By Aaisha Zafar Islam
A few weeks back, I read this article on NYT, on how to fall in love with someone, anyone, in 36 questions. For me, this came in a bit too late; eight years to be exact. While Z, my husband as I refer to him online, can claim he saw me and decided I was the one, I did make him jump some hoops before giving him the go-ahead to send his parents over with a formal proposal…and my ring size.
Let’s start with a quick personality profile. I do not believe in the saccharine, mass media portrayal of love. Love at first sight? Puhlease! As far as I am concerned, there’s just one love, the love our Creator Allah (SWT) has for us and we ought to have for Him and the Prophet (SAWS). The other type is a parent’s love for their child, unconditional, unfathomable. I know of the first one, it is my anchor through all times good and bad. Of the second, I have to see no further than my parents to know that it exists. Now the kind of love that would make one want to stay with one person for the rest of one’s life, it was slightly scary. I was a commitment-phobe till I signed my marriage contract.
Short-listing to the One
How did I get married then? Z and I had some mutual friends, but that’s not when it began. My sole criterion for getting married to anyone was that the candidate won a unanimous approval from everyone in my family – and I come from a large family. That was the first hoop, One candidate that everyone said ‘Yes’ to. It sounds way easier that it was; you don’t know my parents, or brothers, or sister.
The second was a formal application process. When my Brother in Law wanted to marry my sister, she had just one condition: that he get my approval. Since I was not in the country to grill him, I asked him to email me his resume. I am sure he was taken aback, but he did it right away. To marry into Clan Khan you have to be amenable to such ‘eccentric’ requests. That was the second test. My sister asked Z to send in his resume, and he did. The subject line: ‘Application for the post of Brother in Law.’ It’s difficult to look away from such a sense of humour!
When Z’s proposal came by, I was thick in the middle of an interview and selection process, screening students to enroll in the academic program I headed. We really put the poor applicants through the wringer with our questions, to assess how quick they were able to think and reply.
Once my sister and I had gone over Z’s resume and decided he could move onto stage three, I asked him to call me for a formal interview. He was in Dubai, I was in Pakistan and it was to be a long distance interview that would decide our fates. Long story short, I skewered and grilled him. There was a rapid fire round too – a succession of questions, one after the other. No breaks, no time to think. I asked him anything that came to my mind, including the number of white socks he had!
White socks were a sure deal-breaker. One of my mantra’s in life is: ‘Never trust a man who wears white socks, or dyes his hair.’
Z informed me that he did not own a single pair, but he could buy a pair and throw it away. I could not ignore such dedication to a cause – marrying me!
The Ever After
I am not the kind of woman who inspires paeans. I was more Medusa than Helen. However, Z was able to see through the prickly façade and find someone to love and live his life with, have kids with. He says that he saw me a mutual friend’s house and decided I was the one. Now he pleads temporary insanity.
For me there was no love when I got married, but I knew I had met Mr. Right. And we’ve been working all these years to perfect each other.
Love, in a marriage, comes gradually; it ebbs and flows. You have to find the right person who is NOT perfect, then whittle down through your own traits and his to work out a relationship that is as beautiful and meaningful as it is supposed to be. You get to know your spouse, you talk things out and make it work.
Everyone’s ‘How we got met and married’ story is unique. I still consider it the second most important job in the world and you should give it meticulous thought. The most important job in this world is that of being a parent, luckily Allah (SWT) does all the screening and vetting for us before blessing us with a child.
About the author:
Aaisha Zafar Islam is the executive editor of MuslimMoms.ca. She was incurably cynical about love, then Allah (SWT) blessed her with S and J to show what love really is. Now she believes in true love, miraculous ‘mommy’ kisses that can cure everything and chocolate in any form as the antidote to all life’s problems.