SUSTAINING MARRIAGE

Abdullah and Bilks (not real names) met while both were young undergraduates in a Federal University in the Northern part of the country. Abdullah was good-looking and quite intelligent. In addition, he was not just on top of the class in his academics but he was also very religious. Abdullah had his own fair share of everything a woman desires in a man -gentleness, easy-going nature and he was quite amiable. Bilkisu was equally a toast of every responsible man. She cut the picture of the girl, as they say, whom you would ask to retain a mouthful of water and after a long while, that water remains in her mouth. She was reserved, gentle, quite intelligent and pretty. So it is as just natural that both were attracted to each other.

Initially, their relationship began on a note of mutual respect and academic cooperation but soon developed very fast into a more personal and strong affection. Like the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: "For those who like each other, nothing has proven as good as marriage." (Ibn Majah).Abdullaah made a marriage proposal which Bilikisu readily accepted. All of this happened while both were in their respective final year. It was an obvious 'perfect' match. Their marriage should be really blissful and smooth, everyone who knew them rightfully believed. The reasons were not far fetched, the qualities possessed by both and the strong affection that binded them together were indicative of that. A & B (as they were nicknamed) themselves did not expect any less in their matrimonial relationship.

Soon after graduation, they got married and forth first four or five months of marriage, the suppressed passion of the school days given events to love in its full bloom. Unfortunately, afterwards, things began to fall apart. Bilikisu became more reserved and her commitment to the marriage began to wane. The spark of affection that had dominated their partnership degenerated into a dying ember. The balloon of her emotions had been punctured and was losing air very fast. The relationship finally collapsed barely one year into the marriage.

To many young people, marriage is no more than you meet someone. You fall in love. You get married. You live happily ever after. ... Only if it were that easy! Sadly, the reality that stares us in the face isn't very gratifying.

Isn't it really strange that relationships bound together with love and affection just yesterday turn really sour today? You wondered, where all the 'I love you(s)' went? At what point did the beloved of yesterday turn to the detested of today? Why do heartthrobs become heart robs. What is it that couples are not doing right and what is it that every couple can do to perpetuate their marriage and groom their relationship?

By design, marriage should be fruitful, happy and enduring. This is as Allah points out to us: "And among His Signs is this, that He  created for you wives from among yourselves, that you may find repose in them, and He has put between you affection and mercy. Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who reflect." (Q30[RumJ:21). So, marriage should also bring tranquility and should be a means to earn the mercy of Allah – the Mighty and Sublime, and is also from the signs of Allah recognized by those who reflect.

Naturally, every couple enters into their marriage with high hopes and Strong desire to make their own an ideal relationship but soon become really defeated. Is it ever possible to sustain marriage for a real long time these days? The answer is 'yes' and the presence of many enduring marriages attests to this. The following are some of the things that may help in sustaining your marriage biithni'llaah (by Allah’s Grace)!

Choose Right

 In many instances, marriages do not work because the spouses failed to marry people with same or similar overall goals with them. For example, a female may really have decided to marry a man who strictly keeps the laws of Allaah, likes to seek additional knowledge regarding the Deen, actively involves in Da'wah and so on. If the male she marries does not have these qualities, she either changes these aims or follows the 'new standards' of the husband or regularly fall in crisis and the matter may end up in divorce.

Anas bin Maalik (RA) narrated that his father Maalik bin an-Nadr complained to his wife (Umm Sulaym) (Anas' mother): "This man is forbidding intoxicants." So, he departed to Shaam (Ancient Syria), seeking to be free of the prohibition and he died there." (Bukhaari).

On the other hand, the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) married Khadeejah bint Khuwaylid for her righteousness and she married him for his truthfulness, joining the ties of kinship, supporting people generally and helping the destitute among other virtues. We recall that some richer and popular people at the time had requested to marry her but she declined. She agreed to marry a man whose idea she shared. Regarding her, the prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “the best of women of her time was Mary, daughter of Imraan and the best of the women of her time was Khadeejah daughter of Khuwaylid.” (Muslim).

 Additionally, many people unrealistically expect to get more out of marriage than they put into it. Blinded by romantic notions of matrimonial bliss, they overlook the responsibility and hard work needed to build a happy marriage. They set themselves up for a tragic encounter with reality that is likely to leave them disappointed and bewildered. Often the more inflated the delusions are about marriage, the greater the disenchantment is once reality hits home.

Know your Obligations ... and fulfill them!

Abdullaah bin 'Amr (RA) reported that the prophet (salallahualayhi wasallam) said: "It is enough sin for one to neglect a person whom he should maitain." (AbooDawood). And Mu' adh bin Jabal (RA) reported hat the Messenger of Allaah (sallIahualayhiwasaallam) said: "If the woman were to know the rights of h r husband over her. She would not it as long as he takes his breakfast nd dinner until he is through whit." (Tabaraanee).

Quite sadly, most of the people marry having little or no knowlede of the rights of spouses; alfemale marries without knowing what rights the man has over her I and vice-versa. This definitely impacts on their intellectual and psychological preparations towards fulfilling their obligations to their spouses and the poor understanding of these matters on both sides ha brought about deep rooted disaffections in marriages.

In marriage, spouse should rather focus more on their obligations rather than their rights. "It's my right" attitude usually throws the relationship into a straight-jacket instead of nurturing good gestures rooted in affection and willingness to sacrifice. Aa'isha (RA) reported that the Messenger of Allaah (salallahualayhiwasallam) said: "The best of you is the best of you to his household and I am the best of you to my household." (Tirmidhee).

Live with your spouse Honorably

The first thing that every married  Muslim must realize is that one's spouse is first and foremost another Muslim. He/she is one's brother and sister in Islaam. Therefore, at minimum all rights that fall upon a Muslim due to the  general brotherhood of Islam are also due to one's spouse.

It is a sad situation for a Muslim brother or sister to respect their Muslim brothers and sisters outside of the house but for the situation in the house to degenerate into even less than that minimum standard of respect and kindness inside the household.

Therefore the first step is for every Muslim to open some of the books about respect, manners (adaab) and courtesy towards other Muslims and to realize that all of those principles apply to their partner in their house. The Prophet (salal/ahualayhiwa sallam) stressed this when he said: "None of yoo has believed until heloves for his brother what he loves for himself." Clearly, husband and wife have even greater rights and obligations toward each other due  to the great and impo~ant contract which has been transacted between them and on which basis they live together.

Allaah says: ''And live with them honorably." (Q4[NisaaJ:19). When Alee bin AbeeTaalib (RA) proposed to marry Faatimah, the daughter of the Prophet (salalahu alayhiwasallam), he said to him (Alee): "She is for you on the condition that you live honorably with her." (Silsilatus-Saheehah).

So, the verse commands a sustainable relationship in marriage; one which assists in the achievement of the overall objectives of marriage. 

This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited

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