Keeping the spark of love alive in a relationship
As the days come to closer to one’s marriage, excitement, ecstasy and elation pump through the bride and groom. The build up to marriage is an experience of thrill and jubilation. When the marriage is solemnised, one’s happiness and delight is on the verge of brimming and tipping over. When the newlywed couple meet for the first time, words cannot describe the sweetness of the bliss, serenity, pleasure and elation tasted by the two.
If every day of the marriage can mirror the first day of marriage, and every night reflect the first night of marriage, then the marriage will be a euphoric experience on this world.
The gentleness, passion, love, tenderness displayed on the first day and night of the marriage should be portrayed throughout one’s life.
The first couple of months are always a ‘honeymoon’. Once the couple settle down, then reality begins. Many couples fail at this point. The husband gets engrossed in his job. He comes home tired and late, feeling hungry and tired. He demands for the food and feels lazy to do anything. He eats, puts the dirty plates in the sink and lies down on the sofa. He might awaken to perform salāh if he is conscious of salāh. Otherwise, he wakes up later on towards the night, phones a few friends, watches TV and keeps ordering the wife to get him x and y. When it is time to sleep, the husband if he is feeling in a good mood he will have relations with his wife-but only to satisfy his needs. Once he is fulfilled, he stops and drops off to sleep. Whether the wife is satisfied or not does not even cross his mind. This becomes the routine of his life.
The wife on the other hand, she initially tries to please her husband. She slowly loses her enthusiasm as she does not receive enough attention from her husband. She cooks to please her husband. She will put effort into her food. She will try and perfect every detail in the food. The presentation, ingredients and spices are put meticulously so they complement each other. After a while she begins to tire from this as the husband does not comment or he criticises her food. As soon as the husband goes to work, she is on the phone to her associates. She cooks, watches TV, cleans the house and enjoys her day before her husband comes home. Once the husband comes, she becomes a slave again.
This style of marriage where there is no affection shown, no real emotion transmitted from one party to the other is heading towards destruction.
The husband needs to implement the romance the Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam displayed. We consider Romeo to be romantic but not the Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam. If I was to say the Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam was the most romantic individual, I would not be lying. Looking attentively to the biography of the Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam, you will find that he was extending a great deal of respect to his wives and was displaying high attention, care and love toward them.
He was the best example for the ideal manners toward the wife. He was comforting for his wives, wiping their tears, respecting their emotions, hearing their words, caring for their complaints, alleviating their sadness, going in picnics with them, racing with them, bearing their abandonment, discussing matters with them, keeping their dignity, supporting them in emergencies, declaring his love to them and was very happy with such love.
The husband and wife have to bond with one another psychologically, physically and spiritually. Here are some attractive examples and points we need to adopt to achieve a marriage of romance:
1. Know their feelings
The Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam was telling Sayyidah Aisha radiallahu anha : “I know well when you are pleased or angry with me. Aisha replied: How you know that? He said: When you are pleased with me you swear by saying “By the God of Mohammad” but when you are angry you swear by saying “By the God of Ibrahim”. She said: You are right, I don’t mention your name.”[i]
The husband and wife should be aware of each other’s feelings. The husband should be able to gauge when his wife is upset or sad, likewise the wife should be able to read her husband’s behaviour. By being conscious of one another’s feelings, it will help in resolving any differences. When your spouse is down or upset, be there to console him/her. Sit with them, speak with them, listen to them. Try and make them smile. If the husband is always conscious of his wife’s feelings, and the wife is always conscious of the husband’s feelings, then this will assist greatly in keeping the ‘flicker’ alight.
2. Console her
Sayyidah Safiyah radiallahu anha was on a journey with the Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam. She was late so the Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam received her while she was crying. The Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam wiped her tears with his own hands and tried his utmost to calm her down. [ii]
This is another feature a marriage must have. Each spouse has to be there for the other in the good and bad times. The wife should find comfort and solace in the husband and the husband should find warmth and love in his wife. Be gentle with one another.
3. Laying in the wife’s lap
The Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam would recline in the lap of our beloved mother Sayyidah Aisha radaillahu anha even in the state when she would be menstruating. The Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam would recite the Qur῾ān whilst reclining in his wife’s lap.[iii]
How many times have we rested in the lap of our spouse? These gestures may seem trivial but they are the acts which bring the hearts close. The wife can sense and see the love of her husband for her in such actions. Every so often come home and just go and rest in the lap of your wife. She will appreciate this gesture greatly.
4. Combing the spouse’s hair:
Aisha radiallahu anha would comb the hair of the Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam and wash his hair.
This is how close a couple has to be. Love evolves and grows to such an extent that a spouse yearns to do everything for the other spouse even if it simply combing their hair. To maintain a high intensity of love, do the little things for your spouse also. Little acts have a huge psychological impact on the mind of the spouse. Seldom comb their hair, take their clothes out to wear, bring them a cold drink on a hot day, prepare something for them etc.
5. Drinking and eating from one place:
Aisha radiallahu anha would drink from a cup. The Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam would take this cup and search for the place where the lips of his beloved wife made contact. Upon finding the place where his wife drank from the cup, he would put his lips on the very same place so that his lips have touched the place where her lips touched. He would then drink the contents of the cup at the same time enjoying with his spouse. When there was meat to eat, Sayyidah Aisha radiallahu anha would take a bite. The Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam would take the meat from her hand and again place his mouth the very same place where his wife ate from. This would add taste of love to his food.[iv]
Do things together with your wife. Do not just eat at the same time and on the same tablecloth, but eat from the same plate. Let alone the same plate, eat together from the same article of food. This will bond the hearts so close to one another. When everything your wife comes into contact with becomes more beloved to you than food itself, imagine the flame of love in your lives?
6. Kissing: –
The Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam would kiss his wife regularly. Even when he salallahu alaihi wasallam would be fasting, he would kiss his wife.[v]
Compliment your spouse often with kisses. When exiting the house, make it habit you leave by coming into contact with your spouse. When returning home, along with saying salām to her, show that you have missed her dearly.
When she is working or busy in her household chores, surprise her with a kiss. You have to show your love. Love is the fuel of marriage; if you desire your marriage to progress, you have to express your love in every way you can.
Physical relations in a marriage are very important. The famous saying is, “actions speak louder than words.” Show your spouse you love her. Sharī῾ah promotes romance and physical relations between the husband and wife. The Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam categorically stated,
“Conjugal relations with your wife is a sadaqah.”[vi]
7. Lifting the morsel to her mouth
The Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam said : If you spend an amount you will be rewarded for it, -even when you lift the morsel to your wife’s mouth.” [vii]
The husband and wife should make these gentle gestures to exhibit their love and appreciation. Feed your spouse with your own hands now and then. This will rekindle the flame of love in your marriage.
8. Assisting her in the housework:
The Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam would clean and help at home. He would see to his needs himself rather than demanding his wife. He would clean and see to his clothing himself.
Without being asked, if the couple help each other in day to day activities, it will make one appreciate the other. Likewise, one should try his best not to demand his/her spouse to do things too much. Whatever one can do himself, he should do. We need to be considerate of the spouse. The wife works tirelessly all day. So if the husband was to be considerate and realise his wife works hard, this will touch the wife. Likewise, if the wife was to go out of her way to see to the needs of her husband being considerate, it will induce a great spark of love between the two.
9. Telling her stories
Discuss stories and events with your spouse. Engage in light hearted discussions with her-something to laugh and joke over. The Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam on many occasions would discuss stories, events and have light hearted discussions. The famous story narrated by Sayyidah Aisha radiallahu anha regarding Umm Zar’ is evident.
This is one angle which is neglected more so than often. It is all ‘business’ between the husband and wife. They do not get into light hearted conversations. Instead, the husband rings his friends and chuckles with them. The wife on the other hand giggles during the day with her friends. This should not be the case. Focus and divert all your amusement and entertainment at your spouse. If you want to laugh, then let it be that you are laughing with your wife.
Make it a point in your busy schedule daily where you sit with your wife and do nothing but have fun with her.
10. Sharing happy occasions with her:
Once when the Ethiopians were practicing target shooting in the masjid complex, the Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam stood with his wife watching. Not only did the Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam stand with his wife, he put his cloak around her. The Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam although he had other jobs to do, he stayed there standing with his wife. He only went when his wife wanted to go.[viii]
A husband should be one who shares happy occasions and experiences with his wife. When it is raining, cold or sunny, one should shelter his wife.
You should be willing to sacrifice your errands to spend time with your wife. When the spouse sees sacrifice for her sake, it will create immense love and respect in their heart.
11. Racing with his wife
The Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam would exercise and play with his wife also. The famous incident of the Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam challenging his wife to race is well known.
When a couple can have such good times together, it only ignites the love even more.
12. Calling her by a beautiful name:
The Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam would call his wife ‘Humairā’’ out of love. Linguistically it means the little reddish one, but the scholars state that in reality it refers to someone who is so fair that due to the sun they get a reddish tan. This was the reason why the Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam called her Humairaa’.[ix]
Call your spouse nice sweet names. One has to show his partner love and affection in every little thing. One needs to feed love constantly to his spouse to keep the flame burning.
Once the Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam stared into his wife’s eyes. He was gazing at the world within his wife’s eyes. He then said to Sayyidah Aisha radiallahu anha in praise of her beauty,
“How white are your eyes.”[x]
This is what is needed. The husband and wife should be constantly complementing and praising each other. The husband has to show his love and attraction to his wife. The wife needs to show her infatuation for her husband. When there is a reciprocal relationship, the marriage climbs heights.
13. Dress for your spouse
Sayyiduna Ibn Abbās radiallahu anhu said: “As my wife adorns herself for me, I adorn myself for her. I do not want to take all of my rights from her so that she will not take all of her rights from me because Allah, the Exalted, stated the following: “And women shall have rights similar to the rights against them.” (Qur῾ān 2 :228.)[xi]
This is another area where many spouses fail. The wife only dresses when it is a special occasion. The husband on the hand stays scruffy and does not take care to be neat and tidy. If the couple want their everyday to be a special occasion like their wedding day, they must dress to impress!
The wife should wear the clothing which pleases her husband. Likewise, the husband should wear what the wife likes. Every time the husband and wife glance at each other, the glance should arouse them and stir up more love for their spouse. This will ignite the love in the heart.
14. Utilising perfume:
The Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam would have a container for perfume. He would use perfume constantly.[xii] One should make an effort to smell good for his wife all the time. Looking good, keeping clean, smelling nice compliments a relationship exceptionally. Make sure you hair is tidy, your clothes are neat and you smell pleasant. This will attract your spouse always and inject affection into the marriage.
15. Do not talk about her private matters:
The Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam described the one who discloses his wife’s affairs to others as amongst the worst of people.[xiii]
Whatever occurs between yourself and your spouse should remain between you two. How unmanly and shameful is it when a husband discusses his wife to his friends? The secrets and issues of the spouse must not be narrated at all to anyone. Do not talk about your wife to others. Your wife is for you. You are for your wife. Your fidelity and loyalty should always be to your spouse.
16. Loving & respecting their families
Another great factor to contribute to a healthy relationship is to love and cherish the family of your spouse. The Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam was once asked whom he loved the most. He replied, “Aisha.” When the questioner rephrased his question and asked from amongst the men, he replied, “Her father.”
The Prophet could have easily said Abu Bakr. His answer displays such intelligence and ingenuity, that in one response he displayed his devotion to his wife and her family. He exhibited his fondness for his in-laws. Imagine how happy his wife Sayyidah Aisha would have become upon hearing this response?
Compliment your in laws in front of your wife. Compliment your wife to her family. Your wife will really appreciate this.
Never underestimate the importance of seemingly little things as putting food in your wife’s mouth, opening the car’s door for her, etc.
Try to always find some time for both of you to pray together. Strengthening the bond between you and Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala is the best guarantee that your own marital bond would always remain strong. Having peace with Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala will always result in having more peace at home.
Mawlana Faraz Ibn Adam