Every marriage – no matter how stressful, boring, or happy it may be – can use certain tips to give it a boost. This post reviews two pieces of advice that you could implement today for a better married life. If you’re not married, you too can benefit from the concepts as they are applicable across the board.
The first reminder has to do with becoming cognizant once again about our rights toward our spouses as obligated on us by Allah and His prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) What we married couples often forget is that our “Muslim marriage”, just like the rest of our life’s aspects, is governed by the laws of Islam. These divine laws were communicated, commanded, and taught to us by the prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) through the Quran and the traditions of Hadith.
So, the first reminder is nothing more than to become ever conscious that the moment you entered your marriage, you became obligated to respect your spouse’s rights as defined under those divine laws. Claiming ignorance about those rights or your lack of resolve in upholding those rights therefore is not a valid excuse.
The problem in this regard is usually two fold. First, many couples simply aren’t even aware and knowledgeable about the rights that both husbands and wives have over each other. It’s not uncommon for many to rush into marriages with all the fanfare but neglecting to learn Islamic teachings regarding marriage and the rights that husbands and wives have over each other. It’s only when they hit roadblocks in their marriages that they start seeking those answers. Problems surface because each spouse assumes certain rights over the other and each spouse’s personal interpretation of what’s right or wrong complicates relationships even further.
The second problem is that while many of us may take the time to understand how their partner is not meeting their individual rights, they often neglect to learn their obligations toward the other spouse. Driven selfishly, each spouse gets preoccupied with how their partner isn’t contributing to the relationship rather than realizing how one is deficient in fulfilling their own obligations.
In the daily routine of give and take therefore, if your relationship is hitting hurdles, both of you ought to invest the time and effort to learn about those rights and obligations. Use this reminder to make a permanent mental note to help you become conscious of how knowingly or unknowingly you transgress and violate your spouse’s rights. Remember, you will be questioned about them.
Allah says about our obligations in general:
“O you who believe! Fulfill (your) obligations”
(Quran: al-Maa’idah 5:1)
“And fulfill (every) covenant. Verily, the covenant will be questioned about”
(Quran: Al-Israh; 17:34)
“And whoever transgresses the limits ordained by Allah, then such are the Zalimoon (wrong-doers, etc.)”
Now to the second reminder – Every relationship is bound to have disagreements, day to day challenges pertaining to a family life, or your spouse just having a “bad day.” These shouldn’t be mistaken for a bad relationship. Where relationships go sour are in how couples respond to such situations. When response to such situations involves disrespect for the other individual, cracks start appearing in relationships. This “disrespect” includes but isn’t limited to putting down the other individual, disregard for the others opinions, raising one’s voice disrespectfully, etc. This then leads to a communications breakdown where disagreements turn into full fledged disputes, small mistakes by one are perceived as crimes by the other, and just an ordinary “bad” day turns worse by spouses ending up in major fights – sometimes climaxing to points of no return.
We should recognize that Allah created us humans and has codified dignity and respect part of our being. Therefore, when we trample over someone leaving them feel disrespected, we are bound to invoke an equal or worse response from our spouses along with sowing in their hearts the seeds of animosity, hatred and mistrust. So, remember that of all the things that we may use at our disposal to relieve stress or resolve a situation, disrespecting the other shouldn’t be one of them.
Both Allah and the prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) emphasized the respect and honor that we are entitled to as Muslims and humans. Allah says in the Quran:
“And indeed We have honored the Children of Adam, and We have carried them on land and sea, and have provided them with At-Tayyibat (lawful good things), and have preferred them above many of those whom We have created with a marked preferment.”
(Quran: Al-Isra, 17:70)
During his last sermon, the prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said:
“Your BLOOD, your WEALTH and yourHONOR are sacred among you, as sacred as this day of yours in this month of yours in this land of yours. Let those who are present convey it to those who are absent; perhaps he will convey it to one who has more understanding than he does.”
[Agreed upon, from the hadeeth of Abu Bakrah]
Abdullah bin Umr (RadiyAllahu Anhuma) reported that he saw the Prophet Muhammad (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) around the Kaabah in Tawaf saying (to the Kaabah):
“How pure are you and how pure is your fragrance. How great is your majesty and your sanctity. By the One in whose hand is the soul of Muhammad (SAWS), the sanctity of a believer in front of Allah is more than your sanctity – His possessions and his life and we always think good of him.”
[Reported by Hadith Ibn Majah]
So, remember that a happy marriage is one in which couples find ways to tackle and resolve challenges without being disrespectful to the other. You can have your tough talks as long as you don’t cross the lines in disrespecting each other. Remember that Islam’s teachings never sanctioned to denigrate human dignity even in times of war then how can we in supposed bonds of love step out of that realm?
To conclude, wives can strive to become what the prophet referred to in this hadith:
The Prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said:
“The entire world is full of resources, and among them the best resource is a RIGHTEOUS WIFE.”
[Reported by: Abdullah ibn Amr (r) Source: Sahih Muslim, Vol. 2, #3465]
And for men, the Prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) had this to say –
“The most complete believer is the best in character, and the best of you is the BEST TO HIS WOMENFOLK.”
[Tirmidhi #1162 and verified]
Let’s learn our rights toward each other and let’s not be disrespectful to the other even when we are dealing with tough situations.