Tips for a Successful Marriage
By: Nadira Ansari
I will start by presenting an ayah of the Quran that is also found in the Nikkah Khutbah:
Translation: O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women. And fear Allah , through whom you ask one another, and the wombs. Indeed Allah is ever, over you, an Observer.
The First Relationship
In this ayah Allah (swt) addresses the point that all human beings are created from one person, Adam. After Adam was created and spent some time in Jannah he became bored and could not discover new ways to pass the time. Then Allah (swt) create Hawwa from his left rib. Adam was overjoyed to see her and found great company having her by his side. It was the first relationship between husband and wife in jannah and then on earth.
Allah (swt) also refers to the importance of establishing a healthy relationship with the in laws, because they come with the package of marriage. The first few months to years can be difficult for a newly married couple to adjust. However, if the girl respects her husband’s family and is cheerful upon meeting them, takes good care of them, and talks nicely to them, then her husband will appreciate it. In return, he will show good behavior to the parents of the bride. It is very crucial for the girl to understand to never try to pull her husband from his family – or the bride will be committing a sin – that is breaking of the kinship. The same applies vice versa. The mother in law should refrain from speaking sarcastically to her daughter in law or blame the girl by saying “because of you, my son is slipping out of my hands”. The groom’s side should treat the girl as a friend or as a sister, and show her love because she is a new addition to the family. This should be the case regardless of if the marriage is arranged by the parents, or by love. There are some people who try to sow seeds of confusion between husband and wife due to their jealousy or envy. They will be committing a sin of separating of husband and wife, because this is the work of Shaytan. A number of problems are caused simply by the fact that some couples and families do not discuss certain issues before the nikkah. Some of these include:
- Whether or not the wife will work outside the home
- Will the couples wait to have children
- Which city or country will the couple live in after marriage
- Will they live with their parents or have their own apartments.
In my opinion, these issues needed to be discussed and decided at the beginning of the marriage process.
Leadership of the Home
Who is in charge of house? There is usually a tug-of-war of who is in control of the relationship. Many couples today are refusing to compromise (within moderation) when differences arise. It is an issue of equality between spouses. In the Islamic perspective, the husband is given the leadership role in the marital relationship. However, this does not mean he should run the family life like a dictator. Allah (swt) says in the Quran:
Translation: Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband’s] absence what Allah would have them guard. But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance – [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them. But if they obey you [once more], seek no means against them. Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted and Grand.
It must be remembered that Islamically, the leader is the one who serves, manages, provides, and nourishes. A leader must also have humility and deal with all of those under his care and protection with justice and equality.
Respect your husband, and he should respect his wife. It is important to know that comparison between the two must be avoided at all costs since each individual is different. For example, the groom should never say, “My mom cooks better than you.” Or the girl should avoid saying, “My brother or father is smarter than you. You can never be like them”.
When two people live together, arguments can arise because each individual has a different nature. Arguments are like fire at home. Put out the fire as fast as possible and remember if it is the man’s fault he has a hard time admitting it. So be careful not to force them at a time when he is most upset. He may realize it after a little while and can come back to you and say “I’m sorry, please let it go”. If you fight back then not only are you adding wood to the fire but you are also making the relationship worse.
In the marital relationship, use gratitude frequently. Thank each other on a regular basis. If the wife cooks nicely, thank her. Or if the husband takes her out to eat in a nice place then thank him. The Prophet (saw) said, “He who does not thank people, does not thank Allah”. The more you thank one another, the more love you will feel.
Even a smile is charity, according to the Prophet (saw). And charity comes from home. The bride should dress nicely, wear make-up, jewelry, and keep a smile on her face. So when the husband comes home he will be happy. This is because it is likely that he is spending time outside of the home around his coworkers, who could be women that are fitted in tight dresses and can be very attractive. It is very common that women dress up to please their significant other before marriage, but afterwards they give up and stop altogether not finding the need to impress their spouse. Abdullah ibn Abbas (RA) said before he entered his home he would freshen himself, brush his hair, smile and then enter. He did this with the sole purpose of making his wife feel happy. Spend time with each other, and enjoy making jokes together. But be careful not to hurt each other’s feelings.
Making a schedule may seem an end to spontaneity but that is not true, it allows you to establish your own lifestyles and rituals as a couple. It is especially important if one or both members of the couple are going to work or school. It helps them set aside time in an otherwise face-paced life. Some suggestions to include in the schedule:
- Praying at least one prayer together
- Deciding on a weekly menu
- Having a special breakfast every Saturday morning
- Setting a day when both husband and wife will clean up together
- Setting a time to discuss finances and budget
- Making phone calls to your spouse during the day
In this way the couple learns to become a team instead of two people living in the same house with separate lives.
A number of couples do not keep their own secrets – especially those related to intimate relations, and thus expose their spouse’s faults. This is unacceptable and very un-islamic. Couples should seek to hide each other’s faults, and seek advice for marriage problems from a married mentor. This should be someone who is wise, and has the trust of both parties. The Quran (2:187) says: “They are clothing for you and you are clothing for them. “ The functions of clothing are numerous, and one of them is to cover the defects that individual has on his or her body. So the couple must act as such for each other. The function of clothing is also to decorate, so the husband and wife must decorate themselves and live happily.
Before marriage, couples typically exchange gifts. After marriage, it doesn’t last for very long. The wife is usually disappointed by this. It should be remembered that the value and price of the gifts is not the focus, but it is the thought that counts. A flower or decorative pen can suffice. The Prophet (saw) recommends to exchange gifts at any time, and do not wait for any special occasion.
Before marriage, it is important for the bride and groom to know the etiquettes of sexual relations. They should understand what is halal and haram, so that they can abide by the rules of Allah (swt) and the Prophet (saw). For example, it must be known that the sexual interactions of gays and lesbians is haram. The Prophet (saw) has said these relations can be a form of ibadah. When a companion asked, is this simply for our enjoyment? The Prophet (saw) said, if done incorrectly then it is a sin. It is also important to respect each other’s needs. The Prophet (saw) said, the curse of the angel’s will be upon the woman who refuses her husband when he comes to her, and the hoors of jannah will be waiting for him and asking Allah (swt) to send him to them. For a successful relationship, physical contact, like hugs and kisses, are very important. In this day in age both husband and wife are too busy and their paths cross very seldom throughout the day. It is important to make a schedule and include time for these interactions. The Prophet (saw) said if the man is busy three nights, then the fourth night must be spent with his wife. Also in recent times, couples are constantly busy in social media – like facebook, youtube, and twitter. They neglect their spouses and it has resulted in divorce.
In conclusion, I would like to leave you with the words of Allah (swt) and the Prophet (saw)
- The Prophet (saw) said, “He who marries has safeguarded half of his religion”
- The Prophet (saw) said, “It is my tradition to marry. So whoever turns away from my tradition is not from me”
Translation: And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquillity in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.
There are 2 things here to note: Mawadda and Rehma. They are the key to success in the wife and the husband. And if there is no mercy and no love they are not fulfilling the rights of the marriage.