I have a theory.
[This theory applies to girls as well as guys, but for the purpose of this article, I'm going to stick with the sisters perspective.]
When a girl is looking to get married, there are things that she will like and dislike about any potential future spouse. But there's a couple of things that are 'deal breakers'.
Deal breakers can be anything. But in my personal opinion a deal-breaker shouldn't be a factor that the poor fellow can't change. For example, his ethnicity. Or his age. Or what his parents do for a living. Or how many older/younger siblings he has. Or where he lives.
When I first started thinking about getting married, I don't think I even had any idea of what a deal-breaker could be. I just kept thinking 'If he's nice, and he's Muslim, then that's good enough for me'. But it's not. It's so so so not.
Now I have a completely different view. My friend once told me that I'm being unbelievably picky, and that I should lower my standards. But I'm proud of who I am, and what I want, and I know I won't be happy otherwise. I don't making a compromise, as long as I choose to make it, rather than being forced because there's no other options.
Now I think that being nice and being a Muslim should be the base requisites of what my husband should be. As in, there are so many other things that I really need in a husband. I really need him to be praying regularly five times a day, because I'm so terrible at it. I would like for him to be a calm-tempered sort of fellow, because I have a tendency to blow up at people, and I don't think it would be a healthy relationship if we were screaming at each other all the time.
But at the same time, if he was hot-tempered and not praying regularly, that wouldn't be the end of the conversation. By having those faults that I see in myself, maybe I would adjust, and attempt to rid myself of them. You see, they're not deal-breakers.
A deal-breaker is something that cannot be adjusted, no matter how hard you try. For one of my friends, she really really REALLY wants her husband to have a beard. I think she sees it as a sign of a guy's Iman (Just for the record, I don't). So if a dude turned up who was a religious Muslim, a practising doctor of Punjabi ethnicity a couple of years older than her without a beard....then she would say no. Because a beard is that important to her. (The gentleman I have described is her perfect husband btw.)
To me, a deal-breaker is something a little more complex than that. I would never marry a man who wouldn't want me to work, or who would want us to live with his parents, or who couldn't make me laugh and get my sense of humour. I couldn't spend the rest of my life with him if he didn't value his religion more than anything else, if he had no culture, or if he wasn't proud of his roots (whether they be from the East or the West).
Because these are things that I couldn't live with. They are not inherent qualities, or factors that are out of his control. These are choices that he will have to make.