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What Should You Discuss Before Marriage? Everything!

This blog post is an excerpt from The FYI’s Marriage Prep Toolkit. Check out the full toolkit and The FYI’s very own online marriage prep course here

What should you discuss with someone who you are getting to know for marriage? How you get to know someone for marriage will vary depending on your cultural context, family expectations, and personal preference. What is important is that you are both intentional and principled in your interactions and that your communication is purposeful and within Islamic guidelines.  

  • Start with and focus on the issues that are most important to you. Address all the deal breakers first. The secondary issues can be explored continuously.
  • Be honest with the other person about your needs and expectations. Share about your hesitations. It is important that you both feel comfortable sharing and that you feel heard. How you navigate this experience together will demonstrate how you might manage difficult conversations in the future.
  • As you have these discussions, pay attention not only to the other person’s answers but also to how he/she responds to your questions, his/her thought process, the nuance in his/her answers, the words he/she uses, the things he/she doesn’t say, etc. The types of questions asked by a potential partner can also be revealing.
  • No subject or conversation should be off-limits during this process, but it will take time to grow the trust needed for sensitive and possibly difficult conversations. Check out this blog for more tips on sharing past, private, and personal information. 

Topics to Discuss

This list below covers the core topics you should discuss with a potential spouse to assess for compatibility and connection. For ideas on how to discuss these topics, check out the questionnaires below.

What Should You Discuss Before Marriage? Everything!

Some people may prefer to discuss certain topics like sex and intimacy during the later stages of the relationship, for example after the marriage ceremony (nikah or kitab). In general, conversations about sex and intimacy are important for the health of a marital relationship and should be approached respectfully and honestly. If you feel that these questions need to be addressed in order for you to feel comfortable moving forward with the relationship, then be honest with your potential spouse about this. Also, notice that the wedding is last on the list of topics to discuss. It is important to cover the topics listed first before discussing wedding plans.

 

Start with The FYI Premarital Questionnaire, which includes questions on personality, personal development, family, conflict, communication, culture, and more. Pair it with another questionnaire from the list and make sure to discuss all of the essential topic areas listed.  

Questionnaires

The FYI Premarital Questionnaire: This list of 183 questions was compiled by The Family & Youth Institute to facilitate self-reflection and important conversations during courtship. 

Other Questionnaires

Questionnaires in Book Form
Below is a list of excellent reads to review with your prospective partner. Each of these books is framed around the important topics listed earlier, and will provide you with further questions, scenarios, and exercises to explore with one another to help you assess for compatibility. Feel free to combine with the questionnaires listed earlier. 

Healthy couples and families are the building blocks of thriving communities. If you know a couple who is getting ready to tie the knot, share this blog post with them along with The FYI’s Marriage Prep Toolkit and The FYI’s very own online marriage prep course here.

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Zakat eligibility of The FYI

The Family & Youth Institute, or The FYI, is a well-known Muslim organization in the United States. It works to promote mental health and wellness by strengthening and empowering individuals, families, and communities through research and education. It has been working for many years to bring Islamic perspectives to understanding and promoting mental health in our communities.

It is dedicated to serving and supporting Muslims – safeguarding our deen, our families, and our future generations. Therefore, the work of The FYI comes in the category of ‘fi sabeelillah’ or the Path of Allah, within the eight categories where Zakat money can be used.

Zakah expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy and for those employed for it and for bringing hearts together [for Islam] and for freeing captives [or slaves] and for those in debt and for the cause of Allah, and for the [stranded] traveler – an obligation [imposed] by Allah, And Allah, is Knowing and Wise.”
(Al-Tawbah 9:60)

According to scholars who widen the meaning of fee sabeelillah to include any activities that promote Islamic growth, The FYI is indeed eligible to receive part of the Zakat funds for its programs and services. I urge Muslims in America to support this organization through their donations, general charity, and through their Zakat. I ask Allah swt to strengthen and guide The FYI to continue its good work in supporting Muslims.

Shaikh Ali Suleiman Ali, PhD

About Shaikh Ali

Sh. Ali Suleiman Ali was born in Ghana where he spent his childhood studying with various Muslim scholars. He then moved to Saudi Arabia and enrolled in the Islamic University of Madina.  He graduated with a degree in both Arabic and Islamic Studies. Dr. Ali went on to complete his Ph.D. in Islamic Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Sh. Ali serves on the Advisory Council of The Family & Youth Institute. He is the Senior Imam and Director of the Muslim Community of Western Suburbs in Canton, Michigan. Additionally, he serves as the Director of Muslim Family Services in Detroit and is a council member of the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA). He is also a member of the North American Imams Federation (NAIF) and the Association of Muslim Jurists of America (AMJA).