Assalamu alaykum,

My name is Habo Marwo. After years of giving my nieces and nephews and then their friends matrimonial advice and with a little encouragement from my family I have decided to join the 21st century and start an advice blog. This way I can reach all my nieces and nephews all over the world who are in need of guidance. If you have a question you would like to ask feel free to e-mail at or leave a comment on my blog

Here are two e-mails I have previously received.

Dear Habaryar Marwo,

Lately, I have felt a great deal of pressure to settle down and get married. To tell you the honest truth I’m a little worried about getting married. From what I’ve seen of my friends marriages and other relatives around my age most Somali marriage are far from tranquil, let alone ideal. You know how close our family is and how much hooyo and abo sacrificed to help me achieve everything I have today. I have found, however, that most Somali girls today seem to despise their in-laws and do everything in their power to pull their husband away from his family and make him a part of her family. Currently, there is a girl I’m interested in but before things become too serious I was wondering if you there was any advise you could give me on choosing the right wife for me. More than anything in a girl I appreciate her diin and behavior.

Your nephew,



Dear Habo,

MashAllah, I am so proud of you. You are a successful young man ready to embark on married life Insha-Allah! Although it is heartbreaking how many young people in our community get divorced in a very short time, it is not a reason to not to get marriage.

Marriage should be an occasion which brings two families together and not one which takes a child away from their family. Any girl who doesn’t respect your parents does not respect you. Your parents raised you from when you were a baby in diapers, supported and encouraged you and with the help of God made you the young man you are today and any young woman who can’t appreciate this is not worth your time.

The problem with most of these girls is that they are as sweet as honey when you first meet them and only show their true colors once you’re married. Although, there is no 100% sure way to tell whether a girl will get along with your family, there are some red flags you should look out for.

  • Beware of the Gold-digger: Most of these girls are Golddiggers and are only after you for your money. She excepts you to take care of not only her but her entire family.
  • Is she friends with your sisters? Usually most girls can be pleasant to your parents when she first meets them but the people they have the most difficulty being nice to is your sister. Sisters are an excellent judge of another girls character and if she can’t get along with your sisters from the beginning, she won’t be able to get along with your mother eventually.
  • Let her know that your parents are going to live with you once you’re married. If you sense any hostile or negativity to this idea or if you find that she is gently trying to persuade you to think otherwise take it as a sign of future things to come.
  • Always remember the old Somali saying “A girl is like her mother”. If you want to know how you’re potential will be like in the future just look at her mother. Somali girls are strongly influenced by their mothers and it is actually wise in my opinion to have your mother find out about her mother. 

But the most important advice I can give you with regards to getting married is to first turn to God and ask him to guide you to the best spouse for you and your family. So I’ll end this e-mail with a prayer…May God bless with good, pious wife that will fill you and your family’s life with enjoy. Amen.

All the best!

Your habo.


Hello Habo,

It’s your favourite niece! Ali told me he asked you a question on matrimony and I thought why not give it a shot-you give great advice. So you know my situation-done school, dream job but oh no-no husband! Hoya thinks this is some kind of crises (which I somewhat agree with since you may not be aware that I am actually 33 not 25 like Hoya has been telling everyone) so she has taken it upon herself to introduce me to a whole array of what you might call “interesting characters.” Now, you know I spent years in school getting my 2 undergraduate degrees and masters but everyone Hoya has been introducing me to has had at best a high school diploma (one of them I was actually unsure of whether he was literate). Am I being too picky to expect a husband with whom I can have an intellectual conversation? Or one whose English vocabulary consists of more than the word “passport”?

Your exasperated but not ashamed of being 33 niece,



Hello Habo,

Habo, let me let you in on a little secret in the Somali community since you were born and raised aboard—no single Somali woman ever admits to being over 25 whether she is really 25 or 55, so please stop telling people your true age. We Somalis hate age, and we live be the philosophy of “You’re as young as you feel” and we all feel like we’re in our 20’s or 30’s.

Anyway, you seem to be in the same situation as so many of our bright, and beautiful educated Somali girls. It is one of the side effects of the war that unfortunately for your generation, there seems to be an imbalance. You ladies view yourselves as the complete package and you naturally set high standards. You all carry around this image of your ideal husband…or the 6,6,6,6,6 man as I call him–he’s 6 foot 6, makes a 6 figure salary, has 6 university degrees, drives a $60,000 car and owns a $600,000 home. Although, these things might seem nice they are not what makes a happy marriage.   You are a strong independent woman, you are very successful (Masha’Allah), you make that 6 figure salary yourself and can afford to buy that $600,000 home yourself. What you need in a marriage is someone to share your life with, so, my advice to you and other young ladies like you is to throw away that list and stick to the basic essentials for a happy marriage.

What are the basic essentials, you might ask–well they’re kindness, compassion and respect–the three basic elements required in any happy marriage. So, don’t over look a young man just because he’s not 6 foot or doesn’t make a great deal of money, judge him not by his material possession but by his character.

Here are so questions you should ask yourself:

  1. Does he give charity? It doesn’t matter if he works on Wall Street and makes over a million dollar, if  he doesn’t feel grateful for what he has and gives charity. Being tied to a wealthy scrooge for the rest of our life will be far from the fairytale you have envisioned. But I promise marry a poor generous man, and you’ll feel a like Queen, and your home will always be blessed by God.
  1. Is he a narcissistic? Marrying a handsome man might seem like a story book romance but if he’s in love with himself more than he cares about you, you’ll soon realize that looks, aren’t truly everything. It’s always better to marry someone who’s more in love with you that you are with them.  In his eyes you’ll always be the most beautiful woman in the world. 
  1. Does he respect you as a person? Does he acknowledge your accomplishments and recognize you and your families sacrifices? 

Think of the Somali young men as fixer-uppers and remember the saying” behind every great man there is a greater woman”. Find a young man with the essential qualities and  with a little work and encouragement I’m sure it won’t be long before you have shaped him into your ideal. I am not saying find someone lazy who hopes to live off you, just someone who does not realize their own potential but is willing to work hard.

All the best, sweetie!

Your Habo

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