Working in the Muslim marriage world, we often hear the timeless words of our Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings upon him, who said “Whoever marries has achieved one half of one’s religion.”
What follows is usually an explanation that lists the benefits of marriage and why exactly it constitutes completing half your religion; that it fulfils your desires in a halal way, you have a companion that encourages you to be better, to raise a family of your own etc. etc.
Those are all true of marriage. It is indeed one of life’s greatest blessings to have a companion alongside you as you struggle to live a truly God-centric life. Now, nothing in this life comes free, especially not something as valuable as your faith! So just what exactly is the price of completing Half of your Deen?
“Marriage requires us to give of ourselves, and the price is not cheap”
For the Messenger to describe marriage as half of your religion is to place an incredible amount of significance on it. The very definition of Islam is sincere submission and surrender. This requires an active giving up of our desires, our wishes, our wants, putting that which is pleasing to God first.
This is why marriage is given such a huge emphasis: it’s diffcult, it’s supposed to be. Marriage requires us to give of ourselves, and the price is not cheap, so be willing to:
While many would automatically think of a subservient wife, marriage requires both the husband and the wife to be of service to each other. Debatable and ever-changing roles aside, the success of marriage lies in putting your partner before you. You want to perfect half your deen? Take a leaf out of the Messenger’s life, he was always at the service of those in his household, not least his wife. He would sweep the floor, stitch his clothes, prepare meals and so on; it doesn’t get more manly than that folks!
The only peace you’ll find in your marriage is the peace you bring to your marriage. Your experience of trials and tribulations in marriage is proportional only to your own individual spiritual shortcomings (note, I didn’t say your partner’s shortcomings.) If you want to succeed in ‘half of your deen’, know that marriage is one of the primary battlegrounds to dealing with your demons. Marriage will bring to the surface your every flaw and blemish, your partner serving as your mirror. So if you’re looking to complete half your faith, you better be ready for your biggest internal struggle yet!
If married couples are honest with you, they’ll invariably tell you that marriage turned out to be a lot different than what they had imagined.
Yes, you’ll enjoy an unparalleled degree of companionship but it also means losing control over your own space and time. You might have someone who loves you and accepts you for who you are but rest assured they’ll be sure to remind you of all the parts of your personality they don’t like too.
“I pray that Allah be gentle with us when showing us our flaws, help us to fight our inner demons”
One of the most surprising things about marriage is just how much you learn about yourself. You realise that all the ideas you had about yourself were just that: ideas. Suddenly you find that you’re not as patient, loving or generous as you imagined yourself to be. Marriage strips away the pretences and finding out who you really are can be quite bitter. Fear not though, with patience, love and a commitment to always learning about yourself and your partner, you can be sure to make sweet lemonade from those bitter lemons marriage deals you.
To end, I pray that Allah be gentle with us when showing us our flaws, help us to fight our inner demons and bless every step of the way as we traverse single-hood and married life. Say Ameen and share with someone who might benefit!