Muslim Couples Share What It's Really Like To Get Married In Their Culture

"... And by the end of the phone call, we decided to get married."

In a recent video interview with Brides, five Muslim couples — Bilal Asghar and Fatima Younus, Yusef Ramelize and Samira Abdul-Karim, Melanie Elturk and Ahmed Zedan, Alaa Balkhy and Issam Hamididdin, and Husam Odeh and Nadia Azmy — "got real" about marriage. 

While reflecting on how they met, the couples explained the process of arranged marriages, debunking myths that they were forced into marriage or that they didn't meet until their wedding day. 

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Elturk and Zedan, for example, were introduced via email and liked each others' messages enough, they decided to take the next step with a phone call. "It's 11 o'clock on a Saturday night," Elturk recalled. "... We got on the phone, and we didn't get off the phone until 9 a.m. the next morning. And by the end of the phone call, we decided to get married." 

Another couple, Yusef Ramelize and Samira Abdul-Karim, met in a Facebook group called "African American Muslim Marriage Connection." Let's face it: that's a way less embarrassing story to tell your grandchildren than, "Uh, Tinder." 

After strolling down memory lane, another couple, Husam Odeh and Nadia Azmy, used the opportunity to enlighten a Western audience on the everyday realities of a Muslim marriage. "I think people expect that Muslim women or Arab women are very submissive," Azmy said. "Whereas I feel like our relationship is pretty equal. We give and we take as much equally. I wish people would see that." 

Two other couples echoed that sentiment on camera. Alaa Balkhy recounted a time when she asked her husband, Issam Hamididdin, whether she could wear a short dress, and he not only encouraged her to do so, but let her know she never had to ask for his permission again. "There is the stereotype of the domineering Arabian husband," he said in the video. "I've luckily been raised not to have that particular set of beliefs." 

Perhaps Bilal Asghar and Fatima Younus summed up Muslim marriages the best by showing firsthand that they're just like Western marriages — which is to say, customized to each couple. "There's these bad misconceptions [about Muslims]… and the best example that we can do is just be us and do what we continue to do," Younus said. We couldn't agree more. 

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