Marriage, especially for Muslims, is a lot more than having someone to call a husband or wife. The whole purpose of having a spouse is to find tranquillity in and with them, and our relationships with our spouses have signs that Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) is asking us to give thought to. The marital relationship is an incredible blessing and divine sign. Allah says:
وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ أَنْ خَلَقَ لَكُم مِّنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ أَزْوَاجًا لِّتَسْكُنُوا إِلَيْهَا وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَكُم مَّوَدَّةً وَرَحْمَةً إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ
“And among His Signs (is) that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquillity in them; and He placed between you love and mercy. Indeed, in that surely (are) Signs for a people who reflect.” (Surah Ar-Rum 30:21)
Marriage makes people partners, not parts of each other that must be controlled and bossed over. The Quran is an ocean of gems for those who seek them. This is by no means a complete list of advice that the Quran offers, but just a reminder that no matter what kind of day you are having, this Book holds the answers for you. Allah says:
وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا قَبْلَكَ مِنَ الْمُرْسَلِينَ إِلَّا إِنَّهُمْ لَيَأْكُلُونَ الطَّعَامَ وَيَمْشُونَ فِي الْأَسْوَاقِ وَجَعَلْنَا بَعْضَكُمْ لِبَعْضٍ فِتْنَةً أَتَصْبِرُونَ وَكَانَ رَبُّكَ بَصِيرًا
“And not We sent before you any Messengers but indeed, they [surely] ate food and walked in the markets. And We have made some of you for others a trial, will you have patience? And is your Lord All-Seer.” (Surah Al-Furqan, 25:20)
It is very easy to criticize and want our spouse to do better in areas that we feel they lack in, but we have to remember that we are not perfect ourselves. We may not have the same faults, but if we focus on improving our defects, just us wanting to change reflects in our beloved husband or wife, prompting them to improve too.
Here are some habits of Muslim couples who’ve found tranquillity and happiness in their marriage:
- The love of this world is instilled for a purpose.
- Everything is a test.” And he (Shaytan) had over them no authority except [it was decreed] that We might make evident who believes in the Hereafter from who is thereof in doubt. And your Lord, over all things, is Guardian.” (Qur’an, 34:210
- It starts with us.” That is because Allah would not change the favour which He had bestowed upon a people until they change what is within themselves. And indeed, Allah is Hearing and Knowing.” (Qur’an, 8:53)
- Don’t be self-righteous. So do not claim yourselves to be pure; He is most knowing of who fears Him.” (Qur’an, 53:32)
- Life is a rollercoaster ride.“…And these days [of varying conditions] We alternate among the people so that Allah may make evident those who believe…” (Qur’an, 3:140)
- Just listen. Listen carefully and objectively, especially if they have been repeating it for a very long time.
- Control the urge to defend yourself: look for the truth in your spouse’s words first.
- Ask yourself: “Has anyone pointed this out about me before?” The answer could very likely be a yes, and if it is, then you’re looking at a flaw that Allah wants you to work on and get rid of.
- Realize how merciful Allah is being to you through your spouse. Thank Allah and your spouse sincerely for caring so much about your success in the hereafter and making you a better person.
- They love each other for Allah’s sake
- They are grateful for each other
- They communicate like best friends
- They never lose focus on each other’s primary needs
- Ask them for examples of how they want these needs fulfilled
- They are the comfort of each other’s eyes
- Be their source of comfort and support
- They make each other bloom
- They sense each other’s stress
- They are conscious of Allah (glorified and exalted be He) in conflict
- Care For Each Other
Here’s what the growth curve of a Muslim couple that’s learned to manage marital conflict looks like:
- 1st year of marriage: blame all conflicts on the spouse
- 2nd year of marriage: blame all conflicts on the spouse, shaytan, evil eye and magic (seriously)
- 3rd year of marriage: blame the spouse for ‘causing’ conflict and take nominal blame for reacting absurdly
- 4th year of marriage: make sure spouse takes at least half the blame for conflicts
- 5th year of marriage: agree that your spouse has been right all along and there’s something you need to change about yourself
If you ask every happily married couple that’s successfully made it past the first five years, they’ll tell you there’s a no bigger enemy to marital happiness than ego.
Ego is the defence mechanism of the lower self, and ego in marriage sounds like:
Between Husband And Wife
- Be merciful. “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.” [Qur’an, 30:21]
- Like a garment. “…They are clothing for you and you are clothing for them.” [Qur’an, 2:187]
- Be grateful always. “And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favour]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe.” [Qur’an, 14:7]
- Be gentle.
- Pra. “And seek help through patience and prayer, and indeed, it is difficult except for the humbly submissive [to Allah].” [Qur’an, 2:45]
- The heart lies between the two Fingers of our Rabb. “It is He who sent down tranquillity into the hearts of the believers that they would increase in faith along with their [present] faith. And to Allah belong the soldiers of the heavens and the earth, and ever is Allah Knowing and Wise. ” [Qur’an, 48:4]
- Don’t complain to the world. “…I only complain of my suffering and my grief to Allah…” [Qur’an, 12:86]
our spouse has loved you for Allah’s sake every time they have:
- Stopped you from harbouring suspicions or ill-will (about your boss or competitor or any other annoying person in your life)
- Stopped you from backbiting (about your friends, colleagues, in-laws (ahem))
- Helped you be more kind and gentle in your speech and manners (to helpers, waiters, labourers, siblings, elders and children)
- Helped you be more honest with yourself or to others
- Helped you forgive someone and overlook their faults
- Helped you become more generous or less extravagant
- Helped you recognize and overcome the weaknesses of your inner self
- Thanking each other for at least one thing every day:
- exchanging a smile that says “thank you, you mean the world to me”
- saying “thank you/ jazak Allah khayr” every time your spouse does something for you
- getting/doing small things for your spouse that you know they will love
- writing down things about each other you’re grateful for in a journal and exchanging your journals regularly
- For providing you with a roof to live under/for making a home out of your house
- For buying you clothes to wear/for making sure you have clean clothes to wear every day
- For buying you the food you eat every day/for making delicious meals for you every day
- For being there to take you where you need to go/for being there to take care of the house when you’re away
زُيِّنَ لِلنَّاسِ حُبُّ الشَّهَوَاتِ مِنَ النِّسَاءِ وَالْبَنِينَ وَالْقَنَاطِيرِ الْمُقَنطَرَةِ مِنَ الذَّهَبِ وَالْفِضَّةِ وَالْخَيْلِ الْمُسَوَّمَةِ وَالْأَنْعَامِ وَالْحَرْثِ ذَٰلِكَ مَتَاعُ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَاللَّهُ عِندَهُ حُسْنُ الْمَآبِ
“Beautified for mankind (is) love (of) the (things they) desire of [the] women and [the] sons and [the] heaps [the] stored up of [the] gold and [the] silver, and [the] horses [the] branded, and [the] cattle and [the] tilled land. That (is) provision (of) life (of) the world but Allah – with Him (is an) excellent [the] abode to return.” (Surah Al ‘Imran, 3:14)
Be that amazing person who motivates, encourages and helps your spouse discover and use their God-given potential and traits to bloom and be a source of joy and mercy to the world. Don’t stop your spouse from being kind and loving to their parents, don’t stop them from being helpful towards their colleagues and relatives, don’t make them cut ties that you know they should keep, don’t compel them to bottle up their talents when you know their skills can be used in a halal way to bring about a lot of good, don’t control their every relationship and acquaintance with other people.