Secrets to a Successful Marriage Book Excerpt October 23, 2016 – Posted in: Quotes
Reflecting on ‘Me’ to Improve ‘Us’
A number of the couples that come to me for counseling because of problems in their marriage are armed with a long list (sometimes literally) of complaints about their partner. It is rare, though, for one partner to be the cause of all the problems. I give these couples same basic advice and that is: to reflect and work on their own their own personal behaviour and pave the way to bring out the best in the other partner. Whatever qualities you would like to see in your partner, you will have to cultivate them in yourself first and the rest will, insha’Allah, follow.
In the light of my experience, I feel that the following are the most important qualities and behaviours to work on. However, simple or irrelevant they may seem to your particular problem or circumstances, I assure that you that by implementing these in your life, you will insha’Allah see huge positive changes, both personally and within your marriage.
Surrendering to ‘Allah’s Role
“Men have charge of women because Allah has preferred
the one above the other and because they spend their
wealth on them. Right- acting women are obedient,
safeguarding their husbands’ interests in their absence as
Allah has guarded them.”
There are many books you can buy and courses you can attend that will give you all the information you need about your marital roles, rights and responsibilities and therefore I am not going to cover them here. What I will say is that Allah has created men and women with different strengths and skills and given them specific roles to play in marriage. When men assume the role of provider and protector and women look after their home and family, then they complement each other and the result is, insha’Allah, a well-run home, and family with material possessions as well as the love that only a woman can provide.
Society however, tells us that we can compete in these roles and indeed, do them better than each other. So when women decide they can provide for their families too, it is hardly surprising that men expect them to assume that role as well. This ‘double burden’ is now very common in households, where women work but must also be the nurturer, cook, cleaner, and teacher to name just a few responsibilities. This leaves them exhausted and frustrated and causes tension within the marriage.
Allah did not give men and women identical roles but complementary ones. Each partner should be given respect for their role in the relationship and each role is equally as important. The wife/mother role is nurturing, providing love and affection, supporting family members. This complements the husband who is the provider, protector, the guardian from the external environment.
Before you go over the finer details of your role and the rights due to you need to understand and embrace the concept of surrendering
to these Allah-given roles. This means, as in everything in your life, placing your focus on what Allah has asked of you, and surrendering
to it, because as Our Creator, He knows best. Embrace your roles in the marriage for His pleasure. Look at your own obligations, are you
fulfilling them? This will lead to kindness, mercy, and respect for one another. As a result, half the work is done in marriage. Sadly, some people choose to concentrate on receiving their rights and use them as a stick with which to beat their spouse, without to what their responsibilities are.
Sister Aishah came to me at her wit’s end. Her husband was insistent that she be obedient to him. however, where her rights were concerned, he most definitely wasn’t fulfilling. He was failing to provide financially for the family, was out all the time and was addicted to gambling. In spite of this, he believed that it was her duty as a Muslim wife to be obedient to him and his motto was, “Whatever I say, goes.”
One day, she went to give the children something to eat only to realise that the cupboard and fridge were bare and she snapped, finally aware that this wasn’t right for her or for her Children. When her husband returned home, she took his debit card from him and asked, “How can I be obedient to somebody who is disobedient to creator?”
As you can imagine, this realisation was a turning point for the family and they both came to me for counseling. I explained to them that in order for partners to respect each other, they must both fulfill their basic duties.
On the other hand, when two people surrender to the will of Allah for His pleasure, then insha ‘Allah not only do they earn that pleasure
but they are also blessed with a stable marriage.
Sister Hiba was very well educated with a good job and was looking for a husband. A friend told her about a family friend of her brother’s who had been looking for a spouse for some time, but because of his ethnicity, he was having difficulty finding someone. On finding out more about the good character of the brother, Hiba asked to be introduced an alhamdulillah, they decided to get married within weeks. Before the marriage, each of them made clear what they could offer to the marriage and what they wanted. Abdul Bari was very clear in telling Hiba that he wasn’t well of, and neither was he money oriented so they were never likely to have a luxurious lifestyle and Hiba accepted this. He also told her that family and marriage were his priority and so he would prefer her to concentrate on being a home maker in the future.
After the marriage, Hiba voluntarily offered to buy some comforts for their marital home as she saw that her husband was struggling and she had a well-paid job.
A few years later, Abdul Bari requested that Hiba stop working so that they could concentrate on their marriage and having a family. Again, Hiba did not object as this had been mutually agreed before the marriage.
Now on the phase of it, it may sound to you as if Hiba made all the sacrifices. However, she entered marriage with the purest of intentions. She did not care about looks, ethnicity or a high standard of living. She focused on good character and a family minded man. Furthermore, both partners were open and honest with each right from the start, so they both had clear and realistic expectations of each other and both fulfilled these with compassions and flexibility.
Once they had decided to start a family, Hiba and Abdul Bari surrendered to their natural roles and through this gained such a level of inner peace and satisfaction in their marriage that it was a pleasure to be in their company.
This case shows that surrendering to Allah’s roles does not mean that a woman should not be educated or work. However, her priority should be her home and family. Brothers and sisters know your roles and the rewards for fulfilling them. Submit to them and it will bring you peace and happiness.
What to do next:
- Be comfortable in the roles which Allah SWT has ordained for you. Remember there are rewards for submitting to those roles and insha’Allah, peace and happiness will be the result.
- Concentrate on your own role and obligations; focusing on how and to what extent you are fulfilling it, rather than concentrating solely on the rights that you are not receiving.
- Remember that you are a male and a female. Try not to compete with each other with those roles. Instead help each other in your respective roles, by supporting, and reaching and advising.
- If you need to advise your spouse, be attentive as to how you do this and approach the task with patience and kindness.