This is the question you must ask before marrying someone. While many factors are used to determine compatibility, you may be surprised to read that the answer to this question is in fact mostly based on feelings. Through the process of getting to know different types of people, you will discover a variety of personalities and, more importantly, the type of person you are most comfortable being around. Over time, and with increased maturity, you will also develop a deeper understanding of your own personality.
Eventually, you will meet someone you feel compatible with and want to consider for marriage. You will inevitably ask, “Is this the right person for me?” As described to us in Surat An-Nur: “…women of purity are for men of purity, and men of purity are for women of purity: these are not affected by what people say: for them there is forgiveness and a provision honorable.” (Qur’an, 24:26) This verse reminds us that people are matched by Allah. The following is a description of the feelings necessary to know that you have found your match.
The right person is someone you feel comfortable opening up to – someone you can be vulnerable with. The right person encourages you to make decisions that are right for you. This may include decisions about a healthy lifestyle and supporting your efforts to find balance between work and family. You feel encouraged and supported to grow in all areas of your life because the person you want to marry is not negative, selfish or critical. Rather, when you are with this person you feel safe to share your thoughts and ideas and you feel uplifted by their support. The right person is someone you have developed a deep friendship with and you mutually enjoy each other’s company. Building a marriage on a friendship is important because love grows out of friendship.
You and the right person for you have similar life goals and values. This doesn’t mean your goals and values are exactly the same, but they don’t contradict. You are able to agree on long term goals that you can attain together. When you are with the right person, you are able to communicate your feelings and concerns and you don’t feel that you need to keep them bottled up inside. When you disagree on something, you are both able to share and listen to each other’s opinions, then you both seek to compromise. Conversations with the right person are interesting and help you grow intellectually. With the right person you are comfortable sharing your thoughts and feelings on various topics. Couples naturally grow and change throughout the course of their marriage and this requires an ability to effectively communicate and resolve concerns as they come up.
The right person is kind, considerate, and polite to you and the people around you – and not just to impress you. This person encourages you to have good relationships with your family and friends. You both realize marriage is the bringing together of two families, not becoming an isolated couple. These behaviors toward your friends and family are a natural reflection of a person’s true character. Showering you with kindness, but not extending this to your friends and family, is a sign of inconsistent character. Character is shown through the actions that come to us naturally – whenever and to whomever. Both of you will show your character through what comes naturally more than anything that will ever be said. The person who is right for you isn’t rude, childish, arrogant or selfish. Rather, they are thoughtful and caring of everyone around them, not only their parents and their boss but the waiter and the clerk. A marriage is built on the feelings of respect and compassion; unless these come naturally, whatever behaviors are used to impress you before marriage will not last the everyday interactions of a marriage.
Finally, the right person is honest with you and is someone you can trust. This person is truthful with you about life decisions and concerns. The person you want to marry does not seek to control your life but seeks to share a life with you. The right person trusts you and does not scrutinize you or make you justify your every move. When you are with the right person, you will feel safe and accepted for who you are. You feel you can share your mistakes and work on your weaknesses.
It must be said that anyone who is dishonest or does things that are against your values is someone you should not marry. The foundation of a healthy marriage is one that is based on honesty and trust between two partners.
Establishing compatibility for marriage is based on many factors and the most obscure – yet most important – are the feelings we have about the person. There are some people we instantly “click” with and there are others we find interesting and want to learn more about. These are the initial feelings, but as we get to know someone and seek to find compatibility in values and goals, one must carefully examine their feelings.
Being with the right person is uplifting to our spirit; the relationship brings us tranquility, as is described in the Qur’an:
“And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): verily in that are Signs for those who reflect.” (30:21)
While no human being is perfect and we should not be looking for unrealistic qualities, you will know if you have found the person that is a good match for you. Remember that finding the right person is only half the challenge – you must first be the right person that someone would want to marry.
Munira Lekovic Ezzeldine is the author of Before the Wedding: Questions for Muslims to Ask Before Getting Married. She received her Masters in Marriage and Family Counseling at California State University, Fullerton and a Bachelors in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles. Ezzeldine is currently co-hosting an internet radio show, Family Connection, on One Legacy Radio. She has also written prolifically for Muslim publications, including two Islamic Studies textbooks for the Bureau of Islamic and Arabic Education.