1. Respect your husband - Notice how it doesn’t say “Respect your husband if he has earned it”. A man’s greatest need in this world is to be respected, and the person he desires that respect from the most is his wife. The trap that we’ve all been ensnared by is that they only deserve our respect when they earn it. Yes, we want our husbands to make decisions that will ultimately garner our respect, but the truth is that your husband is a human being. A human being who makes mistakes. This is the man that YOU have chosen to walk alongside you for the rest of your life and to lead your family and he needs to be respected for that quality alone. When respect is given even when he doesn’t deserve it, it will motivate him to earn it. That doesn’t mean you pretend that his choices are good ones when they aren’t. Things like that still need to be communicated, but you can iron out your differences WITH RESPECT. It makes all the difference in the world to him.
2. Guard your heart - The grass is not greener on the other side. Do not believe the lie that with a lighter skin, a slimmer figure, a higher salary, a faster car, or a bigger house, you will be a happier woman. The world is full of things and people that will serve as reminders that you don’t have the best of the best, but it’s simply not true. Live the life you’ve been blessed with, and always recite ALHAMDULILAHI. We all have struggles, and there are even times when one would love to live in a mansion, but mansion is not fulfilling – relationships are. Guard your heart from things and people that will try to convince you that your life or your husband is not good enough. There will always be bigger, faster, stronger, or shinier – but you’ll never be satisfied with more until you’re fulfilled with what you have now.
3. Allah (SWT), husband, kids…in that order - This isn’t a popular philosophy, especially among mothers, It’s no secret that faith is of utmost importance, so Allah (swt) comes first in life no matter what. But regardless of your belief system, your husband should come before your kids. Now unless you’re married to someone who is abusive, no man in his right mind would ask you to put your kids aside to serve his every need while neglecting them. That’s not what this means. You cannot effectively parent your children if your marriage is falling apart. There will also come a time when your kids will leave the house to pursue their dreams as adults. If you have not cultivated a lasting relationship with your spouse, you will have both empty nests and empty hearts. That is unhealthy.
4. Forgive - No one is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. As you seek forgiveness from Allah by reciting Astigfirllahi, make forgiving others too a habit – for everything from major mistakes to the little ones. You will keep resentment from growing. Resentment and bitterness harboured over a long period of time are the main courses of marital breakdown.
5. Over-communicate – There is need to always be clear about one’s feelings. Sometimes these men just don’t get it so you have to speak up. Men are not wired like women, and they DON’T always know that they’ve been insensitive. Communicate how you feel and this makes a world of difference most times. Don’t nag your feelings though, this certainly puts men off. Say it in a loving and maybe humorous way. The idea is just to pass the message across and make sure the other party understands fully.
6. Schedule regular time together - This one isn’t new, but it’s very important. Spending some regular one-on-one time with your spouse is essential. Don’t talk about bills, school fees, schedules, or the kids. Just daydream about future plans, travelling for vacation and relive the wonderful times you’ve had together. You connect emotionally and often learn something new about each other.
7. Never say the “D Word” – Don’t keep threatening him with divorce. Marriages are mostly defined by challenges and the ability to overcome them together makes for a good marriage. If you say divorce, then you better mean it. Plain and simple, threatening divorce is not fighting fair. Every quarrel should not end with that ‘D Word”. Divorce should be far from your vocabulary and the focus should be on solving whatever problem as a team.
8. Learn his love language - Everyone has a love language. The way you perceive love is often different from the way your spouse perceives love. Does he like words of affirmation, does he like his food hot when he returns from work, or does he respond better when you give him gifts, is he appreciative when his clothes are ironed and laid out for him? Whatever his love language is – learn and USE IT.
9. Never talk negatively about him - If you’re going through a difficult time in your marriage and you need advice, see a learned and respected Imam or a family therapist. Family counselling is a great tool; remember that your family members and friends are not the most objective people to give advice. The argument they are hearing is one-sided and they often build up negative feelings toward your spouse, which usually doesn’t subside once you and your husband have gotten past it. Protect his image with those that you’re close with and seek help from those that can actually be objective. News flash, ladies – your mother cannot be objective!
10. Choose to love - There are times in a marriage that you may wake up and not feel in love anymore. Choose to love anyway. There are times when you may not be attracted to your husband anymore. Choose to love anyway. There are times you replay past events in your head and you regret the notion of even marrying him. Choose to love always. Marriage is a commitment in good times and in bad. He’s worth it. As a couple, make sure you share the same principles and values. Always do Islamic activities together- pray and fast together, remind each other when it’s time to pray, read the Quran in unison, learn from one another always and be ONE!
Salam alaikum waramatulahi wabarakatu.