A very thoughtful and insightful perspective from M.Y Baig on strengthening the relationship between husband and wife.
Allah Ta’ala said regarding marriage:
وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ أَنْ خَلَقَ لَكُم مِّنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ أَزْوَاجًا لِّتَسْكُنُوا إِلَيْهَا وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَكُم مَّوَدَّةً وَرَحْمَةً إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ
“And from among His Signs is that He created for you spouses from among yourselves, that you may find tranquillity in them, and He has put between you love and mercy. Verily, in that are signs for a people who reflect.” (Rum 30: 21)
The marriage is based on three principles: Sukoon, Mawaddah, Rahmah
No movement away from the spouse…heart, eyes, company. You are and must become each other’s best friends, confidants, supporters and advisers.
No public arguments or contradicting each other before others under any circumstances.
No carrying tales about each other to anyone else…absolutely anyone else. Especially NOT to your parents.
Settle differences mutually between yourselves because you’re adults
If you’re not adults, don’t get married.
Tranquillity of the home is critical – No storm in the port.
No running battles at home – no scoring points over one another – no power struggles at home.
Don’t nag. If he wanted a nag he would have married a horse. So would she.
Do the small things: Those small thoughtful, tender, loving things that touch the heart.
Don’t do the small things: Those small petty, irritating, aggravating things that make them angry.
Just because he/she is silent it doesn’t mean they’re happy. Silence can hide many things including disgust, grief, hopelessness, despair and anger.
Communicate, communicate, communicate. Don’t keep it inside. It will fester and grow until it bursts. Let out the steam before it blows up the cooker. But let it out with concern. Don’t blame but talk about how it affected you. Don’t say, “You insulted me.” Say, “When you said that, I was very hurt.”
Remember that marriage is about trust. Trust means that there are no barriers between you, no defences. So take special care because your words will go straight to the heart. And no matter what, you can heal the sick but you can’t raise the dead. Words can kill more effectively than weapons so consider carefully before speaking anything negative.
Never react. Respond after thinking and only if you need to. And do that appropriately in the right place at the right time.
Always defend each other…their honour is your honour. What hurts your spouse, hurts you.
No arguments at the dining table and in the bedroom. Show only concern and affection.
No screens (TV, phone, iPad) at the dining table or bedroom. Give each other attention.
Enjoy each other physically, mentally, spiritually.
Enjoy mentally by good conversation and humour (Laugh with, not at). Never bad-talk your spouse directly or indirectly. Humour is fine. Mocking is shameful.
Enjoy spiritually by praying together. Couples who pray together, stay together.
Show love…not on anniversaries but every day. An apple a day keeps the doctor away. A kiss a day keeps the lawyer away.
Show mutual respect in every way. Disrespecting your spouse is to insult yourself.
Demonstrate affection appropriately and at the right time and place but demonstrate it. Don’t leave it to them to guess. Be embarrassed about disputing in public and about disobeying Allah. Not about showering your spouse with affection.
There’s nothing cute about laughing at your spouse. It just shows that you’re a lousy decision maker. If he’s such a joker why did you marry him in the first place. Change him to her…same message.
Show that you trust and never betray trust. Remember that it takes a lifetime to build trust and one action to destroy it. After that you may be forgiven but you’ll never be trusted again. Don’t do that to yourself.
Never lie. Never cheat. Always be truthful because even if you can deceive your spouse, you can’t deceive Allah.
Express thanks verbally, nonverbally and daily. Don’t assume that they know. Allah knows but He said that He would increase the blessings you show gratitude for and warned of punishment for those who don’t express gratitude. Expressing gratitude is about you and your character. Not about the other.
Spend time together: Love needs nurturing and nourishment like a beautiful plant. Without that it will wither and die.
A marriage is not a hobby. Marriage is commitment which earns huge rewards but needs attention and maintenance. It’s not a machine that runs on its own. It’s a beautiful rose garden that you have to tend and nurture to be able to enjoy. Others can’t do it for you. You have to grow your own roses. Remember finally that even the most beautiful and fragrant roses have thorns.
The home is not a hotel. Couples must spend quality time together every day…not just on holidays. Being bodily present before the TV imbibing popcorn doesn’t amount to spending time together.
One meal and one prayer together as a family every day is mandatory. Build this into your schedule. Change your work if you need to but don’t compromise on this.
Wake up each other for Tahajjud because Allah loves the man who wakes his wife up for Tahajjud and the woman who wakes her husband up for Tahajjud. If you have Allah’s love your marriage can’t go wrong.
Don’t criticise each other for anything other than violation of religious duties. Even that, don’t criticize but advise lovingly. Then make special dua for your spouse.
Your spouse is your asset. Treat them like assets. Care for them, protect them, maintain them, pamper them, make sure that they’re well and happy.
Make sure your earning and food is always Halal. It affects your marriage positively. Haraam earnings and doubtful food poisons your marriage and life. Halal earnings and food have Baraka, give Izzah, protect against illness and loss and earn Allah’s pleasure.
Maintain a Book of Good Deeds: Write down daily whatever good you receive from your spouse no matter how small.
Keep it in a place accessible to both and read it daily. This encourages each other to do good and to remember it at times when things are tough.
Forget anything bad. Don’t demand apologies but always hasten to offer your own. Be gracious when your spouse apologises because one day you’ll need that grace yourself.
Never remind about negatives from the past. Don’t stockpile garbage. Or you’ll have to smell the stink yourself.
Remember and be mentally prepared for tough times, materially, mentally and spiritually. They will come but if you’re connected with Allah and recall the good you received from one another you’ll sail through them.
Consciously thank one another and thank Allah. Any time you feel you’re getting a raw deal, look at someone who’s worse off. Sadly plenty of examples of that all around.
Thank Allah for your spouse. If he/she is good, you should be thankful. If not it’s an opportunity for Sabr and Allah is with those who have Sabr. So thank Allah always.
Beware of hurting the pious spouse for she’s connected to Allah. If she’s helpless against you and calls upon her Rabb, He’ll answer her. Never put yourself in that position. Same advice for bossy, aggressive wives lording it over submissive husbands.
Marriage is another word for adjustment. Adjustment means to understand that you have to give up something to get something. What you get in a good marriage is far superior to whatever you give up in terms of career, freedom or friends. Never forget that.
If you don’t believe that, don’t get married because a marriage ruined for a career, friends or freedom is suicide and Hell on earth.
Remember that Allah will reward you for every time you behave with Sabr so be patient. Nothing lasts forever. Not even the bad time that you’re going through.
A closed mouth gathers no evil. So speak good or remain silent. What you didn’t say can’t hurt you, so don’t say it.
Finally remember that mercy is to return good in exchange for evil. Not good for good. We expect that from Allah as we expect forgiveness for our sins.
Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam said that Allah will show mercy to those who show mercy to others. Show mercy because you’ll also need mercy one day
May Allah fill your life with grace, Barakah and Rahmah.