Many Muslims for a variety of reasons have ventured into getting married across borders and cultures in many different scenarios. This has worked for many people and has been a disaster for others. We have looked into this matter and have found the success and failure factors in these marriages. To dig deeper into this topic we have to separate the Cross Border Trading into two distinct portions.
1. Back Home Trading
This is quite common in all the cultures that exist in the Muslim Community. We see that it’s quite common for men and women to have this syndrome themselves or they are forced or directed to this state of mind by their loved ones. The concept is that the women or men back home are a good option for marriage. Obviously there is success in this method for many but there is also failure for many who get married in this fashion.
- The marriages that are successful in this “Back Home Trading” are people who are still on the same cultural level. Meaning that even if they are living abroad they understand and value the culture of their parents. They appreciate the moral and social aspects of the culture and this makes the marriage very successful. It all boils down to compatibility and of course language and culture play a big role. So the people that find success in this type of marriage are comfortable in searching for their partner overseas and are not doing it out of necessity.
- Respecting the fact that once in a while your spouse from overseas needs to visit his/her family and you should be fully supportive of it. Spouses that really take care of this aspect in their relationship find that this really strengthens their marriage.
- The marriages that suffer are due to several reasons, but the main factors are that these are marriages more out of necessity rather than compatibility. Many people going back home don’t understand their own ancestral culture and don’t really appreciate it. They feel they are superior to it (either consciously or subconsciously) and this is a recipe for disaster as the spouse eventually understands your mentality. So compatibility is key from the social and cultural aspect.
- People don’t know what they want but rather they are just told what is best for them. This is not a good method; rather one should look at oneself and decide how they are themselves. If they find they are not cultural at all they should not pursue such a marriage overseas especially back home.
- They have nothing in common and they don’t know what to say to each other. They don’t fully understand each other and don’t really speak the same language in other words.
- They got married just to get the passport. Beware of these people and do your homework through family and friends and don’t rush into marriage.
2. West – West Trading
This is a newer method amongst many Muslims who are living in the west. Again we come back to the same point of compatibility. But another reason why this method is on the rise is because it is much harder for Muslims living in the west to get married. This problem specially affects the sisters in these countries because of the label that the girls back home are more obedient or religious and so on (which is far from the truth). Looking across borders but within the Western Muslim communities is very beneficial as different pockets of our communities have different problems and by exploring this option many Muslims can get married with each other with much more compatibility. Let’s examine the success factors and the failure factors in this type of trading.
- The marriages that are successful in this West – West Trading are people who are still on the same cultural level. Majority of the western cultures have similar values and paradigms and there is some sort of understanding of how one is to live abroad as a Muslim. They appreciate the moral and social aspects of the subculture they grew up in and this makes the marriage very successful. It all boils down to compatibility and again language and culture play a big role. So the people that find success in this type of marriage are comfortable in searching for their partner overseas who grew up in a subculture much like their own.
- The people who are looking to get married through this method are looking for a partner in life. They want to go beyond the cultural norms or responsibilities that they grew up with for a husband and wife and want to share their life together. They enjoy conversations at the same level where understanding between them is high due to their upbringing.
- Being home-sick can be a major problem in these marriages so it is essential that as the spouse you facilitate the visitation as much as possible to keep each other happy. Obviously it is a major sacrifice for the partner that they left their country to be with you; so appreciate that fact and plan trips together to show your appreciation.
- People don’t know what they want but rather they are just told what is best for them. This is not a good method; rather one should look at oneself and decide how they are themselves and see whether they will be compatible with a different subculture and a different country and environment before taking this big step.
In conclusion you must decide who you are before you go searching with either one of these methods. It’s not about compromise but rather about compatibility. Make sure you know what you are like so you can decide what you need. The key to success in finding the right spouse lies in your own social, moral and cultural upbringing.