How long will your marriage last?

How long do you think your marriage will last? Probably not as long as you think. Excuse the rudeness, but if current standards are anything to go by, that is the cold, hard fact.

The way we put our homes together, the odds against the family unit are stacked up so high that it is a wonder that most marriages get beyond the first few tentative months. Worldwide, statistics concur to show that solid, lasting family units are getting rarer still. Many of those that survive external pressures only produce maladjusted robots whose sale driving force is material success. More painful yetis the fact that homes in Muslim communities are not immune from the general rot. Lifestyle choices, the pressures of work, the physical environment, and social stress have so whittled down whatever salutary effects the traditional support mechanisms such as the extended family had in sustaining homes. Sadly to admit, it seems that the greatest challenge to matrimonial happiness are the parties themselves.

The moral degeneration we regularly complain about is only a symptom of the dysfunctional home base we perpetuate. In essence, when we complain that basic cultural values such as trust, respect, humility, and modesty are now old-fashioned and uncommon, we should look closer home to see what we have contributed to bring this situation about.

The home unit is the basic index of any sound society. Its failure should worry us, as this is the seed of the failure of society. To this writer, two basic factors are responsible for this degeneration. The first, simplistic as it might seem, is our selfishness.

Maybe because we are lost in the fairy-tale fallacy that a home is a100% perfect refuge of bliss, we simply forget that it takes two to build one. Like hypocrites, we expect our partner to be perfect when we are odious. We moan that our wives lack the spirit of self-sacrifice that was taken for granted in our grandmothers, whilst our wives gripe that we lack the moral fortitude of our grandfathers. We want perfect wives but are content with being counterfeit husbands; we want conscious husbands but would rather be uninspiring wives.

We are content to stay where we are and yet expect the world to revolve around us.

As parents, our primary function is to educate our offspring. But our professional aspirations and material commitments rank higher land we are only too glad to leave this crucial function to strangers and schoolteachers. We then wonder why the society is so lacking in basic values. Selfishness. We want to keep up; to belong in the highest social circles; to possess. As we rush through life, our children are more at ease with nannies and house helps. Even in Saudi Arabia, we read of a few instances where marriages break up because the nanny/ househelp was promoted to matrimonial status! And that, believe it, is the least of the problems of our contrived lifestyle. We wonder at the social maladjustment of our children when the minimal time we spend with them is reserved for food, TV, sleep, preparing for work, and petty arguments. We spend our lives gathering toys that we lack the time to enjoy.

Secondly, because it suits our selfish nature, we choose to pay lip service to the pillars Allaah has set to stand the home in good stead. In the name of modernity, we go to extremes to compromise the basic teachings of our faith in this matter (that is if we have even bothered to seek such knowledge). Then when faced with the natural consequences of our deviation, we grab at the bitter process of divorce; as if that would solve our innate failings. This, the second major factor, flows from the first. Examine yourself in this light.

Allaah says that men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allaah has made one of them to excel the other and because they spend (to support their women) from their means...(An-Nisaa, 4:34) but we encourage the opposite. We are "men" only too glad to have our women bear the responsibility for material provenance with us. Then when they seek to preside over the management of our joint affairs, we blackmail them with the accusation of not being submissive etc. Or, on the other extreme, we totally stifle the mental, physical or psychological growth of our wives and expect them to respect us, and be grateful for being kept in a miserable gilded cage. A woman gained hellfire because she tied up her cat and neither gave nor permitted it to look for its provisions (Bukhari 3.553). Is a cat more deserving than a wife is?

They say that you lie on the bed you lay. In the same way, our homes make up the society in which we live, just as we live in the homes we build. Things will not get better in our societies until we strive to know what our respective responsibilities are, and to live up to them. Maybe yours may yet be the ideal marriage that puts the trend to sham.






This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited

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