As we approach the second week of Ramadan, I wanted to reflect on repairing relationships during this Holy Month. Many of us will have set targets for ourselves to complete by the time Eid comes around; but how many of us will spend time working on our relationships within our family, and not only with Allah?
Every young Muslim is taught from a young age that marriage is “half of your deen” but realistically, how much time do we spend developing, sustaining and repairing our relationship with our spouse? Any married person knows, marriage is not always easy. Whether you had an arranged marriage, have known each other for a long time or fell in love at college or work; if you have never experienced a blip in your relationship or a crisis of confidence then you are probably the exception to the rule.
In contrast to Western marriages, Muslim women often find it very hard to admit or accept issues in their relationship due to many factors – social pressure within the Ummah, lack of confidence, fear of rejection, cultural restrictions – so problems can often go untreated. Problems in your marriage start off like a small rash, and the longer it goes untreated, the more the rash will spread causing you more and more discomfort and pain. The same applies for staying silent and not working on your issues.
As we dedicate so much time during our adult lives to our career, our home, our children and our husbands; can we ask ourselves “Are we really happy?” There is a well known expression “happy wife = happy life” and as cliché as it sounds, it is true. Many of us don’t know how to broach the subject of marital happiness with our spouses, so what can we do to start making progress with this? As always, in an Islamic marriage we should always try to take guidance from the Quran and authentic Ahadith, but it is not always easy to control and act calmly on our emotions in today’s world. So let’s look at a few things we can do to start mending bridges from this Ramadan and going forward.
Now is the time to ask for it and to give it. No marriage can withstand the constant barrage of reminders for past mistakes. Treat your spouse as you would want to be treated and use this time to start afresh. We will spend a lot of time during the Holy Month asking for forgiveness for our mistakes; but how can we expect forgiveness if we can’t give it in return?
In the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life, do you spend enough time complimenting your spouse? It’s amazing how far a “thank you” or an “I love you” can go. Remember when you were first married? How even a simple cup of tea from your hands made him smile? It’s the little things that count. Believe it or not, men are not as emotionally complicated as women, so simple acts are sometimes more effective than a grand display of affection.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in family life, especially when you have a large extended family or young children. Try to make time for romance – if your spouse seems uninterested, there may be an underlying cause. Maybe he hasn’t felt connected to you emotionally recently, or maybe he hasn’t felt attracted or interested in that way. As basic as it sounds, as humans we need to feel some level of attraction to our spouse and this can often diminish as married life goes on. Take the initiative and take the time to remind your husband why he fell in love with. This doesn’t only have to be on a physical level; show interest in him, laugh together, learn together and take time to strengthen your faith together.
Lastly, I want to look at one verse from Sura Al Imran. Sometimes we lose sight of what is important in our life and we overcomplicate what we need to achieve and how we should behave as a Muslim, wife, mother, daughter and friend. If we apply these actions in our daily life, then we can satisfy all parties, and most importantly strengthen our Iman through our family relationships.
“Those who spend freely, whether in prosperity, or in adversity, who restrain anger and pardon (all) men; – for God loves those who do good” Ch 3:134