by Umm Reem

Marriage is a relationship that brings two total strangers into a close bond which Allahazzawajal Blesses with love, tranquility, peace and mercy.

It is a relationship where haram becomes halal and whenever any nation turns away from this noble practice, she only leads herself towards destruction and misery.

It is a relationship in which Allah has blessed women with a status and security in the society which they may not get otherwise.

Marriage, however, is not how it is perceived in Hollywood movies or in fairy tales where a handsome prince charming comes galloping on his horse to his long awaited princess, she falls in his arms and their life becomes perfect, without any compromises or differences or disagreements and they live with each other happily ever after. Although the last part of the fairy tales of ‘happily ever after’ can happen, but along with divergence, conflicts and cooperation!

This last point needs to be drilled in our brides-to-be(s) minds because, as females, they have the tendency to read ‘Sense and Sensibility’ and ‘Pride and Prejudice’ a million times and long for a day when Mr. Darcy will appear on their doorsteps begging their fathers for their hand! But what happens when Mr. Darcy doesn’t appear but his mother comes instead. Or what happens when one day Mr. Darcy doesn’t want to take Mrs. Darcy to dinner outside although she was dressed so nicely and was looking gorgeous. Does it mean he doesn’t love her anymore?!

What we get missed on is the part after the “happily ever after” where a husband and a wife learn each other’s differences, compromise, negotiate, conciliate, not only take but give as well!

This missing part is the reality of the marriage. It doesn’t have to be ugly but it has to be practical which is, unfortunately, not shown in “You’ve Got Mail” that what happens when “I’ve Got a Husband” and “I Need to Get Along with Him”!

So, here is some advice for all the wives and wives-to-be. Remember that first and foremost it is for myself and then for others:

1. “My Responsibility”:

Always remember what your responsibility is. Don’t worry about what is hisresponsibility. When we start worrying about his, we tend to ignore ours. Allahazzawajal will not question us about his responsibilities; He will question us about ours.

2. “My Rights, Your Rights”:My Rights, Your Rights:

Don’t let the marriage come down to a point where everything is judged based on ‘my rights’ and ‘your rights’. Marriage should be above ‘what is my right’ and ‘what is not his right’. As one of my respected sheikh, Waleed Basyouni, once said that when a marriage comes down to ‘my right and your right’ then it is not really a marriage anymore. Marriage is more about what is given beyond ‘rights’ and is compromised when ‘less then my right’ is given!

3. Wife’s Powers!

Believe me, wives have a lot of power to manipulate. Just remember wisdom, patience and politeness. Combine these three elements and you can be the navigator without being in the driver’s seat!

Remember if a woman can mislead a man, she can do just the opposite too, bi idhnihi ta’ala.

4. Politeness Please!

What can be explained politely can never be explained otherwise. This is the time and place to use your charms! It doesn’t take away from your dignity or respect; in fact it makes you more respected when you are polite and gentle with your husband.

Although it is very difficult, but if the end results are kept in mind (i.e to make your husband agree with you) then it becomes easier to watch your tone and brush up your words.

5. Smile:

Keep smiling especially whenever your eyes meet your husband’s, pass a smile. It doesn’t hurt and it doesn’t cost anything. However, it does make you look attractive! And remember, whatever is said with a smile, holds a lot of weight.

6. Less NO Earns you More YES:

Deep advice, but this is what my husband told me in early years of our marriage.

If we give less “No” to them, for whatever they may ask for, then we will get more “Yes” from them when it is our turn to ask! Understand it, implement it and reap the fruits of it, and then make du’a for me!

7. Anger Management:

If your husband is angry then there is obviously no point to argue. You wont make sense to him and you will only waste your energy and valuable time arguing about something that can be put on hold for sometime.

If he is angry, then stop arguing. Don’t talk and walk away (not with an attitude though) or change the topic. If he insists, agree with him with whatever he is saying. If he is calling day night then call the day night. It wont hurt.

YES, I know it is very, VERY difficult and this point of advice is more for me to remember then anyone else but here is what can happen:

If you just stop arguing at the heat of the moment, and wait until he calms down and his mood becomes better then approach him about the same issue then most likely he will agree with you or will at least discuss the issue much more rationally then what he would have done in his “bad mood”!

8. Learn to “agree to disagree”:
Husband and wife are two different human beings. No matter how much love they share, they can still not be the “same” person. And two different people cannot see each and every aspect of life eye to eye. There will be differences and those differences do not HAVE to be resolved. If we learn to ‘agree to disagree’ then many arguments and fights can be avoided.

9. Ignore Petty Issues:

If you just given in and agree over petty issues, then the chances are that you will win over ‘bigger’ issues.

10. Save your Demands for More Important Issues:

If a wife becomes too demanding for every day normal issues then husband’s irritation is very much understandable. Imagine one of your child asking you to eat out every single day or every time you go out. What will happen? No matter how much you love your child, you will start saying “No” and if he/she nags you will eventually start ignoring him/her.

Now, imagine one of your children being very reserve with his/her demands and rarely ever asks to eat out. Then what happens when he/she asks you? It will be very difficult for you to say “No” because you would know that this child rarely ever asks. This can even be topped with the icing if the way of asking is extremely humble and apologetic!

I remember once I was gong to ask my husband something but then in the middle of asking I changed my mind. So I told him to forget it but he insisted that I tell him what I was going to ask for. I asked him why and he said, ‘because you only ask me for 2 things: 1. to take you to your mother’s house 2. to take you to Baskin Robins!”

This was 10 years ago, so I am not sure if he still thinks that way!!

11. Don’t Cry Over Every Other Issue:

Yes, we are females and we have LOTS of tears, way more then our husbands. But it does not mean that our eyes are faucets!

I remember one of my friends, who is happily married and has a good husband mashaAllah, was telling me how her tears are always ready to drop out. In the beginning her husband used to get worried and used to worry about her crying, but now, after 12 years of marriage, whenever she starts crying he keeps looking at his watch and keeps asking, ‘are you done yet?’

If this happens to “good” husbands, imagine what will happen to average or below average husbands! So keep this “tool” special and use it only when extremely needed, otherwise it will loose its value.

12. Tongue in Check:

I do not mean to sound “too demanding” of wives but if we can keep our tongues in check, we can be quite successful. It is tough but not impossible!

I heard a sister once tell of a story in a halaqah about a husband and wife:
“The wife one day left a chair by the front door. When the husband was leaving for work he bumped into the chair and asked his wife to move the chair back to its place. She forgot to move the chair and got busy with her every day chores of cooking and cleaning. When the husband came home and opened the door, the door bumped into the chair and hit husband’s leg. He got hurt and got upset at his wife nor not moving the chair.

There are two scenarios of how the wife reacted:

A. The wife got upset too that she forgot to move the chair because she had so much stuff to do at home, and if only he could understand her difficulties and hardships he would have moved the chair himself instead of asking her etc. etc. The argument went on and on and resulted in a divorce!

B. The wife swallowed the “bitter” attitude of her husband and instead of replying back in the same tone, she apologized for ‘forgetting’ to move the chair and rushed towards the husband to see if he was okay. She offered to massage his foot so he could feel better. Husband, too, calmly sat down and his wife started massaging his foot. Then slowly but gently she explained to him how she forgot because she got busy with household work etc. Husband started sharing with her what he did all day. Consequently, both of them had a nice time chit chatting with each other and so the husband apologized to her for getting upset at her and told her, “You know, may be you should just leave the chair there so I can get hurt every day and we can have this nice time every day!”

13. In-Laws:

A. Never complain to them about your husband.

B. Praise him in front of his family to boost his self-esteem.

C. Show extra respect to him in front of his family.

14. Your Mom & Your Husband:

Never complain to your mother about your husband. Why?

A husband and a wife my argue/fight with one another but not only they forgive each other later but even forget about it. But if the wife tells her mother, then the mother will not forget how he bothered her daughter! She will not only keep it in her heart but eventually will start disliking him.

On the other hand, a wife would want her mother to like her husband. If she ever finds out that her mother doesn’t like her husband (it is inevitable for a mother to hide her true feelings from her daughter) then she will either have problems with her mother or she will start noticing things in her husband that she may not have noticed otherwise. If you absolutely need to talk to someone, talk to a friend instead!

15. Solutions & Sympathies:

Men look for solutions, women want sympathies.

If you only want sympathies and praise then say it, SPELL IT OUT, otherwise husbands will not understand what you are looking for. Tell him: I only want you to sympathize with me or praise me or just say ‘thank you’ whenever I complain about such and such issue.

When I was home-schooling my children, I would complain to him often about my stressful schedule. He started asking me to put the kids in a Islamic school. His suggestion would always irritate me because I wasn’t looking for a “solution”, I was looking for one word, “JazakAllah khair” and once in a while one line of “praise”.

This was becoming a problem until we heard Sh. Yasir Birjas’s lecture on marriage once and he addressed this very issue. That day, walhamdullialh, he realized that I wasn’t looking for a “solution” and I realized that I need to say it very clearly when I just want his sympathies and praise and when I want a solution!

16. Learn to Spell Things Out Clearly & Loudly:

Don’t think that hey will ‘just know it’, like how it happens in the movies! Husbands are human beings. They don’t have revelations about our feelings, or desires or what we are looking for. Be precise and clear. Communicate your problem and suggest solutions that you would like to see.

17. Other Ways to Communicate:

If face to face communication is problematic because of your husband’s busy schedule or because you are short temper yourself etc. etc. then take advantage of technology.

A. Email him.

B. Text msg. him.

C. Make something nice that he likes, take it to him and leave a note besides the plate or under the cup.

D. Send the note with the lunch. Make sure that the lunch is delicious. The more delicious the lunch is, the more effective the note will be.

Once a brother was telling how his wife addressed his anger problem to him. He likes to drink tea while working on the computer, so she made the tea one day and left the note with the tea saying, “What you said in your anger, really hurt my feelings. Please don’t say it again.”

The message hit home and he said that he never repeated what he said in his anger to his wife again!

18. Set Your Priorities Right:

Know what is more important and what is less. Once a sister asked me about wearingniqab while her husband didn’t approve of it. So I told her that even if she believed it to be fard, there are valid opinions stating niqab to be ‘recommended’ only. However, there are no opinions that state obedience to husbands as ‘recommended’ only!

19. Complaining is Degrading:

Indeed, very difficult to implement, but let’s think about it: what do we get out of complaining except that it makes us look like whiners!

We all may have heard of Ibraheem (AS) story when he went to visit his son Ismaeel (AS). Ismaeel (AS) was not home and his wife didn’t recognize Ibraheem (AS). He asked her about their situation and she started complaining about poverty and how badly they were living etc. When Ibraheem (AS) left he told her to convey the message to Ismaeel (AS) to change his ‘door-frame’. When Ismaeel (AS) came back she told him of an old man who visited and told him to change his ‘door-frame’. Ismaeel (AS) asked her to describe the old man to him and when she did, he recognized that it was her father, the Prophet of Allah. He understood the meaning of his message, i.e. to divorce his wife.

When Ibraheem (AS) came to visit again Ismaeel (AS) had a different wife. He wasn’t home again and Ibraheem (AS) again asked the wife about their situation. She didn’t complain at all and thanked Allah for providing them with enough to be satisfied with, although, Ibraheem (AS) could see that they were living in poverty. When he was leaving he asked her to tell Ismaeel (AS) that his ‘door-frame’ is good and to keep it and take care of it!

20. Benefit of Doubt:

Yes our husbands also have the same rights over us as the other Muslims do and to give benefit of doubt is a primary right of a Muslim over another. So imagine that how much more so our husbands deserver it. Sadly we rarely ever give them any!

Don’t ever let shyataan play around with your mind and put doubts against your husband. If you cannot give him benefit of doubt then make sure that you address the issue and ask for clarifications to replace any doubts.

Explain to him that you ask for clarifications because you were having doubts and that you do not want to hold any grudges against him.

21: You are His Clothing:

Understand that you are his ‘libaas’ (clothing) as stated in Qur’an. Our clothes hide our bodies from other’s eyes, including any defect or marks that we may have. In fact, not only clothing keeps us ‘covered’ in front of others, it makes us look attractive and presentable in front of other people!

It is similar to being a spouse. Being a spouse is the most intimate relationship and every spouse knows of each others’ weaknesses quite well. It is a duty upon us to hide our husband’s weaknesses and “present” them in a praiseworthy manner to others, i.e. only talk about their good habits and hide their weak points.

22. Intimacy and Your Duty as a Wife:

Respond to his call. There are enough controversies about this issue, so just readthis.

Moreover, show interest in sexual life and desire him.

Keep your shyness aside; be shy in front of others not with your husband. Initiate intimacy so he feels wanted. Learn and do things to spice up your relationship!

Take care of yourself. There is nothing wrong in buying intimate clothes. Victoria Secrets is having their annual sale right now, and they have it every year in summer! Marshall’s and Ross have similar stuff with awesome prices!

Work out. It is not only for “overweight” people. Skinny people can be out of shape. So, to stay healthy, in shape and active, start working out regularly.

23. Don’t Sleep Angry:

The Prophet of Allah, sallallahu alihi wasalam, said:

“Your women from the people of Paradise are the beloved and fertile, the one who is an asset to her husband, who if her husband becomes angry – comes and places her hand in the hand of her husband and says, ‘I will not taste sleep until you are pleased (with me).’”

No doubt it seems very hard and degrading, especially when the husband is wrong, but try doing it once in a while and you will notice that not only it feels good (knowing that you are doing an act of a person from paradise) but it will even embarrass the husband and he may not admit it but he will feel ashamed in his heart, inshaAllah!

23. Make Du’a:

Indeed, it is the strongest tool to safeguard a marriage!

  1. Always make dua’ that Allah puts love in his heart for you and in your heart for him.
  2. If you ever get stuck in a situation where you really don’t want to do something but your husbands insists, then turn to Allah and ask for help. This is the easiest solution then fighting and arguing.
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The first two years: a marriage survival guide

More Muslim marriages in North America are breaking up in their first year than ever before, according to Shahina Siddiqui, executive director of the Islamic Social Services Association of the United States and Canada (ISSA).

The first five to seven years are the most challenging of any marriage. They are a time a couple spends getting to know each other better and adjusting to each other’s habits and personalities.

Below are some of the main problems couples face in the early years and some possible solutions.

1. Lack of proper information before marriage

A number of problems are caused simply by the fact that the couple and their families have not discussed crucial issues beforehand. Some of these include:

  • whether or not the wife will work outside the home
  • will the couple wait to have children
  • which city and country the couple will live in after marriage
  • will they live with his parents or have their own apartment

These and other relevant issues need to be discussed and decided in the beginning stages of the marriage process.

2. Who’s in charge?

One of the biggest problems is the tug-of-war between couples over who is in control in the relationship. This has led to a stalemate in disagreements, as well as bitter feelings.

Many couples today are refusing to compromise within moderation when differences arise.

While from an Islamic perspective, the husband is given the leadership role in the marriage relationship, this does not mean he runs the couple’s family life like a dictatorship.

It must be remembered that Islamically, a leader is one who serves, manages, provides and nourishes. A leader must also have humbleness and humility.

A husband exercises the right kind of leadership by being listening to and consulting (doing Shura) with his wife.

Also, a husband is bound to follow the rules of the Quran and Sunnah. So differences in opinion should be referred back to these sources, instead of becoming a source of tension and problems.

3. The divorce option

Once upon a time, “divorce” was the seven-letter word most Muslim couples avoided using. Today, amongst many Muslim couples in North America, it is one of the first recourses turned to when conflicts occur in marriage.

It should be remembered that out of all of the things Allah has made Halal, divorce is the one He hates the most. Couples need to look at several other alternatives before turning to this drastic measure.

They should seek the help of older, wiser and trustworthy elders who will try to help them resolve their differences. Generally, they need to make a sincere, concerted effort to try to work things out before divorce is seriously considered.

4. Sexual problems

It is unrealistic to expect the issue of sex and sex-related problems to mysteriously disappear once a couple gets married.

In the sex-saturated culture of North America, couples tend to place very high expectations of each other in this area. They also expect instant results.

In reality, it takes time, commitment, disappointment and investment to establish a sexual relationship in marriage which is in tune with the needs of each partner.

It’s important for Muslim couples to walk into marriage with proper information about sex and sexual etiquette from an Islamic perspective. They need to know what is Halal (permissible) and what is Haram (forbidden). They should also keep in mind that spouses must never discuss their sexual relationship with others, unless it is to get help for a specific problem with the right person or authority figure.

On a similar note, it’s important for both the husband and wife to remember that they need to make themselves physically attractive to each other. Too many couples take marriage to mean an excuse to now let themselves go. The couple or one of the partners may gain too much weight, or may not care about hygiene and their looks in general. The reverse should be true: spouses should take the time out for these things and give them even more attention after marriage. Our beloved Prophet has recommended husband and wife both to do that, May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him.

5. In-laws

The first few years of marriage are not just a period of adjustment for the married couple. It’s one of getting used to in-laws and vice-versa.

Husbands, wives and in-laws need to practice the Islamic rules of social relations with each other. These include: avoiding sarcasm, backbiting, calling each other by offensive nicknames, and making a special effort to respect each other as family members.

As well, comparisons need to be avoided, since every individual and every couple is different. So wives should not be compared to mothers and sisters. Husbands should not be compared to fathers and brothers. In-laws should not be compared to parents, etc.

In addition, there should be regular, healthy contact between spouses and in-laws. This can mean visiting each other at least once or twice a month, or calling if distance makes it difficult to get together.

6. Realism

Boy meets girl. They fall in love. They live happily ever after.

This is the plot of many a Hollywood and Bollywood movie, where everyone is “perfect”. Real life is very different.

Couples may enter marriage with high-flying romantic ideas and expecting their partner to be the ideal human. But all humans have good and bad points. Husbands and wives have to learn to accept each other, warts and all.

6. Making a schedule and establishing rituals

Making a schedule may seem like an end to spontaneity but it’s not.

This allows you to establish your own lifestyle and rituals as a couple. It’s especially important if both the husband and wife are going to school and/or working. In this scenario, a schedule helps in setting time aside for each other during a fast-paced week of work and studies.

Some rituals couples can establish may include:

  • praying at least one prayer together
  • attending a study circle together once a week
  • deciding on a weekly menu
  • having a pancake breakfast every Saturday morning
  • setting aside one day on which no work or studying will be done
  • setting a day when both the husband and wife will clean up the house
  • setting a time to discuss finances and a budget
  • making a phone contacting during the day
  • deciding on a particular day and time once a month at least to visit each other’s parents

By discussing and setting up these rituals, couples learn how to talk to and feel responsible for each other. They also learn to become a team instead of two people living in the same with separate lives.

7. Marriage as a restriction

Muslim men who have grown up in North America may find marriage restricting. After all, before, they could hang out with their buddies and get home by 11:00 p.m. and no one would say a word. After marriage though, they have to be home by 7:00 p.m if not earlier.

While marriage comes with responsibilities and a tighter schedule, the benefits are also there. It takes time and patience to realize that in the end the benefits (i.e. a life partner, kids, etc.) are greater than the restrictions.

8. Friends and Islamic activities

Friends are a joy and a good friend is someone you want to be close to for the rest of your life.

But friends are often the source of many marriage conflicts. Too much time spent with friends, either hanging out or on the phone, means time lost with a husband/wife.

Also, friends, especially if they are of the same age group, may give the wrong advice on marriage, due to their own inexperience in the area.

Some possible solutions to the friends dilemma could be:

  • working out a “friends time” at least once a week where the husband and the wife meet and/or talk with friends privately
  • developing friendships with other married couples so spouses can befriend spouses

Islamic activities fall in a similar category. Young Muslim activists may think they can keep attending those three-hour Muslim Students’ Association meetings as they did before marriage. Not so.

Too much focus on outside Islamic activities takes away from spouse time. Give Islamic activities their due but within a balance of everyone’s rights, including those of your spouse.

9. Not keeping secrets

A number of young married couples are notorious for not keeping secrets, especially related to sexual matters, and exposing their spouse’s faults. This is not only unacceptable. It’s unIslamic.

Couples should seek to hide each other’s faults. They should seek advice on marriage problems from a “marriage mentor”, someone who is older, wiser, trustworthy and has the best interests of both parties at heart.

10. Finances

How much should be spent on furniture, the house, food, etc. These are staple issues of any household and can lead to a tug-of-war between husband and wife.

To keep spending in check, husbands and wives need to draft a budget then stick to it. The household will run more efficiently and that’s one less source of conflict in the marriage.

A special note to husbands: in the beginning of marriage, husbands tend to shower their wives with gifts. They do this as an expression of love and because they want to provide for their wives. However, as time passes and they keep giving, they go into debt or experience financial difficulty. As well, wives get used to a certain level of comfort which husbands can no longer afford.

Providing for a wife (and later on, a family) is not just reserved to material things. It includes spending time with her, and treating her with equity and kindness. In fact, most wives would prefer this kind of provision over expensive gifts.

11. Give each other space

A number of couples think being married means always being together and serving each other hand and foot.

Wives may initially take over all household chores, not letting the husband help or even do his own things (i.e. ironing his own clothes). They later regret this as household responsibilities increase and their husbands become dependent on them for the smallest things.

Husbands may think getting married means being with their wives all the time. This later may lead them to becoming irritable and cranky.

The key is to focus on being caring, fond of and accepting each other and giving each other sufficient space. Doing this provides a necessary balance in a relationship which is so close physically and emotionally.

In the rush of preparing for marriage

and the glamour of the dunya

and aspirations of making your fiance happy

 

In the sleepless nights before the big day

and the hours spent in the shopping malls

and hopes of an ideal marriage

 

How much time did you spend remembering

Your Creator

the One who brought this moment of happiness to you

 

An eye opening khutbah about the miraculous reality of the Qur’an.

by Muhammad Alshareef

1. Dress up for your wife, look clean and smell good.
When was the last time us men went shopping for designer pajamas? Just like the husband wants his wife to look nice for him, she also wants her husband to dress up for her too. Remember that Rasulullah (saw) would always start with Miswak when returning home and always loved the sweetest smells.

2. Use the cutest names for your wife.
Rasulullah (saw) had nicknames for his wives, ones that they loved. Call your wife by the most beloved names to her, and avoid using names that hurt her feelings.

3. Don’t treat her like a fly.
We never think about a fly in our daily lives until it ‘bugs’ us. Similarly, a wife will do well all day – which brings no attention from the husband – until she does something to ‘bug’ him. Don’t treat her like this; recognize all the good that she does and focus on that.

4. If you see wrong from your wife, try being silent and do not comment!
This is one of the ways Rasulullah (saw) used when he would see something inappropriate from his wives (ra). It’s a technique that few Muslim men have mastered.

5. Smile at your wife whenever you see her and embrace her often.
Smiling is Sadaqah and your wife is not exempt from the Muslim Ummah. Imagine life with her constantly seeing you smiling. Remember also those Ahadith when Rasulullah (saw) would kiss his wife before leaving for Salah, even if he was fasting.

6. Thank her for all that she does for you. Then thank her again!
Take, for example, a dinner at your house. She makes the food, cleans the home, and a dozen other tasks to prepare. And sometimes the only acknowledgement she receives is that there needed to be more salt in the soup. Don’t let that be; thank her!

7. Ask her to write down the last ten things you did for her that made her happy. Then go and do them again.
It may be hard to recognize what gives your wife pleasure. You don’t have to play a guessing game, ask her and work on repeating those times in your life.

8. Don’t belittle her desires. Comfort her.
Sometimes the men may look down upon the requests of their wives. Rasulullah (saw) set the example for us in an incident when Safiyyah (ra) was crying because, as she said, he had put her on a slow camel. He wiped her tears, comforted her, and brought her the camel.

9. Be humorous and Play games with your wife.
Look at how Rasulullah (saw) would race his wife A’ishah (ra) in the desert. When was the last time we did something like that?

10. Always remember the words of Allah’s Messenger (saw), “The best of you are those who treat their families the best. And I am the best amongst you to my family.”
Try to be the best!

In conclusion: Never forget to make Dua to Allah Ta’ala to make your marriage successful.

And Allah ta’ala knows best.

It all started, one day in september
and now Im thinking…will he remember?
Will he remember the day that we met?
or on this day, that we separate, will he forget.

I walked into the living room and with a loud voice I said
Assalamu Alaykum! Its time to be fed!
The brother jumped back–not sure what to think
is this the same sister who when I spoke turned pink?
The times have changed, and so have I
“No more mr. nice guy…or gal”, I sigh…

He walked behind me, angrily, all the way to the kitchen
Where are the eggs, he demanded...did I look like a hen?
He wanted me to feed him and take his suggestions as well?
Who did he think I was…ahh this marriage has been swell.

Id rather be at work, than at home all the time
I beg relentlessly, hoping a job will be mine
Women stay at home, he snaps–that is his stance
He never wants to discuss–never gives me a chance!

Between tears I mumble– what did I do
I should have asked you questions before I married you!
You didnt know me, and I surely didnt know you
But what possessed me that day–to say “I do”???

I forgot istikhara—musta slipped my mind
and ignored all the information that my friends did find
“He isnt who you think he is–I promise you’ll regret”
Now in this living room today, my friends are winning the bet!

He thought I was calm–obedient–and serene
But now he knows, Im the craziest thing he’s ever seen!
I wanted someone hip–lenient and kind
but today I sit with a man who is losing his mind!

“Im trusting in Allah” I assured myself not so long ago
But I forgot to tie my camel…although everyone told me so
Now I sit with consequences of my decision made in haste
these few months–have been nothing but waste!

If I could turn back time, I would never do this again
I was woman marrying a male who isnt of the men!

Today I walk out the doors, all covered dust
When he gets married again, clean she must!
I wont come back, not for another day
all this and its only been nine months…September to May.

The young and excited bride-and-groom-to-be; ecstatic about the upcoming wedding and marriage and the joy that it will bring. Three to six months later, reality has set in and both spouses realize that marriage is no easy task, but one that takes a great deal of effort and patience. The following are tips for both wives and husbands, to help make the task a little less daunting, and to increase the many rewards that are possible in such a marvelous and complex relationship.

Enter the Marriage with the Right Intention and Renew this Often

Both spouses should enter the marriage with the pure intention of pleasing Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, in order to receive His grace and blessings. The marriage itself then becomes an act of worship and one for which both spouses will be rewarded. Allah will be pleased with them and this will be the most critical element in ensuring peace, stability and happiness throughout the marital life. It is also important to realize that when an act of worship is continued over a long period of time, it becomes necessary to renew one’s intention often to remain on the correct path and to obtain the most benefit.

Remember that Your Spouse is also Your Brother or Sister in Islam

Too often Muslims treat other people outside the home with kindness and sincerity, but then behave in a very different manner when it comes to their own spouses. Muslims should always remember that one’s spouse is also another brother or sister in Islam and that the rights and duties that apply to the general brotherhood (sisterhood) of Islam, should also form the basis of the marital relationship. Obviously, a spouse has rights beyond these, but there should be a clear understanding of the rights of brotherhood (sisterhood) and adherence to these principles.

Do Not Hold Unrealistic Expectations

Before marriage, people often have unrealistic ideas about their spouse-to-be, expecting perfection in all aspects. This rarely, if ever, plays out in reality and can lead to unnecessary problems and concerns. We should recall that Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, created humans as imperfect beings, which means that many mistakes will be made throughout a lifetime. By turning the table and expecting imperfection, we will be pleasantly surprised and pleased when our spouse is much more than we ever hoped for. This, in turn, will lead to contentment within the marriage.

Emphasize the Best in Your Spouse

Since no one is endowed with all of the best qualities, emphasis should be placed on the positive qualities that a spouse possesses. Encouragement, praise, and gratitude should be expressed on a regular basis, which will strengthen these qualities and be beneficial in developing others. An attempt should be made to overlook or ignore negative characteristics, as the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, said, “A believing man should not have any malice against a believing woman. He may dislike one characteristic in her, but may find another in her which is pleasing.” (Muslim)

Be Your Mate’s Best Friend

Try to think of what a best friend means and be one to your spouse. This may mean sharing interests, experiences, dreams, failures and upsets. It may involve understanding a spouse’s likes and dislikes and attempting to please him or her in any way possible. A best friend is also usually someone that can be confided to trusted, and relied upon. A spouse should be the kind of friend that one would want to keep throughout life.

Spend Quality Time Together

It is not enough to share meals, chores and small talk together. Spouses should also find time to focus on strengthening the relationship. Often couples get busy with their own separate tasks and forget about working on one of the most important elements in life. Quality time may be anything from having a quiet, profound conversation to going for a nice long nature walk, to sharing a special hobby or project. Both spouses should enjoy the particular option chosen and distractions should be kept to a minimum.

Express Feelings Often

This is probably a very “Western” concept and one that some people may have difficulty fulfilling, but it is important to be open and honest about one’s feelings, both positive and negative. The lines of communication should always be open and any concerns should be brought to the attention of the other spouse as soon as they arise. The rationale of this is that what begins as a simple concern may grow into a major problem if it is not addressed quickly and properly. The “silent treatment” has never been the remedy for anything.

Admit to Mistakes and ask for Forgiveness

Just as we ask Allah to forgive us when we make mistakes, we should also do the same with our spouses. The stronger person is the one who can admit when he or she is wrong, request pardon from the other, and work hard to improve his/her aspects that are in need of change. When a person is unwilling to do this, there will be little growth and development in the marriage.

Never Bring up Mistakes of the Past

It can be very hurting for another person to be reminded of past mistakes. In Islam, it is generally not recommended to dwell on the past. One may remember errors that were made so that they are not repeated, but this should not be done excessively. Certainly, as humans, we are not in the position to judge another person. Advice may be given, but not in a harmful manner.

Surprise Each Other at Times

This may entail bringing home a small gift or flowers, preparing a special meal, dressing up and beautifying oneself (this is not only for women), or sending a secret note in a lunchbox. A little imagination will go a long way here. The idea is to spice up the marriage and avoid getting into a dull routine that may negatively affect the marriage.

Have a Sense of Humour

This particular aspect can go a long way in preventing arguments and brightening the atmosphere of the home. Life is a constant stream of challenges and tests, and to approach it in a light-hearted manner will help to make the journey smoother and more enjoyable. You may also find that your spouse enjoys this characteristic and looks forward to spending time with you because of it.

Quick Tips for Discussions and Disagreements:

Begin with the intention to resolve the issue. If both spouses have this intention and plan to consult together, it is more likely that there will be a successful resolution.

Remember that it takes two to quarrel. If only one person chooses not to argue, there will be no argument. Generally, the one who is wrong does most of the talking.

Both spouses should not be angry at the same time. If one of the spouses becomes upset, it is best if the other tries to remain calm and collected.

Never yell at each other unless the house is on fire. Of course, house fires do not occur very frequently; yelling should occur at about the same rate.

Never go to sleep with an argument unsettled. This is one of the worst things that can happen in a marriage and should be avoided as much as possible. This allows hurt feelings and thoughts to linger and generally exacerbates the problem.

If one spouse needs to win, let it be your mate. Do not focus on winning yourself; this is the main reason that discussions tend to become heated.

Two bachelors share wisdom from couples who have been married decades

TODAY
Updated: 11:32 a.m. ET June 5, 2007
Matthew Boggs, whose parents divorced, was jaded about marriage. But he noticed his grandmother and grandfather, who had been married for 63 years, were still madly in love. To find out what was the secret to a long and happy marriage, Boggs and his friend, Jason Miller, traveled 12,000 miles around the U.S. to talk to what they call the “Marriage Masters,” couples who have been married 40 years or more. In their new book, “Project Everlasting,” Boggs and Miller share advice from the happy couples. TODAYshow.com asked the two bachelors to tell us what are the top seven secrets to a successful marriage. Here they are:

1. “Divorce? Never. Murder? Often!”
Entering matrimony with the mindset that “divorce is not an option” is vital for the long-term success of marriage, say the Marriage Masters (a term we gave couples who have been happily married over 40 years). They went on to explain that this kind of mindset allows a couple to see solutions to marriage’s boiling points — and trust us, not one of our interviewee couples avoided such periods of relational strife — which would have otherwise been overlooked simply because one eye was too busy examining exit strategies.

Marriage Masters simplify this into one word: Commitment. And they’re quick to point out that commitment is the virtue sorely missing from today’s marriages. That said, there are deal breakers that very few of our interviewed couples advocated working through. These are known as the three A’s — addiction, adultery, and abuse. A marriage overwhelmed by any of these three issues is unhealthy, plain and simple, and the Marriage Masters suggest that if you find yourself overwhelmed with any of the three A’s, take care of yourself (and your safety) first, and the marriage second.

In the end, the old saying holds true: where your attention goes, energy flows. So the next time you’re facing a mountain in your marriage, focus on the next foothold and soon enough you’ll find yourself over the top.

2. “There’s no such thing as a perfect marriage, only perfect moments.”
We were shocked to discover how much work went into creating a great marriage. We’d always figured, “Hey, I’ll just find my soul mate and things will naturally fall into place after that … we’ll live happily ever after.” Um, not so fast, one Marriage Master wife said with a certain look that meant business. “Whoever said being soul mates was going to be easy?” Her husband of 52 years nodded, then added, “Marriage is a bed of roses, thorns and all.”

Any time two individuals live together (especially over 40 years) there are bound to be annoying, irritating, and frustrating experiences. But whether it’s the toothpaste cap, toilet seat, snoring, or the last-minute pull-the-car-over-to-check-the-score-of-the-game-at-the-local-bar move, one thing is for sure: the best marriages are served with an extra helping of acceptance for one another’s peccadilloes. “And that’s the beauty of marriage,” said Maurice, another Marriage Master. “All of our individualities, all of our wonderful differences. You gotta have friction. You can’t get any heat without friction.”

We would do well, they say, to expect non-perfection; practice patience and give the acceptance we want in return. There’s no doubt that this is hard work, but judging by the end result, it’s well worth the effort.

3. Unpack the Gunnysack
“People ask us our secret to marriage,” said John, married 48 years. “I tell them it’s the boxing gloves. We aren’t afraid to say what’s on our minds.”

Unexpressed frustrations in a marriage can pile up and weigh us down like an overloaded gunnysack. These accumulated frustrations can quickly turn into resentments. “Holding resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die,” said Sally, married 50 years. “Resentment will eat away at your marriage.” The Marriage Masters encourage us to unpack the “gunnysacks” by opening the communication lines as frequently as possible.

But guess what? If we haven’t created and nurtured an environment where open, honest communication is welcomed and treated with diligent respect, then we can wave these crucial “clearing the air” moments goodbye. So where did some Marriage Masters go to build that trusting, open environment? Weekend marriage retreats! These powerful getaways stood out in many of our interviewees’ minds as the one experience that turned their faltering marriage into a flourishing one. The trick, of course, is convincing the husband to attend.

4. Never Stop Dating
It has been said that it’s the quality of time, not the quantity of time that matters. But now we know, thanks to the Marriage Masters, that it’s the quantity of quality time spent together that leads to a wonderful marriage. Whether it’s a vacation in the Bahamas, or simply spending a night at a local motel once a week, keeping the romance burning is easy: all you have to do is keep stoking the fire.

One woman, married 47 years before her husband passed away, disclosed her secret to lifelong love. Every night, when her husband came home from work, they went up to their bedroom and hung a sign on the door that read “Do Not Disturb: Marriage In Progress.” For the following fifteen minutes they’d focus all their attention on one another. No phones, no pets, no distractions; even the kids knew that mom and dad were not to be bothered. When asked what they did in their bedroom, she laughed and said she’d leave that to our imaginations. That was probably best anyway.

5. “Love is a four-letter word spelled G-I-V-E”
Marriage Masters have a high degree of selflessness. “I’ll never forget what my mentor told my wife and me before we got married 42 years ago,” said a Marriage Master named Walter. “He looked at us and said, ‘Most people think marriage is 50/50. It’s not. It’s 60/40. You give 60. You take 40. And that goes for both of you.’”

It’s always super-apparent in the best of the best marriages that both spouses have followed this philosophy. Though it’s not a difficult concept to understand — putting one another first —it’s surely a bit more difficult to practice consistently, especially with the prevailing “Me first (and second)” mentality today. “The younger generations seem to have a sort of me-me-me mentality,” says Donna Lee, married 45 years. “The great part is that the me gets everything it needs when it puts the we first.”

6. Join the CMAT Club
Grandma Dorothy Manin, the inspiration for Project Everlasting with her 63 years of beautiful matrimony, formed an informal club when she turned 70 years old. She called it the CMAT club. The CMAT club stands for Can’t Miss A Thing and represents the idea that life is short, so make sure to enjoy as much as you can. The death rate for human beings hovers right around 100 percent, and is expected to remain there for … well, forever. Consider this: if the average life span is 77 years, then that means we only have 77 summers … 77 winters … 77 Christmas mornings … 77 New Years, and that’s it. The Marriage Masters know this all too well. It’s easy to get caught in the day-to-day craziness of life and, in the process, take our spouses for granted. A widow named Betty, married 54 years, says, “Now that he’s gone I wish I hadn’t had so many headaches.”

The Marriage Masters are here to remind us that this adventure we call life goes by in the blink of an eye; relish your sweetheart’s presence while he or she is still here.

7. The Discipline of Respect
“You can have respect without love,” said Tom, married 42 years, “but you can’t have love without respect.” His sentiments were not uncommon in our 250-plus interviews around the nation. By and large, the number one secret to a thriving, everlasting marriage, as declared by the Marriage Masters, is respect. It is the catalyst for all things beautiful in a relationship: trust, connection, authenticity, and love. Unfortunately, respect — in all its seeming simplicity — is too easily overlooked, leading to criticism and all the ugliness that eventually causes both spouses to wonder (and vehemently): How in the heck did I ever fall in love with this person?

“You are the master of your words until they are spoken,” a Marriage Master of 65 years pointed out. “Then they become the master of you … so choose your words carefully.”

By Sr. Muntaqima Abdur-Rashid

“And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves that you may dwell in tranquillity with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts). Verily in that are Signs for those who reflect.” (30: 21).

I have listed some rules that may benefit those seeking an Islamic marriage, as well as those who are already married. I do not pretend to be an expert of any kind. I have learned what I know through marrying at the early age of 18, just 9 months after embracing Islam. I muddled my way through much of my 14 years of marriage, and consider myself a graduate from the ‘school of hard knocks’. The rules are:

1. Be conscious of your physical appearance.

No one was more conscious of this than the Prophet. His Sunnah reflects keen attention to personal hygiene and good grooming. He kept himself strong and muscular. Most likely the first aspect of you that attracted your mate was your appearance, so don’t think that simply because you are married the task is over. You can’t hide a weight problem under Thawbs’ (dress) and long Khimars’ (veils). Your mate knows. Be aware that you live in a society that places a high premium on physical appearance. It flaunts the shapely female and her muscular counterpart. Temptations that beckon non-Muslims beckon Muslims as well. Don ‘t allow your mate to get side-tracked by the likes of a ‘Raquel Welch or an Arnold Schwarzenegger’. Jog, join a gym, roller skate, swim and stay in shape. Insha’ Allah, you will be more vibrant, more radiant, and more attractive to your mate.

2. Be aware of your role, but do not fall into role-playing.

Muslim spouses sometimes experience difficulties because they are trying to do things ‘by the book’ without giving due consideration to the conditions prevailing in their country. For example, most female converts are taught that the role of the Muslim woman is to be at home raising her children. Supposedly, it is the man who works outside the home to maintain the family. She may have read about birth control and assumed that it has no place for the Muslimah; yet, it is worth noting that the Prophet himself allowed coitus interruptus. If ideal Islamic conditions prevailed, there would be no reason for a sister to worry about her financial situation interfering with her right to bear children. However, without an Islamic society, needy Muslim families may have to resort to welfare and food stamps rather than Zakaah and Sadaqah. This creates a feeling of dependence and humiliation that can place extreme stress on a marriage. In this ease, it may be helpful for the Muslim couple to delay having children, or for the wife to work while the children are young and until the couple ‘s financial situation improves. Islam gives you this flexibility. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to use it.

3. Be a companion to your mate.

Try to show enthusiasm for your spouse’s interests and hobbies. It is well-known that the Prophet would run races with ‘Ayesha. By all means try to involve your mate in your interests.

4. Be active in Islamic community life.

This will strengthen your commitment to Islam while providing you wish a wholesome social outlet. Encourage your spouse to engage in activities that promote Islam. Have dinners at your home for Muslims as well as non-Muslims, and don’t neglect your relatives. These activities will indirectly enhance the quality of your marriage through widening your circle of activity and contacts.

5. Admit your mistakes and have a forgiving, generous attitude when your mate errs.

This country is a difficult place to live in. Most Muslims fall short of the Islamic ideal. Contradictions abound. Be quick to admit your shortcomings and work to amend them. Be understanding when your mate does not live up to the Islamic ideal and gently try to motivate him or her in the right direction.

6. Have a sense of humour.

Be able to chuckle at life’s minor aggravations.

7. Be modest when around members of the opposite sex.

Do not try to test your spouse’s affection by feigning interest in another. This will only cause dissension and bad feelings.

8. Share household duties.

Brothers, take note. This is especially important these days when women work outside the home. The Prophet always helped his wives around the house and even mended his own clothes. Who knows? You might find you actually like preparing the evening meal or taking care of junior so your wife can have the afternoon off. The Messenger of Allah said, “The most perfect of the believers in faith is the best of them in moral excellence, and the best of you are those who are kindest to their wives.” (at-Tirmidhi).

9. Surprise each other with gifts.

Treat her to an evening out alone, away from the children. There are no words to describe the lift this can give to a marriage.

10. Communicate your feelings to one another, good and bad.

Tell him how handsome he looks. Where there is disagreement, have an open discussion. Don ‘ t collect red stamps. Nip it in the bud .

11. Live within your means.

Stay away from credit cards if you can. Sisters, take note. Don’t envy the possessions of your friends, and don’t belittle your husband because he can’t provide them for you. Muslim couples will do well to stay away from ostentatious living. The Prophet did not live luxuriously, and neither should you.

12. Respect your mate’s need for privacy.

A quiet time to oneself each day, either at home or away from home, can make a disagreeable person agreeable.

13. Don ‘t share personal problems with others.

There are a few exceptions to this rule, but if you must discuss personal problems, make sure it is with a person in whom you have the utmost confidence. If you have a learned Muslim brother or sister in your community, seek him or her out first.

14. Be sensitive to your mate’s moods.

If you want to share a personal achievement, don’t do it when your spouse is ‘down in the dumps.’ Wait for the proper time.

You may be saying to yourself, “All This is easier said than done.” Well, you’re right. A successful marriage doesn’t just happen. It’s not simply a matter of luck or finding the right person. It takes hard work and determination. It means being selfless and making mistakes. It means having vengeance on your mind but forgiveness in your heart. But, then, its perfection is “half of faith.”

“And those who pray, ‘Our Lord! Grant unto us spouses and offspring who will be the comfort of our eyes, and give us (the grace) to lead the righteous.'” Qur’an 25:74

“The whole world is an asset and the best asset is a good wife.” (Muslim)

“And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves that you may dwell in tranquillity with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts). Verily in that are Signs for those who reflect.” (30: 21).

The most basic and essential attribute of a Muslim marriage is the common faith that binds the couple.

Since Islam is a way of life and not just a religion confined to weekly worship it becomes an integral part of a Muslim’s life. The frame of reference shared by the couple eases communication and sharing of values which is not possible in an interfaith marriage. It is highly recommended that faith play an important role in the developing a loving relationship.

For example, as the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said, that when a husband feeds his wife, he gets a reward for this act and Allah increases the bond of love between them. So when we love each other for the sake of Allah WE ACTUALLY INCREASE OUR FAITH.

Forgiving

When the Prophet Muhammad asked his Companions ‘do you wish that Allah should forgive you’ they said, of course O Prophet of Allah. He responded, ‘then forgive each other’.

One of the main components of a happy marriage is that the spouses are able to forgive, that they do not hold grudges or act judgmental towards each other. It is expected that when we live with someone, situations may arise when we end up saying or doing things that hurt our spouses. The challenge is not to dwell on it or lay blame but to move past it. This can only happen if we are not too proud to ask for forgiveness and we are not stingy to forgive.

If we expect Allah to forgive us than we must learn to forgive.

Forget

When we constantly remind our spouses of all the times they let us down or hurt us we have not truly forgiven. Things that happened in the past must be left there and not be used as fresh ammunition in new situations. Couples who use this technique usually fall in a rut and become victims of their own pettiness, unable to break free.

Forbearance

Sabr (patience) is the most useful tool to have in managing a healthy lifestyle. Being patient and forbearing puts us in a proactive frame of mind it brings us closer to Allah through Tawakul and reliance .We develop an inner mechanism that empowers us to handle life’s difficult moments. As Allah states in Surah al-Asr: “Surely by time humans are at loss, except those who believe and do righteous deeds and counsel each other to the truth and counsel each other to Sabr’ (Quran, chapter 103).

Flexible

Many couples unnecessarily make themselves miserable because they are unwilling to bend a little.

We should not expect our spouses to be our extensions. They are their own selves with personalities, likes and dislikes. We must respect their right to be them selves as long as it does not compromise their Deen (religion). Being inflexible and not accommodating for individual differences leads to a very stressful and tense home atmosphere.

Friendship

This aspect of marriage has three components.

First is to develop a friendship with our spouses.The relationship based on friendship is more able to withstand outside pressures.

We honor, trust, respect, accept and care for our friends, in spite of our differences. These are the aspects of friendship we should bring to our marriages.

Unfortunately the only aspect that people think of bringing to their marriage which is highly inappropriate is the buddy scenario. Shariah (Islamic law) has placed the husband in a leadership role within a family. This requires a certain decorum, which cannot be maintained if the spouses consider each other as pals.

This should not be taken to mean that husband is a dictator but a shepherd who is responsible for and to his flock. This is a position of grave responsibility and places an enormous burden on the husband. Further more the children need to see their parents as friends but not as pals as this encourages disrespect.

Friendly

Second aspect of friendship is to have friendly relations with in-laws. When couples compete as to whose parents are more important it becomes a constant source of grief. Much valuable time is wasted trying to convince, one another of whose parents are most desirable. It is better if we accept, that our spouses will not overnight fall in love with our parents just because we want them to. As long as they maintain friendly relations that are cordial and based on mutual respect we should not force the issue.

Friends

The third aspect of friendship is our circle of friends. It is okay to have individual friends of the same gender but couples must also make effort to have family friends so that they can socialize together. If there is friction being caused by a certain friendship it must not be pursued at the expense of the marriage. Prophet Muhammad advised us to choose God fearing people as friends since we tend to follow their way. Friends should be a source of joy and not mischief.

Fun

Couples that do not laugh together have to work on sharing some fun times. The Prophet was known to play with his wives. A simple walk in the park can add much spark to the relationship. Taking up a sport together or watching clean funny movies is another way of sharing a laugh.

Faithful

It is commanded by Allah that we be faithful to our spouses. Adultery is a capital crime in Islam that is punishable by death. However there are various forms of unfaithful behavior prevalent among some Muslims.

The most common form is maintaining friendships with the opposite sex over the boundaries set by Islam, and the misgivings of the spouse. The latest trend of Internet relationships is also contrary to Islamic Adab (etiquette) and is causing serious problems between couples. Once a sense of betrayal sets in, repairing that relationship is difficult. Another form of not being faithful is when couples betray confidences. This is a trust issue and one when compromised eats away at the heart of a marriage.

Fair

Usually when we are angry or displeased the tendency is to not play fair. We try to convince ourselves that since we have been wronged it is okay to be unjust in our behavior and our statements. Allah states in the Quran do not be unjust under any circumstances, even if they be your enemy, and here we are talking about our life partners and the parent of our children. To use words such as “never” and “always” when describing the behavior of the partner is unfair and puts the other on the defensive.

Finance

One of the most common points of contention in marriages is money. Experts tell us that 80 percent of marital conflicts are about money.

It is therefore highly recommended that the couple put serious time and effort in developing a financial management plan that is mutually agreeable and is reviewed every six months or so. Preparing a budget together is also a helpful and wise way to handling household finances. It should be remembered that the wife’s money in Islam is hers to do with as she pleases and therefore should not be considered family income unless she chooses to contribute it to the family

Family

Parenting can be a stressful experience if the parents are not well informed. This in turn can put extra pressure on the marriage.

Sometimes couples are naive about the changes that come in the lifestyle. This can cause in some cases depression and in some resentment and misunderstandings. One golden rule that must always be the guide is; that family comes first.

Whenever there is evidence that the family is not happy or not our first priority it is time to assemble at the kitchen table and discuss with open hearts and mind. Couples who have elderly parents have an added responsibility to take care of them. This can also be very stressful if the couple is not prepared.

A care plan must be worked out with respective siblings and parents as to who will be the primary care giver and what type of support network they will have. In case of mental incompetence a power of attorney must be in place. The making of a will is most essential .

Feelings

Prophet Muhammad \stated that Allah forgives all sins if we repent but not those we have committed against others i.e. hurt their feelings unless the person we have hurt forgives first.

Couples are sometimes very careless when it comes to their spouse’s feelings, they take them for granted and assume that the other knows what they mean. It is surprising that people are more sensitive and courteous to strangers than they are to their loved ones. One must be ever vigilant and careful that they do not hurt the feelings of their spouses and if they invariably do, they should apologize as soon as possible. Since one does not know when someone they love will leave this world, is it not better to make amends when we have the time?

Freedom

Marriage in Islam is a partnership and not bondage or slavery. To consider the wife one’s property is alien to Islamic concept of husband and wife role. The team spirit is enhanced and not curtailed when members of the team are free to be themselves. Freedom in the common western since is to be free to do as one pleases or to be selfish. On the contrary, to allow freedom to one’s spouse is to be considerate of their needs and to recognize their limitations.

Flirtation

A sure way to keep romance in marriage is to flirt with your spouse. Many successful marriages have maintained a youthful demeanor in their marriages by adopting special names for each other and secret communication styles.

Frank

Misunderstandings happen when couples are not honest with each other. Marital relationship is where the partners must feel safe to speak their mind with due consideration to the other’s feeling, without compromising their own views. When the communication is not frank it hinders in the development of closeness and deep understanding of each other’s inner self.

Facilitator

When choosing our life partner, we must, as the Prophet advised, look for a pious Muslim. The reason is that their first and foremost goal is the pleasure of Allah. This commitment to Allah makes them an excellent facilitator for enhancing their partner’s spiritual development. In essence, the couple facilitates their family’s commitment to Allah and His Deen.

Flattering

Paying compliments and indulging in honest flattery is a very inexpensive way to win your spouse’s heart. Everyone likes to be appreciated and noticed. So being stingy about compliments is actually depriving oneself of being appreciated in return.

Fulfilling

To be all one can be to one’s spouse is a very fulfilling and rewarding experience. To be in love means to give one’s all. The heart does not put conditions or make stipulations. It gives without expecting anything in return, but such selfless giving is always rewarded tenfold.

Fallible

It often happens that our expectations sometimes are so high that we lose focus of the fact that we are fallible beings. When couples start to nitpick and demand the impossible they must remind themselves that only Allah is perfect.

Fondness

So many times couples fail to work on developing fondness for each other by [failing] to see their spouses as people through the eyes of their respective friends. Spending quality time alone doing and sharing activities are ways in which one can develop fondness.

Future

Smart couples plan for their future together. They work on their financial and retirement plans, make wills and discuss these plans with their children. This provides peace of mind and secures the relationship.

By Carolina Diaz-Bordon

Divorce rates are soaring all over the world. According to marriage expert, Dr. Terri Orbuch, otherwise known as the “Love Doctor,” next time you hear somebody tell you that a happy marriage means never going to bed mad or that it’s normal for passion to die after marriage, you need to plug your ears and run far away. It’s time to put an end to common myths and misconceptions and become aware of the researched facts on what it truly takes to keep love going strong for the long run.

What gives Dr. Orbuch the license to eradicate countless years of bad love advice? Well, they don’t call her the “Love Doctor” for nothing. This marriage expert has devoted her life to untangling the many mysteries of love and relationships. Unlike many others dishing out advice, she will not utter a single piece of counsel without the proper research to back it up.

Through her call-in radio shows, television appearances, monthly magazine column, advice CD’s, books and national speaking engagements, she’s managed to help thousands turn her researched findings into practical applications.

Did I mention that passion is her middle name? No, it’s not really but it should be. It’s obvious that she loves what she does and is eager to help others see why.

“There is so much relationship research out there that nobody knows about. I feel that many of the relationship experts out there now are perpetuating these myths about relationships and they don’t have the research background and the research articles to back up what they are saying,” Orbuch said. “So what I wanted to do was take this researched information and make it accessible to everybody in a way people could easily read about.

“Relationships are the core of not only what we feel about ourselves but our physical health and well being as well. If people are happy in their relationships, then they are less likely to feel depression and anxiety, so it affects their mental health and well being. This is why I became the love doctor.”

It’s no secret that love is the most popular topic on the planet. But what exactly is it and what does it take to share it and make it last with another person?

“There are two kinds of love. There’s compassionate love and there’s passionate love. Passionate love is the love at the beginning of a relationship. It’s the excitement and the romance and illogical arousal that you experience when you really don’t know your partner. We know that passion love declines after about 18 months,” she said. “Then we start forming what we call companionate love, the love of friendship, support and intimacy.

“If something happens to you, the person that you go to is the one you feel the compassionate love for. It’s the person that supports you in your big scares and in the little daily experiences that go on in your life. It’s the love of friendship. When we talk to couples that have been together for a long time, they talk about companionate love or real love much more than the passionate love.”

The value of learning the truth is priceless, especially when it comes to love and relationships. Unfortunately, the truth can be hard to see when it’s been hiding behind loads of misconceptions. So without further adieu it’s time to cleanse your cluttered love-tangled brain and get to the true heart of relationship matters.

Take a glimpse at the 10 most popular relationship myths and misconceptions and replace them with the Love Doctor’s antidote of reality.

1. Going to bed mad is bad. FALSE
How can going to bed mad actually be good?
Dr. Orbuch says:
Resolving conflicts when one or both partners are tired or highly emotional doesn’t work. Sleep on it instead and schedule a talk when you’re rested and have some perspective.
“The reason why it’s OK to go to bed mad is because when you’re upset and angry it does something to your brainwaves and you’re not at your problem-solving best. We know from studies that it takes about 30 minutes for your brainwaves to get back to the normal state of balance. What I encourage couples to do is to take a break or go to sleep and when you get up in the morning you see the conflict in a totally different perspective and that’s the time when you want to schedule a time to talk about the argument.”

2. Opposites attract. FALSE
Aren’t differences exciting? Isn’t diversity what keeps the sparks alive?
Dr. Orbuch says:
Research shows that similarities are what keep people together for the long term. There is no danger in having too much in common with your spouse.

3. Women fall in love quicker than men do. FALSE
Aren’t women the ones that start thinking about the long-term picture when they first meet someone they like?
Dr. Orbuch says:
Actually, men fall in love more quickly than women do, and are more likely to believe in love at first sight. Studies show that women are more selective and cautious in whom they love.

4. Conflict is a sign of marital trouble. FALSE
Won’t fighting with your spouse create tension?
Dr. Orbuch says:
“The biggest misconception is that conflict is a sign of trouble. People are really fearful of conflict, and they base their marriage troubles on how much conflict they have. The best and longest-lasting relationships are those that have a healthy dose of conflict. If handled well, conflict can keep relationships strong. It’s not necessarily how much conflict you have but how you manage and resolve them.

5. Jealousy is a sign that your spouse cares about you. FALSE
Isn’t he supposed to get jealous if somebody else is flirting with me? If he doesn’t, then it must mean he doesn’t really care, right?
Dr. Orbuch says:
“Unfortunately, that’s the belief many people feel and many people test their partners to make sure that they love them. We know that jealousy is not a sign of true love. It usually stems from fear and low self-esteem. It is the fear that you’re going to lose your partner or lose a relationship that you value.

There are two kinds of jealousy:
Reactive jealousy is when your partner does something that shows you’re going to lose your relationship. We all experience that when our partner has an affair or betrays us in some way.
Suspicious jealousy we vary on, and that’s when our partner has not done anything past, present or future but we’re so worried about losing the relationship that our thoughts go beyond our partners behaviors. That’s when it really has all to do with confidence and self-esteem.

6. Passion dies it’s a fact of marriage. FALSE
Isn’t it impossible to keep the passion sparking after spending so many years with the same person?
Dr. Orbuch says:
The myth is incorrect. The reason why it declines is that we physically can’t take the intensity of that kind of passion for too long. That intensity is just too great. That passionate love is kind of fueled by newness. At the beginning of a relationship, we think our partner is perfect and we idealize our partner. Then as we get to know them we find out their faults and that feeling begins to decline. You need to reignite newness to light up the passion in a relationship. I encourage couples to try something new with their partner. Take a cooking class, try a new sport or exercise routine. Anything new that you can do with your partner will fuel passion again because you’re starting something fresh.

7. Wives are more romantic than their husbands. FALSE
Aren’t women the ones that want candlelight dinners, sappy love songs and to be swept off their feet?
Dr. Orbuch says:
The fact is that men have been found to be more romantic in their beliefs than women. Men want to be wooed (with a surprise dinner date, e.g.), women want to be supported (with household help, e.g.).

8. Couples should be able to discuss everything. FALSE
Doesn’t marriage mean we shouldn’t keep any secrets from each other?

Dr. Orbuch says:
All relationships have taboo issues that partners simply can’t talk about. Couples sometimes simply need to agree to disagree. Finding a balance between self-disclosure and privacy is what counts.

9. Love becomes less important in marriages over time. FALSE
Dr. Orbuch says:
After the first few years, marriage is more about support and stability than love, right?
“Studies show that relationships lasting 15 years or more include high levels of what is called companionate love, and companionate love should INCREASE the longer two spouses are together in a happy marriage.”

10. Having separate lives keeps couples together long-term. FALSE
Dr. Orbuch says:
If you share too much with your partner, won’t you get sick of each other?
“Independence is a good thing, but research has found that if both partners are INTERdependent socially, emotional and financially, there is a greater incentive to stay together. I think that there has to be balance. You need to balance your own individual needs with the needs and quality of your marriage.”

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