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10 Habits of Happy Muslim Couples (Part 1 of 2)

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What does it take to stay Muslim, married and extremely happy today? As oxymoronic as that just sounded, believe it or not, it’s absolutely possible!

 

Marriage, especially for Muslims, is a lot more than having someone to call a husband or wife. The marital relationship is an incredible blessing and divine sign, as Allah Ta'ala says in the Qur’an:

 

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: Chapter 30, Verse 21]

 

The whole purpose of having a spouse is to find tranquility in and with them; and our relationships with our spouses have signs that Allah Ta'ala is asking us to give thought to.

How are some Muslim couples finding this tranquility in their marriage while many others seem to be having a miserable time?

 

What are those couples whose eyes exude deep love and contentment doing right in their relationships?

 

Here are the top 10 habits of Muslim couples who’ve found tranquility and happiness in their marriage:

 

 

1. They love each other for Allah’s sake

 

What does it mean to love each other for Allah’s sake? It means you make the love and obedience of Allah Ta'ala the basis and focus of your relationship with someone else. It means you love someone so much that you want your love for them to last beyond this lifetime and into the Hereafter, where you can live in eternal happiness with them having earned Allah’s pleasure together. It means you love someone purely because of how much they remind you of Allah Ta'ala and help you get closer to Him.

 

Hold it right there. I know what you just thought: “but my wife/husband doesn’t remind me of Allah at all.”

 

A lot of people who marry each other even for primarily religious reasons end up disappointed after marriage when they suddenly find their spouse not praying all the sunnah prayers (like they thought they would) or reading the Qur’an everyday or the morning and evening adhkar or fasting Mondays and Thursdays or being excited about attending halaqahs or praying tahajjud or doing something for the Ummah – like they thought they would. Our own restrictions of spirituality to acts of physical or outward worship blind us from seeing how much our spouses contribute to improving our character, which is an unsurpassed form of spiritual growth, because the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasalaam) says:

 

Nothing is placed on the Scale that is heavier than good character. Indeed the person with good character will have attained the rank of the person of fasting and prayer.”

 

Your spouse has loved you for Allah’s sake every time they have:

  • stopped you from harboring suspicions or ill-will (about your boss or competitor or any other annoying person in your life)

  • stopped you from backbiting (about your friends, colleagues, in-laws (ahem))

  • helped you be more kind and gentle in your speech and manners (to helpers, waiters, laborers, siblings, elders and children)

  • helped you fulfill people’s trusts (by encouraging you to get to work on time and do the best at your job, to pay off your debts, to keep people’s secrets)

  • helped you be more honest with yourself or to others

  • helped you forgive someone and overlook their faults

  • helped you become more generous or less extravagant

  • helped you recognize and overcome the weaknesses of your inner self

 

 

In all of the above and so many other times that go unnoticed, committed Muslim spouses consistently help each other get closer to Allah Ta'ala. They stop each other from anything that may lower them in the sight of Allah Ta'ala and constantly help each other win Allah’s love.

 

Truly happy Muslim couples engage in winning Allah’s pleasure together whenever and in any way they can: they glorify Allah Ta'ala together in the quiet hours of Fajr, they thank Allah Ta'ala in tahajjud together, they make it a point to read a minimum amount of Qur’an everyday, they do regular or even random acts of kindness and charity and they maintain loving and happy ties with each other’s families.

 

 

2. They are grateful for each other

 

If there is one fundamental need that exists in every single human relationship, it is the need to feel relevant and appreciated. And there is no other relationship where this need is as grossly overlooked and abused, as in marriage. Why does this happen? Is it because humans tend to take things for granted, especially when they’re done by those closest to them?

When you’re newly married, every single thing your spouse does for you feels so special. As time goes by, your husband going out to work hard and earn for the family becomes normal; and a few years later it becomes “his duty anyway”. Similarly, every meal your new bride cooks is delightful, then somehow the salt always seems to keep getting lesser, till eventually she’s “not doing anyone a favor by just doing her job”.

 

Sounds familiar? Oh yes, ungrateful Muslim spouse speaking right there!

 

Happy Muslim couples live and breathe this hadith in their marriage:

 

He who does not thank the people is not thankful to Allah.”

 

What is not there to thank your spouse for? Here are 5 reasons to thank your spouse right now:

  1. For providing you a roof to live under/for making a home out of your house

  2. For buying you clothes to wear/for making sure you have clean clothes to wear everyday

  3. For buying you the food you eat everyday/for making delicious meals for you everyday

  4. For being there to take you where you need to go/for being there to take care of the house when you’re away

  5. For coming back home to you every evening/for being the person you can come home to everyday

 

Allah Ta'ala says in the Qur’an:

 

“… If you are grateful, I will surely increase you ; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe.” [Qur’an: Chapter 14, Verse 7]

 

Our spouses are an immense favor and blessing of Allah Ta'ala upon us: they are an irreplaceable source of spiritual, emotional, mental and physical comfort. Happy Muslim couples keep getting happier because they simply implement the command of Allah Ta'ala in the above verse: They are grateful everyday for each other, so Allah Ta'ala increases the happiness they find in each other, just like He promised.

 

The verse doesn’t end there though. The last half of the verse should send a chill down every married person’s spine: “…if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe.”

 

How many times have our egos stopped us from acknowledging and appreciating our spouses? How many times have we denied all the good they’ve done for us through a single word or sentence in the middle of a senseless argument? Every conflict left unresolved, every hurtful word exchanged and every baseless complaint is a refusal to value one of Allah’s best gifts to us: a spouse. It is a denial of a favor Allah Ta'ala has blessed us with that many are longing for. And you don’t have to wait for the Hereafter to bear the consequences of such denial. Days of depression, frustration, anger, spite, lack of barakah (blessing), and even illness and hardships make life living hell for those who refuse to be grateful in their marriages.

 

Allah Ta'ala also says in the Qur’an:

 

And as for your Lord’s favor, then discourse about it! (i.e., proclaim it).” [Qur’an: Chapter 93, Verse 11]

 

So if you aren’t doing so already, stop holding back and proclaim to your spouse how grateful you are for them!

 

You and your spouse can start becoming grateful for each other right now by:

 

  • thanking each other for at least one thing everyday: you could do this through a text message, a note in a lunchbox or on the fridge, or just before you go to sleep at night (brothers, I promise you will not decrease in height if you do this)

  • exchanging a smile that says “thank you, you mean the world to me”

  • saying “thank you/jazak Allah khayr” every time your spouse does something for you

  • getting/doing small things for your spouse that you know they will absolutely love

  • writing down things about each other you’re grateful for in a journal and exchanging your journals regularly: journaling makes you reflect, realize and truly internalize what you’re thinking about. There’s nothing better than internalizing the gratitude you feel towards your spouse; and there’s nothing more heart-warming for them to read than what you’ve written from the depths of your heart!

3. They communicate like best friends

 

What a Whatsapp conversation looks like a few years into a typical marriage:

 

Need bread.”
“K.”

I mean, c’mon: “K”?? Not even an “o” to make that miserable “k” look a little less miserable?!

What happens to married people’s manners, interest, enthusiasm and most importantly good assumptions when talking to their spouses? Is it okay to talk this way because you’re just so used to someone? Why do we not talk this way to people we’ve been friends with for years? What makes a spouse less-deserving of respect, enthusiasm and affection when no one deserves it more than them (except our parents) for choosing to live every single day with us? Why do we not talk to our spouses like we talk to our best friends, even though they are much closer to us than anyone will ever be?

 

Happy Muslim couples talk like best friends, in good times and in conflict. In good times, they wait to tell each other about their day, they joke, laugh, share ideas, flirt, compliment each other, respect their spouse’s right to hold different opinions and learn from each other’s opposing points of view. In fact, happy Muslim couples communicate just like the Prophet(Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasalaam) and his wives did.

 

Aisha (Radiallahu Anha) narrated that:

Allah’s Messenger (Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasalaam) said to her: “I know when you are pleased with me or angry with me.” I said, “Whence do you know that?” He said, “When you are pleased with me, you say, ‘No, by the Lord of Muhammad,’ but when you are angry with me, then you say, ‘No, by the Lord of Abraham.’ ” Thereupon I said, “Yes (you are right), but by Allah, O Allah’s Messenger, I leave nothing but your name.”

 

Couples that have learnt to communicate effectively do away with the majority of marital stress because they become so attuned to each other’s feelings that they can immediately sense the emotional state of their spouse through the slightest change in words or tone.

 

And as our beloved Aisha (Radiallahu Anha) put it so beautifully – even in anger; happy, loving Muslim spouses never desert anything more than each other’s name when they try to communicate that they feel wronged or hurt. They never desert love and respect for each other in conflict: this, is the key to staying happy in your marriage.

 

 

4. They never lose focus of each other’s primary needs

 

What I’ve personally discovered through my own marriage and from those of all the people who’ve discussed marital issues with me, is that the primary reason for continuous marital stress and discord is almost always due to the neglect of a spouse’s primary needs.

A lot of books (by Muslim and non-Muslim authors alike) tend to classify primary marital needs based on gender or a spouse’s role in the marriage. You must’ve definitely read about men’s primary needs being respect and physical satisfaction, and that women prioritize the need for love, verbal expression and emotional satisfaction. However true these classifications may seem in theory, they’re far from practical reality, because the truth is: both men and women need love, respect, physical and emotional satisfaction, just in different degrees and ways of expression.

 

Men and women are equally human: Allah Ta'ala has created both genders with a sense of human dignity, with physical desires and with hearts that have feelings. When wives get snappy and say mean things to their spouses, husbands do feel hurt and unloved; and when husbands are rude and hurl insults at their spouses, wives do feel humiliated and disrespected. When a woman’s physical desires are consistently dismissed or left half-fulfilled, she feels as frustrated as a man in such situations does; and when a man never hears any words of appreciation or admiration, he feels as underappreciated and unvalued as a woman in these situations does.

 

Every marriage is made up of two unique people of opposite genders. That’s why, what works for one couple may not necessarily work in your marriage, because you and your spouse are different people altogether with different preferences, priorities and circumstances. For this reason, generally accepted theories that may apply to many marriages may not apply to many others because different people are different. And happy Muslim couples have this figured out. It is extremely crucial for the health of your marriage that you sit down with your spouse and figure out what is important to them, and how they’ve always expected you to fulfill those needs for them.

 

Here’s how to figure out and focus on fulfilling your spouse’s primary needs:

 

  1. Ask your spouse: “What is the one thing you cannot do without in this marriage?” Give them options to think about like love, respect, emotional or physical satisfaction, financial security, a peaceful or Islamic environment at home, etc.

  2. Ask them for examples of how they want these needs fulfilled: “How have you always expected me to do this for you?” Give them examples to help them figure out their preferences: ask them if they expect you to get small surprise gifts regularly, verbally compliment them more, take the initiative to pray or read and reflect on the Qur’an together, plan date nights, consult them before making a significant decision, talk to them in a certain way, dress up and prepare special surprise meals at home with the kids asleep, not say certain things in arguments, etc.

  3. Write down their needs and preferences.

  4. Make dua and sincere effort to fulfill your spouse’s primary needs: ask Allah Ta'ala to help you make your spouse happy, and then actively think of and create easy ways to do what is important to your spouse.

 

 

5. They are the comfort of each other’s eyes

 

Happy Muslim couples strive to be the comfort of each other’s eyes. They seek to be the answer to the dua that Allah Ta'ala has taught us to make:

And those who say, “Our Lord, grant us from among our wives and offspring comfort to our eyes and make us an example for the righteous.”” [Qur’an: Chapter 25, Verse 74]

What does it take to become a beautiful sight to look at?

 

Smile at your spouse

 

When was the last time you beamed at your spouse or saw your spouse smiling lovingly at you? Okay, I shouldn’t have asked that question because you’d probably need to time travel back into the ancient past. Smile when you open the door to your tired husband, smile when you get to see your wife after a long day at work, smile at the mother/father of your child for giving you such a beautiful gift; let your smile be the last thing your spouse sees before they close their eyes to sleep. Smile because there’s no reason not to.

 

Look good for your spouse

 

The noble companion Ibn Abbas (Radiallahu Anhu) is reported to have said:

 

I like to take care of my appearance for my wife just as I like for her to take care of her appearance for me. This is because Allah Ta'ala says: “And they (women) have rights similar (to those of their husbands) over them to what is reasonable.” ”

 

You are the only man/woman your spouse is allowed to look at from head to toe, so please don’t be an eye sore! Yes, make this your mantra. Tell yourself this every time you look in the mirror at your unkempt hair, permanent pyjamas or neglected body. Looking good for your spouse is as important (and as easy) as everything else you do everyday like eating or sleeping.

 

It takes a maximum of 20 minutes to: shower, put on some attractive clothes and perfume, comb your hair and apply a dash of make-up (men: you don’t have to do the last bit so you have even less of an excuse!). Make these 20 minutes a fixed part of your routine, ideally just before your spouse gets home or before you sit down to relax at home after work.

Looking good for each other has even more to do with maintaining your health and fitness. You need to do this for your own self before anyone else. Slot in an hour at least everyday to work on your physical and mental fitness: work out wherever and whenever it is convenient for you, but make sure you do and your spouse makes time for their fitness too. There’s nothing more attractive to a spouse than having that healthy glow and fit physique!

 

Be their source of comfort and support

 

Who do you think of turning to when you’re depressed, afraid or going through a tough time? If your spouse was the first person that came to your mind, you have a wonderful marriage Alhamdulillah. Because that’s what Muslim spouses do: they are each other’s refuge, just like the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasalaam) and his wives were to each other.

 

When the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasalaam) received the revelation for the first time, he began trembling with fear and ran to his wife Khadijah (Radiallahu Anha) seeking comfort and reassurance saying:

 

O Khadijah! What is wrong with me? I was afraid that something bad might happen to me.” Then he told her the story. Khadijah (Radiallahu Anha) said, “Nay! But receive the good tidings! By Allah, Allah will never disgrace you, for by Allah, you keep good relations with your kith and kin, speak the truth, help the poor and the destitute, entertain your guests generously and assist those who are stricken with calamities.”

 

To be continued...

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