At times, it may seem quite irritating when people you don't even know are talking about how you are a "potential" spouse for someone's son or daughter, but I decided to look at the bright side of things and really admire the efforts of our sometimes overly obsessive elders.
You see, I never understood the whole fuss over marriage and why everyone was always talking about it! I did not understand why parents would always be saying to daughters "get in the habit of house work before you get married!" or why sons always cope the "concentrate on your studies, you will have a wife and children to support in the future!" lecture. I mean, why do we need to hear these things when we are only in our teens or early twenties?! For crying out loud, people these days don't get married until they are 30! But the hidden beauty behind all those elders peering at you in the Islamic center or trying to spike up a conversation with someone who knows you to find out more about your family and yourself is only to establish a better Islamic society for the next generation!
Yes! I can't believe I am admitting that too! But all those small bits of information which the talkative women have about you are potential data for informing your in-laws of your personality and character! I agree, it may seem scary at times, but this information is what often contributes towards our "marriage resumes". Right, never thought those existed? Well, materially they might not, but if you are single and a member of the local Islamic community, I bet that someone has your ''marriage resume'' in their mind right now!
Basically, these mental notes often found in the gossip circles are so impressive that at times I think these adults would make great government detectives or national spies! Their ability to A) accumulate information about single people, and B) be able to remember and regurgitate it on call is truly amazing! But I guess that just goes to show how dedicated and concerned our respectable elders are for their future generations and consequently, for the future of Islam…right?
While our elders engage in this extensive family background research as though they are writing a marriage thesis, the core of marriage, which ideally should be religion, may in fact turn out to be one of a few very interesting and amusing ideas.
After having dozens of conversations with my peers, eavesdropping on a few too many elders at gatherings and parties, and carefully observing elders who have children who they want to have married ASAP, I have come to the conclusion that most elders usually have a certain criteria for their ideal daughter-/son-in-law. In fact, I have analyzed this topic for a few years too many and have come up with the perfect definitions for you if you are still single at the Islamic center. You are the ultimate potential spouse who passes through the invisible marriage scanner accompanied with the marriage resume without you even knowing it!
Okay, let's admit that sometimes the invisible marriage scanner which can be pictured as one of those walk-through security devices found at airports tend to have their scanning power levels set a bit too high or, admittedly, sometimes they are on the wrong settings all together! Who would have thought a guy's lack of fashion sense or a girl's inability to cook anything more than two-minute noodle means they are not a potential Islamic spouse? Not you? Well, me neither, but the point is that in reality these are the settings of our marriage scanners!
So, if you're the guy who can't see the bedroom floor or if you're the girl who can't stand the kitchen, I have taken the courtesy to compile for you a list of the most common type of marriage scanner settings which I have come across, so that as a single Muslim stuck between the Islamic culture and your mother's culture, you may determine the type of potential spouse you may qualify as. Sounds overly professional? Wait till you find out what is expected of YOU as a life partner and son-/daughter-in-law!
The Career-Driven Type: To fit in this category, you need to have straight A's throughout your high school life and have better had landed yourself in a darn good field at university. Your career path better be something which the elders approve of, i.e. engineering, finance, or medicine. Remember that history paper you flunked a few years back? The one you only told a few friends about? Well, guess where that fact is recorded down? Yes, your marriage resume! Luckily your present successes have been able to make up to those once poor grades. One downfall of the career-driven female is that she tends to overlook the importance of the upbringing of the children, and the career driven male tends to spend more time with his work colleagues than his wife and family! But what's the fuss? It was always about your career anyway, right?
If you are constantly asked by elders about your future job prospects, consider your career advancement the predominantly vital aspect of your marriage resume.
Your marriage resume criteria breakdown is: 40% work, 30% wealth, 16% family, and 14% religion.
The Religious Type: To qualify as the person who has a very strong connection with Islam, the abundance of your face around the Islamic center is so great that people start to wonder ''does this person ever go home?'' You are the person who eagerly awaits any opportunity to give a speech, recite a verse out of the Holy Qur'an, or to offer a Ziarat. If you're a guy, you've had a full beard ever since it started to grow, and if you're a girl, you have been a Hijabi since before you knew how to read. You're the shadow of the religious leader, and you're the type of person who would offer prayer on the side of the road if your Asr was at risk of getting late! You know more Fiqh than most adults, which makes you seem overly intelligent, but taking a second glance, your downfall is that you usually have no idea of things like law, politics, history, and the economy. When it comes to trivia and general knowledge, you're found sitting next to that not so religious person who you usually try and avoid. Secretly, the only reason why you're going to college is because your family has prohibited you from flying off to Qom for permanent religious studies, and although, you have thought of a run-away plan, unfortunately your low finances and inability to navigate through airport security are holding you back!
If the elders tend to test your religious knowledge a few times too many, you know that Islam is the fundamental aspect of your marriage resume, and take my advice: be aware that the not-so-religious single is coming in your direction!
Your marriage resume criteria breakdown is: 50% religion, 30% family, 15% work, and 5% wealth.
The Stay-at-Home Type: Almost always a female, you're the type of person who loves to stay home and not have to work for a day of your adult life. (Sounds lazy? Well, wait till you hear what this type of person loves doing!) You need to be able to have amazing housework abilities from cooking every dish ever invented and being able to clean at a super fast rate and love doing it! (Not so lazy anymore, eh?) Ideally, you're the type of person who loves shopping and is hooked on those six-hour Bollywood films. You know what the current fashion is and are able to sew everything from clothes to curtains. Although that fashion is not a bad thing, the problem comes in when the time you spend fashioning yourself is greater than that of your children's Islamic education! One down side (not so sure whether to laugh or cry about this one) is that while you love having many children and buying things for ''the kids'', your ability to control your personal expenditure is limited and often leaves a nasty dent in your spouse's savings account!
When you're at the Islamic center, and you have the elders praising you for being in the kitchen longer than you are attending the religious lecture and for how good you look in traditional dress, don't be surprised that your housework abilities are the heart of your marriage resume!
Your marriage resume criteria breakdown is: 40% housework and fashion, 25% family, 20% wealth, and 15% religion.
The Business Type: Almost always male, you're the type of guy who comes from a well-off family and have landed yourself in the hands of the family business. While you once did have a passion for education, the career options which follow your studies no longer compliment your ideal career as it either A) requires too much effort or B) is not accompanied with the income to keep your latest model sports car upgraded. In fact, you might be downright lazy! You're the type who loves donating to the Islamic center and other noble causes but are rarely seen actually attending any religious programs, as you are too busy doing ''business''. Your children are the type that start counting potato chips at the age of three and take a very long time to consider if the exchange of chips for lollipops with the family friend's baby is really worth it!
If you are asked what businesses you have your hands in and occasionally get bribes to join the treasury sector of the community's committee, consider the stability of your business the impressive factor of your marriage resume!
Your marriage resume criteria breakdown is: 45% wealth, 25% family, 20% work, and 10% religion.
The Bit-of-This-Bit-of-That Type: You're the type who finds the time and has the ability to manage it all. In fact, if there were an Islamic version of comic book characters, you would be Shaikh Superman or Hijabi Superwoman. Religion is almost always a key factor behind every one of your life decisions, such as buying a house and where you would want your family to live, although at times you tend to get carried away. I mean, who would have thought it was possible to intertwine religion with the way you brush your teeth? Although you may come across as the religious type, secretly your mind works like that of the career-driven type. You have future plans and goals, and if asked where you would like to be in 5, 10 or 15 years time, as freaky as it sounds, you could sketch a detailed diagram with the exact year and month in which you would like to have your children born. (You probably have their names in mind as well!) Actually, it gets a bit irritating at times, and people start to ask if you own a time machine as your future plans seem very firmly set in stone.
If the elders always ask you about your next big project or how you plan on motivating others in the community to donate at the next charity gala, rest assured that your various qualities have painted your marriage resume quite colorfully, and although you are a unique type, you can easily be molded to fit most marriage criteria. Moral of the story: be alert, and be on standby!
Your marriage resume criteria breakdown is: 40% family and future, 30% religion, 15% wealth, and 15% work.
In conclusion, these are just a few of the most common types of marriage resumes which exist, and we sincerely hope to have not frightened you in any way. Rather, we hope this gave you valuable insight into the functioning of elders' minds, especially when they have a single son or daughter! There is only so much that we here at Islamic Insights can legally do for you, so now that we have given you an insight into the marriage culture, it is only a matter of you realizing which marriage resume you are holding right now and which you would ideally like to be holding! By the will of God, perhaps you feel more prepared now. So next time the adults ask you about the status of your med school application or whether you can cook Chicken Biryani, you know why…