Maulana Khalid Dhorat

If there is one fundamental need that exists in every single human relationship, it is the need to always feel relevant and appreciated. And there is no other relationship where this need is as grossly overlooked and abused, as in marriage. Why does this happen? Is it because humans tend to take things for granted, especially when they’re done by those closest to them?

When you’re newly married, every single thing your spouse does for you feels so special. As time goes by, your husband going every morning out to work hard, earn for the family and pay all the bill that keeps on piling, becomes normal; a few years later it becomes “his duty anyway”. Similarly, every meal your new bride cooks is delightful. Then somehow the salt always seems to keep getting lesser, and you expect those meals that take hours to prepare to be there no matter what, till eventually she’s “not doing anyone a favor by just doing her job”.

Does all this sound familiar? If yes, these are the words of ungrateful Muslim spouses that need to stop here and now. Happy Muslim couples live and breathe the following hadith in their marriage: “He who does not thank the people is not thankful to Allah.” (Sunan Abu Dawud)

Many will ask: “Why should I thank anyone for doing their duty? I pay my workers at my factory and I put food on the table, so why must I still than them over and above is?”

Well, here are 7 reasons to thank your spouse right now:

1. For reminding you to perform your duty to Allah everyday and for being a source of dignity and chastity for each other;
2. For providing you a roof to live under and for making a home out of your house;
3. For providing a reassuring shoulder to lean on and being tolerant towards each other;
4. For buying you clothes to wear and for making sure you have clean clothes to wear everyday;
5. For buying you the food you eat everyday and for making delicious meals for you every day;
6. For being there to take you where you need to go and for being there to take care of the house when you’re away;
7. For coming back home to you every evening and for being the person you can come home to everyday.

A million examples of things that we take granted daily can be given. Allah Ta’ala says in the Qur’an: “… If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny, indeed, my punishment is severe.” (14, Verse 7)

Our spouses are an immense favor and blessing of Allah Ta’ala upon us: they are an irreplaceable source of spiritual, emotional, mental and physical comfort. Happy Muslim couples keep getting happier because they simply implement the command of Allah Ta’ala in the above verse: They are grateful everyday for each other, so Allah Ta’ala increases the happiness they find in each other, just like Allah promised us.

The above verse doesn’t end there though. The last half of the verse should send a chill down every married person’s spine: “…if you deny, indeed, my punishment is severe.”

How many times have our egos stopped us from acknowledging and appreciating our spouses? How many times have we denied all the good they’ve done for us through a single word or sentence in the middle of a senseless argument? Every conflict left unresolved, every hurtful word exchanged and every baseless complaint is a refusal to value one of Allah’s best gifts to us: a spouse. It is a denial of a favor Allah Ta’ala has blessed us with that many are longing for.

And you don’t have to wait for the Hereafter to bear the consequences of being ungrateful. Days of depression, frustration, anger, spite, lack of Baraka (blessing), and even illness and hardships make life living hell for those who refuse to be grateful in their marriages. So if you aren’t doing so already, stop holding back and proclaim to your spouse how grateful you are for them!

In an excellent article by Zaynab Chinoy on the topic of happy couples, spouses can start becoming grateful for each other right by:

1. Thanking each other for at least one thing every day: you could do this through a text message, a note in a lunchbox or on the fridge, or just before you go to sleep at night;
2. Exchanging a smile that says: “thank you, you mean the world to me”;
3. Saying “JazakAllah khayr” every time your spouse does something for you;
4. Doing small things for your spouse that you know they will absolutely love;
5. Writing down things about each other you’re grateful for in a journal and exchanging your journals regularly: journaling makes you reflect, realize and truly internalize what you’re thinking about. There’s nothing better than internalizing the gratitude you feel towards your spouse; and there’s nothing more heart-warming for them to read than what you’ve written from the depths of your heart!

In this era of turbo divorces, may Allah Ta’ala grant all spouses happy and stable homes. We need to get the formula right – that’s all.