Question and answer details
|Assalam Aleikum, may Allah reward you for the great help you give us. I have been married for seven years. My ex-husband left me for another woman. It has now been two years, and I still struggle with the pain, but I’m generally fine. I have been approached by four eligible Muslim brothers for marriage, but my heart always seems heavy to accept. I would love to move on with my life and start a family, but I feel unable to love again. I don’t know why I don’t have any affection - or anything less than affection for that matter- for all these suitors who have come along. I don’t want to be married just so as to have a husband. I want a fulfilling relationship, but I feel I am running out of time and need to make a decision. What’s wrong with me?|
|Dr. Maryam Bachmeier|
As-Salamu ‘Alaykum dear sister,
Your feelings are very normal considering what happened to you, and also that it has only been two years since your painful divorce. It usually takes about two years just to adjust to your new identity as a single woman and to a new lifestyle, in addition to working through the painful emotions of rejection, abandonment, and betrayal that a woman feels when her husband leaves her in such a harsh manner.
After about two years, you begin to get a sense for who you are as a human being. It will take another couple of years to develop a clear picture of what your values are, what kind of a man you want to be married to, and what kind of lifestyle you want to live. Then, you can begin to make goals for yourself and to choose wisely.
You are a very young woman. You will be 30 in two more years. You do not need to rush into anything. Take at least one more year to explore these things I just mentioned. Specifically, what your goals are and what kind of a man you feel you would be compatible with. There is no sense in meeting any man if you do not even know what you are screening for. List the character traits that are important to you. Make a list of the essential areas you feel you must agree upon in order to be happy. You want to know what you are going to negotiate before any marriage so that you do not marry a man who cannot make a commitment to your welfare in areas that are most important to you.
Likewise, take the same list and make sure that you develop these same qualities within your own self. You are more likely to attract the right kind of man by being the right kind of woman. Explore your own soul and find out what you stand for. When you begin to feel like a “whole” person again, you will feel better about finding a companion to travel the journey of life with. You will also know what questions to ask your suitors and you will be better able to make an informed decision about who you will live the rest of your life with.
If you are seeking a fulfilling relationship within the institution of marriage, take time out to explore what constitutes a fulfilling relationship for you. Are your priorities being able to develop good communication? Or, making a mutual and conscious effort to spend a specific amount of time together? Does that mean you want to have shared experience and things in common? Do you want to share spirituality with your husband? These are just a few examples of what constitutes “relationship” building characteristics within a marriage. But you will be in a much better position to find a partner who has the same needs, complimentarily attributes, desires, and characteristics if you can define this in specific terms.
This is why I am recommending that you do indeed take at least one more year to explore this for yourself. This will also give you more time to heal your broken heart and your anger of being betrayed and abandoned. You will have the time to teach yourself that you will always be there for yourself, and you can accomplish that by developing your connection to Allah. It is in this connection that you will begin to feel yourself whole and healthy again.
In summary, this next year focus specifically on developing your own relationship with Allah and your own relationship to the world. Explore your goals and options for lifestyle and life direction. Explore your values and try to define your priorities in life and in relationships. Discover the areas you want to improve yourself in so that you can possess and express the same values and priorities you would have your future partner possess. And finally, explore and define what attributes a fulfilling relationship would have, and what characteristic an individual who is able to participate in a fulfilling relationship would have.
This is a tall order and you have a lot of work to do this next year so that you can be in the emotional state and experience a clear mind. Then, in a year from now, re-evaluate how you are feeling and if you are ready for marriage.
So, to answer your question, from my perspective, you do not have a “problem”, but rather you are still in the process of healing, growing, developing, and discovering who you are and what your true needs are.
Pray to Allah for guidance with this and you will feel his help very close to you inshallah.
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Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information that was provided in the question. You are strongly advised to seek face-to-face counseling and consult your physician or therapist when making a drastic change in your lifestyle in terms of behavior, medication or diet etc.