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Marrying Strangers Often Leads to a Strange Marriage

Posted by on Jun. 20, 2007 at 10:38 AM
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A'salaam Alaykium

In the early to mid 1990’s there was an ‘explosion’ of people who accepting Islam in America – especially in the aftermath of the high interest in Malik Shabazz (Malcolm X) May Allah have mercy upon him. By Allah’s grace, I was one of them.

 


We all wanted to change the world with this new vehicle (Islam) and become a light to the world. The problem was that – in our naiveté – in many cases, we threw away practicality and became slavishly literal with our Islam. This led to many mistakes being made in our practice that would have long lasting effects that will take a long time to repair, Insha Allah.

 


One of the things that converts really had a problem with was in developing a system to get marriage that was both permissible and practical.

As I have mentioned before, I have met several brothers that have been married multiple times – and by multiple times, I mean more than five.

When we came into Islam, there was not a system in place in most masajid wherein converts could get married to a COMPATIBLE person. This is because most of the religious immigrant Muslims would go home to get married to someone that their families had arranged for them and this was not a concern.

 


In the Muslim world, there is a system in place, for getting married to someone compatible. In some regions of the Muslim world nearly half of all married couples are first or second cousins to each other.

Many in the Muslim world insist upon this practice because it makes the extended family ties much stronger. This is why the Muslim world is known for warm, devoted extended family relationships and – unfortunately - distrust for those outside of the tribe (extended family). Almost every sphere of human endeavor, including business, social relationships and marriage, is based on family structure.

 


How does that model translate to a convert who wants to get married? … It doesn’t.

 


With dating not being an option for a religious Muslim and having no cultural system in which to get married, many converts were only left with "complete stranger marriage".

 


A Complete Stranger marriage is a marriage in which two complete strangers meet for a few minutes, ask a few basic questions, make itikharrah and get married – often with disastrous results – regardless of compatibility and other concerns. It is almost like buying a car, except people are probably a little more careful when buying a car. I knew cases where brothers married the exact opposite of what they desired in a mate in the name of righteousness.

 


Then there was the pressure to get married as soon as possible – especially females - after becoming Muslim. It did not matter if the new (male) convert didn’t have a good job or even a proper place to put a potential family, he needed to get married now!!!!!!!! No need to know anything about the person at all. They’re both Muslim! She wears hijab. He has a beard! Bismillah...do it! Stranger marriage is such a crap shoot that I liken it to gambling.

 


Then tragically, this same brother without a good job or skills is encouraged to immediately have plenty of children with this person they just met a few days ago. Years later, the brother becomes a staple in the sadqah and zakat line.

 


In other cases, the marriages fall apart within a few weeks after finding out they have NOTHING in common. Other stranger marriages linger on only because of the children. I can’t count the number of brothers that I have spoken to that feel "trapped" in their loveless stranger marriage based almost completely in pretentiousness and empty literalism. Some of them are sadly broken and bitter and left feeling that that they have "thrown their lives away". Some have even openly said that they "could have done better dating" than with stranger marriage.

 


In the most extreme example that I have PERSONALLY known, I had a friend that married a stranger and she ended up cutting his head off in a grizzly murder. Others married people with serious mental problems only to find this out later in the marriage - and often after children were involved.

 


A few months ago, I was given an update on a young man, who is now about 21, that embraced Islam at 19 while in college. At the time he embraced Islam, he was single and on the way to getting his degree. Two years later, he has quit school, gotten married to a complete stranger, has a baby on the way and regrets it.

 


Lives are destroyed based on bad advice. Years pass, the person looks back with much regret, burns out and is hardly seen again. This is why these new converts need good people that know what they are doing to look out for them and show and explain to them the consequences of making bad choices also applies just as much when you become Muslim as it did before becoming Muslim -- no matter how it is dressed in Qur’an and Hadith. There is nothing about becoming a Muslim where bad choices suddenly look good through the prism of Islam.

 


Before becoming Muslim, this same person would have thought the prospect of marrying a complete stranger was insane, but after becoming Muslim, suddenly this is "the deen" and the correct way to get married. "There is no dating in Islam, and you get to know the person after you marry them, so therefore we marry strangers".

 

However, it’s not mentioned to that convert that not only do people in the Muslim world NOT normally marry strangers, but insist on marrying their cousins who they know and grew up with. This took place in Muslim communities with converts all across the country.

 


Any person who saw this and was genuinely looking out for this new convert is accused of having ulterior motives while those that are calling for an end to this pathetic "marriage process" or at the very least for the prospective couple to know something about each other were accused of promoting fornication.

 


Some come up with a list of questions (some of them pretty good) to ask marriage prospects with the hope of cutting off some of these problems, but the problem is that often, people memorize the correct answers to the questions and make themselves look like good prospect. The more pretentious you are, the quicker you can get married. ("I want to study the deen overseas", "I plan to make hijrah", "I love Shaykh so and so", "I’m upon the Sunnah", "My concept of marriage is an Islamic one", "I want my children to be scholars", etc).

 


This is why the men who have perfected this act can get married 15 times in a 5 year period. They know exactly what to say.

 


For these reasons, not only do the female converts need good walis that are grounded in the realities of the planet earth, but the MEN DO TOO. These young men need some kind of representative or "wali" of some sort to guide them through the process. These men need someone that is in a good marriage that can be honest with them and tell them when they are not ready to get married and that they need to develop themselves and prepare to get married instead of constantly relating the story of the man who got married with only an iron ring.

 


They need a person that can explain the realities of life and the things that come with having children such as health care cost, food and other such things that are often dismissed as "Dunya talk".

 


In the past, if a person wanted to know if he/she was compatible (in a permissible way) he/she was being "too picky" or was told that it was out of bounds. It may be that both sides are good people, but not good for each other. She has a strong personality, he has a reserved one. She is talkative, he is not. She has no sense of humor, he is a comedian. He likes to read, she doesn’t. She is a health nut, he eats unhealthy, etc.

 


This is why I strongly feel that one has to know something about who they are marrying beyond the "resume items". We’re not hiring a maid or a "broodmare" here.

 


Having a wali/representative for both parties would be a good way to start to end the problems of stranger marriage.

 


Secondly, there should be some type of premarital counseling required for prospective married couples. If all mainstream masjids went to this system and it was known and advertised, then those brothers who insist on getting married in some brother’s basement would be exposed as charlatans. (i.e., "why doesn’t this brother want to go through the proper channels to get married?"). In addition, masjid administrations would also be able to warn people: "If you insist on a stranger marriage, then do so at your own risk".

 


Other than that, here are my humble (and based upon my feedback, highly controversial) suggestions for a convert getting married:

 


- Ignore sloganized advice: "Brother/sister, don’t you know that a man got married with only an iron ring". "Physical relations is the only purpose of marriage". "If you have sexual desire get married, nothing else matters its all dunya". "If you have enough food for the next meal, get married" (An Imam actually told converts this)

 


- Prepare to be married: For men, that means getting an education and/or solid marketable skill, getting a good job with benefits such as health insurance, learning to be responsible with money, a place to stay, reading about marriage and everything that it entails. Be prepared to be a man and a father. Not just have physical relations

 


- Don’t be pressured into getting married, as you can do bad by yourself and 1000X worse with someone else in your life making things miserable. Don’t go for the "you’re too picky" line either.

 


- Don’t abandon common sense and reality in trying to get married.

 


- DO abandon pretentiousness. Don’t portray yourself as someone that you are not. Be honest with yourself and your prospect about where you are in your religiousness, your life and the direction you want to go. If you are an avid moviegoer - for example - it would not help to portray yourself as someone who hates them. Sounds simple, but this is a big point of contention in pretentious based marriages.

 


- Be very picky in choosing a spouse. Resolve to stay single rather than enter a quickie marriage that could potentially ruin your life. Remember that you are picking the potential mother/father of your children. Compatibility is important.

 


- Examine the prospect extensively: "What were his last 3-4 jobs?" "Is he/she moody?", "How many friends he have?", "Who did he hang with?" "How well do they really know him?", "Is he a loner?" etc.

 


- Not only get an AIDS test, but test for other STDs. Sisters have married brothers without AIDS, but had other STDs. May be a good idea to see if there are any mental health issues

 


- Get to know the person and their family - even if the family is not Muslim - before the marriage. Meet the person’s parents and siblings if possible. Find out what his/her family is like. In one way or another it will affect the marriage.

 


- If the prospect is an immigrant and his/her family does not approve - leave it alone. A situation like that can weigh on a marriage as they can and sometimes will make things difficult. Immigrant men have been known to dump convert sisters at the constant behest of their racist mothers. Sometimes these are green card situations.

 


- After getting married, wait a year or two to have children (gasp!!!). Give the relationship time to develop on its own merit before locking yourself in with children.

 


Even if you disagree with the above advice (and I know that some do very strongly) can we agree that we have to do better than stranger marriage?

 


Tariq Nelson lives in Northern Virginia. He blogs at tariqnelson.com.

CommentsMASAHA-ALLAH SUPERB, ELOQUENT, ON THE DO
Written by Marrying Strangers Often Leads on 2007-06-17 21:22:09


I have read previous articles of Brother Tariq Nelson. Masha Allah he writes on the dot and eloquent in explaining the problems facing the muslim community that effects not one ethnic group but the entire muslim ummah in the west. Brother Tariq has some real life and practical suggestions that are worthy of serious consideration to avoid those problems mentioned in his article. Jazakallahu Khairun brother Tariq, please keep up the good work of helping the community to understand and address the solution to such problems. I will always look forward to your next article, Insha Allah.don't agree about "pretentious" part
Written by on 2007-06-17 10:30:10
Alhamdulillah this is a great article. I do think all what you quote as pretentious is not necessarily so. I know people who talk that talk and walk it also. The problem with converts is we are using the lingo without living it. Second, I know someone who married a man who outright told her before marriage "I shake hands with women" and now she feels stupid she didn't choose a brother who said "I DON'T shake hands with women". That might have sounded pretentious, but paying attention to this kind of talk would have given her a better clue of the way he would eventually interact with women he wasn't married to. Using the religious lingo can show that this person is religious and is interested in the deen, or not. While someone using the "pretentious" talk might be non-religious, someone who DOESN'T use religious lingo at all is PROBABLY a non-religious muslim. But most would not come right out and say "I don't like going to the masjid or celebrating Eid and by the way sometimes I drink alcohol".Anon
Written by Spot on! on 2007-06-16 21:26:04
This article was right on the money! Too many people when they mean "they want to get married" actually mean that "they want to have sex" and there is a major difference. Sex is a part of marriage but it is not everythingExcellent!
Written by Washington, DC on 2007-06-16 11:18:20
What a terrific read! In this article, you have defined everything that is wrong with the hurried marriage concept in a way that the aggressors (a.k.a. parents) can, and should, understand. Bottom line, marriage is for the people getting married, and you need to make sure you are pleased before anyone else. 
 
I can guarantee some mothers will purposely not be talking about your piece this week, but it's all for the greater good. Trust me.

http://www.muslimlinkpaper.com/

by on Jun. 20, 2007 at 10:38 AM
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Replies (1-10):
leeloandramiyah
by on Jun. 20, 2007 at 1:53 PM

Asalaam Alaikum, I like what you posted. It makes sense to me. The local masjid here will be having a Singles night that will be chaperoned by married couples. The Imam will be giving a lecture about marriage and there will be dinner also.Then I hear there will be a questionnaire for those seeking marriage.

mama4257
by on Jun. 20, 2007 at 5:03 PM
WOW! I knew dating wasn't allowed and i knew about arranged marriages, but i never thought of the impact it had on those converting to Islam. Its a lot to take it really. I guess those rules apply either way though, and problems will arise with every relationship too. What do you do if you convert and you aren't supposed to date? How do you meet people?

"Though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I will fear no evil for the Lord is with me"
Aasiyah
by on Jun. 20, 2007 at 8:10 PM

Our marriages are not perfect strangers for we know that Allah has ordained every single thing in each of our lives.  For 1400 years Islam has endured and it will endure to the end of dunya. 

I wonder what excuses people give for the hundreds of thousands of people who have long term sexual relationships with people, never marry or marry and break up???  All the while sinning, all the while never having God on thier mind,  heart or relationships.

Marriage in Islam is about putting yourself in a situation where you do not sin.  Islam is a complete religion with conditions for  marriage. Those who  marry without meeting the conditions are sinning.  Islam allows for divorce because Allah knows that some won't be compatible and so Allah allows for us to move on without sinning. 


Marriages fail because people have low patience, lack tolerance for eachother and expect way too much.  Love is not something that simply is......love grows over time with shared experiences.  Think of how many times before you became muslim did you give your self , your body, your heart to that "to die for person" and they treated you like crap and you kept right on loving them never even having shared experiences.  People aren't made compatible. You have to work hard at everything.  Being a kid, being a parent, a freind, a worker , a spouse a worshipper. Nothing is easy!  There's hard work to do and most don't want to do it!  And that is where the issues lie.

The prophet (SAW) said  "He who innovates something in this matter of ours that is not of it will have it Rejected!

That is because  our religion is complete.

I think that people who believe that there should be a better way than stranger marriages are mixing thier islam with thier western way of thinking. 

If you look back into history, the methods of Islam have been practiced through out time even in Western world but those corrupted people brought about change.. change that meant, women taking off thier clothes,  men leaving thier families, men not wanting to work because the woman in thier lives support them.  Men and woman married as strangers from the begiinning of Dunya because that is how Allah ordained it.

If you put your islam first, Allah first everything else will work out.  Most people put thier preconcieved ideas first, they put thier lusts and desires first. 

Some think that Islam is backwards but it's not. Those who believe that, don't have a clue.   And if we don't accept everything in Islam, then where will we really end up.  Because we cannot choose what we want and dispose of what we don't want. 

 Allah says " Their hearts are sealed up so they understand not"  (9:86)

Allah says " They want to extinguish Allah's light with thier mouths, but Allah will not allow except that His Light should be perfected even though the disbelievers hate it.   (9:32)

I urge everyone to follow the deen, not to allow cultural beliefs or western mentality to cloud your religion.  Allah has honored you  and if he puts you in  a "bad situation with a husband or a wife" it is a test of your faith.  He will remove it when it is time and perhaps he will bring you someone better.

Allah says:  It may be if he divorced you that his Lord will give him instead of you , wives better than you- muslims, believers, obediedant turning to Allah in repentance, worshipping Allah  sincerely, given to fasting or emigrants (for Allah's sake) previously married or virgins"  66:5)

Allah says " O you who beleive!  You are forbidden to inherit women against thier will. and you should not treat them with harshness...
If you dislike them it may be that you dislike a thing and Allah brings through it a great deal of good"   (4:19)

Marriage in Islam is for the Sake of Allah.  It should not be for your vain desires.  If your marriage is for the Sake of Allah everything will fall into place Insha Allah! 

Allah says " O you who believe! ward off yourselves and your families against a fire whose fuel is men and stones over which are angels stern, severe, who disobey not the commands they recieve from Allah but do that which they are commanded.

A side note:  the writer made reference to the 1990's boom in americans accepting islam.  Let us  not forget that those who accepted at that time were misguided individuals who accepted the Nation of Islam.  We know that Malcom X denounced them, defected and came to the Real Islam, Allah's islam and the Prophet (SAW) Sudna.  Insha Allah, the rest have been guided to the right religion.

May Allah guide us all.  And we be of the successful!  Ameen

virginiamama71
by on Jun. 20, 2007 at 10:35 PM

Quoting mama4257:

WOW! I knew dating wasn't allowed and i knew about arranged marriages, but i never thought of the impact it had on those converting to Islam. Its a lot to take it really. I guess those rules apply either way though, and problems will arise with every relationship too. What do you do if you convert and you aren't supposed to date? How do you meet people?

"Though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I will fear no evil for the Lord is with me"
A'salaam Alaykium

When someone is ready to marry they will ask someone if they know of anyone who wants to marry and hopefully are found this way.

Some mosques will hold retreats for singles to find a spouse. This is also held at the conventions (ICNA and ISNA).

Than there are some people who meet online, at work, school, anywhere else.

Best thing when you meet someone, to never be alone with them.

In Peace
Carrie
virginiamama71
by on Jun. 20, 2007 at 11:14 PM

Quoting Aasiyah:


Marriages fail because people have low patience, lack tolerance for eachother and expect way too much.  Love is not something that simply is......love grows over time with shared experiences.  Think of how many times before you became muslim did you give your self , your body, your heart to that "to die for person" and they treated you like crap and you kept right on loving them never even having shared experiences.  People aren't made compatible. You have to work hard at everything.  Being a kid, being a parent, a freind, a worker , a spouse a worshipper. Nothing is easy!  There's hard work to do and most don't want to do it!  And that is where the issues lie.

A'salaam Alaykium

I agree but I also think most marriages fail cause people are not compatiable and do not find out enough about each other until they have been in the marriage for a few months (not that we can know all there is to know about someone but the basics should be known well before marriage) and I also believe marriages can fail cause in this day, not too many people take marriage as a serious responsibility and play around too much.

My friend is on her 5th marriage. Her husband is on his 4th. They both said this is the best marriage they had. The  people they were married to,  took marriage for a game.

In Peace
Carrie
IL2Knit
by on Jun. 20, 2007 at 11:31 PM
Oh my goodness. This makes me think of my marriage. Ed & I didn't know each other at all when we got married. We both needed something the other had. I needed to feel safe. He needed a home where no one would drink beer. That was it, that is why we got Married. We never dated at all. We were both a mess really. Praise be to God that He worked on us, with us and one day we just knew we loved each other very much. We fought hard for our marriage to work. We talked before we married and we both said we never wanted a divorce and that wouldn't be an option. We just had our 22 anniversary on the 8th.

Love Ya    Diana

practicingislam
by on Jun. 20, 2007 at 11:46 PM
wa;alaykum asalam rahmatullah wa barakatuh actually even if u know each other the same thing happens marriages just fall apart in life typically.....it doesnt really matter how u got married .....I must say no marriage is safe......if two people Trust Allah enough and married for Allah and each other then they can get through any hurdles and if it wasnt meant to be then Allah still had a reason for it and in anything rather easy or painful Allah gives us blessings....i just wanted to put my two cents in........thats why in islam half of our deen is marriage ........and the islamic marriages dont fall apart b/c of Allah it is because Man and Woman dont always follow Allahs commands and thats where satan gets in and destroys the family and marriage
insha-in-ok
by on Jun. 21, 2007 at 11:34 AM

Quoting Aasiyah:

I think that people who believe that there should be a better way than stranger marriages are mixing thier islam with thier western way of thinking. 

Assalaamu alaykum sisters ... I think it was a great article & very thought provoking. In relation to the sister who says that this kind of thinking is "mixing Islam w/western ways of thinking" ... that's not necessarily true. Where does it say in Islam that we MUST have stranger marriages? There's more than one way to choose a spouse in Islam - stranger marriage is not the only way. So how can it be "western thinking" to look at alternatives? Even the Prophet himself (peace & blessings be upon him) did not marry complete strangers, nor did he marry into his own family. And let's not forget that there are MANY men out there who are dishonest & looking for wives to serve them, give them children, give them a green card, etc. One of the other posters said that if two people are seeking Allah for the best in their lives & they marry, then Allah will work things out for them inshallah. Yes, that's true - when BOTH people are seeking Allah. But when a new female convert to Islam is talked into this stranger marriage thing & ends up marrying a man who only wanted a green card, or has mental problems, or who beats her - these kinds of things DO happen & would happen less often if there were alternative ways of looking for a spouse. I think the writer of the article gave some very good ISLAMIC alternatives. And another thing I want to point out - just b/c divorce is ALLOWED in Islam does not mean that it should be easy - "oh it's OK if you marry someone incompatible, you can always divorce" - what kind of an attitude is that to go into marriage with? And what about the children of these failed marriages - doomed to never be able to live w/both their mother & their father? No, I just really don't think that divorce is the "quick fix" for failed stranger marriages.

Peace,
Insha
Aasiyah
by on Jun. 22, 2007 at 10:53 AM

Quoting insha-in-ok:


Quoting Aasiyah:

I think that people who believe that there should be a better way than stranger marriages are mixing thier islam with thier western way of thinking. 

Assalaamu alaykum sisters ... I think it was a great article & very thought provoking. In relation to the sister who says that this kind of thinking is "mixing Islam w/western ways of thinking" ... that's not necessarily true. Where does it say in Islam that we MUST have stranger marriages? There's more than one way to choose a spouse in Islam - stranger marriage is not the only way. So how can it be "western thinking" to look at alternatives? Even the Prophet himself (peace & blessings be upon him) did not marry complete strangers, nor did he marry into his own family. And let's not forget that there are MANY men out there who are dishonest & looking for wives to serve them, give them children, give them a green card, etc. One of the other posters said that if two people are seeking Allah for the best in their lives & they marry, then Allah will work things out for them inshallah. Yes, that's true - when BOTH people are seeking Allah. But when a new female convert to Islam is talked into this stranger marriage thing & ends up marrying a man who only wanted a green card, or has mental problems, or who beats her - these kinds of things DO happen & would happen less often if there were alternative ways of looking for a spouse. I think the writer of the article gave some very good ISLAMIC alternatives. And another thing I want to point out - just b/c divorce is ALLOWED in Islam does not mean that it should be easy - "oh it's OK if you marry someone incompatible, you can always divorce" - what kind of an attitude is that to go into marriage with? And what about the children of these failed marriages - doomed to never be able to live w/both their mother & their father? No, I just really don't think that divorce is the "quick fix" for failed stranger marriages.

Peace,
Insha

Islam is very clear.  The sudna of the Prophet is very clear. You do not date/ Get to know a person in islam before getting married.  Simple and clear.  You can find out things about the person through others, your family, his family, your Wali, your Iman. But under no circumstances should two people in Islam who are trying to please Allah, meet and get to know one another before they find out if they are compatible.  The only thing you should want to know is the Deen of the Person.  Make sure that the persons deen is intact.  You may want to have the person looked into so that you can know his/her way of living life but y ou dont' want to be ther person who is front and center doing the talking to the man or woman because it puts you in a situation of disobeying Allah and his prophet. 

The Prophet (SAW) said.  If a man and a woman sit alone, the shaitan is sitting between them.

This means that the sexes shouldn't mix alone. As muslims we know this. It is  the most simple and best way to obey Allah and keep to a miminuim those things that may lead us into temptation.  This is why there is no  marriage without a Walee.  it is the Walees job to try to determine whether to people should marry.  That is Islam. 

It is western way of thinking  or our own desires to try to find alternative ways of marrying.  And we know that over 50 % of western marriages do not work even though people date and have sex ,  have babies and all that for years before marrying. Why would anyone advocate to disobey Allah?????? 

And as  a reminder I will quote the Prophet " what i have forbidden to you,  avoid. What I have ordered you (to do) do as much of it as you can.  It was only their excessive questioning  and thier disagreeing with the Prophets that destroyed those who were before you."
 

Let us so not forget that the Prophet (SAW) did nothing on his own account!  Allah guided him to all of his wives and choice them for him!  Allah left the best example for us why should we do any diffferent then what we were taught. They were the best of the Ummah.  Should they not know better than us. 

We are not scholars.  We have little knowledge to even speak on the matter. Insha Allah, I have not said anything here for which i will be held accountable. 

I agree with you there are a lot of unscruplous men/women out there but that is because they do not hold on to the Rope of Allah. Because if they did, we would't be expereinceing any of this Fitnah. 

Do you think that Allah is really going to bless a marriage that was entered in a way other than islamically????  He may bless you in the Dunya but will he bless you in the here after?

We also know that there are blessings in everything good or bad.  The goal is to put Allah first and pray that Allah sends you the best and that he keeps your test at a minimal. 

We know that our wifes/husbands, children and wealth are our trials.  We need to give our selves a fair chance at surviving the married woes by holding on to Allah's rope and not finding alternative ways to beat doing what were supposed to do or commanded to do.

Let us remember that we are talking about converts/reverts. I wonder what born muslims think of these alternatives. 

Let us remember that  According the the Prophets (SAW) authentic hadith is "A woman may not give herself in marriage."  Although she has to agree to the marriage for no one can be forced to marry. 

Divorce is something that should always be avoided. It is frowned upon.  However, it is also permitted to help ease the fitnah if it comes between a couple. We can not ignore that it exist though we should pray to Allah that he m akes our marriages easy and successful. 

by the way I'm a convert/revert, it was hard for me to swallow getting married to a perfect stranger but i have to accept all that Islam entails and not reject anything according to my own desires.

I pray to Allah that if i said anything wrong in this respoonse that he forgive me.  Ameen
Cheryl40
by on Jun. 22, 2007 at 11:35 AM
I am not a Muslim but I wonder if it has ever been considered to have new converts to have a 'foster' family?   Someone to act on their behalf like they would if it was their family member?   Then time could be taken to research and find out about the other person without the pressure to get married right away...the way it's normally done.

I have Christian friends who don't allow their children to date, they believe in a courtship type of situation where, in the case of daughters, a young man presents himself to the family and spends time with the family to see if everyone is compatible.   There is no alone time, everything is a family setting or Church setting.

Cheryl
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