Men over 30
While many think thirty-something single women are the only ones stressed about their dwindling options for marriage and kids, it turns out that their male counterparts are beginning to stress even earlier.
It’s been called ‘mangst” or “manxiety.” Both describe the bouts of anxiety single men in their thirties feel about their marital status. Manxiety stems, in large part, from doing life math. It sounds like this: “If I haven’t met the girl today, I’d probably be 60 when my son or daughter goes to grade R or matric.”
According to 2012 research from the Pew Research Center, the share of middle-age to older men—those over 35—who say that a successful marriage is one of the most important things in their life has increased nine percentage points since 1997 and is nearly equal (36 percent) to women in that demographic.
Below are three areas of self-improvement that can possibly be addressed.
1. Become less critical.
Life may have taught you to become wary, cautious and critical, but it can often come across as being unkind. Men like a confident woman who is capable of loving herself and others. Likewise, while women may respect powerful men, they don’t like mean men.
2. Adapt that measurement standard.
According to therapists, sexual attraction is important, but with regards a husband, what is most important is honesty and character. One study referenced reported that the healthiest marriages were those where the woman was the looker, not the man. So if you have a particular “cute level” they must achieve, you need to look in the mirror again with your makeup washed off, because this is the way your partner will see you each morning.
3. Like yourself
Women who are single and over a certain age become very self-conscious. They begin to see all of their flaws (especially with looks). Their world becomes very self-centered. The more this happens, the more they repel others. Finding themselves alone, they begin to think they don’t deserve anyone. When a man is looking for a wife, any vibes of self-hate come through loud and clear. The outcome? How can you love them if you can’t love yourself?
Marriage is a commitment and a lifestyle; the vows are very sacred. Preparing ourselves to be a good partner instead of focusing on how messed up single men or women are over 35 years of age are is a good start. Self-Improvement: a good start to the new year 1437 H, if there ever was one!