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Making the Most of Marriage

Four years of marriage, living with in-laws, motherhood and delivering several wedding speeches can teach a girl a thing or two about what marriage is really all about. However, when a group of her best friends suddenly put her on the spot and demand some serious advice in place of the usual frolicking banter of an inane and embarrassing wedding speech (embarrassing for the bride that is), it seems like she hasn’t taken a reality check since her own henna party. That’s when she reaches for the phone and starts searching frantically for the number of her local Imam, old teachers, the Shariah Council, or anyone who she thinks will give her the golden advice that she forgot since her own wedding. So it is worth taking note of a few things that even experienced women – either married or those still on the hunt – forget to remind themselves of regarding the sanctimonious contract made between a man and woman when they decide to share a life, and if God wills, an afterlife.

To begin with, it is logical to firstly think about the purpose of marriage. Most women wonder whether marriage is simply a means to attain some level of personal satisfaction and pleasure, that is, getting married in search of eternal romantic bliss. However, any person who really wants to do what pleases his/her Creator will try to make the right intention for marriage. Firstly, it will be to guard their chastity:

“And say to the believing women that they lower their glances and guard their private parts; and that they show not their adornment except what appears of it (eyes, palms, outer dress, etc.); and they shall cast their khumur (shawls) over their bosoms; nor shall they show their adornment except to their husbands or their fathers or their husbands’ fathers or their sons or their husbands’ sons or their brothers sons or their sisters’ sons or their womenfolk or who their right hands own or their male attendants without vigour or the children who have not become aware… And ask Allah’s forgiveness all of you believers that you may succeed.”[1]

We all know that Allah has given the provision of marriage as a safeguard against committing major sins. So it is a blessing in itself to be able to experience a good marriage that keeps both men and women shaded from the pressures of living in a world full of billboards, televisions and blaring radios.

The second purpose of marriage is to have children who make remember Allah. This is a prominent goal for any person who wants to maximise the good they receive in this world and the hereafter, as Allah says in al-Qur’an:

“Your wives are a tilth for you, so go to your tilth, when or how you will, and send before you for your own selves (i.e. ask Allah to bestow upon you pious offspring).”[2]

And also the du’a of Zakariyya:

“Oh Lord, bestow a goodly offspring from You; verily You are the hearer of prayer.”[3]

The third intention for marriage should be to actualise the supplication of the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, that he have more followers than the rest of the prophets:

“Marry the loving and the fertile because through you, I will compete with the nations for superiority in numbers.”[4]

The fourth purpose of marriage should be to make an effort to build up the Ummah in terms of the quality of Muslims. Good tarbiyyah (cultivation) starts in a healthy family environment, both for the children and for the adults, as we are all subjected to daily stress. Allah says in al-Qur’an:

“Help one another in righteousness and piety and do not help one another in sinning and transgression.”[5]

It is crucial to note that after firmly making all of these grand intentions, there is a possibility that things do not go as planned; a sister might not be able to get married, or after finding a groom, it doesn’t work out. Even in this situation, a Muslim is blessed because if they made a good intention but found themselves unable to marry, they still receive a similar reward and this itself should be a great cause of pleasure and happiness for the striving Muslim.

The next thing a sister may worry about is what married life actually is. Is it an epic romance or a dramatic tale of love and passions? Actually, such a notion is very unrealistic and incongruous with the purpose of married life. There may be a ‘honeymoon’ period, but this is like a bubble – however pleasant the experience, by its nature it cannot be permanent. A good understanding of this is helpful to a sister as it will make it easy for her to overlook any shortfalls in her husband throughout their lives. In reality, there is a responsibility on both sides – for the husband and the wife – to build a new family.

It may be difficult to imagine, but a prospective bride would benefit to know that the relationship with a husband is unique and unlike a relationship with any other man she has known, be it her father, brother or uncle. Even a boyfriend cannot draw parallels with the husband, as this relationship is neither as multidimensional nor permanent.

Finally, there arises the matter of how to maintain a peaceful, happy life. The key thing is to know that men are like children: they can become angry or happy very quickly. So a sister armed with this understanding will handle a temperamental husband like a vulnerable child – not in terms of his authority and intellect, but in terms of his feelings. She will use the softness that Allah created within her to give him a hug, a kiss and gentle words that assuage his discontent and melt away the harshness in his behaviour. Additionally, it is important that the husband sees his wife being obedient. By not dwelling on her own rights and desires, a Muslimah can achieve this state of subservience, which, unlike in any other relationship, brings about an ethos of harmony and ease in the home. Allah says in al-Qur’an:

“Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend (to support them) from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient (to Allah and their husbands), and guard in the husband’s absence what Allah orders them to guard (their chastity, their husband’s property, etc).”[6]

So the ‘experienced’ sister concludes her advice at the hen party, making sincere supplication for her own success, that of her unmarried friends, and all the Muslim women of the Ummah of Muhammad, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, his family, his companions and those who follow him.

 


Notes: 

Islam21c requests all the readers of this article, and others, to share it on your facebook, twitter, and other platforms to further spread our efforts.

[1] Quran 24:31
[2] Qur’an 2:223
[3] Quran 3:38
[4] Abu Dawud and others
[5] Quran 5:2
[6] Quran 4:34


 

About UmmHafsa

19 comments

  1. I think this article is very derogatory to women. if men I suppose to protect women why are they children? men and women are going to be held accountable for their actions…. why are we always making excuses for men if something is wrong it is wrong you can’t just generalise all men as children, what about the woman’s emotional needs Islam is about fair and justice not patriarchal driven rules.

  2. henna party
    Salaam alaikum Sister,
    the muslims are not supposed to copy the kufar. what is this about wedding speeches and henna parties (sounds just like a hen night which the christians and pagans do). As an ex-christian i recognise the whole ’embarrassing best man speech’ – Muslims are supposed to follow the sunnah, and though i have not read the hadith on marriage and how the prophet (pbuh) was married and what the ladies did and the men did, i suspect they did not have hen nights and make embarrassing speeches. Maybe someone who explain the sunnah on this this. I met a muslim the other day with a wedding ring – it seems some of the muslims run to copy the kufar.

  3. This article was wonderful. Please not that our sister does not simply state that men are like children…she simply draws the comparison to the fact that like children, men can be made happy or angry very quickly. This is complete truth! Much in the same we see our deeds in black and white for Allah…every choice we make has the ability to make our Creator happy or angry with us. We simply use this example to make decisions daily. Will this deed make my husband happy? Will this deed make my husband angry? Is here a better decision to be had? She makes it very clear that this in no way challenges his authority or intellect or to say that he is unfit to protect over his family–it merely means that a man who loves his wife and cherishes her as a gift from Allah is going to be very sensitive to her actions, and that being keenly aware of this influence in his life, we have the knowledge to do our best by him and by Allah. I appreciated every ounce of wisdom in your words sister, MashAllah!

  4. i read the article making the most of marriage and i saw the comments one comment said i believe your comment that ‘men are like children’ was made in jest and was general of all men and this may not be the case. However, you did state that ‘a sister armed with this understanding will handle a temperamental husband like a vulnerable child – not in terms of his authority and intellect,. Am i right in saying that you meant that men just need nurturing, affection, understanding but respect at the same time? The same can be said for women right? After all, some of us act like vulnerable children too and can be an absolute nightmare-maybe more so than men! well the thing most women dont get lol and probly wont is that most men will not and never bow down to his wife or treat her like a queen he simply feels and some says if she dont want me i dont care ill get another wife that wants me thus most women live with anger and think i have no choice coz i love him or some other reason…. strange really……….THIS ARTICLE IS PERFECT AND INDEED AUTHENTIC COZ ITS FROM A WISE AND EXPERIANCED PERSON ….and the rest who dont get it are simply not experianced and still living in a fantasy world but not to worry u will wake up oneday its a lifes must in better words its the cycle of life …..marriage itself is a test from Allah…. if marriage was heaven why would Allah make another heaven in the hearafter? men are exactly like children! selfish do bad then after a minute come back and act all nice asif nothing happened they dont like to share….. they complain later i gave u this and that….and when they see food they run like dogs ….. they think the world revolves around them….. actually somehow it does…. coz hawa was created for adam coz he felt lonely so actually women wer created for the purpose of mens satisfaction ….. just as the stars wer created for beauty for us to enjoy wen we look at it hence it has no other purpose ….same with women we are simple satisfaction machines so to say …. the prophet pbuh said a women who reads her five daily salaah fasts protects her chastity obeys husband can enter thru any door in jannah so thats basically it our purpose…. love was not mentioned or romance ….

  5. i read the article making the most of marriage and i saw the comments one comment said i believe your comment that ‘men are like children’ was made in jest and was general of all men and this may not be the case. However, you did state that ‘a sister armed with this understanding will handle a temperamental husband like a vulnerable child – not in terms of his authority and intellect,. Am i right in saying that you meant that men just need nurturing, affection, understanding but respect at the same time? The same can be said for women right? After all, some of us act like vulnerable children too and can be an absolute nightmare-maybe more so than men! well the thing most women dont get lol and probly wont is that most men will not and never bow down to his wife or treat her like a queen he simply feels and some says if she dont want me i dont care ill get another wife that wants me thus most women live with anger and think i have no choice coz i love him or some other reason…. strange really……….THIS ARTICLE IS PERFECT AND INDEED AUTHENTIC COZ ITS FROM A WISE AND EXPERIANCED PERSON ….and the rest who dont get it are simply not experianced and still living in a fantasy world but not to worry u will wake up oneday its a lifes must in better words its the cycle of life …..marriage itself is a test from Allah…. if marriage was heaven why would Allah make another heaven in the hearafter? men are exactly like children! selfish do bad then after a minute come back and act all nice asif nothing happened they dont like to share….. they complain later i gave u this and that….and when they see food they run like dogs ….. they think the world revolves around them….. actually somehow it does…. coz hawa was created for adam coz he felt lonely so actually women wer created for the purpose of mens satisfaction ….. just as the stars wer created for beauty for us to enjoy wen we look at it hence it has no other purpose ….same with women we are simple satisfaction machines so to say …. the prophet pbuh said a women who reads her five daily salaah fasts protects her chastity obeys husband can enter thru any door in jannah so thats basically it our purpose…. love was not mentioned or romance ….

  6. hmmmm
    i read the article making the most of marriage and i saw the comments one comment said i believe your comment that ‘men are like children’ was made in jest and was general of all men and this may not be the case. However, you did state that ‘a sister armed with this understanding will handle a temperamental husband like a vulnerable child – not in terms of his authority and intellect,. Am i right in saying that you meant that men just need nurturing, affection, understanding but respect at the same time? The same can be said for women right? After all, some of us act like vulnerable children too and can be an absolute nightmare-maybe more so than men! well the thing most women dont get lol and probly wont is that most men will not and never bow down to his wife or treat her like a queen he simply feels and some says if she dont want me i dont care ill get another wife that wants me thus most women live with anger and think i have no choice coz i love him or some other reason…. strange really……….THIS ARTICLE IS PERFECT AND INDEED AUTHENTIC COZ ITS FROM A WISE AND EXPERIANCED PERSON ….and the rest who dont get it are simply not experianced and still living in a fantasy world but not to worry u will wake up oneday its a lifes must in better words its the cycle of life …..marriage itself is a test from Allah…. if marriage was heaven why would Allah make another heaven in the hearafter? men are exactly like children! selfish do bad then after a minute come back and act all nice asif nothing happened they dont like to share….. they complain later i gave u this and that….and when they see food they run like dogs ….. they think the world revolves around them….. actually somehow it does…. coz hawa was created for adam coz he felt lonely so actually women wer created for the purpose of mens satisfaction ….. just as the stars wer created for beauty for us to enjoy wen we look at it hence it has no other purpose ….same with women we are simple satisfaction machines so to say …. the prophet pbuh said a women who reads her five daily salaah fasts protects her chastity obeys husband can enter thru any door in jannah so thats basically it our purpose…. love was not mentioned or romance …. ;):D:D

  7. Regarding the comment by Hamid:
    Alhamdolillah I’ve been married for over 15 years to ‘this man’. We know what makes each other tick and it works for us. You know nothing of his virtues and the beauty of the way he runs his home. Suffice it to say I pray he gets Jannah for the way he is towards me and the children, inshallah.

  8. Alhamdulillah, good to get some insights into true purpose of marriage for women in our times. And alhamdulillah that some brothers are commenting in support of women’s rights. But this article steers away from what women should look forward to, and more on being realistic and pratical. Maybe men do not agree, but women are different to eachother, and while being young and sweet and naive like A’isha (radhialaahu anha) is a lovely idea, it was Khadija (ra) who gave the sturdy support to Rasulallah (Salaalaahu alaihi wa sallam) in the early days. She didn’t achieve it by being his equal, but by being a gentle woman (zammilooni, zammilooni). There is no harm in a woman acting like a woman, there is no harm in moving away from ‘equality’ in the marriage and in husbands going to their wives for respite. The ‘key point’ is clearly that women can be kind to their husbands, not just because they are fallible humans, but because sometimes, it will be difficult to live with an unhappy amir. [paraphrasing]’Women are like slaves under your authority, so be kind to women’. If she sees his ‘anger’ more like a child’s, then she can respond with mercy, instead of becoming defensive. This is not a tact that is taught to young girls before marriage because instead, we let our daughters grow up watching movies and reading stories about how passive men will constantly be towards their every whim and desire ( I cite the romcom genre in entertainment). It is good for girls to know that being a wife (and a woman) is not like being a spoiled daughter or equivalent sister, etc. It is a situation where she must obey an amir. This is a mutual benefit approach, instead of telling men they can’t exhibit their hefty personalities when they are upset. Sometimes, we can lose control of ourselves and a man can appear angry. Women should be prepared to deal with empathy or at least a gentle kindness, and even shed tears, instead of being expected to act ‘strong’ at this time. Please brothers, if you are looking to marry, don’t expect your wives to have the same perspectives or interests as yourselves. Expect to live with someone who Allah created with an interest in maintaining a family and investing all good things in their children, relatives or the muslims in general. When expecting a baby, this sometimes becomes magnified and is known as the ‘nesting instinct’. The biggest tool for a girl thinking of marriage is to make sincere and constant du’a to Allah to help her be a good muslimah and seek protection from falling into the traps that many muslim couples are doing today. One of the results of having unrealistic expectations, dear brothers and sisters, is our current divorce rates. Maybe someone can provide an article for brothers who are looking to marry?

  9. Food 4 thought
    Salaamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu. BarakAllahu feeki Sister for this article-It reminded me of some of the intentions we should have before getting married. Perhaps alot of us forget these-which is why when some of us dont get flowers and chocolates every day, a large spending allowance, 3 cooked meals a day or any other thing we want in a marriage, we might be quick to accuse our spouses of being good for nothing or we scream for a divorce; or a second, third or fourth wife (in the case of some brothers-even though they arent financially, mentally or emotionally ready for this! :D) i believe your comment that ‘men are like children’ was made in jest and was general of all men and this may not be the case. However, you did state that ‘a sister armed with this understanding will handle a temperamental husband like a vulnerable child – not in terms of his authority and intellect,. Am i right in saying that you meant that men just need nurturing, affection, understanding but respect at the same time? The same can be said for women right? After all, some of us act like vulnerable children too and can be an absolute nightmare-maybe more so than men! What i’ve learnt after a mere 4 years of marriage, is that its imperative to utter every speech and carry out every action for the sake of Allah. No doubt many of us have the desire to please our husbands (which is fine as in obeying our husbands (in good) we obey our Creator); but we should put all of our energy into doing good in our marriage purely for the sake of Allah. This is because our spouses are human beings, who are ungrateful and unappreciative and inconsiderate at times. They may not notice our efforts which may cause hurt and disappointment to the spouse on the receiving end. However, if we direct our efforts in our marriage for the sake of Allah, we will not be disappointed when we do not get the response we want from our spouse; rather we will be satisfied only with attaining Allah pleasure, earning reward and a possible easy and harmonious life with our partners inshaAllah. We must be prepared to sacrifice our partners too. They are a loan to us and its important for us to realise we don’t own them and Allah could take them at anytime. On the other hand, our husbands may decide to take another wife- which maybe devastating for some. Therefore, if we strive to sacrifice our partners (for the sake of Allah) it will make it easier for us to deal with the possible co-wife, or the absent wife who often tends to the babies (and not her husband) or the absent husband who is often away at work or with the brothers. Lastly, I believe that another way of making the most of a marriage is to detach ourselves from this dunya and focus on things that will help us in the akirah. So rightly so, we should emulate the way the companions were with their spouses to achieve a beneficial marriage. Giving each other space is important too and we should leave alone getting critical of each other. Guarding the tongue is one of the utmost importance’s in a marriage-excessive and idol talk could drive a spouse crazy and harsh words can never be taken back! May Allah grant us all successful marriages and grant us pious spouses, ameen. Forgive me if i’ve said anything to offend anyone. Assalaamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu.

  10. Need for Balance
    Salaam. I have to agree with previous comments. Alhamdulillah a good article by the whole, but some ‘personal insights’ I feel are detrimental.
    If men are like children, then they need to grow up I’m afraid. The role of a wife is not to mother her husband. Whilst there is a need for both partners to understand and demonstrate compassion to each other, both are indeed adults and maturity in attitudes is paramount.
    Similarly, whilst a man likes his wife to be obedient, the wider issue is understanding and fulfilling due rights and responsibilities to each other.
    Some of the comments also demonstrate excessive pampering of our men-folk for which the solution is not necessarily feeding a man as soon as he walks through the door. Does this man not know the virtues of sabr? Is he only able to function once his base need has been satiated? Perhaps this man needs to take a look at himself rather than expecting food on the table as soon as he steps indoors…in some instances, todays men are nothing but teddy bears who rule the roost in their domain through excessive subjugation.
    A strong woman (both in faith and character) is essential in maintaining the balance in the household; men should realise this and give our sisters the space, trust and respect to demonstrate this.

  11. Assalamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullah, I appreciate Sis for writing such a nice article and giving right approach for peaceful and successful marriage life. Yes sometime man behaves like a child just to get affection and care from other side as well as he is a serious protector and maintainer of his family with an advanced step of wisdom gifted to him by Allah for the need of such responsibilities to be fulfilled by a man.

  12. what?
    you stated the verses “Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend (to support them) from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient (to Allah and their husbands), and guard in the husband’s absence what Allah orders them to guard (their chastity, their husband’s property, etc)” and then say men are like children??? SO the protectors and maintainers of women have children like mentality how does that work exactly?

  13. You stated the verses: “Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend (to support them) from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient (to Allah and their husbands), and guard in the husband’s absence what Allah orders them to guard (their chastity, their husband’s property, etc)” and then say men are like children…??? so the protectors and maintainers of women have children like mentality? Thats very enlightening

  14. Men R definitely like children
    Bismillah..

    Assalam alaikum wa rahmatullah

    Thank you for sharing this comsidered article with us. I am a man, and have indeed been privy to many couples relating their successes and unfortunayte failures; and I can say with confidence – that it has been a lack of understanding and appreciation of many women of exactly this point – highlighted in the paragraph- that has made many marriages quite difficult for both parties ( irrespective of which of the two are perceived as having ‘started’ it or have greater number of weaknesses). This point, along with the others already mentioned, is KEY, to a blessed marriage.

    A brief glance at the success of marriages of ealier generations can bring this to the fore and manifest this reality very easily.

    Allah knows best

  15. Making the Most of Marriage
    Assalaamu’alaikum.
    Masha’Allah! An excellent article and a brilliant observation about the purpose of marriage life. I’m a husband with 10+ years of experience alhamdulillah. Marriage in the 21c is a lot different than say during our parents’ times or even going far back to the times of our beloved prophet (pbuh). However what remains common even up until today is the matter of feelings. Men will always be men and women will always be women. As the article clearly lays out the Islamic concepts of marriage, so the question remains what are the small but effective ingredients needed to maintain a loving and healthy relationship? Although the article points to men’s feelings but I would also agree with Rifka about feeding your husband and matters surrounding that chore.

    At the end of the day, Muslims have been given clear principles outlining how to attain success in this world and the next and that is what we all make du’a for Insha’Allah. If both the husband and wife keep their hereafter in the forefront of every matter in this world, then this would make their lives more focused. In my humble opinion, I would add the essential ingredient of ‘sacrifice for the sake of Allah (swt)’ as a means to balance between the roles of the husband and wife. Yes it’s important for the wife to look out for the emotional, physical and ‘feeding’ of the husband but more importantly ‘men are the protectors of women'(Quran 4:34) and that includes all the above and more. If women are to make sacrifices then men have to go that extra mile in order to model that concept. Because ultimately, we men are responsible for those under our authority.

    And only Allah (swt) knows best. Peace and blessings be upon our beloved prophet. May Allah (swt) grant us all the goodness of this world and the hereafter and save us from the fire. Aameen. Wassalaamu’alaikum.

  16. men are like children!
    Assalaamu alaikum!well,sounds a bit off beat to me.However i am still searching and not in the best position to judge men.may ALLAH give us successful marraiges,jazakillah khair,
    aisha.

  17. Men are like children??
    Salam..

    Jazakallahu khayran for the article sister.

    I agree with Imran above, the advice was let down by the comment: “men are like children”.

    The statement was made even more insulting by emphasising the point as being the ‘key thing’ to know, and by not even saying ‘some men’ instead of the generalising term ‘men’. And furthermore by describing his feelings as a ‘vulnerable child’.

    These comments are inaccurate, unfair and unnecessary. Therefore I politely request to remove this part of the article because it feels like a glitch in an article worthy of benefitting many brothers and sisters alike.

    Forgive me if I misunderstood your words.

    Jazakallahu khayran.

  18. Men are like vulnerable children? Hmmmmmm.
    I agree with article in the main, however the highlighted paragraph sounds a little off key for me too. Men are not a homogenous group; the hugging him whilst he’s mad thing might work for some, other husbands might think you’ve gone slightly insane. The key tip then is to figure out how to manage (in an entirely non manipulative way) your own particular husband. An extra tip which may or may not work with your husband, is to feed him as soon as he gets through the door and definitely before you talk about ‘issues’. Never smile at a crocodile, never discuss with a hungry man. Two life lessons well worth learning.

  19. Men are like children?
    I read the article twice and it really gave some good advice (mainly intended for wives).

    However, dear sister, the whole article was then let down by the key thing men are like children bit which could have easily have been left out to be fair. With that wording, I felt your article lost it’s academic (and took a more feminist) tone and balance. How do you expect your women readers to respect (and obey) their husbands if they see them as temperamental children? Women can be equally as moody as men, and I’m just as often giving my wife a hug and kiss ‘to assuade her discontent’ (not that it always works!)

    I think you quite rightly pointed out that many sisters do live/have been brought up with a Western fairytale-like belief about marriage and didn’t realise until later on (often following many arguments) that both sides have a responsibility to make a family.

    [u]Both genders should respect each other, and each has their strengths and weaknesses[/u].

    May Allah grant us all successful marriages.

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