Seasons of Love- Spring and Summer

Dina Rashid

The  relationship between men and women in Islam is addressed in the Qur’an and further in the Sunnah. Islam explains to us how to achieve tranquility in marriage and how to reach the highest potential in all other aspects of life.
[ And one of His [Allah’s] signs is that He created mates for you from yourselves that you may find tranquillity in them, and He put between you love and mercy; most surely there are signs in this for people who reflect.) (Ar-Rum 30:21)

Inspired by our belief that better communication within Muslim families, especially between husbands and wives, is the cornerstone for building a strong, actively involved family, we wanted to shed some light on what we believe happens often in many marriage stories.

A relationship between a husband and a wife is like a garden; if it’s to thrive, it must be watered regularly, with “weather hazards” taken into account, such as any unpredictable draught or storm. New seeds must be sown, and weeds must be pulled out (Gray).

Love’s Springtime

The Prophet said, “Nothing is better for those in love than marriage.”
(Ibn Majah and authenticated by Al-Albani)

One fatwa of Shiekh Al-Qaradawi, the prominent Muslim scholar, states what means that love is lawful in Islam as long as that love comes in spite of the person, that person doesn’t go out of the way especially to seek these emotions, and that all Islamic guidelines are kept in mind. However, there is a suggestion that the traditional route for marriage usually has better results.

The beginning of love is its springtime; this is when you feel that you will stay happy forever. This corresponds to the Islamic engagement and `aqd (official documentation of marriage) time and may last for a few months before marriage! During that time, you always find excuses to your partner’s mistakes; you may even become unable to see the mistakes or differences. But this fire of emotions in many cases does not stay forever. Marriage and family therapist Glenn Lutjens suggests that this change takes place in every relationship because of three factors:time, distance, and desire.

Time. When you get married, you have more time to observe your spouse’s behavior. You see things that weren’t so noticeable at “springtime.”
Distance. You now see him up close. There’s no “see you next week.” You now see him when he’s hungry and tired. Women may have their “time of the month,” and men have their “time of the day”! When his stomach is empty, you may see a whole new side of your man you never knew existed.
Desire. Some of the behavior during those days probably wasn’t so deliberate. That type of romantic fire shapes one’s actions; loving deeds come easily to one so smitten by romance. You probably felt the same excitement, with your reactions being affected as well. We tend to construct a person in our minds to match the excitement we want to feel. We mentally vision that person in a way that will make us happiest.

Love’s Summertime

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Eventually we realize that our partner is not as perfect as we thought and that we have to work on our relationship. Plants need to be watered even more frequently under a hot sun; this is how the relationship between a husband and a wife should be enriched when it’s no longer easy to give or to get love. Therefore, always remember Prophet Muhammad’s advice:

Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) as saying: A believing man [husband] should not hate a believing woman [his wife]; if he dislikes one of her characteristics, he will be pleased with another. (Sahih Muslim. Book 8, Number 3469)

Many couples become disillusioned after a few of months in wedlock. They give up working on the relationship and blame one another. They forget that it cannot be “springtime” all the time. Yet, no one wants to live in summer forever. So hold your breath and gather all the wisdom that Allah gave you to go through this stage and reach the tranquility, mercy, and love mentioned in the verse. These will be the lasting, calm, and warm emotions of love between a husband and wife who are living for the sake of Allah.

You can think that way: Is this the person I want to continue the rest of my life with? If the answer is “no,” then you will not be willing to invest much in this relation anyway, you will give it a weak try and then give up. If the answer is “yes,” then the question becomes “What do I do now that I found out my partner in not what I thought?” Debating whether your partner misrepresented himself or herself or you misread your partner won’t solve anything. Here are some things you may consider doing:

Choose to love your partner. Remember that it’s Allah Who makes the “love and mercy happen between the husband and the wife.
Seek Allah’s help and ask Him to make that “chemistry” happen. Also, open your heart and give your partner the benefit of doubt; stand in your partner’s shoes and try to see things from his or her perspective.
Look at how you may have changed as well after marriage.
You will not be able to actually change someone. All you can do is provide a different and favorable environment for your partner to want to change.
Realize that you may have legitimate concerns.Voice them to your partner in a constructive way with the hope that he or she will be willing to work toward change or at least understand your concerns.
Express with respect. Use “I-messages”: “I” feel and “I” think, not “you” did such and such.
Invest in this family. Paradise is worth your best effort. A little whisper in the wife’s ear is, “Allah made one important mission in this life which is to make this family happy.” The motive is wonderful. The Prophet said,
“If a woman prayed the five prayers, fasted in Ramadan, protected her honor, and obeyed her husband, then she will be told (on the Day of Judgment): Enter Paradise from any of its (eight) doors”. (Ibn Hibban)

Do not listen to voices like “He is no better than you are! Why do you have to listen?” The Prophet mentioned the advice for a reason, so do not ruin your life. Instead, invite love to your house and be patient. It is love and happiness in this life and Paradise in the hereafter.

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