In my journey towards settling down and finding someone crazy enough to marry me, I’ve learned a lesson or two. I’m not married yet, so Lord knows if they’re all right, but so far, I feel they’re pretty universal.

First, work on getting your relationship with Allah on point first, before you try to establish or strengthen any relationship with a significant other. If you can’t show the Creator loyalty and respect, how can you expect yourself to do so for the creation? Be willing to be honest with yourself and hold yourself responsible for what you need to work on. Then, work on those things.

Second, know who you are and what you believe in, and recognize what is most important to you. Too many people today jump into marriage or the pursuit of marriage for the wrong reasons. Their priorities are physical release, escape from their current condition, or desperation and loneliness. Be patient. Understand yourself, so you can better navigate through life when your identity is questioned…which is something that happens more often than we care to admit.

Third, learn to differentiate between the deal makers/breakers and the things that are merely preferences and not requirements. After knowing yourself, know what is immensely important to you. For example, I strive to live a healthy and active lifestyle, and want to grow in that aspect of my life. Personally, I want to marry someone who has a similar lifestyle. Sounds minor, but laziness is contagious and it’s a deal breaker for me.

Fourth, never settle. That should be enough to make my point, but I’ll put it this way: you are a person of value and the sooner you recognize that, the sooner you’ll realize that finding someone that appreciates your value is worth the wait.

Fifth, look for someone better than you in one way or another so you are always aspiring towards betterment. This will keep you humbled and will keep you motivated. Be the best you can be, and you will also inspire your significant other to be their best as well. This will benefit you as individuals and as a couple.

Sixth, don’t judge. Easier said than done, I know, and of course to some degree, you will be judging a person when you consider them for marriage. Still, there is a difference between evaluating a person’s compatibility with your preferences, and holding negative ideas about a person because they may not measure up to your “checklist”. Just as you’ve recognized that you have worth and are valuable in your many unique ways, you’ve probably also seen your flaws. You wouldn’t want someone judging you for your flaws, so be smart, and don’t judge others for theirs.

Seventh, understand that perfection doesn’t exist. Unless you are in fact perfect (and no, you’re not, because if you think you are, you a hold a degree of arrogance, thus making you human and flawed), you would be purely idiotic and ignorant to expect perfection in whomever you meet. Get that fantasy girl/guy out of your head and live in the real world, because that “perfect” person you’re dreaming up is one of the few dreams I will tell you isn’t going to come true. Find perfection in your own imperfections and after that, you will be able to more easily be able to see the beauty in the imperfections of others.

Eighth, do it right by Allah or don’t do it at all. The former fills your life with blessings and the latter, more often than not, leads to a bumpy road and a more solidified uncertainty in your Hereafter. I chose to leave this at the end of the article to remind us that at the end of the day, it’s ALWAYS Allah first. His Approval is our greatest priority, and this is a fact that should never be forgotten, but often is.

I’m not a scholar, sheikh, maulana, imam, or anything like that. There are simply my own personal laws to abide by as I search for a woman to spend the rest of this life and the Hereafter with. Take what I’ve written here with a pound of salt, and then some. I’d love some feedback from fellow single people that are searching for that special someone, or from married couples that could shed some insight based on their own experiences. Leave a comment in the section below to share your thoughts.