10 ways to avoid marrying the wrong person

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There is a right way and a wrong way to get to know someone for marriage. The wrong way is to get caught up in the excitement and nuance of a budding relationship and in the process completely forget to ask the critical questions that help determine compatibility. One of the biggest mistakes that many young Muslims make is rushing into marriage without properly and thoroughly getting to know someone. A common myth is that the duration of a courtship is an accurate enough measure of how compatible two people are. The logic follows that the longer you speak with someone, the better you will know them. The problem with that premise is that no consideration is given to how that time is spent. Increasingly, young Muslim couples are engaging in “halal dating,” which is basically socializing with each other in the company of friends and/or family. This includes going out to dinner, watching a movie, playing some sport or other leisure activity, etc. Depending on the family or culture, conversations are either minimal & chaperoned or worse, unrestricted and unsupervised. When you consider these limitations it makes one wonder when exactly, if ever at all, would the critical conversations take place? Unfortunately, for many, the answer is never and they live to suffer the consequences. If you or someone you know is in the “getting to know someone” phase, the following guide offers advice on exactly what to look for and avoid:

1) Do Not Marry Potential: Oftentimes men consider marrying a woman hoping she never changes while a woman considers marrying a man she hopes she can change. This is the wrong approach on both accounts. Don’t assume that you can change a person after you’re married to them or that they will reach their potential. There is no guarantee, after all, that those changes will be for the better. In fact, it’s often for the worse. If you can’t accept someone or imagine living with them as they are then don’t marry them. These differences can include a number of things such as ideological or practical differences in religion, habits, hygiene, communication skills, etc.

2) Choose Character over Chemistry: While chemistry and attraction are no doubt important, character precedes them both. A famous quote follows, “Chemistry ignites the fire, but character keeps it burning.” The idea of falling “in love” should never be the sole reason for marrying someone; it is very easy to confuse infatuation and lust for love. The most important character traits to look for include humility, kindness, responsibility, & happiness. Here’s a breakdown of each trait:

  • Humility: The humble person never makes demands of people but rather always does right by them. They put their values and principles above convenience and comfort. They are slow to anger, are modest, and avoid materialism.
  • Kindness: The kind person is the quintessential giver. They seek to please and minimize the pain of others. To know if a person is a giver, observe how they treat their family, siblings, and parents. Do they have gratitude towards their parents for all that they’ve done for them? If not, then know that they will never appreciate what you do for them. How do they treat people they don’t have to be kind towards (i.e. waiters, sales associates, employees, etc)? How do they spend their money? How do they deal with anger; their own anger and their reaction to someone else’s anger?
  • Responsibility: A responsible person has stability in their finances, relationships, job, and character. You can you rely on this person and trust what they say.
  • Happiness: A happy person is content with their portion in life. They feel good about themselves and good about their life. They focus on what they have rather than on what they don’t have. They very rarely complain.

3) Do Not Neglect The Emotional Needs of Your Partner: Both men and women have emotional needs and in order for a partnership to be successful those needs must be mutually met. The fundamental emotional need of a woman is to be loved. The fundamental emotional need of a man is to be respected and appreciated. To make a woman feel loved give her the three AAAs: Attention, Affection, & Appreciation. To make a man feel loved give him the three RRRs: Respect, Reassurance, & Relief. It is the obligation of each partner to make sure the other is happy and this extends to intimacy as well. As long as each partner is fulfilled by the emotional needs of the other, the intimate relationship will thrive. When a man takes seriously the emotional needs of his wife she will feel more encouraged to fulfill his sexual desires. Likewise, when a woman takes seriously the emotional needs of her husband he will feel more encouraged to give her the affection, love and appreciation she wants from him. Working together in this way encourages both giving and receiving.

4) Avoid Opposing Life Plans: In marriage you can either grow together or grow apart. Sharing a common purpose in life will increase the chance that you will grow together.

  • You must know what the person is into. In other words, what are they ultimately passionate about? Then ask yourself, “Do I respect this passion?” “Do I respect what they are into?”
  • The more specifically you define yourself, i.e., your values, your beliefs, your lifestyle, the better chance you have of finding your life partner, your soul mate, the one you are most compatible with.
  • Remember, before you decide who to take along on a trip, you should first figure out your destination.

5) Avoid Pre-Marital Sexual/Physical Activity:

  • Recognize that there is incredible wisdom in why God has ordered us to refrain from intimacy before marriage; they are to prevent great harms as well as to keep sacred what is the most blessed part of a relationship between a man and a woman.
  • Aside from the obvious spiritual consequences, when a relationship gets physical before its time, important issues like character, life philosophy, and compatibility go to the wayside. Consequently, everything is romanticized and it becomes difficult to even remember the important issues let alone talk about them.
  • Intellectual commitment must be established before emotional or sexual commitment.

6) Avoid Lack of Emotional Connection: There are four questions that you must answer YES to:

  • Do I respect and admire this person? What specifically do I respect and admire about this person?
  • Do I trust this person? Can I rely on them? Do I trust their judgment? Do I trust their word? Can I believe what they say?
  • Do I feel Safe? Do I feel emotionally safe with this person? Can I be vulnerable? Can I be myself? Can I be open? Can I express myself?
  • Do I feel calm and at peace with this person?

If the answer is “I don’t know, I’m not sure, etc.” keep evaluating until you know for sure and truly understand how you feel. If you don’t feel safe now, you won’t feel safe when you are married. If you don’t trust now, this won’t change when you are married!

7) Pay Attention to Your Own Emotional Anxiety: Choosing someone you don’t feel safe with emotionally is not a good recipe for a long-lasting and loving marriage. Feeling emotionally safe is the foundation of a strong and healthy marriage. When you don’t feel safe, you can’t express your feelings and opinions. Learn how to identify whether you are in an abusive relationship. If you feel you always have to monitor what you say, if you are with someone and you feel you can’t really express yourself and are always walking on eggshells, then it’s very likely you are in an abusive relationship. Look for the following things:

  • Controlling behavior: This includes controlling the way you act, the way you think, the way you dress, the way you wear your hair/hijab and the way you spend your time. Know the difference between suggestions and demands. Demands are an expression of control and if the demands are implied, than you must do it or there will be consequences. All of these are clear indications of abusive personalities.
  • Anger issues: This is someone who raises their voice on a regular basis, who is angry, gets angry at you, uses anger against you, uses put downs, and curses at you, etc. You don’t have to put up with this type of treatment. Many people who tolerate this behavior usually come from abusive backgrounds. If this is the case with you or someone you know, get help right away. Deal with those issues before getting married or before even thinking about getting married.

Beware of Lack of Openness In Your Partner: Many couples make the mistake of not putting everything on the table for discussion from the onset. Ask yourself, “What do I need to know to be absolutely certain I want to marry this person?” “What bothers me about this person or the relationship?” It’s very important to identify what’s bothering you, things that concern you, and things you are afraid to bring up for discussion. Then you must have an honest discussion about them. This is a great way to test the strength of your relationship. Bringing up issues when there’s conflict is a great opportunity to really evaluate how well you communicate, negotiate, and work together as a team. When people get into power struggles and blame each other, it’s an indication they don’t work well as a team. Also important is being vulnerable around each other. Ask deep questions of each other and see how your partner responds. How do they handle it? Are they defensive? Do they attack? Do they withdraw? Do they get annoyed? Do they blame you? Do they ignore it? Do they hide or rationalize it? Don’t just listen to what they say but watch for how they say it!

9) Beware of Avoiding Personal Responsibility: It’s very important to remember no one else is responsible for your happiness. Many people make the mistake of thinking someone else will fulfill them and make their life better and that’s their reason for getting married. People fail to realize that if they are unhappy as a single person, they will continue to be miserable when they are married. If you are currently not happy with yourself, don’t like yourself, don’t like the direction your life is going now, it’s important to take responsibility for that now and work on improving those areas of your life before considering marriage. Don’t bring these issues into your marriage and hope your partner will fix them.

10) Watch Out For Lack of Emotional Health and Availability In Your Potential Partner: Many people choose partners that are not emotionally healthy or available. One huge problem is when a partner is unable to balance the emotional ties to family members, the marriage ends up having 3 (or more) people in it rather than two. An example of this would be if a man is overly dependent on his mother and brings that relationship into the marriage; this is no doubt a recipe for disaster. Also important to consider are the following:

  • Avoid people who are emotionally empty inside. These include people who don’t like themselves because they lack the ability to be emotionally available. They are always preoccupied with their deficiencies, insecurities, and negative thoughts. They are in a perpetual fight with depression, never feel good, are isolated, are critical and judgmental; tend to not have any close friends, and often distrust people or are afraid of them. Another clear indication about them is they always feel their needs are not getting met; they have a sense of entitlement and feel angry when they feel people should take care of them and they don’t. They feel burdened by other people’s needs and feel resentment towards them. These people can not be emotionally available to build healthy relationships.
  • Addictions can also limit the level of availability of the partner to build a strong emotional relationship. Never marry an addict. Addictions are not limited to drugs and alcohol. They can be about addictions and dependency on work, internet, hobbies, sports, shopping, money, power, status, materialism, etc. When someone has an addiction, they will not and can not be emotionally available to develop an intimate relationship with you!

Additional Points to Consider:

  1. The fact is no one looks 25 forever. Ultimately, we love the person we marry for more than their appearance. When we get to know someone we love and admire, we’ll love them for their inner beauty and overall essence.
  2. Once we find someone, we consciously or subconsciously want so badly for it all to work that we decide not to question or see what is clearly in front of our eyes: they were rude to the waiter, speaks ill of others, is rude to you, etc. We don’t stop to ask, “What does all of this mean about their character?”
  3. Never separate someone from their family, background, education, belief system, etc. Asking clear questions can clarify this. Ask questions like, “What does it mean to have a simple lifestyle?” “What are your expectations of marriage?” “How would you help around the house?” Compare your definition with theirs.
  4. Be flexible. Be open-minded!
  5. Giving in a happy marriage should not be confused with martyrdom. It should be about taking pleasure and seeing the other person as happy because of your connection with them.
  6. Morality and spirituality are the qualities that truly define someone in addition to beauty, money, and health. The morally upright and spiritual person will stand by your side during adversity and hardship. If someone isn’t God-conscience and doesn’t take themselves into account with God then why should you expect them to fulfill their rights owed to you? The ideal partner is someone who considers giving a gain and not causing a loss. Having a mutual and shared spiritual relationship will foster a successful marriage. Furthermore, a successful marriage is one that keeps the laws of family purity which require a certain degree of self-control and self-discipline, as well as the belief that the physical side of the relationship includes the spiritual and emotional side as well. Finding commonality and balance between the spiritual and emotional aspects of a relationship is a strong key to a healthy and thriving marriage.
The above article was [in part] inspired by and adapted from a presentation by Rabbi Dov Heller, M.A.

e-shop infographics

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Online shopping around the world

What are people really buying online?

How big is e-shop?

Online shopping in the UK

How does colour affect purchases?

Small businesses and e-commerce

The state of social commerce

Shipping and e-shop

US e-commerce trends

Seven reasons people fear e-shop

How to Increase Facebook Engagement Using Custom Page Tabs

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The year 2011 brought exciting changes to social media marketing, especially when it came to Facebook. One such change is the ability to build customized landing tabs using iFrames, social plugins and geotargeting. These custom tabs open a world of opportunity for brands to increase Facebook engagement.

Brands that invest in building the right types of tabs on their Facebook Pages are more likely to increase Likes and achieve real engagement growth. However, simply throwing a tab up will not suffice. There are certain considerations and important steps to take in order to significantly increase engagement through a Facebook tab.


1. Know Your Audience


Understanding your audience is key to building a tab that will increase both Likes and engagement. “You should think about your audience and what interests them, then figure out how to build a relationship around those things,” advises Victoria Ransom, founder and CEO of Wildfire, one of the most widely used tools to build and manage Facebook tabs.

Prior to building tabs, the Mexico Tourism Board (MTB) sought out audience input by launching a consumer survey on its primary website. The survey asked what types of information people would like to get from the MTB Facebook Page. “The over 15,000 responses contributed directly to the architecture of each of the four tabs: Highlights, Celebs, Attractions and Press,” says Lane Douglas, executive vice president of vantage strategy. MTB Page Likes increased from 6,000 to 70,000 within a three-week period, and its “People Talking About This” index raised to 14,000 daily.

Audience-relevant tabs allow for delivery of on-point content and rich engagement. The great part about social media is that it eliminates the middle man. Each company can directly target and communicate with its customer base for inspiration.


2. Define Your Goals


Not to overwhelm you, but there are limitless possibilities with tabs. With that in mind, it’s not recommended to have just one goal per tab. According to Stephanie Chaparro, senior account strategist for Wildfire, “Brands don’t want to use simple goals like ‘increase likes’ or ‘engage fans.’ Instead look into the strategy of the tabs and consider what audience to target and what end action is wanted, for example, Like the page, watch a video, share stories or leave a comment. Be as specific as possible in the goals you are setting.”

Webroot software hired Wildfire to build tabs for the company’s Facebook Page. Their goal was to deliver personalized content, build brand awareness and increase engagement on a Page that was, for the most part, stagnant and passive. Five months after launching Wildfire’s tabs, Webroot Software saw Likes increase by 40,906, a 523% improvement.


3. Build a Cool Tab


Once you’ve done the research and determined the optimal strategy, it’s time to build an effective tab. Focus on including these features: a hook, fresh content and a rich experience. “The best tabs are the ones that have a hook to get people to come back to the page on regular basis, but at the same time, provides a real opportunity for them to engage with the product and share,” says Ransom.

Blowfish Shoes implemented a Shoe-A-Day Giveaway tab, a year-long campaign in which the company gives away a different pair of shoes daily. At the end of the year, Blowfish found its Facebook Page Likes had increased by 2,488%. The giveaway tab was so successful, in part, because it contained all the key aspects of the most successful tabs. With a new pair of shoes to feature every day, Blowfish was able to constantly stream fresh content in the form of photos and videos. And by announcing new winners every day, Blowfish gave people another reason to check back. Finally, through strategically placed links, the tab provided an opportunity for product engagement. Sixty-four percent of entrants actually went on to browse the Blowfish Shoes website, and nearly half of all sales during the promotion came from contestants. Through a single tab, Blowfish was able to build brand awareness, grow its Facebook community and increase overall engagement and sales.


4. Manage Tabs


By implementing a clear strategy around tabs, organizations can benefit on an ongoing basis. But in order to sustain growth, there must be a strategic plan in place. “Companies that do the best are those who have a regular plan around their social media (including their Facebook tabs) and who take advantage of opportunities like holidays and events,” says Ransom.

Part of the strategic plan should include how to handle multiple tabs. “It’s important to be strategic in implementing and running multiple tabs simultaneously. We see a lot of brands put up multiple tabs, each requiring different actions. This can overwhelm the user, “ says Chapparo.

If you want to increase overall engagement, do not overwhelm users by requiring multiple actions on tabs. Instead, focus on keeping the wall engaging and fresh, while simultaneously providing tabs for a richer experience. Ideeli, a multi-retail channel, never runs multiple tabs that require actions. “We prioritize our tabs and realize we can only drive people away from our wall so many times,” Sarah Conley, social media manager at ideeli. Over the last year ideeli saw its Facebook Page Likes increase by 291%. The company also increased wall engagement by 48%.


5. Support Your Tabs


Facebook tabs cannot exist in a void. “Businesses need to realize the point is not to create a tab and expect to get tons of traffic spontaneously. Tabs can fail when businesses don’t have a plan for getting people to the tab,” says Ransom.

There are a variety of ways to drive traffic to tabs including Facebook ads, sponsored stories, Wall posts, email blasts, newsletters and share buttons. Webroot Software used video to drive traffic to its tabs. “With our marketplace in mind, we created three humorous videos that each ended with a promotional link to our Facebook Page. These videos have received over 32 million views and counting,” shares Chris Benham, chief demand officer at Webroot.

As traffic to the Facebook Page increases, so do Likes and community engagement. Community management will become ever-more important to handle the influx of Facebook activity. “Fans of Mexico came out of the woodwork. As the community began to grow and move through the tabs, they posted stories and photos of their best Mexico vacation experiences on the wall,” says Douglas of Mexico Tourism Board.

As Facebook’s popularity grows, it becomes more and more imperative to stand out from the crowds by offering valuable content and a thriving community. By executing on-point Facebook tabs, any organization, no matter its size, industry or age, can build a living, breathing Facebook community.

Virus Attack Spreads Via Facebook Chat

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There is a new virus (worm) being propagated via the Facebook chat, the Virus is called Dorkbot and it was discovered on the 5th of December 2011.

 How does it work?

  • It collects sensitive information when the user browses certain web sites
  • It allows unauthorized access and control of the affected computer

How does it spread?

  • It is spreading on the social network, tricking users into believing that they were clicking on a link to an image from a Facebook friend, that leads to a third party website which installs malware on the PC

How to avoid getting infected?

  • Install and update the Antivirus client on your personal machine
  • Don’t open or accept any suspicious file
  • Be careful before you click or follow an image in the Facebook chat window

 

Facebook Settles With the FTC for 20 Years of Privacy Audits

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Facebook has agreed to 20 years of privacy audits in response to complaints by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission that it unfairly deceived users about the privacy of their personal information, as was anticipated.

The settlement, which is not particularly punitive and comes years after some of the incidents in question, shames Facebook for promising users that their information was kept private while it was in fact shared with advertisers and outside applications that the users or their friends installed. The decision is not yet final but has already been unanimously passed into a public comment period by the commission.

Facebook’s punishment is in line with what its competitors Twitter and Google have already agreed to: Clearer privacy policies that are audited every two years for the next 20 years.

Facebook is required to get users’ consent before it makes privacy changes and to do specific things like make content from deleted users’ profiles unavailable after 30 days. If it messes any of that up, it will be fined $16,000 per violation per day.

The settlement could mark a shift in the way Facebook releases new products, as it often require users to actively opt out of new offerings if they don’t want to be included.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote a long blog post today admitting to “a bunch of mistakes” but also asserting that Facebook has been a leader on online privacy.

“Overall, I think we have a good history of providing transparency and control over who can see your information,” he said.

Zuckerberg said he’d also appointed two new Chief Privacy Officers — Erin Egan for policy and Michael Richter for products — to demonstrate a higher commitment to privacy going forward.

Many of the FTC’s complaints date back to changes Facebook had made over the past two years and subsequently addressed after public criticism. Zuckerberg contended that in the meantime Facebook has also proactively improved user privacy with tools like item-by-item privacy controls.

But it has also released new features and tools that have ruffled privacy feathers (and perhaps worse), like the new “frictionless” sharing, and users have discovered other issues such as cookies that, for a time, tracked people even after they logged out of Facebook.

The FTC settlement isn’t a judgment over whether Facebook broke the law. It also doesn’t contend that Facebook knew that it was providing advertisers with user data or that advertisers did anything nefarious with Facebook user data.

Here are the complaints:

  • In December 2009, Facebook changed its website so certain information that users may have designated as private – such as their Friends List – was made public. They didn’t warn users that this change was coming, or get their approval in advance.
  • Facebook represented that third-party apps that users’ installed would have access only to user information that they needed to operate. In fact, the apps could access nearly all of users’ personal data – data the apps didn’t need.
  • Facebook told users they could restrict sharing of data to limited audiences – for example with “Friends Only.” In fact, selecting “Friends Only” did not prevent their information from being shared with third-party applications their friends used.
  • Facebook had a “Verified Apps” program & claimed it certified the security of participating apps. It didn’t.
  • Facebook promised users that it would not share their personal information with advertisers. It did.
  • Facebook claimed that when users deactivated or deleted their accounts, their photos and videos would be inaccessible. But Facebook allowed access to the content, even after users had deactivated or deleted their accounts.
  • Facebook claimed that it complied with the U.S.- EU Safe Harbor Framework that governs data transfer between the U.S. and the European Union. It didn’t.