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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