As kids, when asked “what do you want to be when you grow up?”, most of my friends answered with “doctor” or “astronaut,” but my answer left adults with more of a laugh. I’ve wanted to be a mom since I remember being alive. I’ve always loved children and found peace in them. This manifested throughout my life in many ways. In high school, my first job was as a swim instructor for kids, and then later on I worked at a daycare. When it came time to choose a professional field, I knew education would be perfect for me. I truly enjoy every moment spent with children and feel much joy being around them.
I made the connection between kids and marriage a while ago. I understood that if I wanted to have kids that meant I would also want to be married (personal preference). Therefore, I have always known I was a supporter of young marriage.
However, things like that can not be predicted or planned out, for who knows what the future holds. I did not in a million years envision an engagement during my third year of college. Yet, here I am.
I’ll give you a quick rundown of how it all happened, although it was fairly simple in my opinion. We met, we talked, and we brought up marriage talk very early on. So after a few months of getting to know each other, we decided to bring it up to my parents. It is relevant to mention that I am Muslim and that in Islam, casual dating is not favorable, and more of a courtship is encouraged (think Bridgerton without all the fancy stuff). This system results in engagements in a shorter time frame than the typical American dating system. He was 24 and I 20, we knew we were both young but that was not an issue for us.
Talking to my parents, I knew that an engagement would soon be in motion, as they would not support a casual long-term relationship. So after that, we spent the next few months meeting our families and getting to know each other even more.
I knew how serious and big of a decision this was, and there was constant anxiety in my head. I made sure to educate myself as much as possible, and listened to podcasts or read books. I worked on myself to make sure I knew what I was getting into. My now fiance and I each made lists of important things we wanted to discuss, things such as dealbreakers, goals, habits and everything in between. This talk was not fun or easy, but it did help us understand what we were both wanting out of this, and we were able to compromise.
After a little over 10 months of meeting, we started planning our engagement party.
I am writing this three weeks after the engagement, and all is still well.
A lot of people wonder when we plan on getting married, but I believe finishing my college education is important right now, so we’re waiting on that. This elongated engagement period can be translated into the usual dating time, and therefore does not bother me. I find it comforting to have a more official label, which helps me know that I am not wasting time on a relationship that can easily be disposed of, because we have both made a big commitment to each other.
I kept everything private throughout the process, and as the gen-z I am, I chose to hard-launch my engagement on Instagram and Tiktok (@halaabdelrazek8).
I was shaking with fear of people’s reactions. To be honest with you, I anticipated a lot of judgment due to my young age. I remember when a girl from my sorority got engaged in college and how many rumors ran around. Things about them ‘rushing into it,’ and people placing bets on how short they’d last. I always respected her greatly though, as she continued on with her plans with faith in herself. I watched her post-wedding pictures and even a pregnancy announcement. Sounds like some girls just lost a lot of money.
However, I have not received any hate, although there has been shock from people, but I think that is normal and valid. Most of my friends seem to be very happy for me, and I am glad to have their and my family’s support.
I feel good about my decision and am glad about where I am in my life. You and I may have different values and goals in life, so if you are nowhere near a life-long commitment and focusing on your career instead, I also respect that.
My only advice is that it truly is your own life at the end of the day, so just do what makes you happy, and don’t forget to hard-launch. :)