Dating During Ramadan: How I Fell In Love with My Husband

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For those that are unfamiliar, Ramadan is a religious month of fasting observed by Muslims.  During the month Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset abstaining from food and water.  Additionally, Muslims should practice prayer, positive thought, charity and increased empathy toward the poor.  Purpose of Fasting During Ramadan   Ramadan uses the lunar calendar which is two weeks shorter than the solar calendar.  As a result, the month of Ramadan occurs two weeks earlier each year relative to the business calendar.  For example Ramadan, in 2013, the year I met my husband started July 9th and ended August 8th.  Now four years later Ramadan of 2017 began May 27 and will end  June 25.  It takes 26 years for the month of Ramadan to cycle the solar calendar.  The advantage to this rotation is that Muslims practicing Ramadan all over the world will have an opportunity to experience both long summer fast and short winter fast.  When I was a teenager Ramadan was in December and the days lasted only 11-12 hours.  Now that it is in the summer, the days last 16-17 hours.  So what’s all of this have to do with dating?  10 Things I Want Non-Muslims to Know About Being Muslim

table-covered-glass-cutlery-128875When you are single you meet people however, wherever and whenever you meet them.  Throughout my twenties I would often meet a new person and begin dating them months or weeks before the start of Ramadan.  Then Ramadan would start and suddenly I’d be less available.  I couldn’t accept brunch invitations, early dinner dates, or stay out super late.  I also wanted to avoid hot summer festivals since I couldn’t drink water during the day.  Being so unavailable for an entire month, near the start of a new dating relationship usually caused whatever was starting to end before it even really began.  And with Ramadan falling in the summer months (August – May) for quite a number of my relevant dating age years this really posed as a problem.   Continue reading

Patiently Waiting to Get Engaged

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This past week a friend of mine got engaged and left this comment in her status,

“the MINUTE you stop nagging…the ring appears!”  

This led me to reflect on my own engagement and the journey to getting engaged.  My husband and I dated for 2 1/2 years before getting engaged.  At the one and a half year mark I brought up marriage.

Initiating Marriage Talk

pexels-photo-374592I remember reading an article that stated that women in long term relationships WOULD need to bring up the topic of marriage.  Even in healthy happy dating relationships men get comfortable and unprompted to push things to the next level.   Women would need to be the ones to present the idea.  So in January of 2016 1.5 years into our relationship I brought the topic up over breakfast one day.

“Is marriage something you are interested in?”

I already knew the answer to this question as he’d stated on our first date that he was not interested in casual dating.  “I’m looking for a wife.” he had confidently stated.  The Taboo Question: Is Purposeful Dating Still Okay?

“Do you see this relationship leading to marriage?”

“Yes” he answered, uncomfortably adjusting in his seat.  He was 35, gainfully employed and the last single guy in his group of friends.  Most of his male friends were 2-3 years older, married and already 1 child in.  His parents were still happily married.  All great signs of his potential openness to marriage. The one troublesome red flag however was that he was the youngest of four boys all unmarried.  Did this mean anything?

Over breakfast he explained to me that he did in fact want to marry me but that a few things needed to happen first.  I hadn’t met most of his family or friends, as they all lived out of state.  It was important to him that this happen first.

At the close of the conversation I felt unsettled.  I loved him and wasn’t willing to walk away from the relationship regardless of his willingness or unwillingness to commit, but I also really wanted to feel assured that the relationship was in fact leading to marriage.   I wasn’t sure if his requirement to meet friends and family was an excuse to string me along or if it was genuine.

Waiting for the Proposal

In February, 1 month later, he booked us a flight to go visit his brother.  In the months that followed, we took a few road trips and booked a few more flights to meet additional friends and family.  This definitely felt assuring and on track.  By summer, the heart of wedding and engagement season, I started to feel anxious again.  Relationship Envy: 5 Ways to Avoid it   Was this engagement ever going to happen?  What was he waiting for now?  I didn’t want to nag but boy was I anxious.

So why was I so anxious?  I was 31, confident that I loved him and wanted him as a life partner, and ready to start a family.  The article I read about initiating the marriage conversation had said it would take another 6-8 months for him to propose if in fact he did intend to propose.  I also knew I wanted to be married at least 1 full year before starting a family and that I ideally wanted 2-3 kids before the age of 35.  My friend who had recently married and had her first child at 40 encouraged me to be patient.  Life was too precious to rush, and he was too good of a guy to lose due to impatience.  

In October of 2016, 10 months after I’d initiated the marriage talk he took a job across the country and moved.  We took a vacation to Las Vegas for a mutual friends birthday just one month before his big move.  I was certain he would propose on that trip.  He didn’t.  I resisted my urge to nag him further, but committed in my mind that I would not be moving or leaving my job without a marriage license.

The Proposal

Finally in December of 2016, almost one full year after I’d initiated the marriage conversation, he proposed.  We were on another birthday trip for a friend, this time in Puerto Rico.  On our third day on the Island, he booked a private boat ride, took me out on the ocean and proposed.  It had all been worth the wait.   Four months later in March of 2017 we married and I moved across the country to join him.

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Planning & Spending After the Proposal

I recently asked my husband why it took him a full year after that conversation to propose.  Much of his reasoning had to do with long term planning and finances.  In the 3-4 months immediately preceding the conversation he put in genuine effort to take me to meet friends and family in various parts of the country.  After those visits had gone well, he had privately transitioned into planning and saving mode.  Between June and December (the month he proposed) he was saving for an engagement ring, wedding ring, the wedding itself, and planning for his big out of state move.  Things I honestly wasn’t considering in my impatient waiting period.

Ultimately I was grateful he had waited.  Shortly after returning home from Puerto Rico with my beautiful new engagement ring, reality set in.  We knew we didn’t want to wait a full year to get married because it would mean a long distance relationship.  After coordinating with overseas and out of state family we set our wedding date for March of 2017, just three months after his proposal.  In that three months we purchased wedding bands, two moving vans, a storage unit, a deposit on an apartment, a wedding dress, a suit, a photographer, a venue, a cake, wedding food, and the list goes on.  Our wedding cost including clothing cost less than 6k yet still we were hemorrhaging money. I was grateful he had spent so much time planning  and saving for the logistics of our upcoming life changes.

A year and a half later we are happily married and expecting our first child.  While we plan to have at least two and haven’t completely ruled out the possibility of three, we also realize that the responsibility and life change of having children is too much to overly plan.  I’m grateful for my friend who advised me to be patient, enjoy life and not calculate every moment of life on a timeline.

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What are your thoughts?  Are you currently in a relationship patiently waiting for marriage?  Do you agree that women need to initiate the marriage talk but also be careful not to nag?  Tell us your story.

 

 

An Interview with Relationship Blogger Nora Nur

An Interview with Nora Nur – from the Relationship Blog LoveFromtheOtherSide.com

What made you decide to start a blog on the topic of relationships?

For years I was the friend with the hilarious or ridiculous dating stories.  My friends would laugh and say, “No really, that didn’t actually happen did it?”  While I enjoyed always having a good story to tell, I also was getting restless and ready for marriage.  Finally, in March of 2016 I got married to a really great guy.  In the months to follow I did a lot of reflecting on what had changed.  How had I changed?  How had my approach to dating changed?  Had my mindset changed?  I wanted to specifically know what positive changes had led to more successful dating and eventually marriage.  This is what the blog is about.  The blog helps women bridge the gap between being single and married by discussing dating mistakes, self- love, forgiveness, dating strategies and how to make necessary mindset shifts.

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Best and Worst Places for a 1st Date

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Contrary to popular belief modest first dates are better than extravagant first dates for several reasons.

The most extravagant first date I ever went on was to a lounge in Chicago.  I ordered a drink that came with a Bunsen Burner contraption.  My date ordered a drink that came in a plastic air filled pillow.  He had to pop the pillow which was filled with lavender aroma to get to the drink.  It was an experience to say the least.  Afterwards, we went to a jazz lounge to hear live music.  The night was spectacular and I went home smitten.  So why would I discourage extravagant first dates?  Here’s why:

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3 Godly Reasons You’re Settling in Love

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Reader be wear, it’s about to get really real.  One of the things I notice we as women do is coddle each other when it comes to love.  If I do something triflin’ at work my girlfriends will call me out on it.  I don’t get to vent about my boss without them telling me that I was actually the one in the wrong.  We don’t coddle the mistakes because we take professionalism seriously and we want to see one another succeed in our careers.   But when it comes to love, we coddle big time.   We listen to one sided stories. We agree with each other. We cry on each other’s shoulders.  It’s rare that we call bullshit.  It’s rare that we tell a close friend that she f*cked up. 

Why is this?  I think it’s because love is so intimate and personal.  When you mess up, it feels like someone is telling you, that YOU are a problem.  We start to feel defined by our actions, especially the mistakes.  It burns.  And so when our girlfriends come to us venting about a relationship, or sharing details that really don’t sound good, we coddle because we don’t want to spread the fire.  Not when we know how bad it feels to get burned.

In the spirit of love and not coddling my fellow sisters…I’m calling Bullshit.  I won’t coddle and I will tell you this…

You’re Settling in Love for three Godly reasons:

  • You’re misinterpreting God’s signs
  • You have blind faith in God’s delivery of a soul mate
  • You are ignoring your God given tools to process information and make strong decisions

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The Essential Year Off After Divorce

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This week’s Perspective Wednesday piece is a guest post from BeThatWoman from the Women’s Empowerment blog BeThatWoman.net. 

Life after divorce can either be exciting or scary. It really depends.  If you wanted the divorce, it may serve as a relief and an opportunity to start over.  But if you were caught totally off guard you may feel devastated by the idea of having to date again. For me, it was a little of both.  The reason for my divorce was that I got sick of the abuse. After the divorce a mixture of mental, emotional, and physical abuse left my self-esteem in the dumps. While I felt a sense of relief from getting away from that toxic marriage, I was also terrified and dreading having to put myself out there in the dating scene, especially with four kids.

I was given advice by several people to take at least a year to be by myself before I tried dating again. “You need to find yourself.” they would say. “I don’t want to wait. I have been through hell and I am ready to be loved. I want to meet someone who is going to treat me right and love and respect me like I deserve.” I would reply back.

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How I Met My Husband (and How to Meet any Guy)

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They say you shouldn’t meet guys in bars or clubs.  You should try to meet guys organically by engaging in hobbies that interest you.   But the truth is guys and gals don’t always like to do the same things.  I like to take ceramics courses, go to Friday night art walks or the art institute after hours mixer.  I’ve never met a single guy doing any of those things!   All the guys present are usually with their wives or girlfriends.  pexels-photo(6)I probably could meet a guy in a Crossfit class, or a sporting event, but spare me please.  I really just don’t want to do Crossfit and I’m not a sports fan unless it’s a NBA playoff elimination game or my brother is playing.  That’s a pretty narrow interest.   And so, if I went to these events it honestly would be for the sole purpose of trying to meet a guy.  How fake and thirsty is that?
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“You Won’t Find Love Until You Love Yourself” and Other Hurtful Bullshit

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Originally published on Thought Catalog: thought catalog article

If you’re single maybe you’ve been told this recently, and if you’re not single, then perhaps folks have moved on to, “When are you getting married?” or “When are you having kids?”.  Regardless of your status, people in our lives for some reason see an urgency to progress things even further and tell us how to make that happen. My favorite of the cliché advice and questions is by far, “You won’t find love until you love yourself”. 

For years, I heard this unsolicited advice from so many people.  It was always said with the best of intentions, intentions to encourage self-love, self-investment and betterment.  But as a single person, after about the 5th time you’ve heard this, it starts to sound like annoying bullshit.  You think, I do love myself!  Shit, the longest relationship I’ve ever had is with myself.   I’ve forgiven myself for shitty things I’ve done, underperformance, losses.  I’m proud of my success in life thus far, my academic accomplishments, my career progress, etc.  I treat myself well with a healthy diet and regular exercise.  I’m totally Team ME.

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Is Fear Your Biggest Barrier to Finding Love? a guest post for BeThatWoman.net

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Sometimes we all “do way too much” to disguise and ignore our overwhelming fears. Fear of deserving, fear of exposing ourselves and fear of failure are our biggest barriers to finding love.

The most embarrassing dating feedback I’ve ever gotten was from my doorman. A year of small talk encounters and subtle observations had collectively made my doorman a bit too comfortable and in my business.  It was Valentine’s Day and I was walking through the lobby with a 4 ft x 6 ft painting.

“Look”, I said proudly. “I made this for my boyfriend”. 

“It’s really nice”. the doorman replied. “But….”.

Read the entire post at  BeThatWoman.net

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Dating Disasters: Facebook, a Gas Station & Thanksgiving Dinner

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At $2.98 per gallon, counting the 12 gallons I’d just put into my small sedan and the additional five gallons pooled around my ankles, I’d spent a mere $51 on gas.  In retrospect I should rejoice that this mishap occurred some seven years ago before gas prices nearly doubled in Chicago.  It was Thanksgiving day and my Facebook pen pal turned late night phone comrade had finally become a real live acquaintance.  He was a Senegalese international student by way of Paris, by way of Connecticut.  He spoke French, a bit of German, the traditional language of Wolof and of course English.  If his mirage of linguistic talents wasn’t enough to catch my interest he’d certainly caught my attention with his tall, dark and handsome physique.  He was what you’d imagine the prince of Zamunda to really look like, if such a place actually existed, and such a man could realistically make it past the many local suitors he’d have lined up to actually “Come to America”.

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