Sunday, March 12

What Do You Want In A Partner?

It seems inevitable for a conversation between a bunch of single people to turn to the subject of marriage at some point, as it was the case today at lunch. Today it was based largely around the question: "What do you want in a partner?".

The responses were pretty varied. Some were quite objective and required a certain level of competence, a certain personality trait or even specified large body parts (although I still maintain that I was joking with that last one). Others were more subjective (while not being necessarily vague), wanting things like a meeting of minds and compatibility.

It's an age old question and something I've often been asked, moreso recently during my current phase of "being proactive". My answer is the same as I've been giving for the last eight or so years: that I don't actually have a list or criteria of sorts. For some this seems like a cop out but I maintain that it makes perfect sense, so let me explain.

Hijab tends to be a pretty marked attribute of a woman, so let's assume that I insist that any future partner I have wears one. Now say I meet the girl of my dreams, except that it just so happens that she doesn't cover up her hair. Would that be something on which to veto her for marriage? Of course not - well not for me anyway. And the same can be said for any objective quality, really - height, race and even religion (although I admit that the last one only has a tiny tiny chance of happening[1], but there are many "obvious" criteria like this that are reasonably assumed).

Furthermore the same can be said about the more subjective points on our lists. What does a "meeting of minds" mean? The best couples have disagreements, and some even swear by them to maintain the health of their relationships. As for compatibility, I'm sure we all know examples of where seemingly incompatible people get on perfectly well and, more distressingly, where seemingly compatible people don't. I can give you a pretty extensive list of what I think I like, but the truth is I could end up being very happy with someone the complete opposite.

Another issue I have with making lists and the like is what that would indicate about how I perceive my future partner. It's basically the same problem I have with the whole matchmaking/ process - is it really possible to collapse something as dynamic and complex as a person you want to form a relationship with into a bunch of tickboxes and likes/dislikes? I'm not so sure. I mean it's not like we're buying a car or house here... Right?

Yes, I understand that one has to start somewhere. And yes, I also understand that some people have definite things that they wish any potential partners to have or not have. All that is fair enough, but personally I fear I'll be missing out on some pretty fantastic people if I even state as a preference whether they wear a hijab or not, or are of certain height, or have a degree, or can or cannot cook, or loves going to the cinema as much as I do.

Perhaps I've not met enough women[2] or don't know myself well enough to determine these things. But currently my list consists of things like: "someone who is right for Shak", "someone who would make me as happy as I could make them" and the like. Pretty vacuous and obvious stuff so probably not worth mentioning at all - and that my dear friends is why I usually don't.

[1] No, I'm DON'T intend on marrying a non-Muslim, so let's stop those rumours right there. Chi.
[2] For some strange reason the guys at lunch found this bit quite amusing. I've no idea why they burst out laughing when I suggested this. Hmm.


  1. shak, despite not articulating your requirements, having known you so long, I can qualify with no uncertainty that you are the pickiest person I know. So a person who's "right for you" will have to tick 100s of "shak specific" boxes before hitting the jackpot(!)

  2. i somewhat agree with Rohit's comment too :|

  3. i think rohit may be right to some extent, but if someone really knew shak and could see through what he really wants and needs - its really quite simple.. and its not hard to find:a simple,genuine,bighearted,sophisticated,beautiful,quirky,witty,cheeky,adorable young muslim woman.. who understands her religion/family values/shaks needs;)/who can keep things levelled in society with family and friends and mainly who can keep shak happy.. because knowing shak - he's an amazing guy.. yeah a joker at times but deep down he's the real deal.. any girl wud be oh so lucky to have him as their life partner.. thats straight from the heart biatch.. ure pretty okay!

    now - wire the money to my account in sydney, thanks :D

    no im jkn.. its not hard to find- just stop looking and she'l come man.. sooner then u think.. not that ure looking tho .. right?.. hmm.. xx