By: Shannon Abulnasr
Elizabeth, accepted Islam 9 years ago, and married a Moroccan after she had been Muslim for about 4 years.
Since she had been Muslim for almost half a decade at that point, she had learned a great deal, and was fully practicing Islam in every way she could according to the Quran and Sunnah.
Unfortunately, she failed in learning about his adherence to the religion very well before getting married. She just asked if he prayed his prayers, and upheld the five pillars of Islam. Since he did, she thought she was marrying a keeper.
Within the first week of marriage, she knew she made a big mistake! She found that she was literally having fights with her husband because he didn't want to take the time to pray throughout the day, and wanted them to both just make up all the prayers at night all at once.
He also didn't care about attending Jummah prayers at the masjid, and although he doesn't drink, he was frequenting night clubs. He even expected her to take her hijab off and to go with him!
She was devastated, and didn't know what to do. She fell into the co-dependent role of being more like his mother instead of his wife which often left her feeling depressed and angered. She thought that she could make him into a better Muslim. To her disappointment, she found that he wasn't interested the slightest bit and they ultimately divorced.
After a year or so passed, she found a new husband from Pakistan. She learned more about him before marriage because she didn't want to make the same mistake twice. He was a good practicing Muslim, although he was weak in a few areas, she knew that he was at least trying and making a constant effort on his own will to do better. She would encourage him in the areas he was weak, and he did the same for her.
Their problems were primarily around cultural norms. He felt that her sole job was to serve his parents who lived with them, and to cook and clean. She had no problems with doing the expected household duties since she didn't work, but she had problems with how her in-laws treated her. Since she knew her husband was doing his best to be a good Muslim, she discussed the matter with him, and he spoke to his parents about the matter.
At first, his parents were disgruntled and felt she was against them, he presented the Quran and Sunnah to them about the obligations of wife and husband in Islam, and that they needed to tone it down a notch. Over time, things eased up and they became happy with their marriage in all aspects. Alhamdulillah.
Study One Another
Now, the last point that needs discussion is the psychological aspect of dealing with a spouse. While not fully related to Islam, it is woven together to produce a happy marriage. Men think differently than women, and they tend to react differently as well to various stimuli.
Women are emotional creatures, whereas men tend to be less emotional, and often even suppress their emotions.
Women need to be constantly reminded that their husband loves, respects, and appreciates them, in ways other than just saying it directly to them, whereas most men can just accept verbal responses as sufficient.
Women are more physically needy, wanting to be held, hugged, kissed, and romanced. Men tend to only be this way when they want to have sexual intimacy. However, if men realized that if they are like this with women at all times, other than just when they want sexual gratification, that the wife will be more excited to initiate sexual relations.
Marriage is a give and take, not take, take, take! When a woman is upset, she tends to verbalize her feelings, whereas the man wants to hold it in and not talk about it. When the wife knows when to “let things be” and to remain quiet until the storm clears, and the man learns when his wife is about to break emotionally and needs to discuss things, they will learn when to talk and when to wait.
Knowing the other's mood and mentality will make marital conflicts much easier to overcome. You have to step back from your own thoughts, feelings, and wait to react at times, to know the other person's mindset.
There are numerous things that are very simple that both spouses can do to make the other feel happy in marriage... the key is to understand that differences between the mind of a man and woman exist, and how to work with each other's psychology in regards to conflicts will make life easy. Once you know the mind of the other, and how they think, and what they expect, you will know how to resolve future problems!
“And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquility in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.” (Qur’an 30:21)
Marriage is not intended to be a prison but a base, a safe haven, a source of contentment, tranquility, consolation and spiritual strength through shared commitment and experience. If it is turned into an arena for strife, discontent, abuse, or oppression it is failing to fulfill its proper function.
So study one another, and stick it out until you know each other like the back of your hand. When you accomplish this, you will know how to make your marriage a forever lasting happy marriage.
The world wasn't created in a day, just like a perfect marriage isn't made by simply signing a contract. It takes work and you can achieve it, but both parties must be proactive in learning about one another on a deeper level to reach marital bliss!
May Allah grant us all a righteous spouse, and put happiness in our grasp.
(Coming Soon) When Reverts Marry - Battling the Culture Clash (4 Part Series)
(Coming Soon) Revert Sisters Making Hijrah to Egypt (3 Part Series)