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PRE-MARITAL QUESTIONS

MAS Youth Detroit Monthly Training May 2006

Please note the questions listed below have been gathered from various different sources and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of MAS Youth Detroit. The questions are meant to guide you in your search process. The list of questions are constantly being revised for the benefit of all, so please refer people interested in obtaining the questions to MAS Youth Detroit so they are able to benefit from the most recent version. If you have any questions are comments, please e-mail us at detroit@masyouth.org

Self Reflection

Describe yourself. Do you really want to get married? Are you realistic about what being married means and is like? How do you envision life to be after marriage? Establish what you are and are not looking for in a spouse. Are you realistic about the responsibilities of marriage? Are you ready to assume a commitment? What do you think makes marriage successful? Are you prepared to engage in a merger with another person and another family? Are you willing to walk away? What is your concept of marriage? What are you expectations of marriage? List three purposes of marriage. List your personal set of values in life. List the top 10. What is your purpose in life? What are the goals that you have set for your self and your future family? How do you plan on accomplishing them? Identify three things that you want to accomplish in the near future. Identify three things that you want to accomplish, long term. What are the five most important things in your life and why? Why have you chosen me/other person as a potential spouse? Do you feel he/she is compatible with you? What is the role of the husband? What is the role of the wife? What are the qualities that you absolutely need to have in a spouse, without which you will be miserable? What are the qualities you would like to have, but if they are not present, you will still be interested? What will be your family culture? What are the roles of every individual of the family? What should be the husband’s/father’s roles and responsibility? How should he interact with his spouse? His children? His in-laws? What should be the wife’s/mother’s roles and responsibility? How should she interact with her spouse? Her children? Her in-laws? Who are your role models? Why?

Past

Have you been engaged or married before? If so, how has that experience influenced your present feelings about marriage?

Have you been married before? Are you married now? Over the last five years, how do you feel you have changed for the worse? The better? What are the last five things you have done in your life that you are most proud of? Is there anything in your past that I should know about? What would be the first thing your friends would tell me about you? What would be the first thing your enemies would tell me about you? Do any health problems run in your family? Do you suffer from any chronic disease or condition? Do you have any physical or mental health concerns? Are you taking any medication? If so, what is the medication and for what? Are you willing to take a physical exam by a physician before marriage? What is your understanding of proper health and nutrition? How do you support your own health and nutrition?

Personality

What is one good quality you see in yourself? One bad quality? What are the top five qualities you desire for your spouse? On which topics do you feel qualified to give advice? Which do you think should have the final say in your decisions: Logic or emotion? Why? How do you make decisions for yourself?

Are you logical, intuitive or indecisive? What do you feel will never change about you? Are you willing to make changes for your spouse or your relationship? Arrange these values in the order of most importance to you: work, relationship, family, family, hobbies, friends, health. Explain why your values rank the way they do. What is your communicating style (verbal, non-verbal, expect the other to mind-read etc)? How do you generally deal with conflict (confront, run away, appease, etc.)? How do you deal with stress? What would you fight for (literally and figuratively)? Have you ever gotten in a physical fight? Has anyone ever had reason to be afraid of you? Is it ever appropriate for someone to express anger in a physical way? If so, when and how? When was the last time you were angry? What did you do about it? How do you express anger? What do you do when you are angry? How do you expect your spouse to express anger? Do you tend to be a jealous person? What tends to make you jealous? Are you honest? When is it appropriate not to be honest? When was the last time you put someone down? How do you feel about teasing and sarcasm? When was the last time you talked behind someone’s back? Do you tend to trust people? Are you cautious or suspicious? What things are you particular about being done in a certain way? What annoys you? Do you get annoyed easily? If you can see that you are wrong, do you hold onto your position or can you change your mind? Are you able to apologize for your mistakes? Do you blame others? If you wrong someone, how do you apologize? If someone has wronged you, how do you want (s)he to apologize to you? How much time passes before you can forgive someone? What kind of approach would you take to resolve any major or minor conflict in your marriage? What do you feel are acceptable grounds for a couple to divorce? If problems develop in your marriage, would you be willing to undergo marital counseling? When do you think it is appropriate to initiate mediation in marriage? After marriage, do you think that you are one to express romantic feelings verbally? After marriage, do you think that you want to express affection in public? How do you express your admiration for someone that you know now? How do you express your feelings to someone who has done a favor for you? Do you like to write your feelings? How do you make important and less important decisions in your life? Do you use foul language at home? In public? With family? Do your friends use foul language? Does your family use foul language? Define mental, verbal, emotional and physical abuse. What would you do if you felt that you had been abused? Who would you call for assistance if you were being abused? What kinds of personality do you expect in your future spouse? What kind of behavior would you not tolerate from your spouse? What kind of manners do you admire?

Islam and Ideology

How do you identify yourself? (ie by nationality, race, religion, family, etc.) How strongly do you identify with your cultural background? Were you raised with a particular culture? Do you practice your culture? What is more important to you, your culture or Islam? How do you differentiate between the two? What aspects of your culture are different from Islam? What is your understanding of Islam? How might your adherence differ from others? Were you raised as a practicing Muslim? If not, when and what was your turning point? If you were always practicing, what shaped you into the Muslim you are now? What do you see as your role in the Muslim movement? What form of activist have you been and are a part of today? What is your understanding of the concept of emir? Theoretical and practical applications should be discussed. Do you subscribe to any particular math’hab (school of thought), sect, group, leader, or Imam? How important is this in your life and how important will this be in your family’s life? Which Muslim groups and/or organizations are you a part of? How much time do you spend doing Islamic work each week? How will this change when you get married? Do you want to live in a Muslim community? How involved are you in your community? What does involvement/activism mean to you? Are you volunteering in any Islamic activities? How comfortable are you with disagreements? How do you feel disagreements should be resolved? How would you address different interpretations of Islam? Do you believe in voting and/or in the political process? What is your opinion about women in leadership positions? How do you feel about your wife wearing hijab? Or not? Do you attend any religious classes or lessons? How often? How will this change when you get married? What are your thoughts on polygamy? Under what circumstances would you consider practicing polygamy?

Do you fast, pray, and give zakat? How often do you pray? Do you pray fajr or do you pray when you wake up in the morning? What do you consider quality time? What do you consider a waste of time? How often do you go to the mosque? Do you or would you ever pray in public? Do you pray at work/school? Have you made Hajj or Umrah? When do you see yourself going in the future? Are you interested in learning the classical Arabic language? Why or why not? What type of relationship do you have/ would you like to have with the Qur’an? What do you do to strengthen your relationship with Allah? What goals do you have for self-improvement and spiritual growth? How accepting are you of people with other religious beliefs? How do you think being married will bring you closer to Allah? What is the role of religion in your life now? Are you a spiritual person? What is your understanding of an Islamic marriage? What are you expecting of your spouse, religiously? What can you offer your zawj (spouse), spiritually? What are your strengths as human and as a Muslim(ah)? What are your weaknesses as human and as a Muslim(ah)? How do you plan on addressing them in order to improve? What is MAHR? Who gives it? And to whom is it given? Would you like to make any conditions in this marriage? If yes, what are those conditions? Be very specific and precise.

Education

How much education have you completed? How highly do you value education? Do you plan to seek further education? Would you encourage your spouse to seek further education? Would you consider traveling to another country for education or employment? Where? When? For how long?

Profession

Where are you employed and how long do you see yourself there? What are your professional goals in the next fifteen years? How much time do you spend working each week? How will this change once you get married? How do you prioritize work and family? Would you like your wife to work? If not, explain why? What is your perception of the wife’s role (in terms of profession, home, and family)? What is your perception of the husband’s role (in terms of profession, home, and family)?

Finances

What standard of living are you used to? How did you grow up (kind of house, car, etc.)? What do you do with your money (ie spend, invest, save, etc.)? How do you spend money? How do you save money? Do you currently use a budget to manage your finances? How much on average do you spend each month on clothes, hobbies, and home décor? What are your priorities when spending? Do you consider yourself thrifty or extravagant when spending? What stores do you shop at? How often do you shop? How much money do you need to support your lifestyle? What is you definition of wealth? What is the earning potential in your present career? What are your long term financial goals and how do you see them being achieved? Are you comfortable with bank interest? Stock market? Insurance? What are your beliefs/practices around using credit cards? Do you support the idea of taking loans to buy a new home? Have you ever been bankrupt? Do you have good credit? How do you feel about loaning and/or borrowing money from friends/family? How much do you currently have in outstanding debts (ie student loans, car payments, mortgage, etc.)? How are you eliminating them? Who are the people to whom you are financially responsible? Who currently manages your finances? Do you see yourself as being able to manage your money well? How so? How do you see your lifestyle in the future (working class, middle class, upper class)? What is your financial responsibility in the marriage? What are you expecting from your spouse financially? Do you believe in keeping money in separate accounts or a joint account? If the wife works, does she contribute this income to the joint account or her own personal account? If so, how do you think a dual-income family should manage funds? How will you and your spouse decide to spend money? Which types of purchases would be joint decisions? Individual decisions? Will you go shopping with your spouse for clothes, food, electronics, etc.? Why or why not? How do you think that your use of money will change after marriage? Which charity organizations do you support with your money and/or time?

Life at Home

Do you have a preference in terms of the location or type of home you would like to live in?

Which geographic location do you see yourself living in (i.e. city, suburb, etc.)? In which country, state, city do you want to live in the short-term? Long-term? Where do you consider home?

Who do you feel is responsible for cleaning the home? Who was responsible in your parents’ home? Who do you feel is responsible for decorating the home? Who was responsible in your parents’ home? Can you cook? Who do you feel is responsible for cooking? Grocery shopping? What type of food do you usually eat? What will you not eat? Do you only eat Zabiha (slaughtered by Islamic standards? Do you prefer restaurant or home-made food? What about your home makes it Islamic? Have you always lived with your parents? Have you ever lived alone or with roommates? How much privacy do you need in your home? Do you need space that is exclusively yours? Do you have pets? Do you want pets? Would the person you live with now describe you as neat, tidy, messy on occasion, messy, or dirty? What sort of bad habits do you have that might affect your spouse? Do you smoke cigarettes? What are the things that you do in your free time? Do you love to have guests in your home for entertainment? What are you expecting from your spouse when your friends come to the house? What is your opinion of speaking other languages in home that I do not understand? (with friends or family) What activities do you like to do in your leisure time (hobbies, TV, exercise, etc.)? How often? How would you say your hobbies reflect you as a person? Do you enjoy physical fitness? In what ways do you work to maintain your physical fitness? How would you resolve the situation if your spouse enjoyed or wanted to participate in an activity you did not enjoy (sport, craft, etc.)? Do you like to travel? Where have you traveled? How do you spend your vacations? How do you think your spouse should spend vacations? What would be your optimal vacation? What do you like to do when on vacation? Are you comfortable with your spouse traveling alone for business and/or pleasure? Is there any distance that is too far? Do you read? What do you read? Do you watch TV? What do you watch? How many hours do you watch every day/week? Do you listen to music? What do you listen to? How many hours do you listen to music every day/week?

Friends and Community

Are your friends primarily married or single? How will this affect your married life? Do you enjoy spending time with your friends or being alone? How would that change after you get married? What types of gatherings are you most comfortable with? Do you prefer getting together with close friends or entertaining a lot of people at once? Who is expected to prepare for hosting guests? What is expected? Do you have friends of the opposite gender? How do you feel about your spouse having friends or co-workers of the opposite gender? What type of relationship do you want your spouse to have with your friends? When you have friends over, do you prefer to have everyone sit together or separate by gender? Are you comfortable shaking hands with the opposite gender? Who are your friends? (Identify at least three.) How did you get to know them? Why are they your friends? What do you like most about them? What will your relationship with them after marriage be? Describe them, their personalities, and their qualities/traits that you respect. How much time do you spend with your friends and how close do you feel to them? Are the people you surround yourself with most like you or different than you? Are you like your friends? Do you want to be? Who of your friends has had the biggest influence on you? How? What ethnicity/nationality/religion are your closest friends? Which of your friends do you see will have the most frequent interaction with and/or biggest influence on your family?

How do you celebrate Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha? What holidays and events do you envision spending with your family? Would this change when married? When you have children? Do you celebrate birthdays and/or anniversaries? Do you celebrate any other religious or non-religious holidays (ie Christmas, Easter, Halloween, etc.)? How important are these to you?

Family

Where does your family live? How long have your parents lived in this country? Are your parents practicing Muslims? Are they cultural? How do your parents differentiate between their culture and Islam? What culture are your parents? What defines their culture (ie food, clothing, holidays, language, family structure, etc.)? Are all your parents’ closest friends from the same culture? What language do you speak with your family at home? Is your family comfortable with you marrying someone who is not from the same background as you? What do you like about your family? What do you dislike about your family? Are you close to your parents and siblings? Are you comfortable with my parents and siblings? Describe the quality, depth, and extent your relationship with each member of your family. Do your siblings have a good relationship with one another and with you? Have you ever or would you ever break off relations with a family member? Would your parents? Why? Do your parents have a good relationship with one another? Do you have a good relationship with your parents? What type of things do your parents argue about? How do they resolve these conflicts? What do they do when they get angry? What have you learned from your parents’ relationship that has helped you determine what kind of marriage you want?

What was their parent’s marriage like? What about family life? What are the dynamics of the family relationships? Why? How involved do you feel your parents should be in your marriage? Describe your mother and father. In what ways are you like each of them? In what ways are you different? What are parent’s expectation of the role of the wife/mother? What is the mother’s role in the family? What about the father’s role? What do you expect your spouses relationship with your family to be? Is it part of your values to live close to your parents? Would you consider having your parents move in with you once they reached old age? Your spouse’s parents? How do you feel about friends, relatives, or people in need living in your home for an extended period of time (ie months or years)? What is your relationship like with your mother? Father? Whose advice will you accept first, your spouse’s or your mother’s/ father’s? Do you obey your mother/father? When have you disobeyed your parents? Do you find it very difficult to say “no” to your mother or father when they want you to do something you would prefer not to? What qualities do your parents expect in your future spouse? Does or did your family keep secrets? Are there any you are still holding from your childhood that would affect your marriage? Do you believe the wife should change her last name to the husband’s? What last name will your children have? Who are important members of your “family” that are not part of your nuclear family (consists of community members and extended family members which may serve roles of a family member or someone you are so close to that you consider them as your family). Is there anyone in your family living with you now? Are you planning to have anyone in your family live with you in the future? If there are members of my family that are not Muslim, that are of different race or culture, what type of relationship do you want to have with them? What do you expect your relationship with the family of your spouse to be? If, for any reason, my relationship with your family turns sour, what should be done? Are your parents happy with this marriage? Are you going to stay with your spouse in your or her/his parent's house?

Children

Are you currently exposed to or around children? How often? Do you want children? If so, how many? If not, how come? Do you want to have children in the first two years of marriage? If not, when? To the best of your understanding, are you able to have children? Do you believe in using birth control? Do you believe in abortion? What would you do if you or I could not have children? Would you consider adoption? What would you do if your child was born with a disability? What aspects of child rearing are the mother’s responsibilities? What aspects are the father’s? Do you think one or both partners should take time from their careers to raise the children? What is the best method(s) of raising children? How were you raised? What types of disciplinary tactics would you use with your children (spanking, time-outs, etc.)? How were you disciplined? Would you discipline your son differently from your daughter? Are you comfortable with raising boys differently than girls? Do you feel that your parents raised you differently than your siblings? How often do you communicate with your parents? How often do you envision visiting your parents and siblings? Would this change when you have children? What type of relationship do you want your children to have with all their grandparents? Would you send your children to visit their extended family if they lived in another state or country? What type of relationship should your children have with non-Muslim classmates/friends? What do you think is the most important quality to teach your children when raising them in a non-Muslim environment? Do you watch TV, movies, or listen to music? Will you teach your children the same? Do you intend on having your children attend Islamic school, home school, public school, or private school? Do you intend on teaching your children any other languages? How important is that to you? What culture do you want your child to adopt? If you have a daughter, will you want her to wear hijab? If so, at what age? Do you support the idea of utilizing baby sitters and/or maid? Do you have children now? What is your relationship with your children now? What is your relationship with their other parent? What relationship do you expect your spouse to have with your children and their parent? What decisions have been made regarding to financial and custodial provisions of a child or children who were born to either of you, prior to this marriage? (Where will they live, who will pay for their necessities, who will make the decision for them?)

Questions for Friends and Family

Observe, talk and meet with their friends. Ask them or have someone ask them about the person you are considering and remind them

that they are accountable to Allah (SWT) and must describe truthfully to the best of their knowledge.

How long have you known him/her? I assume you want the best for him/her? Do you think he/she is ready to get married? Why or why not. What type of person do you think would be compatible with him/her?

What are his/her best qualities? Worst qualities? If you had a brother/sister, would you recommend him/her? Why or why not? Give me a specific example of when this person dealt with anger and/or frustration. What was his/her method of coping? How does this person react when they do not get their own way? Do you see him/her as a patient person? Polite? Considerate? Give examples On what subjects have you disagreed in the past? What and/or who does he/she rely on in making decisions? How would you describe the role Islam plays in his/her life? How would you describe this person’s role in his/her family? With friends? What is the single most unique quality he/she has among his family/friends? How would you describe this person’s role in their community? Is he/she helpful? Generous? Responsible? How good is he/she at keeping his/her promises? What are his/her future plans? How does he/she relate to the opposite gender? Does he/she have many friends of the opposite gender? Does he/she like children? Have you seen him/her interact with children?