Marriage is considered an Ibadah, an act that is pleasing to Allah. It is in accordance with His commandments that husbands and wives love each other and help one another to rear their children as true servants of Allah.
Most spouses start out with hopes and rosy dreams; truly committed to making their marriage work. However, as the reality of living with a less than perfect spouse lurks in, and as the pressures of life builds, many individuals do not find as much satisfaction in their relationships. All marriages change over time. However, with hard work and dedication, people can keep their marriages strong and enjoyable. How is it done? What does it take to create a long-lasting, satisfying marriage?
Researches indicate that the most successful marriages share some key characteristics. These are some of the characteristics that researchers have found to be common in successful marriages. Let's look at each of these factors.
CHARACTERISTICS OF HAPPY AND SATISFYING MARRIAGES
Successful spouses have far more positive than negative interactions. If there is too much negativity, criticizing, demanding, name-calling, holding grudges, etc. the relationship will suffer. However, if there is never any negativity, it probably means that frustrations and grievances are not getting air time and unresolved tension is accumulating inside one or both partners.
The key is balance between the two extremes. There are many ways to foster positivity in a marriage. Being affectionate, truly listening to each other, taking joy in each other's achievements and being playful are just a few examples of positive interactions that help make marriages successful.
Another characteristic of happy marriages is empathy. Empathy means understanding a person's perspective by putting oneself in his or her shoes. Many researchers have shown that empathy is important for relationship satisfaction.
People are more likely to feel good about their marriage and spouse if their partner expresses empathy towards them. Husbands and wives are more content in their relationships when they perceive that their spouses truly understand their thoughts and feelings.
Successful marriages involve both spouses' commitment to the relationship. When two people are truly dedicated to making their marriage work, despite the unavoidable challenges and obstacles that come, they are much more likely to have a relationship that lasts.
Husbands and wives who only focus on themselves and their own desires are not as likely to find joy and satisfaction in their relationships. However, when spouses are committed to investing in their marriage and are willing to sacrifice some of their own preferences for the good of the relationship, they usually have high-quality marriages.
One of the most basic needs in a relationship is acceptance. Everyone wants to feel valued and respected. When people feel that their spouses truly accept them for who they are, they are usually more secure and confident in their relationships.
Often, there is conflict in marriage because partners cannot accept the individual preferences of their spouses and try to demand change from one another. When one person tries to force change from another, he or she is usually met with resistance. However, research has shown that change is much more likely to occur when spouses respect differences and accept each other unconditionally. Basic acceptance is vital to a happy marriage.
5. MUTUAL LOVE AND RESPECT
Perhaps the most important component of successful marriages are love and respect for each other. This may seem very obvious, why would two people get married to someone whom they did not love and respect? The fact is, as time passes and life becomes increasingly complicated, the marriage often suffers as a result.
It is all too easy for spouses to lose touch with each other and neglect the love and romance that once came so easily. It is vital that husbands and wives continue to cultivate love and respect for each other throughout their lives. If they do, it is highly likely that their relationships will remain happy and satisfying.
Paramount of all, marriage must be based on the teachings of the Noble Qur'an and Sunnah of the Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam. Insha'Allah, married couples will not only gain blessing and harmony from their marriages but also benefits and rewards in the Hereafter. Ameen.