A marriage is a beautiful relationship, an intermingling of two selves and two individuals binding them together in love, trust, companionship and into oneness. The significance of marriage in Islam lies in the fact that it is not only for the approval of sexual intercourse and procreation of children but it is also about striving together in love and unison and braving all odds in the journey called life and therefore, a journey towards the Almighty. Allah says, “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).
There are good marriages and also not-so-good marriages. Everybody desires a happily-ever-after; a lifetime of being in love, happiness and peace. When the initial pomp and show subsides and the honeymoon phase filled with fun and joy starts to recede, is when the couple actually begin to figure out their partner. That is when the bubble bursts. You notice flaws and imperfections in your spouse which you didn’t earlier, leaving you confused and frustrated. Disagreements and arguments can happen, intimacy might seem less and even the tasks that seemed exciting and fun earlier, may seem mundane and daunting. It can all make you overwhelmed and at times, make you question your relationship.
However, this is all normal. Please be assured that this is not the end of a relationship or marriage. Instead of believing in a fairy tale fantasy romance which is far from being realistic, one needs to understand as well as accept that every person is different. Far
Trying to understand your spouse is therefore an integral step towards a happy marriage.
Accept him or her as they are and as separate individuals. Of course, it takes time to fully understand a person. If there are differences, sit and sort them out together and try to find a common point to agree upon with your spouse while still maintaining an atmosphere of ease and comfort. What really matters is, how you “treat” the issue and how fast you bounce back towards your life together.
That is when mutual respect, trust and understanding of each other becomes essential.
Respect for your partner comes from the deep understanding of the kind of person they are, their attitudes, opinions, values and thoughts. Men want their partners to respect them as a person and also acknowledge their actions. So do women, who wish that their spouses respect their feelings, stances and choices as an individual. Respecting your partner goes a long way in making a marriage successful. Every human being craves for appreciation.
Making small efforts and gestures to acknowledge and appreciate your spouse for what he or she does for you even on a daily basis, can work wonders in a marriage. It need not always be a customary or a melodramatic ‘thank you’.
You can acknowledge or thank your partner for fixing things around the house by cooking them their favourite meal, taking care of the children while letting your partner get some good rest after an exhausting day or letting them skip the usual chores just to relax and spend some me-time, are just a few instances. It is akin to acceptance and validation for your partner, acknowledgment of who they are, which can in turn help the love and trust deepen in a relationship. Without respect for each other, a marriage lacks its basic essence, intention and sanctity.
Remember that nobody is perfect. Everybody has his or her strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes people get irked by trivial things. It is better to brush aside the small flaws that annoy you and focus on the positive aspects of the person and filling in those gaps which helps in ensuring a smooth journey forward. Think about all the good memories you have about your partner which made you happy. Since changing a person completely is an impossible task, it is better to avoid to continually attempt to get him or her to change because you come with your own set of flaws, imperfections and weaknesses. And in the grand scheme of things, these small flaws really don’t matter. So why not choose to look at the positive side?
A husband and wife should be like garments for each other covering, concealing and sheltering each other and their honour, moulding their marriage into a safe haven and a secure space for the couple. “They are your garments and you are their garments.” (2:187), says the Quran.
It is these differences and arguments that makes a marriage meaningful because the couple then complements each other overcoming the hurdles together in a way that enhances the spirit as well as the strength of their bond. However, never put up with vices. It is always better to have a companion who is upright, religious and somebody who values conscience rather than spending your life in misery and full of regrets.
Enduring hardships together is absolutely important for a husband and wife. When the couple goes through such hardships together
Communication is yet another core aspect of keeping a marriage alive. Communicate more by finding time to spend with each other talking at least for a few minutes a day before going to bed. It can be about sharing how your day had been and also asking your partner about theirs. Filling in each other with the little mundane things can make one feel needed, ensuring a warmth of oneness and a gradual progress into ease and a level of comfort with each other for both the husband and wife. Try to keep the communication alive even in long distance marriages for a smooth sail because that is what keeps the spark alive.
Expressing yourself is therefore extremely important in a marriage. Most women usually can, but men are generally poor communicators. Men usually find it difficult to express their emotions, convey to their partner what they want or need. Some keep all their emotions inside, bottled up. A good idea is to make them feel so comfortable and secure that they will be at ease opening up to you. What you say and how you say it, the tone of your voice as well as the body language all matters while you communicate to your partner. And when your partner responds, that helps you to see things through their lenses. If at all a misunderstanding happens, clarify it in a calm, considerate and non-accusatory way. Instead of pointing fingers and using negative sentences beginning with ‘you’, start your sentences with ‘I’. ‘I may not be clear’ is much better than ‘You seem to misunderstand me’, isn’t it? Blaming your better half can lead to a defensive response in your partner that could make things worse.
Each person is different. So is every marriage. It is therefore pointless to take advices from those around you, whoever it may be, particularly the unsolicited ones with a condescending tone. Stay away from such people. What might work for them in their marriage might not necessarily work for you. Every person brings their own uniqueness to their relationship. Of course, you can always follow the general advices about marriage. The husband and wife complete each other and must strive together in life as one self and one spirit. “It is He who created you from a single soul, And made its mate of like nature in order that you might dwell with her in love….” (7:189)
Besides a heart full of love and trust in each other, a marriage requires tremendous patience, an understanding of each other and the quality to let go of things that you cannot control. And above all, an immense faith in Allah that He will eventually work out things just fine for you. Loads of wishes for a happy married life…