So I often hear girls being told to prepare for marriage by making sure you know how to cook amazing food and can keep the house spotless. Now I’m not saying that we shouldn’t know how to cook and keep our homes clean, after all cleanliness is half of faith. But I feel that there is far too much emphasis on this.
So what if you don’t know how to make 3 different types of biryani or 4 different types of paratas? Is it really going to impact your marriage that much? Yes of course you should know how to cook enough to not starve and be able to keep your house tidy but there are some far more important things that girls should know before they get married. I personally didn’t know how to cook lavish meals like biryani and I still don’t but it’s not something that has had any impact on our marriage. I actually learnt to cook after marriage properly, I call my mum asking for her recipes and then cook different things. I’ve learnt how to cook because I needed to be able to do it. My husband has no issues with the fact that I can’t make some dishes yet and he’s fine that I’m still learning and even helps me when he can. But I really think we need to teach more than just the cooking and cleaning.
Take for example how to be financially mature. We should be teaching girls how to handle money, how to save for emergencies and not spend all we earn on things we just want. We should know how to budget for all the different things in our lives so that we don’t finish our money before the end of the month. This is actually quite difficult especially if you’re not used to it, it took me and my husband months of trial and error before we figured out our budgeting.
We should also teach girls how to be emotionally mature. When they get married they will have to make a lot of adjustments and compromise halfway with their spouse and they need to be able to handle doing that. The lifestyle we had and that of your husbands will not be the same, that much I can guarantee so when differences occur we need to know how to handle it in a mature and calm manner. Also you may not always agree with your in laws so how do you handle this? Do you shout back at them if they say something to you that you don’t like? Or do you remain calm and speak to your husband in private about how best to handle the situation? Can we control our temper and be polite to those who may say rude and inconsiderate things to us? When we’re criticised for how we are as a spouse are we going to jump straight into critising them? We need to teach them patience and how to control our tongues.
We should teach our girls to be independent and know how to handle things in the outside world not just inside the home. Give them a good education so that they can experience what the world is like and be in tune with what is going on in our country and the rest of the world. We need to be able to balance our many roles and responsibilities and it can be very overwhelming initially. So we should allow them to have responsibilities before they get married so they can see that these are the types of things that they will need to be able to do once they’re married.
We need to teach our girls the rights and responsibilities of being a wife islamically. They need to know in islam what it says about marriage. How the prophet (saw) taught us to have a successful marriage. We focus so much on having a fairytale wedding yet we rarely learn what do we do once this fairytale is over.
Lastly I just want to say that although I wrote this in the context of a girl (because I am a girl) it also applies for the boys. I also feel it’s important for brothers to know how to cook. If your wife is ill or if she goes home for a few days or she’s gone out how will you survive if you can’t make yourself something to eat? The answer by the way isn’t takeaway because that’s where budgeting comes into play. They also need to ensure they know their rights and responsibilities and understand that the single life won’t work now that they’re married.