The joy, discovery and sense of euphoria in forming a new relationship fills the first year or so of marriage with a unique sense of bliss. The problem is, it ends. And sooner than you’d expect. What’s new becomes normal, effervescent chemistry gives way to a sober stillness. What used to be deep passion now seems to be more and more flat as each day passes.
The honeymoon period has a purpose, it helps bond you together but for relationships to endure couples must shift the reliance on those fluttering adrenaline-inducing emotions into a more intentional expression of love.
Love is not chemicals and feelings. Building trust, being generous, learning to compromise, to forgive first – these things don’t happen by accident. The Prophet Muhammad, may peace and blessings be upon him, famously taught “Actions are according to intentions, and everyone will get what was intended.” If you want your marriage to thrive you need a plan, the honeymoon period was a saving grace; advance to go and collect £200. Now as you become familiar with the monopoly board of marriage, you’re gonna have to have a plan.
Love is not chemicals and feelings. Building trust, being generous, learning to compromise, to forgive first – these things don’t happen by accident
So, here are my 5 secrets that will help ignite a new sense of depth to your marriage allowing you to take that sweet passionate love from the honeymoon period into the rest of your married lives, (insha Allah.) PS – Trust me, these work
It is easy to be forgetful of the wondrous blessing you have right under nose, your partner. For better or for worse, in good times and bad, your partner is a blessing. By focusing on the positive and having a present and tangible sense of gratitude, Allah promises you in return, goodness in this world and the next.
The Messenger of God said, “There are four things that whoever is in possession of has been given goodness in this world and the Hereafter: a grateful heart, a tongue of remembrance, a body patient with trials, and a wife neither treacherous with herself nor her husband’s wealth.” (Ibn Majah).
Gratitude and thankfulness cultivate relationships. The ‘Gratitude Attitude’ doesn’t happen by chance, you have to be intentional about it; if we train ourselves to focus on good, we will see good. Don’t wait for your partner to show you gratitude, you start, literally list down the things you could or rather should be grateful for and express that gratitude, to your partner and your Lord, and see the blessings spill into your life.
Forgive and Forgive first
Here’s the thing, you will fight with your partner. Guaranteed. You will argue and say things that you regret and so will your partner. You’ll also, eventually, kiss and make up and everything will be fine and dandy. So, what stops you from forgiving sooner? Ego.
Bitterness hinders forgiveness. Letting it consume you will harden your heart.
Forgiveness is about letting go – not having a grudge in your heart against your spouse. It is about releasing negative feelings instead of putting the faults and mistakes of your other half under the microscope. Live and let go. It’ll make your life easier in so many ways. Just let it go.
It is about releasing negative feelings instead of putting the faults and mistakes of your other half under the microscope.
Once the Prophet Muhammad was upon the pulpit and said: “Be merciful to others and you will receive mercy. Forgive others and Allah will forgive you”.
Finding it in ourselves to forgive after we have been hurt is dicult and requires sincerity and courage. But Allah has promised us forgiveness, only if we choose to forgive. Sounds like a pretty good deal to me.
Be patient, patient, patient and then patient some more.
Patience is an integral part of a happy and fulfilling marriage. It is an essential virtue for being able to live together, day in, day out, under one roof with anyone, not least your partner. A moment of patience can save you hours’ worth of arguments. It’s a diffcult skill to master but you will never regret holding your tongue or taking time to compose yourself to have calm, healthy discussions
Remember, whilst one should be patient with one’s spouses’ annoying, day-to-day traits, there certain behaviours that are inexcusable; affairs, addictions and (excessive) anger, are red lines and constitute abuse. Victims of such abuse sometimes believe (or are wrongly told) if only they are patient the abuse will eventually end.
More often than not, the opposite is true and without outside intervention the issues are only likely to escalate.
Giving gifts is one of the most cardinal acts of romance for married couples; it nurtures love; shows thoughtfulness and expresses kindness.
Our beloved Messenger said, “Give each other gifts and you will love each other.” It’s not rocket science folks. Don’t wait for an excuse to give gifts. Don’t make gifts only a means to apologise. Give and don’t expect a return. There’s no joy in a gift that burdens the recipient with worrying about what to get you in return. Give for God’s sake, not their sake.
Give gifts freely and your gift in return is promised from the Giver of all Gifts.
“Give each other gifts and you will love each other.”
“A family that prays together, stays together”. This may sound cliché, but prayer is a one of the most powerful acts which draws you closer to God and closer to each other. The rewards of praying together, as a family are literally immeasurable. Life is ultimately a spiritual journey and seeing your marriage as a means towards attaining Allah’s pleasure fosters a unique sense of togetherness. It reminds us of our responsibilities in this world, as husband and wife, are ultimately a means to draw closer to God.
Our spouses are an amanah, a responsibility, entrusted to us from Allah and it is our duty to look after each other with the greatest care and attention. The passion in the early months and years of marriage may wax and wane, even the love between husband and wife can have its highs and lows, but remember marriage is a commitment and a promise. You get from your marriage what you put in and we all have to put in the work if we want to see the rewards.
These five tips are fool proof, tried and tested ways to foster real and genuine lasting love in your marriage. The honeymoon period will come and go, but don’t grieve you’ve still got the golden years to look forward to! We’ll cross that bridge soon, but for now, I hope you’ve enjoyed these reflections, be sure to share this article and let us know your thoughts and feedback below!
Mothers & Sons
One day, a group of prisoners were brought to the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him. Among them was a mother frantically searching for her child. Creating quite the scene, searching desperately far and wide on the dusty Arabian streets she finally found her infant. With tears streaming down her face, she brought the child to her chest and finally calmed down as he began to drink milk from her. Witnessing this, the Prophet turned to his companions and asked if they could ever imagine this woman would throw her child into a burning fire? They all replied: of course not! The love was so evident. The Messenger then told them that truly Allah created the mercy between that mother and baby and Allah is even more Merciful to His creation than the mother is to her child!
This hadith is beautiful for many reasons, what’s interesting is that it uses the example of the love between a mother and her child as an example for us to begin to understand the boundless love that Allah has for each and every one of us.
A spiritual Relationship
Throughout the Islamic tradition, we are reminded of the importance of this bond.
During Hajj & Umrah, millions of Muslims remember the love between a mother and her son as we run between the hills of Safa and Marwah following the footsteps of Hajar as she searched for water for her son, Prophet Ismail.
We see it again with the mother of the Prophet Musa who, with complete trust in her Lord, set her child adrift in a basket on a river in order to save his life.
We’re reminded of this relationship once again in the example of our Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, who would weep in sadness at the grave of his blessed mother, Aminah, who passed away when he was just six years old.
An inexplicable bond
Males generally tend not to be as expressive as their female counterparts, not least about their emotions. As they mature from boys into men, the unique bond with their mothers evolves into a closeness that can be seen but often can’t quite be explained.
Mothers are the first home for any child
One of the words for ‘home’ in the Arabic language is ‘maskan’ – The word shares the same origin as a word found in the Qur’an – ‘sakina’ which refers to tranquillity or stillness. The idea being that one’s home should be a place of peacefulness. Mothers are the first home for any child, and for men, often in the turbulence of establishing their own lives, they will return to their mothers for that sense of tranquillity.
Between two extremes
Marriage presents a challenge to young men as they negotiate new boundaries with the introduction of a new woman in their life. Too often, the relationship between mother (in-law) and son can be seen as a burden on one’s marriage as opposed to a blessing.
On one side, some women have come to view a distant relationship between their husband and his mother as a good thing; perhaps one less potential issue to worry about! However, such women should remember, they will have children one day (inshaAllah), what type of relationships are they modelling for future generations? Distance in this case, does not make the heart grow fonder!
On the flip side is the over-indulged relationship, where men are constantly mothered, unable to create their own independent homes. This puts the wife in a diffcult position where they are automatically seen as a threat to the mother and son relationship and this is a sure recipe for disaster.
The mother-son bond is just as crucial for men in their marriage as it was for them growing up. It’s just different. Nobody is perfect, and that goes for mothers too, but the bond between mother and child is one that can never and should never be replaced. We have to find a balance between over and under-indulging this relationship.
If, as believers, we believe that paradise lies at the feet of our mothers, it is only right that all of us, men and women, value and appreciate our mothers while we still can. Nothing we do can ever repay the love, aection, mercy and care our mothers have given to us and thus it’s essential that couples value and honour both their mothers equally.
The bond between mother and child is one that can never and should never be replaced.
Crucially the onus is first upon the men to ensure the boundaries between them and their wives is not intruded upon by any member of their family. What happens between husband and wife, (barring any form of abuse) should stay between husband and wife, it’s not the business of anyone else to comment or encroach upon.
Sometimes our mothers need to be gently reminded to respect these boundaries, that can be a difficult conversation but once had it can liberate your relationships to a new level.
Key to all of this is respect, open-mindedness and clear communication. Talk through your fears and feelings and listen to each other’s concerns and questions. Don’t ever belittle or delegitimise how one might have experienced things in the past. Forgive each other for mistakes you may have made, knowingly or unknowingly. When you start with this foundation, with trust and respect, you can be sure the outcome will be positive.
Crucially the onus is first upon the men to ensure the boundaries between them and their wives is not intruded upon by any member of their family.
In the end, always refer matters back to Allah, indeed He is the Most Kind, the Most Wise. Remember, He created the love and affection we experience and He loves us more than we can ever imagine. Remember, sometimes He puts us through trials and difficulties just so that we come to realise that it is only with His help that can we ever hope to achieve true happiness.