Archive for November, 2009

Break up to Make Up

Posted in Tips for a Happy Marriage on November 24, 2009 by Shaz

Have A Break to Revive Your Marriage!

Huda Gamal Al-Deen

What is the ‘break’, is the break to maintain a healthy marital relationship. A Break in a relationship could have a positive outcome for some of us, if one wants to avoid a ‘break up’.

 *-*-*-*-*
 

My first time to hear about the notion of a ‘break’ in a marital relationship was from a friend of mine who was newly married. My friend was joining us on a 3 day trip. I could not hide my astonishment when I found her joining us on her own. She had only been married for a year at this point and I thought it only logical to see them as a married couple. I did not discuss the issue with her, as I thought that there must have been a kind of personal problem between her and her husband. I was sure that my speculations were right when on the first day of the trip she did not receive any phone call from her husband.

By the second day, I noticed that my friend was on a pretty long phone call, and it was very obvious that she was enjoying that conversation, while walking on the beach at sunset.  I knew then that she was talking to her husband.  I decided to go ahead and ask her directly, why her husband did not join us on the trip? I was surprised when she told me that her husband was with his friend on a three day trip, and I was astonished when she told me that they were having a ‘break’.

For a while, the word ‘break’ sounded so strange to me, it was more like ‘break-up’ or something else with a very negative meaning. I asked my friend about the meaning of the ‘break’.

A Way to Breathe Life into the Marriage

She told me that the ‘break’ is a healthy way to revive, strengthen, and give life to the marriage. My friend, who was taking the advice of a marriage counselor, as her marriage was not working out well lately. She said she had started to get bored with marital life, and lots of problems were creeping into their marriage.

After trying lots of unworkable methods to control the constant arguing and quarreling, her counselor told her that this is the right time for both of them to have a ‘break’.  A ‘break’ whereby each of them can calm down, relax, think alone, and get their energy back to continue the marriage in a calmer manner. 

I contacted my friend later after the trip, and she said that al hamdu Lillah things were going better between her and her husband. She told me that the ‘break’ gave both of them the time and space they needed to get rid of their personal loads, think clearly, and honestly evaluate themselves as partners in this marriage. Each partner is responsible for the success of this valuable marital relationship. She also said that the ‘break’ made them both long for each other,  a feeling that they both have not enjoyed for such a long time, due to the wear and tear of everyday routine.

There are some concepts you may need to make a use of. A successful ‘break’, as I figured out applied in the wrong way could seriously lead to a tragic ‘break-up’.

Make sure that it’s the right way: The first thing you should know about the ‘break’, is that it’s not always the right way to solve the problems between married couples. That is why taking the decision to ‘break’ should be based on a marriage counselor’s direct advice, and with both the partners approving. When taking a ‘break’, both partners should be involved and should enjoy the break. This means that each must have a time off in the way he/she would prefer.

Willingly not forcibly: If a partner decided ,after consulting with the counselor, that the ‘break’ is needed to heal their relationship, he/she should firstly take their partner’s permission.   A ‘break’, is not a decision that you can take on your own, and then force your partner to accept. It is a decision that needs both of the partners to sit together and discuss whether it is the right solution to the problem or not. If one partner sharply refuses the ‘break’ concept, the partner in favour, if not able to persuade, should review the idea and be patient. Then they should try to search for more workable solutions that would suit both of them.

A pause not a separation: When taking the ‘break’, both should keep in mind that it is only a temporary stop to think quietly and clearly. The ‘break’ is only a method that can lead to solving the joint unsolved problems between couples, thus it is important for both partners to remain in touch with each other. It’s not a ‘break up’ or separation period, but a pause. Marital life should resume in a healthy manner.

To think not to run away: Some couples do treat the break period as if it is a period to run away from marital problems.  Nobody can deny that the break can give both partners time to unload the daily stresses of life, but marriage is a responsibility.   

Use the time to think about solutions and methods to make marital life more balanced. If both consider the ‘break’ as only a vacation from their marriage, their unresolved problems will remain the same when they both come back together. The ‘break’ is not only to relax it is an opportunity to think. 

Short not long: As some old words of wisdom say “distance makes the heart grow fonder”, the long term ‘break’ is the shortest way to ‘break-up’. The affective ‘breaks’ are those short periods ‘break’, which only make a couple longing for each other.

There’s no specific duration of a successful ‘break’, as it mainly depends on a couple’s personal needs and nature.  For those who experienced a successful ‘break’, the acceptable period never passes a week.

The most important thing to realize at the end is that, the ‘break’ is only a suggested method to heal your marital problems, and it is not always the right solution.  A warm discussion, an outing together, or straightforwardness could be more effective than the ‘break’ in some cases. You as a couple are the best to decide the right way to solve your problems, and how to sail your marital ship safely on the rough sea of life.

Advertisements

Surviving Infidelity

Posted in Marriage Counselling, Sexual Issues on November 17, 2009 by Shaz

Question:

Hi, I’m a Muslim woman who has been married for 14 years. I have three children. I have been searching for a long time for an answer to an aching problem that has prevented me from being happy in my marriage. All throughout our marriage my husband has cheated on me. The last time was when I was pregnant with my last child 3 years ago. This has made me severely depressed. I have tried to understand him and forgive him yet I cannot.
I am now at the point whereby no matter what he does I cannot get over his cheating, so I want to leave. He does not want to separate. My mind tells me to leave him as he has caused me so much pain, but my heart feels sorry for him. I am confused. How can I ever find happiness in my life if I decide to stay with him? I have turned to God, and I try to pray and pass my days using Islam as a way of survival, but the pain is too great. I just can’t forgive him.

Answer by:

Hwaa Irfan

As salamu ‘alaykum sister…

 

It could not have been easy for you to cope without knowing where it will a

all end. Infidelity is a form if betrayal, which undermines the level of trust one has in another. Trust is the basis on which we as human beings can have enough confidence in one another which leads to a feeling of security. Without that level of security in a marital relationship, we are less able to develope the level of mutual respect, compassion, and commitment that is required to nurture and build a marriage on. These factors are important foundations to a marriage which provides the basis on which to raise children, who will then be more likely to develope positive attributes on which to form their level of trust, self respect, self worth, and the ability to form healthy relations in their lives.

 

In addition to the above qualities, one of most important skills a human being can have is the ability to cope, and rise above the challenges that we as human beings will face in life. In fact, it is not so much what has happened that make us go onto to having the necessary inner resilience, it is how we react that can undermine, or strengthen us as human beings, and our ability to make the most of our lives, and our relationship with our faith is one of those essential tools. When we react negatively to what is presented to us, and that reaction becomes all consuming, we rob our selves of our coping mechanisms, our creativity, our agility, and our own intuition, all of which if not undermined, can lead us consciously towards redeeming and learning from a situation that presents itself.

 

For 14 years, you have been exposed to a situation, which seemed to have put the final ‘nail in the coffin’ when you was pregnant. How betrayed you must have felt at a time you were going through the process of cementing the relationship further by carrying for 9 months something special from the both of you. It may have felt as if your husband did not even respect the gift that you had created together of which your body was the vehicle. By holding onto that hurt, your ability to heal has been arrested, and as much as you have tried throughout the years to forgive, your attachment to those feelings prevents that from being a possibility. Your unconditional self may feeling sorry for him, but your unconditional self cannot. This may have been the ongoing conflict you have struggled with for so long, of which the conditional self has won! It has won over you, over your children, and over your marriage, leaving you unable to learn from the lessons of life, and the skills one developes in the process.

 

We do not go into marriage as perfect people, we go into marriage as people who have the opportunity to enrich our lives from the jihad an nafs (struggle with the self) of marriage. This why marriage is so important in Islam, because it is the only social mechanism that can teach  us how to rise to our better selves via the mechanisms of compassion, taking responsibility, self sacrifice, and how to access the higher self through commitment. The mundane way in which we approach marriage today has become a series of conditional agreements based on manipulation, control, exploitation – all of which limits our potential as human beings, and therefore the society in which we live. In so doing, we never really learn how to give to each other, to share, and to want the best for one another. When we grow up in such an atmosphere, we also learn to repeat the pattern. We may learn to ‘mask’ this disappointment by separating emotionally, and live under the same roof cordially. Even in doing so, we have failed to do what we as human beings are supposed to do, as determined by the higher laws of nature – i.e. to transmute!

 

Your husband, despite his inability to take control of his weaknesses, knows one thing that he does not want to separate from you. He has allowed his lower self to control him, just as you have allowed your reaction to his weaknesses to control you leading to a ‘lose-lose’ situation. If in that process, the strength he needed from you to stop was caught up with the hurt, the wisdom needed for him to mature as your husband. This is of course not helped by the hypocritical social values, which allows a young man to do as he pleases, yet regardless, your husband pays the price, but it is a price that is accepted or has become accepted in societal terms. Obviously you do not accept that ‘price’ because you and the children have become a part of that ‘price’, and if you stay together continually hurting each other that price will have been paid, and if you divorce that price will also have been paid. Equally, you cannot ‘hold him to ransom’ because by doing that, the price will still be paid.

 

If you had made a decision about your marriage, I doubt that you would have written to us. Yes, you want to leave, but is it because you just want to stop the pain? Is that not enough of a reason you might be thinking, and yes it is if you really want to end the marriage, and if you are unable to rise above the pain.

 

Let us take it that deep down inside, you want to continue with the marriage. Consider:

 

  1. It was three years ago that your husband had an affair. It was while you were pregnant. As painful as it may seem, can you look back and notice when your husband had an affair? Is there a particular situation that gives rise to him doing this?

 

  1. Sometimes, we make the kind of sacrifices in marriage that do more harm than good. By this I mean through how we have been raised, especially as women, some of us are made to feel that we have to be submissive, unquestioning, and selfless. In the process we become weaker and vulnerable, and unable to challenge the situation. Some men are caught between a desire for this type of women, and a woman who has the kind of character that helps free them, not entrap them in their bad habits.

 

  1. Some husbands feel neglected in the presence of children, or when a wife is pregnant because for whatever reason they have not matured beyond that boyish self indulgence.

 

  1. Your husband’s self perception as a man before marriage was confronted with a role after marriage, which he felt he was not up to, or feared that he might fail in.

 

  1. Your husband was not ready for the realities of fatherhood, or never learnt from his natal family what it means to be a father

 

  1. That despite your sacrifices, your husband is actually realizing what is important to him, and that now he needs your help to become a living reality.

 

  1. That you need to appreciate yourself more, so that your husband can in turn appreciate you more

 

  1. Have you ever criticized him to the extent that he feels overwhelmed? This is called “flooding” and results in distorted listening to what is said, an inability to organize their thoughts, and falling back on primitive instincts, particularly in men.

 

One or some of the above may be applicable to your marriage. Not all of the above will you have to comprehend by yourself, and one or two of the above can be discussed with your husband in an open, warm-hearted discussion which can help to form the kind of mutual agreement, which can lay a new foundation on which to build your marriage. However, in order to do that, the hurt within you needs to be healed.

 

  • Try to find a friend you can talk to, or a counselor. If this proves difficult for you for whatever reason, a notebook where you can write everything you feel down can be just as useful.

 

  • There are always valuable lessons from anything that happens, so look at what you written, or reflect with a friend/counselor on what you have shared, and hunt out the valuable lessons you have learned.

 

  • Do the same with the bad things you have learned

 

  • With the valuable lessons, write them down in a separate diary as a source for you to refer to whenever you forget.

 

  • With the negative things you have learned write them down too, each on a separate sheet.

 

  • With the negative things you have written down, takes the pieces of paper, set a small fire in the outdoors somewhere, and as a part of the process of letting go, take each hurt, and say goodbye to them as you drop each piece of paper (hurt) in the fire.

 

  • Forgive yourself

 

  • Forgive Him

 

  • Seek forgiveness from Allah (SWT), for not being up to the challenge – not because you have done anything wrong.

 

  • From the good lessons, begin to appreciate this is a valuable spiritual lesson, which can help retrain the mind, and the brain as well.

 

  • Invite change into your life

 

 

To forgive and forget is easier said than done, because when we are hurt deeply by the one we love over a period of time. Women go into marriage as emotional managers, and men have to learn this skill. Women are attuned to the problems, whereas men are not. Where your marriage is at now, your husband is slowly becoming more in tuned. This means that new lines of communication need to be opened through which you can learn about each other’s needs, dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, so that you can understand one another better.

 

  1. Learn to listen and talk with one another about everyday experiences, and how one feels about those experiences as opposed to specific issues

 

  1. Learn to listen and talk to one another without being defensive. You can help each other to do this, by giving each other the permission to say “Oh that’s a bit defensive”, and the other would say “Oh! I didn’t mean to be”. In this way you give each other cues, which help to make each other more aware of the undertones of the conversation. If however one finds that the other is exploiting this situation, call for time out, and then explain: “When you did ‘A’, it made me feel ‘B’, and I would prefer if you did ‘C’. This would then give the other spouse the option to do say “Well ‘C’ is difficult for me because…” 

 

These two steps take time to establish, but once done, all the good is waiting to happen insha-Allah.

 

Remember:

 

{ And one of His signs is that He created mates for you from among yourselves that you may find rest in them, and He put between you love and compassion; most surely there are signs in this for a people who reflect} (Ar-Rum 30: 21)

The Key to Attract an Amazing Spouse

Posted in Marriage Coaching, Uncategorized on November 10, 2009 by Shaz

The key to attract an amazing spouse is to nurture in yourself those qualities that appeal to a person of that standard.

Many of us pine for the perfect spouse–realize he or she does not exist. Pick the best you can find, and learn to live with and cover their warts and weaknesses.

Set your criteria (based on the hadith of the Prophet, peace be upon him)–have they memorized the Qur’an? Do they speak Arabic? Do they pray Tahajjud (middle-of-the-night prayer) once a week?–then ask yourself what a person of those qualities would like in a spouse, and instill those qualities into yourself.

And always double-check your intention to make sure your actions are to please Allah alone.

When you succeed, bi ithnillah, they will seek you out.

May Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) make us all among those who uphold the deen to the highest standard and take it to new heights.

10 Tips on How to Be a Successful Husband

Posted in Advice for Husbands on November 10, 2009 by Shaz
1) Dress Up

Dress up for your wife, look clean and smell good. When was the last time us men went shopping for designer pajamas? Just like the husband wants his wife to look nice for him, she also wants her husband to dress up for her too. Remember that Rasulullah (صلي الله عليه وسلم) would always start with Miswak when returning home and always loved the sweetest smells.

(Dress up for your wife when you are at home also. Some brothers only dress up when they go out and that is not a good practice. A husband should dress up for his wife when they are at home. it makes a wife feel special.)

2) Sweet Names

Use the cutest names for your wife. Rasulullah (صلي الله عليه وسلم) had nicknames for his wives, ones that they loved. Call your wife by the most beloved names to her, and avoid using names that hurt their feelings.

(Remember, you are your wife’s only boyfriend, and her only best friend. She does not go out seeking boyfriends and she shares a halal relationship with you. Love her unconditionally for the sake of Allah. And express your love to her. A woman likes to be told that she is loved. Call her from your work to make sure she is doing fine. I have seen my dad calling my mother several times a day, just to make sure she has been eating well. And my husband calls me at least twice from work to make sure I am doing well. These things are very important in a relationship.)

3) Reward Her Actions

Don’t treat her like a fly. We never think about a fly in our daily lives until it ‘bugs’ us. Similarly, a wife will do well all day – which brings no attention from the husband – until she does something to ‘bug’ him. Don’t treat her like this; recognize all the good that she does and focus on that.

(Whenever there is a fight or argument, just remember all the things she does for you. she cooks for you, she takes care of your home, she takes care of your children and the most important thing is that she guards her modesty. So do not upset her if she is upset with you. Hold her and tell her that you love her. Only your love can repel her anger. Communicate with her and discuss with her if there are any misunderstandings.)

4) Remain Silent

If you see wrong from your wife, try being silent and do not comment! This is one of the ways Rasulullah (صلي الله عليه وسلم) used when he would see something inappropriate from his wives (رضالله عنهنّ). It’s a technique that few Muslim men have mastered.

(Do not criticize her all the time. Trust her and trust her decisions. If she is doing something that you don’t like, or that goes against the teachings of Islam, then do advice her gently.)

5) Smile!

Smile at your wife whenever you see her and embrace her often. Smiling is Sadaqah and your wife is not exempt from the Muslim Ummah. Imagine life with her constantly seeing you smiling. Remember also those Ahadith when Rasulullah (صلي الله عليه وسلم) would kiss his wife before leaving for Salah, even if he was fasting.

(Do let your wife know that you are very happy and blessed to have her. A wife always wonder how her husband feels about her. She may have some insecurity about you, so make her feel secure. Always give her a hug whenever you come back from work. appreciate her and thank her for taking care of everything whole day. If you are not too tired, go out for star gazing for an hour or so.)

6) Acknowledge Her

Thank her for all that she does for you. Then thank her again! Take for example a dinner at your house. She makes the food, cleans the home, and a dozen other tasks to prepare. And sometimes the only acknowledgment she receives is that there needed to be more salt in the soup. Don’t let that be; thank her!

(Write thank you notes for her and place those notes in her books, her purse, her socks, and anything else that belongs to her. You can use your own creativity to thank her. You can thank her by writing something on a mirror with her lipstick, so that she can read it when she wakes up in the morning. You can also thank her by arranging a candlelight dinner AT HOME, you be the cook and let her rest. So far I have learned that a nice romantic dinner at home is much better than going out for dinner. This way a couple saves themselves from many fitnahs. You can thank her by writing her letters and emails. Remember, in Islam, everyday is special. So celebrate wife’s day with her, and do it very often without having a particular date. She will always wonder when the wife’s day is going to be.

You can also give her a certificate of appreciation, or a Best Wife Award on wife’s day. Do everything by yourself that day and let her rest, this way you will also know how difficult it could be to do household chores. Thank her by building a webpage for her, write a note there and a poem and then ask her to visit your webpage. Thank her by recording a voice message on a cd for your wife. She will love it!

Thank her by giving her a gift, and a gift does not have to be expensive. Be creative! You do not have to give her Roses, you can give her a leaf too! (My husband gave me a leaf once, instead of roses, and I was very happy and surprised, and I appreciated his creativity). So remember, thoughtful and creative gifts makes a wife feel secure and happy. Thank her by ordering a halal pizza for her, ask the restaurant to cut it in a heart shape and have it delivered with a personalized note. Thank her by thanking her in a family gathering. A woman likes it when her husband gives her attention.

If you visit her parents or your parents, hold her hands and tell your parents how happy you are after marriage. Give your wife an Islamic book as a gift after praying Tahajjud. Use your imagination and think about unique gifts. Remember, she does not need a diamond, she needs your sincerity and your heart, so always give her the gifts that are thoughtful. Whenever you do something to make her happy, observe her facial expressions and ask yourself about how you feel when you become her happiness.)

7) Ten Blessings From Allah

Ask her to write down the last ten things you did for her that made her happy. Then go and do them again. It may be hard to recognize what gives your wife pleasure. You don’t have to play a guessing game–ask her and work on repeating those things in your life.

(Also ask her to write down the things you did that she did not like, or the things you did that made her unhappy. Try to not do those things in future. If she falls ill, let her lay down, and read different surahs from Qur’an while placing your hand on her forehead. When I got sick, my husband recited Qur’an for me, it really helped a lot mashaAllah. Remember, a wife needs her husband the most when she is not feeling well. Take good care of her because a healthy wife makes a healthy family. Do not expect too much from her when she is sick.)

8) Validate her Feelings

Don’t belittle her desires. Comfort her. Sometimes the men may look down upon the requests of their wives. Rasulullah (صلي الله عليه وسلم) set the example for us in an incident when Safiyyah (رضالله عنها) was crying because, as she said, he had put her on a slow camel. He wiped her tears, comforted her, and brought her the camel.

(If there is a time of sadness, give her your shoulder to cry on. Hold her and tell her that everything will be fine. Alhamdulillah, my husband and my dad are amongst those Muslim husbands who would even have tears in their eyes if their wives are sad. Remember, a woman does not like to cry alone in a corner. She needs someone to hold her when she is sad, so never let her feel lonely. Remind her the verses from Qur’an that talks about Patience and Piety.)

9) Have Fun!

Be humorous and play games with your wife. Look at how Rasulullah (صلي الله عليه وسلم) would race his wife Aisha (رضالله عنها) in the desert. When was the last time we did something like that?

(A sense of humor plays a very important role in a marital relationship. Most women wish to have a husband who has a good sense of humor. Tell her decent and modest jokes that make her happy. A wife appreciates it very much if her husband makes her smile. You can play various games at home. Play with crayons, or have a pillow fight. Or hide different notes in your bedroom and ask her to find it. Think of different games you can both play. Let her win sometimes!

Adopt interesting hobbies, such as reading, cooking together and gardening (grow a surprise rose plant in your garden, when you have the first rose blooming, take her to the garden and show it to her. Newspaper and Sports Issue! Men like to watch sports, or read newspaper. Most Pakistani wives consider newspaper as their co-wives. So be very careful. If you are watching sports, turn the TV off if your wife comes around. Give her attention. Do not spend too much time reading newspaper, and do not read newspaper on the breakfast table, rather have an Islamic discussion. If you want to get her to like newspaper, then try to find something that interests her. Such as, try to find a news about Hijab. Or try to find a news about Muslim women for her.)

10) Be The Best

Always remember the words of Allah’s Messenger (صلي الله عليه وسلم): “The best of you are those who treat their families the best. And I am the best amongst you to my family.” Try to be the best! In conclusion: Never forget to make Dua to Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) to make your marriage successful. And Allah ta’ala knows best!

(And once again: your wife is your best friend, and your girlfriend. Share everything with her. Remember she is your garment and you are her garment, so hide her faults and mistakes. Learn to forgive her. Also communicate a lot with her family. It really makes a difference if husband communicates with his in laws. It helps both husband’s and wife’s family to share a beautiful relationship. Respect her parents and show your love to her family. This will inspire her to love and respect your family. If her family is not muslim, do dawah to them in a beautiful way.)

Spend lots of time praying to Allah swt. Do fast often even if it is not Ramadan. Fasting brings patience and taqwah. Lead her in the prayer. There is nothing better than praying together. Remember Allah, so that Allah remembers you.

May Allah bless us and guide us all. Ameen!

Note: Additions in brackets are notes from a sister.

Prepared by Muhammad Alshareef

60 Ways to Keep Your Husband’s Love

Posted in Advice for Wives on November 10, 2009 by Shaz
  1. Behave like a female, i.e. all the tenderness of a female–a man doesn’t want a man for his wife!
  2. Dress pleasantly/attractively. If you are a home-maker, don’t stay in your sleeping suit all day.
  3. Smell good!
  4. Don’t lay out all your problems on your husband as soon as he walks in. Give him a little mental break.
  5. Don’t keep asking him, “what are you thinking?”
  6. Stop nagging non-stop before Allah ta’ala gives you something really to complain about.
  7. Absolutely no talking about your spousal problems to anyone you meet, not even under the pretense of seeking help! If you think you want to solve legitimate marital issues, then go seek counseling with the right person who can give advice in either:
    1. Mediate any injustice done so any wrong can be corrected and the couple can reunite in harmony, or
    2. Amicable divorce
  8. Be kind to your mother-in-law the same way you would like your husband to be kind to your own mother.
  9. Learn all the rights and obligations of each other in Islam. Focus on fulfilling your obligations, not demanding your rights
  10. Race to the door when he comes home, as if you were waiting for him. Smile and hug him.
  11. Keep your house clean, at least to the level that he wants it.
  12. Compliment him on the things you know he’s not so confident about (looks, intelligence, etc.) This will build his self-esteem.
  13. Tell him he’s the best husband ever.
  14. Call his family often.
  15. Give him a simple task to do at home and then thank him when he does it. This will encourage him to do more.
  16. When he’s talking about something boring, listen and nod your head. Even ask questions to make it seem like you’re interested.
  17. Encourage him to do good deeds.
  18. If he’s in a bad mood, give him some space. He’ll get over it, inshaAllah.
  19. Thank him sincerely for providing you with food and shelter. It’s a big deal.
  20. If he’s angry with you and starts yelling, let him yell it out while you’re quiet. You will see your fight will end a lot faster. Then when he’s calm, you can tell him your side of the story and how you want him to change something.
  21. When you’re mad at him, don’t say “YOU make me furious”, rather, “This action makes me upset”. Direct your anger to the action and circumstance rather than at him.
  22. Remember that your husband has feelings, so take them into consideration.
  23. Let him chill with his friends without guilt, especially if they’re good guys. Encourage him to go out, so he doesn’t feel “cooped up” at home.
  24. If your husband is annoyed over a little thing you do (and you can control it), then stop doing it. Really.
  25. Learn how to tell him what you expect without him having to guess all the time. Learn to communicate your feelings.
  26. Don’t get mad over small things. It’s not worth it.
  27. Make jokes. If you’re not naturally funny, go on the internet and read some jokes, and then tell them to him.
  28. Tell him you’re the best wife ever and compliment yourself on certain things you know you’re good at.
  29. Learn to make his favorite dish.
  30. Don’t ever, EVER talk bad about him with friends or family unnecessarily. If they end up agreeing with you, you will see that it hits you back in the face because you get more depressed that you have a bad husband–and other people also think you have a bad husband.
  31. Use your time wisely and get things accomplished. If you’re a home-maker, take online classes and get active in your community. This will make you happy and a secondary bonus is that it impresses your husband.
  32. Do all of the above fee sabeelillah and you will see Allah put barakah in everything you do.
  33. Husband and wife should discuss and communicate with wisdom with each other to convey what they like and dislike of each other to do or not to do. Do NOT give commands or instructions like he’s your servant. “They are garment to each other” [Surah Baqarah, 2:187]
  34. Tell your husband you love him, many, many times. Aisha (رضالله عنها) narrated that the Prophet (صلي الله عليه وسلم) used to ask her how strong her love for him, she said like “a knot.” And the next time he would ask her, “How is that knot?” He also used to reply to her saying, “Jazzakillah, O Aishah, wallahi, you have not rejoiced in me as I have rejoiced in you.”
  35. Have a race with your husband and let him win, even if you are much fitter and stronger than him.
  36. Keep fit and take care of your health so you will remain a strong mother, wife, cook and housekeeper, inshaAllah you will not get FAT and frumpy.
  37. Refine and cultivate good mannerisms i.e do not whine, don’t laugh or talk too loud or walk like an elephant.
  38. Do not leave the house without his permission and certainly not without his knowledge.
  39. Make sure all his clothes are clean and pressed so he is always looking fresh and crisp.
  40. Don’t discuss important/controversial matters with him when he is tired or sleepy. Find right time for right discussion.
  41. The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.
  42. Always let him know that you appreciate him working and bringing home the “dough”. It makes it easier for him to go to work.
  43. Make sure you ALWAYS have something for dinner.
  44. Brush your hair, everyday.
  45. Don’t forget to do laundry.
  46. Surprise him with gifts. Even necessities, such as new shoes, can be gifts.
  47. Listen to him. (Even when he talks about extremely boring things like basketball or computers.)
  48. Try (hard as it might be) to take interest in his hobbies.
  49. Try not to go shopping too much … and spend all his money.
  50. Look attractive and be seductive towards him. Flirt with him.
  51. Learn tricks and “techniques” to please your husband in intimacy. (Of course goes both ways.)
  52. Prepare for special evenings with him with special dinner and exclusive time (no children permitted).
  53. Take care of your skin, especially your face. The face is center of attraction.
  54. If you not satisfied intimately, talk to him and tell him. Help him or provide resources, don’t wait until matters become worse.
  55. Ask Allah to strengthen and preserve the bonds of compassion and love between the two of you, every day, every prayer. Ask him to protect that bond from Shaytaan. When a lesser devil destroys the love between spouses, he is the most beloved of Shaytaan. Nothing works like du’ah, and love only exists between spouses where Allah instills it.
  56. Don’t EVER compare your husbands to other husbands! For example don’t say, “well her husband doesn’t do that, why do you …” (thats a killer!)
  57. Be happy with what you have because no one is perfect. If you want perfection, wait until you enter Jannah together inshaAllah–and of course, vice versa!
  58. Strive for Allah’s love first and foremost! if all wives try to seek Allah’s love and pleasure, surely, they can keep their husbands love too. And remember–if Allah loves you, the angels will love you, and the entire creation will love you.
  59. If you pack a lunch for your husband to take to work, from time to time sneak in a little love note or sweet poem. If he doesn’t take a lunch, leave the note somewhere else for him to find, like in his briefcase, or wallet or on the car steering-wheel
  60. Wake him up for Qiyam ul-Layl (in the last third of the night) and ask him to pray with you.

May Allah preserve all of our marriages and help us understand and implement them in and with the best of manners, ameen! InshaAllah if you know more ways, post them in the comments and share the benefit.

Forgotten considerations before embarking on a marriage

Posted in Marriage Coaching, Tips for a Happy Marriage on November 3, 2009 by Shaz

Divorce looms before a new marriage has begun on a number of accounts. The world wide number of divorce is ever increasing. Compatibility is the main fault found in this issue and from it comes concerns of communication, understanding and often misguidance. Choosing, maintaining, and creating a sensible, realistic marriage is difficult when for most of us we have in-built expectations, requirements and needs from a marriage that create a sense of new wants. In short, why should there be any changes from the way you live and fend for yourself now in comparison to when you’re married, in terms of your morality, way of living and your needs? On searching the world with lowered gaze and modesty, finding that perfect someone can seem a daunting affair in many aspects. The truth is that searching for a special someone on your own is considered in many cultures and traditions as something to be frowned upon and it hits the hearts of ‘forbidden’ love marriages. But who really adheres happily to the concept of arranged marriages with complete contentment and passion of its acceptance in today’s society? In trying to raise some discussion on this topic, it may seem a little blunt to sate that arranged marriages are mutating into ‘forced’ marriages or marriages that are consented to on a basis of ‘terms’, based solely on the families needs. Meaning needs due to illness of parents, aging of grand parents, political or for cultural respect at home and in the community etc…. Marrying someone should be to achieve unity and progression in life along with growth and development of Imaan. Not just for the current situational basis of a marriage, or for those involved in the union at time of its engagement. Hence why it is in some respect important to find the conflicting qualities, finding the wants and needs of the two people before anything is consented to, so their is a surety that it will work, taking into account some compromises that may be needed. However, is it possible in an Islamic way to achieve this without compromising Sharia and involving any haram? While under the careful watch of peers or in the presence of guardians? Most appreciated way would be ‘free speech’ between the two potentials, this way their is no need to doctor your answers and have freedom to express with true expressions to better check for real compatibility.. yet this too delves into the realms of forbidden pre-marital relationships and the awakening of potential sins looms between the two involved… In all honesty its the mentality of today’s society that are causing so many cases of divorce. Young girls and guys are taking advantage of the western society’s morals and abusing their rights to ‘move on’, get a divorce and re-marry due to their mistaken expectations and unexpected reality checks after marriage, due their lack of acknowledgment of the realities before any talks take place. Those who find pre-marital love can be questioned into asking if they are sure that love and compatibility is what has given them a reason to get married? After all it’s not only the happy times of the outings, the surprises and the laughter that keeps a marriage strong but how the couples manage the lows, how the arguments are diffused and how the problems are solved efficiently. Is marriage taken seriously enough to think about these issues that cause the real cracks before it is embarked on? Are couples avoiding this discussion in the hope that they never arise and thus opening up the action plan to counteract the issues if they are faced with as only seen as pessimistic and somewhat a bad omen at the start of embarking on a new beginning of a new marriage? Many fall into the danger of pre marital relationships, whereby they develop outside marriage, and build on those circumstances, and they are deceived in thinking that the ‘happy’ relationship which they are maintaining is the true reflection of what their marriage will entail. Yet, they fail to consider the fundamental aspects of a marriage – family, culture, roles and responsibilities, expectations, compromises – which all awaken once entered into the marriage, and comes as a shock to the couple as they became settled in their circumstances of their relationship. Then which when couples’ expectations aren’t been met, and communication breaks down, it leads to repression, and resentment, which is big danger within a marriage, as arguments arise over small – what may seem petty – issues, which is only due to the bigger problems which have been repressed, mistakes and hurt feelings are sweeped under the carpet and it gets to the stage where the couple can no longer find the cause to disputes, and issues are blown out of proportion. Islam only reiterates the truest forms of maintaining a marriage and making it a success, after all Prophet (peace be upon him), advised men to view their prospective wives and advise that meeting or talking with her is good practice to ensure that you do have the compatibility. To keep this Halal in aspects doesn’t mean avoiding contact but discussing ways to avoid Zina. It creates awareness between them and thus means of avoidance can be increased as long as you observe the boundaries of gender etiquette. In today’s society and across the world online chat and instant messaging texting and emails are seen as best mean for communication but it is uncontrolled or monitored and more likely to cause the couple to drift. Talking on the phone in front of guardians would be best suited. A woman’s voice is not awrah (difference of opinion amongst scholars), and there is nothing wrong with calling your fiancée, provided that you have her family’s permission, and that she talks to you in the presence of her mahrams. After all if you’re planning to spend the rest of your lives together, then communication and discussion is needed. However saying this why create a relationship before marriage in first place? Why experience this in an environment where you have no boundaries, in a world where no one else but the two potentials exists? It creates too much complacency and is sometimes, difficult to adapt to the involvement of family life after marriage. Generating new ideas are fine at the start of a new marriage and conversing about a future is becoming ever popular in a new couples itinery but most forget to include variables that are most likely to slow their progress or cause the ideas to fade away. These include family involvement, view points and opinions of elders and friends and those with perspectives on life that have worked for them. No matter what information is intertwined with the new plans of the newly weds one forgets that no two couple are the same and what worked before may or may not work again due to a new age, different families and differences and change in culture and traditions. Islam helps overcome the potential disasters, the Prophet (saw) advised to seek the pious when searching for a spouse. Its importance cannot be emphasized enough. The great advice in which he (saw) left us, already gives us the guidelines of what we should seek in a potential spouse. To marry for the sake of the deen, outlines for both potentials, the roles and responsibilities, it gives a sense of security, and lays out the boundaries. It enables them to help compromise if any differences arise, and any routes in which shaytaan can mislead them by, if one fears Allah, then one will think twice about their action. If they love each other for the sake of Allah, then inevitably any hiccups which may arise, they will forgive and overlook differences for the sake of Allah. Allah says in the Qur’an: “Permitted to you, on the night of the fasts, is the approach to your wives. They are garments for you and you are garments for them.” [Qur’an, 2.187] Commentary note 195, page 75, The Meaning of the Holy Quran ‘Abdullah Yusuf Ali: ’Men and women are each other’s garments i.e. they are for mutual support, mutual comfort, and mutual protection, fitting into each other as a garment fits the body. A garment also is both for show and concealment. The way it should be perceived is, as individuals we have to strive to reach the ultimate goals of reaching Jannah and to seek the pleasure of Allah. This should not cease after a marriage but rather continue coexisting with the goals of a marriage. Life is a journey to reach these goals where by individually it can be perceived that the vehicle for the journey is your own soul spending time in the Dunya searching for the pleasure of Allah and for entrance to Jannah and is fuelled by self improvement and development. However as with any journey you can pick up dirt along the way in the form of sins and bad deeds which need washing from your soul, which is done by purification of the heart. Similarly in the journey of a couple it should be perceived that the ‘vehicle’ is the marriage and unity that Allah has placed on the two. The fuel is once again the improvement and development that helps the couple to move forward in life by constant learning. Then again picking up dirt only requires that the marriage is washed and refreshed via rectifying and improving. Its best comprehended that the couple maybe traveling to similar goals of eventual pleasure of Allah by appreciating and seeing each other as Allah’s creations, bestowed upon each other, and loving each other for the sake of Allah. Thus the individual goal of pleasure of God, Jannah will remain – ultimately going to be with that person in Jannah, on earth you seek Allah pleasure till you die and you do this by completing your deen by getting married, to please God and aid you in improving in religion. May Allah give us all the ability to act upon the advice of our religion, and help us maintain and strive for successful marriages, for our children, our own selves and the hereafter, and be amongst the successful. Ameen.

Reigniting the Passion in a Dead Marriage

Posted in Marriage Counselling on November 3, 2009 by Shaz

Carry me in your arms….

Abu Hurairah narrated that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: ‘The believers who show the most perfect faith are those who have the best disposition and the best of you are those who are best to their wives.’

AUTHOR UNKNOWN

When I got home that night as my wife Ameena served dinner, I held her hand and said, I’ve got something to tell you. She sat down and ate quietly. Again I observed the hurt in her eyes.

Suddenly I didn’t know how to say it. But I had to let her know what I was thinking. I want a divorce. I raised the topic calmly. Ameena didn’t seem to be annoyed by my words, instead she asked me softly, Ismail why? I avoided her question. This made her angry. She shouted at me, ‘you are not a man!’

 

That night, we didn’t talk to each other. Ameena was weeping. I knew she wanted to find out what had happened to our marriage. But I could hardly give her a satisfactory answer; I had lost my heart to a lovely girl called Mary Anne. I didn’t love Ameena anymore. I just pitied her!

With a deep sense of guilt, I drafted a divorce agreement which stated that she could own our house and the car. She glanced at it and then tore it to pieces. The woman who had spent ten years of her life with me had become a stranger. I felt sorry for her wasted time, resources and energy but I could not take back what I had said, for I loved Mary Anne so dearly.

Finally Ameena cried loudly in front of me, which was what I had expected to see. To me, her cry was actually a kind of release. The idea of divorce which had obsessed me for several weeks seemed to be firmer and clearer now.

The next day, I came back home very late and found her writing something at the table. I didn’t have supper but went straight to sleep and fell fast asleep because I was tired after an eventful day with Mary Anne. When I woke up, she was still there at the table writing. I just did’nt care so I turned over and was asleep again.

In the morning she presented her divorce conditions: she didn’t want anything from me, but needed a month’s notice before the divorce. She requested that in that one month, we both struggle to live as normal a life as possible. Her reasons were simple: our son Ahmed had his exams in a month’s time and she didn’t want to disrupt him with our broken marriage.

This was agreeable to me. But she had something more, she asked me to recall how I had carried her into out bridal room on our wedding day. She requested that everyday for the month’s duration I carry her out of our bedroom to the front door ever morning. I thought she was going crazy.

Just to make our last days together bearable I accepted her odd request. I told Mary Anne about my wife’s divorce conditions. She laughed loudly and thought it was absurd. No matter what tricks she has, she has to face the divorce, she said scornfully. Ameena and I hadn’t had any body contact since my divorce intention was explicitly expressed. So when I carried her out on the first day, we both appeared clumsy. Our son Ahmed clapped behind us, daddy is holding mummy in his arms. His words brought me a sense of pain. From the bedroom to the sitting room, then to the door, I walked over ten meters with her in my arms. She closed her eyes and said softly, don’t tell Ahmed about the divorce. I nodded, feeling somewhat upset. I put her down outside the door. She went to wait for the bus to work. I drove alone to the office.

On the second day, both of us acted much more easily. She leaned on my chest.. I could smell the fragrance of her blouse. I realized that I hadn’t looked at this woman carefully for a long time. I realized she was not young any more. There were fine wrinkles on her face, her hair was graying! Our marriage had taken its toll on her. For a minute I wondered what I had done to Ameena.

On the fourth day, when I lifted her up, I felt a sense of intimacy returning. This was the woman who had given ten years of her life to me. On the fifth and sixth day, I realized that our sense of intimacy was growing again. I didn’t tell Mary Anne about this. It became easier to carry her as the month slipped by. Perhaps the everyday workout made me stronger.

She was choosing what to wear one morning. She tried on quite a few dresses but could not find a suitable one. Then she sighed, all my dresses have grown bigger. I suddenly realized that she had grown so thin, that was the reason why I could carry her more easily. Suddenly it hit me, .. she had buried so much pain and bitterness in her heart.

Subconsciously I reached out and touched her head. Our son Ahmed came in at the moment and said, Dad, it’s time to carry mum out. To him, seeing his father carrying his mother out had become an essential part of his life. Ameena gestured to our son to come close and hugged him tightly. I turned my face away because I was afraid I might change my mind at this last minute. I then held her in my arms, walking from the bedroom, through the sitting room, to the hallway. Her hand surrounded my neck softly and naturally. I held her body tightly; it was just like our wedding day.

But her much lighter weight made me sad. On the last day, when I held her in my arms I could hardly move a step. Ahmed had gone to school. I held her tightly and said, I hadn’t noticed that our life lacked intimacy.

I drove to office… jumped out of the car swiftly without locking the door. I was afraid any delay would make me change my mind… I walked upstairs. Mary Anne opened the door and I said to her, Sorry, Mary Anne, I do not want the divorce anymore.

She looked at me, astonished. Then touched my forehead. Do you have a fever? She said. I moved her hand off my head. Sorry, Mary Anne, I said, I won’t divorce. My marriage life was boring probably because she and I didn’t value the details of our lives, not because we didn’t love each other any more. Now I realized that since I carried her into my home on our wedding day I am supposed to hold her until one of us departs this world.

Mary Anne seemed to suddenly wake up. She gave me a loud slap and then slammed the door and burst into tears. I walked downstairs and drove away. At the floral shop on the way, I ordered a bouquet of flowers for my wife. The sales girl asked me what to write on the card. I smiled and wrote: I will carry you out every morning until one of us leaves this world!

The small details of our lives are what really matter in a relationship. It is not the mansion, the car, the property, the bank balance that matters. These create an environment conducive for happiness but cannot give happiness in themselves. So find time to be your spouse’s friend and do those little things for each other that build a relationship.

Allah says in the Qur’an:’Men are the supporters of women, because Allah has stowed on the one more than the other, and for what they have to provide (for them) from their sources. So the righteous women are obedient and protect in the absence of their husbands that which God ordains to be protected.’ (Qur’an 4:34)

Allah says in the Qur’an:’And the believing men and the believing women, they are the friends of each other, they enjoin good and forbid evil, and establish prayers, and pay the alms, and obey God and His Messenger, these, upon them God will have mercy, indeed, God is almighty, All-wise.’ (Qur’an 9:71)

Prophet[p.b. u.h] said, ‘The best of you is he who is the best to his family, and I am the best to my family.’