How do you know?

“How do you know when you’ve met “the one”?” is probably the most asked question at Shia Matchmakers. If you’ve ever found yourself asking someone this question before, you’ve probably been given the standard answer; “Well, you just do!” which is not the most useful of answers when you’re looking for practical tips!

When you’re in the process of meeting people for the purpose of marriage, how do you recognize the one for you? If you find someone seems nice enough, they appear to tick all the boxes on your “list” but you’re just not feeling it – should you give it time? Or would that be a waste of time? With that in mind, should you walk away? Will you then come to regret that decision, having walked away too soon?

It is no wonder we’re asked this question so frequently. Finding the one, your life partner, is one of the most impactful decisions of your life. Contrary to what Oprah says, rarely do we find ourselves experiencing the “ah-ha!” lightbulb moment, when it comes to such significant decisions. When you feel overwhelmed, remember that Allah (SWT)  is closer to us than our jugular vein – and He has not left us without a guide in this.

Our Two Advisors; Different but Equal

Like all decision making processes, we have two aspects that contribute to the outcome. Our Aql, and our Qalb. Our brain/mind/ insight, and our heart. We should use both of these guides in harmony. Using one in isolation, relying too heavily on it and ignoring the other, can have the potential to misguide us.

Use your Aql to weigh up a person’s strengths and weaknesses. Bear in mind that the spouse selection process is one of the only few situations in which we are supposed to judge another person, in terms of their suitability for you. However, our Aql can misguide us when not kept in check. We can over analyze a person, and over think the situation. It helps to remind ourselves that we’re not perfect, and if we were to analyze ourselves, we’d find enough faults too!

Our heart is a great guide when we have the courage to listen to it. Often we’re hesitant to follow our gut, as we’re trained to base all decision making on sound reasoning. But our heart can tell us things our subconscious is picking up on, that our logical mind just doesn’t see. Again, relying too heavily on our heart when making the decision can also misguide us. We can be wary of being hurt, and allow that fear to cause us to walk away too soon. Or we can get caught up in the excitement of potentially finding the one, and get carried away – making a decision we may later come to regret.

The ideal situation is one in which we find ourselves balancing aspects of both our Aql and our Qalb, to come to a sound decision. I usually advise people looking to get married, that in addition to praying for a spouse, to pray for the ability to recognize when you’ve met the right person for you. Pray for guidance in the decision, and for acceptance of the outcome of each meeting. Searching for your spouse can be such an emotion roller coaster, and praying for stability and objectivity throughout can help.

So How Did I Know?

I don’t shy away from the fact that I met a lot of people. Like, a lot lot. With each meeting, I contemplated the person carefully, weighing up their personality against mine, wondering if I could be happy living with that person, day in, day out, for the rest of my life. Truth be told, as much as I tried, I always had a nagging unsettled feeling. I could never shake that feeling, no matter how much I tried to convince myself.

Yet we find in the Holy Quran that Allah (swt) promises us peace and tranquillity. With reference to the decision making process; that contentment comes when both your heart and mind are in agreement, when there is no conflict. That was what I was waiting for. With each meeting that unsettled feeling of going back and forth and trying to convince myself was due to the fact my heart and mind were in opposition.

So how did I know? I knew I had met my husband when I felt incredibly settled, centred and at peace. I could feel that promise of true tranquillity when I was around him. Talking with him felt like coming home for the first time. That sigh of relief, that sense of calm and contentment. It’s hard – even here – to describe exactly what I felt. And so, whenever anyone asks me, “How did you know?” my initial response is always the same – “I just did!”

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