Building your Islamic marriage
This is written by a dear friend of mine, and its a must read for everyone.
In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful
Building your Islamic marriage
Written by: Um Abdullah
Someone asked me the other day for some specific marriage advice for Muslim men. Off the top of my head I will say friendship and partnership between the two parties as well as having Islam in every aspect of your marriage is a good start. But what does this mean? Most of us will agree this advice is good but how should men implement it into their lives? How do we as Muslims put this friendship thing into practice to where it will help us in our daily lives with our wives?
One concept that has gotten misinterpreted in modern times is how to run the household as the man of the family. It seems these days the husband has forgotten that Allah (swt) is the leader of the family. The husband is only the vessel in which he guides this family. Husbands are not the king of his house giving him permission to rule the family as he sees fit. It is not his rules that should govern the house but Allah’s (swt) rules. Often time, man forgets this and turns his household into a kingdom onto himself, making the life for himself grand while the wife and children often time suffers in silence.
Has any husband ever taken the time to ask his wife how would she grade him as a partner?
Modern men use the excuse of being head of the house to do as he pleases. This is not what was meant when Allah (swt) gave him this family. As head of the house, he should work with the family to ensure the whole family is content, not just him. Has any husband ever taken the time to ask his wife how would she grade him as a partner? What grade do you think she would give you?
Muslim men should understand being head of the house is not just providing for the wife and kids. The wife also looks and grades him according to the partnership as well. If you look inside a house and see the husband happy, you will most often find the wife suffering by him in some silent way. However, if you look in a house and find the wife happy you will learn the children and the husband are happy as well.
The prophet (pbuh) should be remembered when we ask how Muslim men should integrate family into their daily lives. There are many stories how he played with his wives and took advice from them, treating them as a vital, important role in his life.
We must strive everyday to emulate the religion Allah has given us. We must work harder to participate in our family activities. We must show our wives that we appreciate their efforts by helping them. We need to check our behavior when dealing with our wives. Are we really treating them in a kind and gentle manner? Do we express the important role she has in the family or are we too busy with outside life to even think of this topic? Do we always do what we know is best or put it off till another day? Do we ask for her advice in matters? Do we expect too much? Do we love the wife we have or dream of the wife she could be? Do we allow constructive criticism from her, being she knows us best? Is she considered one of your friends?
A husband should be willing to change his ways if he learns his ways are not that of a leader to his family.
Most wives spend hours with children and housework. Some even work outside the home. It is in her nature to wait for her husband at the end of every day. The husband should take time every day to talk to his wife. Learn of what she is doing with her time when he is not there. These days many husbands go home and work on the laptop, watch TV or play with other things. The wife will talk and he will not show complete attention. This isn’t good leadership. Give her time for communication. If you work and come home, try to spend at least two hours a day in conversation with your wife. Talk about things that interest her. Even if it is a topic you don’t like. By doing this you will be raised up to the highest place within her heart. (It should matter to you how she feels about you.) When you do go out, call her. Ask about her. Call to see if she needs anything. Don’t wait for her to call you. Always tell her when to expect you home. It is not right for a Muslim man to just show up. She needs time to fix herself and sort out the house.
A healthy friendship means a healthy family for the children as well. It is good to have the children see mother and father spend time together. Husbands should be understanding of a wife who is eager for entertainment. It was not the intention of Allah (swt) to keep a woman in her house, hidden from any temptation to participate in a social world. In fact, it is one of the duties and responsibilities of the Muslim husband to spend quality time with his wife and to allow her to engage in permissible forms of recreation. It is really not right for a husband to go out to play while his wife remains tucked away in the house with no one to talk to except her children. Husbands have to realize that women need social exercise, just as much, if not more than they do. Men are often complaining about their wives’ weight, but as soon as a wife asks their husband to take her out for a walk so that she might lose some weight he says, “No, I’m busy.” A Muslim husband must take his wife out on a regular basis for recreation. He must find a friend within his wife and not just spend his free time with his male friends. Healthy friendship equals healthy family. It is easy to go out with friends or stay at work late, but remember the family needs your guidance more than work or friends. When you don’t give time for your family you neglect your religion. How many Muslim men are guilty of this?
Your family is half your religion, not your work or friends. You want your children to love you then be good to their mother.
Love the wife and the children will love you. The best gift you can give your children is a strong healthy relationship with their mother. Men are shocked to learn how a wife craves to have time with him. It should shame a husband when he learns the one person he sees every night is in truth very lonely and wishes for more time with him. Don’t use the excuse she has her family to spend time with. A husband’s time is not the same and it is her husband’s time she craves most. Her moods are always best when she has a kind husband that spends time with her each day. It is his duty to Allah (swt) to ensure this relationship. This matter is often taken for granted in this day and age. Husbands rush from work to chat with friends in coffee shops or plan even more work after hours, looking for more income. Do they forget it is marriage that’s half the religion and not work or friends?
Know her limits
Do not chase after the small errors of your wife and recount them to her, for too much blaming and reprimanding will worsen the relationship between the two of you, and it will pose a threat to your marital life. Know her limits. Remember what the Quran says about women and rib bones? It is curved and if you force it to go straight it will break. This is the case with women, for Allah (swt) knows best and is giving you sound advice. Never call her lazy. If what she does doesn’t directly hurt you then ask yourself if it can be overlooked. Her not doing something doesn’t mean she is defying you, it just means it isn’t in her to be able to do it. (She is curved remember, not straight.)
There is no human being that is perfect. So there is no doubt that the husband will see things in his wife that do not comply with his preferences. If these aspects are not against the fundamentals of Islam or against the obedience of the husband and his rights, then at that point, he should not try to change her personality. He should also remember that if there are some characteristics that he doesn’t find pleasing in his wife, then indeed she has other characteristics, which are definitely pleasing to him.
Most often the Muslim man will find his marriage unsatisfying because he feels his wife isn’t obedient to him. It is here he should remember his home isn’t his kingdom. It was given to him by Allah(swt) and if his wife complains about him and it causes the man to not wish to be around her he should be open to change his ways as long as what the wife is asking for isn’t against Islam. Compromise is best.
Just because the man has rights over the wife does not mean he has say to do as he pleases and if he is unhappy it is her fault. He should first be willing to change before he ask her to change. He should be willing to change because he is the leader of the house as well as a role model for the family.
Her right towards your thinking
It is a right of a wife to always have her husband think good of her. No wife wishes to live with a husband who openly or indirectly thinks ill of her. (You would not wish this on you.) Have manners every time you think negative of her. When you do remember her in a negative way, try to remember at least five things that are from her good side. Don’t save the negative things about her in your mind, only remember the good side. And remember, you could have gotten a wife which would displease you even more. Make Duaa for positive thoughts as you should know negative thoughts are the first sings that Shatan has entered your marriage.
Divorce starts all too often when the husband starts to recall only bad things from his wife. Why can’t she be this or that way? The Shatan loves to destroy the way a husband thinks of his wife so divorce can happen. Avoid this by thinking good things when you remember a bad thing and make Duaa, Duaa, Duaa.
Remember what she does may not be to your standards but as long as she is trying then be patient and don’t feel she is lacking because she doesn’t do something just as you like. If she can’t do a certain thing to your liking what is so wrong for you to take this duty from her? If you can’t do it either then why are you being so hard on her for not doing it? If you find neither you nor her can’t do it, please try to arrange for help in some way. Perhaps hired help or a family member can help. Instead, love what she does. Thinking negative about her makes her home life miserable because her self confidence will be tarnished and soon she will give up thinking she can ever please you, so why bother trying her best when she knows it will not be liked in the first place.
Small sparks can make a huge fire.
If you come to have a small problem, take care of it and don’t ignore it. Find a solution as fast as possible. Putting off problems can make a small spark a great fire after a while. There is a misconception among Muslim men on how to solve a family problem. Men tend to enter into a marriage thinking a problem must be solved his way, no compromise. He is man of the house after all! Right? (Wrong.)
As the head of the house, it is your duty to address the issue promptly and with consideration for everyone’s feelings. If you’re not pleased about something she is doing don’t just say she is doing it wrong and demand she do better and it’s finished. Always remember there is never one right way. She isn’t doing something wrong, just differently then you wish she did it. She was raised in a different house than you and did things differently. Most men tend to want things done like their mothers did it. If she isn’t doing it at all don’t yell. Find out first why she isn’t doing that thing. Maybe she is caught up with her job or the kids. Explain what displeases you and ask her if she can do it another way. (See if she can meet your expectations.) If you learn she can’t then you should find some common ground. Make it clear both have agreed to the solution. If she does not like the solution then come up with another until you both agree. Don’t be closed to taking ideas from her. Be willing to accept a solution she comes up with. We all know the prophet (pbuh) took advice from his wives. Allah (swt) knows best how you handle disputes with your wife.
The Man Allah (swt) is pleased with most is the one who is kind to his wife.
Marriage is a partnership. It is here most men fail and demand a wife should do what he wishes. He finds something in the marriage he doesn’t like so he tells her how to fix the problem. (Never realizing both are in the marriage and her happiness counts too.) Remember a husband doesn’t have a kingdom onto his self. He is just a leader in a marriage and Allah (swt) is the ultimate ruler. It must be seen from the Islamic way. But the Man Allah(swt) is pleased with most is the one who is kind to his wife. By hearing what she has to say and considering a change because of her advice, only comes from a wise man. There are many ways to work on a solution but most men want the solution where the wife must do the work and agree to leave his side free. (So he can enjoy his kingdom with little strife.) And this is wrong. This isn’t how a leader runs his affairs. It will not work until the wife sees the leader willing to change. Why should the wife put an effort into a plan if the leader who created it isn’t willing to invest his time as well? You want her to believe in you and your role? Then lead her and your family. When you lead this way she will follow.
Just as in a man’s job, if there is a problem one should address it and don’t leave it. You will see all things can be worked out if addressed promptly and with compromise. Divorce can be avoided if only a husband would communicate and be willing to bend. (This goes for women as well, but this paper is for men. Women will get their advice as well.)
Wise men are open to receive constructive criticism before it turns to nagging.
Who is your confidant? Turning to your wife for advice or even being open to it when she gives it shows you’re a wise man. Because a wife usually knows her husband better than anyone else, it is naturally her place to offer him constructive criticism and it is her husband’s duty to consider it. Many men do not like to hear criticism from their wives, but, many times she is the best one to offer an accurate assessment of his character and behavior.
Most husbands tone out the wife when she tells him something she isn’t happy with inside the marriage. If she is half the people in the marriage why shouldn’t she express her worries about an issue between them? Why shouldn’t she be able to go to her husband and seek a healthy change within the family? If after hearing the worry, every man should think about it and if it is a reasonable complaint and within Islamic principle, he should be open to change.
The mistake happens when a wife expresses her worry and the man refuses to hear it. He doesn’t consider it and does as he pleases. The wife in turn is unhappy and the bickering will start. Is she really nagging or does she have a legitimate complaint? Who should she go to if not the leader of the family when she has a worry? It is the duty of a husband to hear her complaints and fix it to ensure the harmony of the family that Allah(swt) has entrusted him with. It is not right to ignore the wife’s feelings just because it would mean doing something which would entail work on the husband’s part.
So, is your wife nagging you? Is the reason she nags about an issue your refusing to compromise with? If it is, then you’re not being a fair husband and should listen being you’re the leader of the family.
“May Allah (swt) have Mercy upon the one who points out my shortcomings.”
Many men lack communication skills with their wife to talk about issues without feeling like they are being attacked. Allah allowed us this safe relationship where we can offer help to one another and use every opportunity available to improve ourselves and the image we present as a role model for our families, friends and others. As Umar ibnul Khattab once said, “May Allah (swt) have Mercy upon the one who points out my shortcomings.” Men should listen and be open to things their wife says about them. They should also be open to change, if after thinking about it, sees she could be right. Open communication is vital.
Extended family woes
Another point a lot of wives greave over is the extended family. All Muslims know it is a duty set upon them to care for their elderly mothers and fathers. In these times it is also expected of men to care for and spend on his brother and sisters as well. A man is lucky when he marries a wife who understands this duty and does not complain about it.
However, all matters with his wife should be balanced alongside the other duties one may have outside the personal family. It is famous all over the Muslim world the stress a mother and a wife can give the Muslim man. Soap operas are made on this topic alone! How does one balance both and keep his sanity?
Balance is not the same as equality.
Allah (SWT) has taught us in Surah Rahman, whatever responsibilities Allah has given towards the mother or towards the father or brother and sister should be balanced without destroying the husband’s personal family life. It is the husband’s duty to be good to his parents. It is also his duty to spend time away from his parents, alone with his personal family. (Wife and kids)
Don’t put equality between both.
Treat one as a parent and the other as a wife. Both are duties of a Muslim man but each one has a different duty and shouldn’t be put as equal.
A wise Muslim man will learn you can’t treat them equal without having one, or both, count what the other is getting. It is better to be kind and care for parents but make clear goals as to what it is he must do to care for them. Once these goals are realised he can see it is not the same goals for his own personal family. So how can they be treated equally if the goals are different?
A wise man can perform these goals and more if he understands that the right of his mother is not the same toward his wife. Just because Islam puts the mother over all does not mean the wife should be less worthy. Paradise is at the feet of your mother. But half your religion is from your marriage.
The mother should be taken care of by the son while at the same time the mother should allow her son to have a personal life with his wife and kids. When this isn’t reached, it is the duty of the son to arrange the balance. Each requires time together as a whole family as well as time apart. Encourage your parents to allow you to have a healthy marriage by going out with your personal family on trips or spending on your wife when you are able. This will help in a healthy marriage.
You are not doing anything against Islam by going with your personal family as long as you are providing for your parents. Allah (swt) knows best in what you do.
In conclusion, Muslim men should consider friendship and partnership in their marriage. They should change their way of thinking that the man is the head of the house, so he can do as he pleases. Muslim men should not feel they can rule the home whichever way they feel. Muslim men should understand Marriage is half their religion and marriage takes work on both sides.
If he finds his home life not pleasant then he should ask himself if he has been a good example of a friend to his wife as well as a partner. Being the head of the house isn’t just about paying bills. And paying the bills doesn’t give the Muslim man the free ticket to never spend time with his wife and be outside the house all the time. A leader cant lead if he is never there. If he finds he is spending more time away then with his personal family, he needs to consider a change.
Every man should put his families well being over all other things such as work and extra activities because Allah (swt) has told us marriage is half our religion. It is sad how men today forget this. Why would a man deny half his religion by putting other things first?
A good leader is an active leader within the home.
Now I will ask again, what grade would your wife give you and what grade do you think you currently deserve?
What grade would Islam give you in maintaining what’s half your religion?