Marriage and Beyond… By UmmReem http://ummreem.wordpress.com/2008/07/07/marriage-and-beyond/
I was asked to give a halaqah when I was visiting Houston last month. I used to have this halaqah every Tuesday when I was living there. It has continued, alhamdullialh, for more then 5 years now even after I left.
So, I prepared my talk about ‘Test and Trials’ but when I got there I learned that the host (where we were having the halaqah) wanted me to talk about marriage because her niece was getting married.
Great! I had to come up with some decent advice in 10 minutes. So I thought of sharing it with y’all…the experiments and experiences of my own life! Well….sort of!!
Marriage is a relationship that brings two total strangers into a close bond which Allah azzawajal 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 his responsibility. When we start worrying about his, we tend to ignore ours. Allah azzawajal 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.
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!”
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 wearing niqab 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 read this.
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!
Always make dua’ that Allah puts love in his heart for you and in your heart for him.
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.
These are just a few tips not all the tips. If anyone else has any more suggestions or advice, please feel free to do so!