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Strengthening the Marital Bond

 

By: M.B. Ahmed

The Bond of Marriage is the bond connecting the husband and the wife. This bond is made up of numerous threads, each thread representing a human virtue. These threads are woven together to form this bond that keeps the husband and the wife connected together throughout their married life.

It is very essential not only to keep this bond everlasting but to make every effort to strengthen it as well. The success of a marriage is based on the strength of this bond. The biggest mistake many couples make is to take their bond for granted, assuming that their connection will stay strong because they love each other or, with the passing of time, they will get more attached to each other.

However, they fail to make sincere efforts to maintain the strength of their union. Leave aside efforts to further strengthen this bond, they fail to sustain even its prevailing strength.

There are six principal threads of human virtues that we have to work on very hard to keep the marriage Robust and Fiery.

The first and the foremost one is LOVE

A very pleasant surprise is that the initials of the four subsequent threads that greatly help to keep the marriage afloat are all included in the word LOVE. 

These are: LOYALTYOPENNESSVARIETY and ENDURANCE. There are many other threads also that further strengthen the bond.

Let us now examine each of these six threads. Please note that the word ‘partner’ that appears in this write-up denotes ‘a spouse’, a person of opposite sex with whom you have had a Nikāh, and not as per the western concept in which whoever lives with you is your ‘partner’, whether legally married to you or not.

 

Love  

One of the greatest bounties that Allāh, with his infinite mercy, has presented to us is LOVE. The word love is very easy on our tongue but its qualities have priceless significance in our life.

Literally, the word ‘love’ means a feeling of strong or constant affection for a person.  It can also be a virtue representing human kindness, compassion and affection.

Love is also a feeling of complete bliss and peace, a source of immense pleasure and the most beautiful thing that cannot be seen or even heard yet it has such soothing powers that it cannot only warm our hearts but can also take us to an altogether different world.

Within love, we may feel heart warmed, excited, aroused, fulfilled, comforted, contented, a sense of closeness, desire, and even awe.

Just imagine what life would have been if love was not with us on this earth. The aridity, the boredom, the discord, the hostility and the weariness would have been enough to take us close to our death even before its arrival.

Love has a very unique and lofty position in a marriage and its presence in our married life is totally indispensable. The importance of love in marriage is boundless. Besides bringing with it a closer bond and immense happiness, it also brings health benefits, an improved sex life, better sleep, increased financial security, and respect for each other and reduces the daily stress and anxieties of life. Without love, you and your partner would not be able to enjoy a happy, healthy relationship.

Love is offering your spouse words of affirmation. Words of affirmation are any spoken or written words that confirm, support, uplift, and empathize with another person in a positive manner.

Islam also has given great prominence to love among the couples as can be seen in the extract given below taken from ‘The Bond of Holy Love’ by Hazrat Maulana Ahmad Sadeq Desai.

‘Even lifting a morsel of food to the mouth of the wife has been given the significance of ‘ibādat (worship). It is an act of love by which the husband derives thawāb (reward in the Hereafter).

It was part of the Uswāh Hasanāh (Noble and beautiful Character) of Rasulullāh صلی ‌اللہ ‌علیہ ‌وسلم to engage in light-hearted talk with his wives. Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (radhiallahu anhu) said:

“Allah loves a man who caresses his wife. Both of them are awarded thawaab because of this loving attitude and their rizq (worldly provision and earning) is increased.”

Rasulullah صلی ‌اللہ ‌علیہ ‌وسلم used to express his love for his wives in many unique ways. He would be affirmative, transparent, vulnerable, playful, forbearing and very affectionate. He would give them a helping hand in household chores.

Nabi Muhammad صلی ‌اللہ ‌علیہ ‌وسلم said: “When a husband and wife look at each other with love, Allah looks at both of them with mercy.” SAHIH BUKHARI

 

Loyalty

The importance of loyalty in a blissful marriage can never be overemphasized. Where there is true love between the spouses, loyalty can easily find its way. However, the standard of loyalty should be such that you are always confident that come what may your partner will never betray you and vice versa.

In the modern times, and especially after the advent of the social networking services, interacting with members of the opposite sex has become very common. People tend to communicate with ghayr-mahram persons (girl-friends or boyfriends) and at times even with their ‘ex-spouses’ without any restraint. We have to be aware that such actions constitute a breach of loyalty towards our partners.

The virtue of loyalty also includes seeking to create comfort and security in your relationships, making your spouse feel loved and cared for, lending a hand to your partner, trying to remember all that your partner has done and is doing for you. At times we tend to take for granted the repeated acts and services our spouses are providing to us to make our life easy and comfortable.

Being loyal to your spouse also means treasuring the beautiful moments you have spent with your partner and looking forward to a more dazzling future life, with sincere optimism that Insha Allāh you will come even closer to each other.

Openness

This is an important factor and there is no compromise for it. Keep communication lines open between the two of you. Don’t keep secrets because it can breed suspicion and mistrust. Try your best to let each other know about the innermost feelings and sentiments. If something is bothering you, let your spouse know about it. If you have questions, ask your partner in a calm and pleasant manner. Don’t be too inquisitive like you are making an interrogation based on unfounded suspicions. Just be honest and sincere about your thoughts and encourage your partner to do the same.

 

Variety

Monotony in life can at times be very frustrating. That is why we have to spice our life with variety. Variety keeps the boredom at bay. Someone once said, “Nothing is pleasant that is not spiced with variety.”

If love keeps the marriage alive then variety keeps it lively. For this reason we should not neglect the process of trying new ideas to keep the marriage flourishing.  The wife has to use her ingenuity to introduce new dishes in her menu. She should also see that she avoids repetitiveness in the way she dresses up and gets ready to receive her husband when he comes back from work. The husband in turn should reciprocate by greeting her in a novel way every time he returns home. Also, bringing an occasional gift can work wonders.

Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet صلی ‌اللہ ‌علیہ ‌وسلم said, “Give gifts and you will love one another.” AL BUKHARI

Your partner should not become accustomed to seeing one monotonously repetitive site: you being totally engrossed in your smartphone. When your partner is with you, see that you take a temporary ‘separation’ from your smartphone. No matter how much you are attached to your smartphone you have to give top priority to your partner.

 

Endurance

The Islamic term for endurance is Sabr’. Sabr is undoubtedly one of the most useful qualities for a blissful married life. Most people who get married have high expectations about their partners and about life after marriage. As soon as the honeymoon is over and the realities of life catch up with them they realise it is not all bed of roses as they had anticipated. Some unpleasant and uncompromising traits of their partners make them very uneasy in life.

Then there are some marriages wherein the in-laws make life difficult for the newly wedded couple.

It is very important at this juncture that both of you must have time to sit together and try to work out ways to resolve your issues. You must encourage each other to have patience and try to calmly work out your differences and other marital issues. Also, when the husband loses the temper the wife should try to restrain herself and when she flares up he should try to remain calm and composed.

We have all had moments when we wished our partner was thinner, wealthier, more romantic, and so on. Take a look at your expectations and ask yourself how realistic they are. Unrealistic expectations lead to chronic frustration, which is one of the main reasons marriages fail. On the other hand, observe your partner closely to look for some uniqueness in him or her that you might have overlooked.

This is also the time when the virtue of Sabr becomes very helpful. There are many verses in Qur’ān and numerous ahādith that stress the importance of adopting the noble quality of Sabr.  Being patient and forbearing brings us closer to Allāh and with His Grace He rewards us by developing in us previously unattainable heights of insight which empowers us to handle life’s difficult moments.

Remember, every difficult moment in life is like an Oyster and there is precious Pearl lying hidden in it!

 

The Strongest Thread

The thread that makes your bond the strongest has just been touched very briefly in the above write-up.

Can you guess which one it is?

It is your connection with Allāh Subhānah wa Ta’ālā!

To establish this connection you have to have the noble qualities of Taqwā (piety and fear of Allāh) and Tawakkul (reliance on Him) in you. Make du’ā profoundly to ask Him to bless your marriage, to keep your marriage safe from every calamity, whether big or small, and to make it easy for you and your partner to follow the Mubārak Sunnāh of Nabi Muhammad Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa Sallam.

In conclusion here is some advice to all those who are planning to get married:

  1. The Partner: Choose a spouse who has Taqwā(piety and fear of Allāh). To have such a spouse you have got to develop this quality in you. It is then that Allah will open ways for you to have such a partner.

 

  1. The Wedding: Do you want Blessings and Barakāh to be showered in your marriage? Do you want to have true love between you and your partner flourishing throughout your married life? It is very easy and the least expensive!

 

Have the wedding the Sunnāh way! 

 

If you have a lavish wedding where commands of Allāh are violated openly and without any reservations and where the Sunnāh of His Beloved Messenger sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam are nothing more than mere ‘window dressing’ then there is no guarantee whatsoever that your marriage will last long and if it does then it will be void of the Barakāh and the Blessings.

 

…and Allāh Ta’ālā Knows Best

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