Nurturing Love rss

Love for your partner what you love for yourself

Muslim couple enjoying an evening together

Imam Zaid Shakir writes:

As Salaam Alaikum,

To summarize the duties of brotherhood and sisterhood in Islam, we should love for our brother and sister what we love for ourselves.

This is an incredible teaching that if implemented would go a long way towards improving relations between us. This spirit of love is especially important between husbands and wives, as we often treat each other as abstract enemies as opposed to Muslims, first and foremost.

- Imam Zaid Shakir

This is an excellent observation and insightful piece of advice. Many of us are familiar with this hadith but have not thought of it in terms of husband and wife.

When we want for our spouse what we want for ourselves, it takes our marriage to a new level of love. We begin to think about our partners needs and wants, we pray for our partner just as we pray for ourselves, we work for our partner’s material and spiritual success as much as our own.

We also forgive them for their mistakes just as we would hope to be forgiven. We praise them for the good they do, thank them, hug them, and when they need it we correct them in kindness. That’s love, and it’s what a good marriage is made of.

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Top 5 Complaints of Wives and What to Do About Them

Top 5 Complaints of Wives and What to Do About Them

By Haleh Banani, M.A. Clinical Psychology
Reprinted from MuslimMatters.org

Coming soon: Win His Heart: A Psychological Approach for WOMEN

Muslim woman at the beach

Every man dreams of having a woman who can please him on many different levels. One that fulfills his desires, stimulates him intellectually and soars with him to new spiritual heights. A unique woman that will not only be a source of comfort, but also a source of strength.

It is very easy to dream and have expectations of your spouse but what do YOU have to do in order to attract a woman with these qualities and keep her giving at that level?

Generally, men are quite puzzled by women. They are not sure what to do or say to please the women in their lives. Whatever they do seems to get them in trouble. Since most men have this confusion, they simply stop trying.

This lack of effort from men creates frustration and discontentment. Most women feel extremely dissatisfied in their marriages. Within my practice as a marriage therapist, I have heard from dozens of women who have a long list of complaints about their husbands. These complaints lead to deep rooted unhappiness and many times divorce.

Top 5 complaints of women about their husbands

  1. Communication
  2. Financial issues
  3. Sex
  4. Lack of compassion
  5. Too strict/too jealous

Almost every couple I have ever done marriage counseling with has complained about problems in communication. Most of the time women complain that their husband does not share his feelings, he shuts off, he doesn’t listen and he doesn’t know how to ask for what he wants in a diplomatic way.

Lack of communication or miscommunication is the bulk of the problem in most marriages. If people don’t know how to get their message across, how to listen or how to resolve conflicts they will face perpetual problems in their lives. Here are some suggestions in effective communication skills:

  1. Make I statements…. never start the sentence with YOU. Say: “I feel neglected when you don’t prepare dinner” rather than saying, “You never prepare dinner.”
  2. Always keep your voice down and refrain from name calling.
  3. Seek first to understand then to be understood. Tough one, but very effective!
  4. Share your thoughts and feelings with your spouse to make her feel a part of your world. Don’t shut her out or else she will feel extremely insecure and suspicious.
  5. Don’t give one word answers – try to elaborate and fulfill her need to know. She shows you she cares by asking many questions.
  6. Listen attentively – that means no checking emails while she talks and no watching T.V. Simply look in her eyes, listen and acknowledge her. Women loved to be looked at!
  7. Give your wife compliments on everything you like about her – she needs constant reassurance on her beauty, on your love for her, on her cooking. Say it again and again with a smile. It will never get old!
  8. Validate her feelings – say things to make her feel understood. Tell her you understand that she is sad, that she has a right to feel hurt or neglected. The worst thing you could ever do is tell a woman she is wrong to feel a certain way.
  9. Ask for things with gentleness and kindness without being harsh or demanding. If a woman feels like she is being told what to do and how to do it – she will resist. If she is asked kindly and made to feel special she will rush to do it to in order to fulfill her need to please others.
  10. Never compare her to anyone to get her to change. This is detrimental to the relationship, brings about hostility and a feeling of inadequacy. If you want her to improve in any given area compliment what she is already doing right.
The credit trap

Avoid getting into debt.

Financial Issues

Each person is brought up with different views and experiences with money. Some are brought up in affluent families that spend frivolously while others come from more modest backgrounds that are trained to save. When individuals with such striking differences unite there is bound to be tension and arguments. That is why money is one of the biggest reasons people fight and even get a divorce. Here are some suggestions for peacefully dealing with money issues.

  1. Learn about each other’s view of money. Become acquainted with their experience with money in order to better understand each other.
  2. Discuss openly issues or concerns you have about your financial situations.
  3. Avoid getting into debt at all cost. If you can’t afford it – just don’t buy it. Simple as that.
  4. Set a budget together and try your best to stick to it. If you slip, and go over the budget, quickly get back on track.
  5. Increase your knowledge about resolving financial problems by reading books, attending seminars or listening to CDs.
  6. Be honest and never hide or deceive your partner about financial issues because it could really damage the trust.
  7. Try to compromise and come up with a win/win solution when you disagree.
  8. Agree to disagree.
  9. Consider the pros and cons of having a two house income or even having a part time job that can help alleviate the financial burden.
  10. Save….Save….Save! You never know what the future holds so always be prepared.

Sex

The area of a couple’s life which offers the most potential for embarrassment, hurt, and rejection is sex. The majority of couples I have done therapy with have had issues in this area of their life. It is such an essential part of the marriage and yet very few couples ever talk about it. The goal of sex is to be closer, to have more fun, to feel satisfied, and to feel valued and accepted in this very tender area of your marriage. “Your wives are a tilth unto you; so go to your tilth when or how you will.” [Qur’an 2:223] Here are some suggestions to having a more satisfying sex life.

  1. Fulfill your wife emotionally so that she can be receptive to you. Women shut off sexually if they don’t feel loved, appreciated or desired.
  2. Set the mood…light candles, make dinner, give a massage, get flowers or anything that makes her feel special and loved.
  3. Prolong foreplay. Make sure she is ready.
  4. Take your time and don’t rush her.
  5. Share your likes and dislikes in a gentle, positive way making her feel safe. Instead of saying you never do such and such say: I loved it when you…..or I would love it if you would….
  6. Never criticize or make fun when getting intimate.
  7. Always accentuate the positive – make your suggestions in a way that you are making a good thing even better. Even if you are dissatisfied don’t let her feel it.
  8. When receiving your partner’s request, try not to see it as criticism. Have the attitude of a professional chef that is not insulted if a customer doesn’t crave a particular meal, but makes accommodations that will satisfy the customer’s palate.
  9. Make her feel attractive and desired. The more you give her compliments, the more confident she will feel which will help her to relax and enjoy.
  10. Make sure you try to fulfill her first in order to create a strong, positive association to intimacy.

Lack of Compassion

Muslim couple sitting close togetherMen have different ways of expressing their feelings and emotions. Some express their love and concern for the family by simply working hard and providing the very best. They feel that the time they spend at work is an emotional deposit because they are putting so much effort so that their family can be comfortable. Unfortunately, this form of expression of love is generally not sufficient for most women. Women expect the men in their lives to connect with them on an emotional level, provide support and have fun together. “The best of you are those who are the best to their wives.” (at-Tirmidhi)

Here are some suggestions in showing compassion so that you can connect with your wife on an emotional level.

  1. Tell your wife you love her daily – don’t make it just a once a year event.
  2. Never enter or leave the house without a proper greeting. Let her feel that you are happy to see her and that you will miss her when you leave.
  3. Make daily deposits in your emotional bank account with your wife by being understanding, forgiving, cooperative and by using words of endearment.
  4. Call your wife or send sweet messages during the day. “…And live with them in kindness…” (Nisaa 4:19)
  5. Eat at least one meal a day together and spend time sharing what you have done.
  6. Give lots of compliments.
  7. If she is feeling sad or angry, show her love and compassion by hugging her. If she says she doesn’t want to talk about it, she doesn’t mean it… you just have to insist sweetly.
  8. Learn to apologize. Even if you were not wrong apologize for making her feel bad. Win her heart not the argument! Amazing what two little words (I’m sorry) can do.
  9. Get her gifts and flowers so she feels that you thought of her. It doesn’t have to be something expensive – just a gesture that you were thinking of her. “And do good. Truly, Allah loves the good-doers.” (Baqara 2:195)
  10. Be supportive and helpful with the kids. Offer to take care of the kids while she does something (anything) for herself. If she has the chance to recharge she will be a much better wife and a nicer mom!

Too Strict or Too Jealous

It is understandable that a man feels responsible for his wife and wants to make sure that she does not exceed beyond the boundaries that Allah has established. “Everyone of you is a guardian and responsible for those in his charge; the man, in his home, is a guardian and responsible for his household.” (Bukhari and Muslim). It takes diplomacy and gentleness to set guidelines without coming across as too strict and unreasonable. It is always a little flattering when a husband becomes jealous, but when it becomes excessive it is unhealthy and a source of stress for women. There needs to be mutual trust and respect in order to live in harmony and peace. Here are some suggestions for maintaining boundaries without being too strict or too jealous.

  1. Be a spouse to your wife not a father. Don’t treat her like a little girl with a long list of rules. If you treat her like a child she will act like one.
  2. Give her space to make decisions – if you hold her too tight she will feel suffocated.
  3. Respect her and treat her like a partner not an employee.
  4. Trust her – don’t interrogate her for every little thing. Gently ask questions.
  5. Be reasonable in setting boundaries – if you are too strict she will either resent you or not abide by them when you are not around.
  6. Don’t assume anything – check your assumptions and verify before accusing her of anything.
  7. Be kind and understanding so that your wife will happily try to please you. Don’t be a harsh dictator that needs to be overthrown.
  8. If she dresses or acts inappropriately just talk to her, educate her and help her to understand. Make her feel that you are concerned about her. Never be forceful.
  9. Try to make excuses when she falls short.
  10. Be playful with your spouse if you feel some jealousy. Make her feel how much you are attracted to her, how appealing she is to you that you simply don’t want to share her. This will flatter her and make it more likely that she will be more careful.

When you become more sensitive to the needs of your wife and you put effort in supporting her and connecting with her you will reap the rewards of having a more content wife. A happier wife means a happier home which means more peace and tranquility for you. By becoming more aware of these common complaints and implementing the suggestions you will definitely score big with the woman in your life!

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14 Benefits of Marriage in Islam

An elderly Kyrgyz Muslim couple

An elderly Kyrgyz Muslim couple

by Shahina Siddiqui, Soundvision.com

The Basis of Marriage in Islam: Equality of All Human Beings

“And among His signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in peace and tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): Verily in that are signs for those who reflect.” (Quran 30:21).

“O Humans revere your Guardian Lord, Who created you from a single person created of like nature its mate, and from this scattered (like seeds) countless men and women. Reverence Allah through Whom you claim your mutual rights.” (Quran 4:1).

The above verses of the Quran lay out the framework as to what are the basis, the objectives and the goal of marriage in Islam. In the ultimate Wisdom of Allah we are first told that both partners man and woman are created from the same source. That this should be paid attention to as it is one of His signs.

The fact that we come from the same soul signifies our equality as humans, when the essence of our creation is the same, the argument of who is better or greater is redundant. To stress on this fact and then to talk about marriage in the same verse is of great significance for those of us who are in the field of marriage counseling.

The shift in this attitude of equality of genders as human beings cause a imbalance in marital relation ship that leads to dysfunctional marriage. When ever one party considers themselves superior or above the law there is a shift in the balance of power that may lead to misuse or abuse of power as the less valuable partner is seen as an easy prey. Many marital difficulties are based on or caused by control and rule stratagem.

By stressing on the equality of all humans men or women and making it the basis of marriage, Allah in His infinite wisdom has laid the ground rules for establishing peace, as well as the assigning of different roles to husband and wife as functional strategy rather than a question of competence as humans.

Prophet Mohammad (peace and blessings be upon him) has stated that: “men and women are twin halves of each other” (Bukhari). This Hadith also brings home the fact that men and women are created from single source. Furthermore, by using the analogy of twin half the Prophet has underlined the reciprocal nature and the interdependent nature of men and women’s relationship.

Muslim couple sitting close together

Five Conditions for a Peaceful Marriage

The objective and the goal of marriage in Islam according to the above Quranic verse is to enable us to dwell in peace and tranquility. It is important for us to reflect on these words and their significance in the Islamic frame of reference.

In order to have peace certain condition must be met. These prerequisites to peace are:

  1. Justice
  2. Fairness
  3. Equity
  4. Equality
  5. Fulfillment of mutual rights. Therefore any injustice whether it is oppression, or persecution, cannot be tolerated if there is to be peace in Muslim homes.

In the domestic realm oppression is manifested when the process of Shura (consultation) is compromised, neglected or ignored. When one partner (in most cases the husband) makes unilateral decisions and applies dictatorial style of leadership, peace is compromised. Persecution is present when there is any form of domestic abuse being perpetrated.

Tranquility on the other hand is a state of being which is achieved when peace has been established. Tranquility is compromised when there is tension, stress and anger. It is a mistake to take tranquility to mean perpetual state of bliss. Since being Muslims does not make us immune to tragedies and catastrophes.

In fact Allah tells us in the Quran that we will be tried (2:155,57). What a state of tranquility does is to empower us to handle life’s difficult moments with our spouses as obedient servants of Allah. Allah in His infinite Mercy also provides us with the tools by which we can achieve this state of peace and tranquility.

The second principle besides Shura on which the Islamic family life is based is Mercy (Rehma), and in this verse Allah is telling us that He has placed mercy between spouses. We are therefore inclined by our very nature to have mercy for our spouses. Mercy is manifested through compassion, forgiveness, caring and humility.

It is obvious that these are all ingredients that make for a successful partnership. Marriage in Islam is above all a partnership based on equality of partners and specification of roles. Lack of mercy in a marriage or a family renders it in Islamic terms dysfunctional.

Allah further states that He has also placed in addition to mercy, love between spouses. It should however be noted that Islamic concept of love is different from the more commonly understood romantic love so valued in the Western cultures.

The basic difference is that love between man and woman in the Islamic context can only be realized and expressed in a legal marriage. In order to develop a healthy avenue for the expression of love between man and woman and to provide security so that such a loving relationship can flourish, it is necessary to give it the protection of Shariah (Islamic law).

14 Benefits of Marriage in Islam

Marital love in Islam inculcates the following:

Indonesian Muslim couple

Indonesian Muslim couple

1. Faith: The love Muslim spouses have for each other is for the sake of Allah that is to gain His pleasure. It is from Allah that we claim our mutual rights (Quran 4:1) and it is to Allah that we are accountable for our behavior as husbands and wives.

2. It sustains: Love is not to consume but to sustain. Allah expresses His love for us by providing sustenance. To love in Islam is to sustain our loved one physically, emotionally, spiritually and intellectually, to the best of our ability (to sustain materially is the husbands duty, however if the wife wishes she can also contribute)

3. Accepts: To love someone is to accept them for who they are. It is selfishness to try and mould someone as we wish them to be. True love does not attempt to crush individuality or control personal differences, but is magnanimous and secure to accommodate differences.

4. Challenges: Love challenges us to be all we can, it encourages us to tap into our talents and takes pride in our achievements. To enable our loved one to realize their potential is the most rewarding experience.

5. Merciful: Mercy compels us to love and love compels us to have mercy. In the Islamic context the two are synonymous. The attribute Allah chose to be the supreme for Himself is that He is the most Merciful. This attribute of Rehman (the Merciful) is mentioned 170 times in the Quran, bringing home the significance for believers to be merciful. Mercy in practical application means to have and show compassion and to be charitable.

6. Forgiving: Love is never too proud to seek forgiveness or too stingy to forgive. It is willing to let go of hurt and letdowns. Forgiveness allows us the opportunity to improve and correct our selves.

7. Respect: To love is to respect and value the person their contributions and their opinions. Respect does not allow us to take for granted our loved ones or to ignore their input. How we interact with our spouses reflects whether we respect them or not.

8. Confidentiality: Trust is the most essential ingredient of love. When trust is betrayed and confidentiality compromised, love loses its soul.

9. Caring: Love fosters a deep fondness that dictates caring and sharing in all that we do. The needs of our loved ones take precedence over our own.

10. Kindness: The Seerah (biography) of our beloved Prophet is rich with examples of acts of kindness, he showed towards his family and particularly his wives. Even when his patience was tried, he was never unkind in word or deed. To love is to be kind.

11. Grows: Marital love is not static it grows and flourishes with each day of marital life. It requires work and commitment, and is nourished through faith when we are thankful and appreciative of Allah blessings.

12. Enhances: Love enhances our image and beautifies our world. It provides emotional security and physical well being.

13. Selflessness: Love gives unconditionally and protects dutifully.

14. Truthful: Love is honesty without cruelty and loyalty without compromise.

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Story: 30 Days of Carrying My Wife

Groom carrying bride across a field of flowers

This is a story that has circulated on the internet for some time. I don’t know the author. I found it to be sweet and touching. – Zawaj.com Editor

***

Carrying My Wife

When I got home that night as my wife served dinner, I held her hand and said, “I’ve got something to tell you.”

She sat down and ate quietly. Again I observed the hurt in her eyes. Suddenly I didn’t know how to open my mouth. But I had to let her know what I was thinking.

“I want a divorce.” I raised the topic calmly.

She didn’t seem to be annoyed by my words, instead she asked me softly, “Why?”

I avoided her question. This made her angry. She threw away the chopsticks and shouted at me, “You are not a man!”

That night, we didn’t talk to each other. She was weeping. I knew she wanted to find out what had happened to our marriage. But I could hardly give her a satisfactory answer; I had lost my heart to a lovely girl called Dew, a woman at my work that I had developed feelings for. I didn’t love my wife anymore. I only pitied her!

With a deep sense of guilt, I drafted a divorce agreement, which stated that she could own our house, 30% shares of my company and the car. She glanced at it and then tore it into pieces. The woman who had spent ten years of her life with me had become a stranger. I felt sorry for her wasted time, resources and energy but I could not take back what I had said for I loved Dew so dearly.

Finally she cried loudly in front of me, which was what I had expected to see. To me her cry was actually a kind of release. The idea of divorce that had obsessed me for several weeks seemed to be firmer and clearer now. The next day, I came back home very late and found her writing something at the table. I didn’t have supper but went straight to sleep and fell asleep very fast because I was tired after an eventful day with Dew. When I woke up, she was still there at the table writing. I just did not care so I turned over and was asleep again.

In the morning she presented her divorce conditions: she didn’t want anything from me, but needed a month’s notice before the divorce. She requested that for that one month we both struggle to live as normal a life as possible. Her reasons were simple: our son had his exams in a month’s time and she didn’t want to disrupt him with our broken marriage. This was agreeable to me. But she had something more, she asked me to recall how I had carried her into our bridal room on our wedding day. She requested that every day for the month’s duration I carry her out of our bedroom to the front door each morning. I thought she was going crazy. Just to make our last days together bearable I accepted her odd request.

I told Dew about my wife’s divorce conditions. She laughed loudly and thought it was absurd. “No matter what tricks she tries, she has to face the divorce,” she said scornfully.

My wife and I hadn’t had any body contact since my divorce intention was explicitly expressed. So when I carried her out on the first day, we both appeared clumsy. Our son clapped behind us, saying, “Baba is holding Mama in his arms!” His words brought me a sense of pain. From the bedroom to the sitting room, then to the door, I walked over ten meters with her in my arms.

She closed her eyes and said softly; “Don’t tell our son about the divorce.”

I nodded, feeling somewhat upset. I put her down outside the door. She went to wait for the bus to work. I drove alone to the office.

On the second day, both of us acted much more easily. She leaned on my chest.. I could smell the fragrance of her blouse. I realized that I hadn’t looked at this woman carefully for a long time. I realized she was not young any more. There were fine wrinkles on her face, her hair was graying! Our marriage had taken its toll on her. For a minute I wondered what I had done to her.

On the fourth day, when I lifted her up, I felt a sense of intimacy returning. This was the woman who had given ten years of her life to me. On the fifth and sixth day, I realized that our sense of intimacy was growing again. I didn’t tell Dew about this. It became easier to carry her as the month slipped by. Perhaps the every day workout made me stronger.

Innocent boy

"Our son came in at the moment and said, 'Dad, its time to carry mum out.'"

She was choosing what to wear one morning. She tried on quite a few dresses but could not find a suitable one. Then she sighed, all my dresses have grown bigger. I suddenly realized that she had grown so thin, that was the reason why I could carry her more easily. Suddenly it hit me; she had buried so much pain and bitterness in her heart. Subconsciously I reached out and touched her head.

Our son came in at that moment and said, “Dad, its time to carry mum out.” To him, seeing his father carrying his mother out had become an essential part of his life. My wife gestured to our son to come closer and hugged him tightly. I turned my face away because I was afraid I might change my mind at this last minute. I then held her in my arms, walking from the bedroom, through the sitting room, to the hallway. Her hand surrounded my neck softly and naturally. I held her body tightly; it was just like our wedding day. But her much lighter weight made me sad.

On the last day, when I held her in my arms I could hardly move a step. Our son had gone to school. I held her tightly and said, “I hadn’t noticed that our life lacked intimacy.”

I drove to the office and jumped out of the car swiftly without locking the door. I was afraid any delay would make me change my mind… I walked upstairs. Dew opened the door and I said to her, “Sorry, Dew, I do not want the divorce anymore.”

She looked at me, astonished. Then touched my forehead. “Do you have a fever?” She said.

I moved her hand off my head. “Sorry, Dew,” I said, “I won’t divorce. My marriage life was boring probably because she and I didn’t value the details of our lives, not because we didn’t love each other any more. Now I realize that since I carried her into my home on our wedding day I am supposed to hold her until death does us apart.”

Dew seemed to suddenly wake up. She gave me a loud slap and then slammed the door and burst into tears. I walked downstairs and drove away. At the floral shop on the way, I ordered a bouquet of flowers for my wife. The salesgirl asked me what to write on the card. I smiled and wrote: “I’ll carry you out every morning until deaths do us apart.”

The small details of our lives are what really matter in a relationship. It is not the mansion, the car, the property, and the bank balance that matters. These create an environment conducive for happiness but cannot give happiness in themselves. So find time to be your spouse’s friend and do those little things for each other that build intimacy. Do have a real and happy marriage!

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One Question that Could Save Your Marriage

Muslim couple and baby, at a restaurantBy Maria Zain freelance editor, writer – Malaysia
Some editing by Zawaj.com

(Zawaj.com Editor’s note: this article is written by a Muslim woman and is primarily directed at women, but all the advice written here can be applied to men as well).

“Who knew marriage could be so difficult?” asked Sara. “One day you’re this care-free woman, pretty selfish and self-indulgent. Next you have a roomie – and one that is supposed to share that room with you for the rest of your life!”

“We were living on top of each other,” she added,

“Everyone has disagreements – big and small – and we’re all supposed to handle them in some way or another.”

All married couples experience difficulties. Learning to disagree can be one of the hardest but most rewarding experiences in a marriage. Even more rewarding is resolving these disagreements and keeping unhappiness at bay.

Prolonged disagreements could mean there is a chronic problem between spouses, and could ultimately lead to unhappiness. Marriage counselors reveal that this unhappiness is sometimes caused by a one’s expectations of their spouse not being met.

But would you be surprised to learn that there is one key question that can go a long way toward solving hidden problems in a marriage, and aiding marriage communication?

“What Could I do to Make You Happy?”

If you are going through a rough patch with your spouse, and really want to solve the problem, try asking him or her:

“What could I do to make you happy?”

“When the counselor at the masjid asked me to ask my husband that question, I thought, ‘no way!’” exclaimed Maryam, an excited and expectant first time mother.

“I’m hormonal and vulnerable. I just hoped he’d shrug like he would normally do rather than say anything at all!”

Plenty of women find themselves in the same position as Maryam when dealing with answers to this question. Therefore, find a quiet moment, after the children have gone to bed, and living-in parents or other family members have vanished into their corners of their lives. Make sure both of you are relaxed and perhaps you could prepare two mugs of hot cocoa.

And the ambience helped Maryam:

“He was at surprised at the question, so I allowed myself to explain my feelings that led me to ask him about his happiness,” she said.

“He did need some coaxing to reveal his feelings so I kept it lighthearted, and showed that I really wanted to listen.”

It was difficult at first for Maryam, but she realized that there were not that many things that were causing a rift between them, and they could be easily resolved.

The key is to ask the question sincerely and calmly, with no resentment, and no defensiveness. Try to put your partner at ease, and then truly hear what he/she has to say. Don’t argue. Just listen.

Every husband is different so each scenario will be different, but here are some common issues that could hit familiar chords.

It Could be (the lack of) Your Sex Life

Muslim couple enjoying an evening together“Yes it was the lack of sex,” admitted Sara, working mother of three.

“I am actually surprised that he took this long to let me know because I was getting frustrated too. We were always busy, and when there was enough time to spend together, we would end up snoring within the first five minutes if we were lucky. Or we would be complaining about work or the kids, and ultimately end up bickering.”

Intimacy is not always easy to achieve especially in today’s busy world, but if it is lacking, it can set sirens off in your relationship.

“When he said he missed us as a couple before the children, we decided it was time to cut back on the working hours and spend more time with the kids. At the same time, we could also send them on playgroups without feeling too guilty (as if we were neglecting them).”

“That took a load off,” Sara said,

“We had more time to be together. Not just for sexual intimacy but to ‘date’. We could actually talk to each other without feeling grouchy or exhausted. It felt like we were newlyweds again, even if it was just for two hours a week – and then our son would then come back with a poopy nappy.”

Not everyone has the flexibility that Sara and her husband has. Sometimes it takes a little more planning. A weekend away from responsibilities or setting a new schedule for date night could just do the trick.

For Nadia it was a little more complicated.

“I had a bad birthing experience with my fifth child, and I had not realized it had affected me sexually until my husband brought it up.”

“He felt that I was holding back and was feeling ashamed of my body,” she said.

“That’s when I broke down and told him that I had felt humiliated during the last birth and no longer sexually attractive.”

“He was shocked,” she continued, “because he had no qualms about my physical appearance even though I had changed so much since before the babies started coming.”

Nadia’s husband arranged for her to meet with a psychiatrist on her own, and later they attended as a couple. After a few months it resolved the issue and Nadia realized that she too had been unhappy.

Other problems can affect sexual well-being, such as female-related infections. If you find that the lack of intimacy is affecting your marriage, then this is the time to work out the problem.

A healthy sex life revolves around a couple who actively look forward to intimacy and both enjoy it and get pleasure from it.

He Wants to Be the Man

A Muslim couple talking“My parents always had high expectations of me,” said Sara, “… and for some reason this included climbing the corporate ladder and hiring a housekeeper to do the ‘woman’s’ jobs around the house.”

“They groomed me to be as good as the boys; en par with my brothers; and an equal breadwinner with my husband.”

Sara realized that though these were amiable traits, she was becoming more of an identical being of the household rather than a complementary one to her husband. At some point she was taking over a lot of responsibility that her husband would have liked to shoulder.

“He asked me: ‘if I wore a skirt and lip gloss, would that be okay with you?’ I did not need much convincing after that.”

If your husband feels that he is losing grip of his position as the head of the family, think about it – have you been trying to replicate his role, instead of assuming your important one as the consultant, advisor and nurturer of the family? Generally speaking, women have a lot to shoulder, without prying for the role of the alpha-male!

“So when I started to cut back on my work hours, I began to realize how fun it was to enjoy my children. I could also start grooming myself for the home… and the best thing is: I found nothing demeaning about it. I even wore a skirt once, and it really won me points. I guess he really wanted to be the person to wear the trousers around the house, and I had to respect that. I did, and I love being his consultant and advisor.”

Being feminine is not secondary to being a man – after all, beauty and elegance are what differentiate women from men.

“I am the only woman he is allowed to look at – I might as well make it a rewarding experience for him,” said Sara!

He Never Wants to Feel Abandoned

So, first he needs you to be feminine and beautiful, but he also needs the assurance that you will support him during the times he needs you most. Yes, men can be delightfully complex.

“While I was going through post-partum stress, my husband was shortchanged for a promotion – one he had been eyeing for three years,” recalled Nadia.

“I was so self-absorbed in trying to bond with my fifth baby, and getting over the birth stress. I never realized that he was going through a rough patch too.”

“While talking about his insecurities,” she said, “I realized how strong a woman I was, and how much he needed me. That experience helped me overcome my low self-esteem and post-partum depression and reconnect with the father of my five beautiful children.”

It takes a really big man to ask from help from the women he cares about the most; and who better to support him than his life partner, the person who he wishes to protect, and the woman who shares his home and children with.

He Needs to Know He is Appreciated

“Waheed was psyched up when he found out we were expecting. He bent over backwards with overtime, started piling on gifts for the baby, and bought me plenty of books on childcare.”

“Of course, I did not notice. I was too busy being pregnant myself.”

Happy Muslim familyMaryam said she felt the world revolved around her to the extent that she could not be bothered with anyone else’s feelings.

“Hormones… blame it on the hormones!” she giggles, but when Waheed began to become distant in the second trimester, she felt suddenly alone and neglected.

“He said he was not sure if he would still exist after the baby came. I thought he was crazy, but after a while I knew he was right. I had never said ‘thank you’ to him for anything he had done. I just assumed he had to buy me all those gifts and buy the baby all the gear.”

“Tell him that you appreciate him,” advised Maryam. “Al-hamdu lillahI realize now. Who knows how bad the situation would have become if I had only realized after the baby came. We would have another roomie, who would only express dissatisfaction through screams!”

Finding Answers to His Answers

“It can be an eye-opener when a husband spills his insecurities to his wife,” said Sara. “It was for me!”

It can be harrowing pick up the pieces, but working on them can ultimately save your marriage. Of course if he says, “the house is never clean,” try not to scream at him. It definitely is not dissatisfaction in you, but maybe he just needs a few pointers on how the conversation is supposed to shape up. But set it aside as an afterthought, and work on ways to perhaps make the house a little more presentable if it really is in shambles.

If it is possible, check back with him in a few weeks, and ask him how he feels about your efforts.

“Try to point out a few examples of your efforts to give both of you a better picture,” said Maryam.

“We spent an evening going over a list of baby names. It was hilarious and at the same time very settling. Waheed finally said he felt like he was pregnant too. It’s a shame I can’t load off my water retention on him though.”

Of course satisfaction and dissatisfaction work both ways – and the good news is, so does communication. If there is something bothering you in your relationship, you also have the right to speak to him from the heart. Tell him about things that are making you unhappy in your relationship – and do this sincerely, rather than out of spite. Just because he points out a few things that makes him unhappy, it does not give you the license the gun him down with your own list of faults.

“Just because he is upset about a few things in your marriage,” says Nadia, “It does not mean that he does not love you. By the very fact that he wants to talk about them (even with a bit of probing) shows he genuinely wants to work his way out of the rut – and he really does care.”

And by the fact that you took the time to listen and work on his insecurities – it shows that you love him too. It just takes that one question to help you save your marriage – and it is that one question that will help both of you to achieve happiness, and rekindle the loving relationship both of you are vying for.

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Written for IslamOnline.net

Maria Zain is a freelance editor and writer living in Malaysia. While her evenings and nights are spent supporting different Muslim communities through her work, she shares her life with her husband and three busy little children below the age of five, whom she homeschools during the day.

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89 Ways to Keep Your Wife’s Love – Guaranteed

Love button

Ways to keep the love alive

These suggestions come from a lecture by Sheikh Ahmad Shehab, who mentioned 60 ways to keep your spouse’s love. The video seems to be no longer online, but a few brothers and sisters took the the time to write out the points he mentioned, may Allah reward them, and it’s been commented on in a few places, including MuslimMatters.org.

On MuslimMatters the readers added 29 more suggestions, bringing the total to 89. Have you got any more? Comment!

Keep in mind that these are just the Sheikh’s suggestions. You may not agree with some, and you might have many other ideas that he did not come up with. The Sheikh also said that it is not necessary to know every one of the 60, but you should aim to be a champion.

I do think that if you use this list as a starting point and begin implementing some of the ideas, it can only result in good effects and increased happiness for your marriage, Insha’Allah. So here you go:

1. Make her feel secure and sakinah – don’t threaten her with divorce
2. Give sincere salaams
3. Treat her gently – like a fragile vessel
4. Advise in private, at the best time, in the best way and atmosphere
5. Be generous with her
6. Warm the seat for her, you will warm her heart
7. Avoid anger, keep wudu at all times
8. Look good and smell great for your wife
9. Don’t be rigid or harsh-hearted or you will be broken
10. Be a good listener
11. Yes for flattery, No for arguing
12. Call your wife with the best names, cute nicknames, names she loves to hear
13. Utilize pleasant surprises
14. Preserve and guard the tongue
15. Expect, accept, and overlook her shortcomings
16. Give sincere compliments
17. Encourage her to keep good relations with her family
18. Speak about topics that interest her
19. Express to her relatives, how wonderful she is
20. Give each other gifts
21. Get rid of routine, surprise her
22. Have a good opinion of each other
23. Have good manners, overlook small things, don’t nitpick
24. Add a drop of patience, increase drops during pregnancy, menses
25. Expect and respect her jealously
26. Be humble
27. Sacrifice your happiness for hers
28. Help at home and with housework
29. Help her love your relatives, but don’t try to force her
30. Let her know that she is the ideal wife for you
31. Remember your wife in dua
32. Leave the past for Allah subhanahu wa ta ala, don’t dwell on, dig into, or bring it up.
33. Don’t act as if you are doing her a favor by working or providing, Allah is the Provider, the husband is the carrier of the sustenance to the family
34. Take shaytaan as your enemy, not your wife
35. Put food in your wife’s mouth
36. Treat your wife like she is the most precious pearl that you want to protect
37. Show her your smile
38. Don’t ignore the small things, deal with them before they become big
39. Avoid being harsh-hearted
40. Respect and show that you appreciate her thinking
41. Help her to find and build her inner strengths and skills
42. Respect that she might not be in mood for intimacy, stay within halal boundaries
43. Help her take care of the children
44. Give her gifts with your tongue, be an artist with your compliments
45. Sit down and eat meals together
46. Let her know that you will be traveling or returning from travel, give her sufficient notice
47. Don’t leave home in anger
48. Maintain the secrecy and privacy of the home
49. Encourage each other in ibaadat
50. Respect and fulfill her rights upon you
51. Live with her in kindness, goodness, fairness in good and bad times
52. Kiss your wife, foreplay, “Don’t jump on her like a bull”
53. Keep disputes between the two of you, don’t take it outside
54. Show care for her health and well-being
55. Remember you are not always right or perfect yourself
56. Share your happiness and sadness with her
57. Have mercy for her weaknesses
58. Be a firm support for her to lean on
59. Accept her as is, she is a package deal
60. Have a good intention for her

Muslim Matters readers added (special mention Khawla Hurayrah):

Two white flowers61. During Ramadhan, 6 days of Shawwal, Mondays & Thursdays etc. wake up well before fajr and prepare a special wholesome suhoor for her
62. Feed her the suhoor you made for her63. Designate a nice, clean, spacious area in your home for the 2 of you to pray at night whenever you can. Keep it smelling nice and fresh with incense etc.

63. Designate a nice, clean, spacious area in your home for the 2 of you to pray at night whenever you can. Keep it smelling nice and fresh with incense etc.
64. Women love flowers. Make her something special, a decorative jewelry case or even a poem. Then get a bunch of rose petals and make a trail of them on the floor – leading to the gift you made for her.
65. Make a short song about how she looks as radiant as the moon and mention what a beautiful and special creature she is. Sing it to her acapella. The more horrible your voice is, the better
66. Teach the wife the famous long hadith of A’ishah RH about Umm Zarr.
67. Give her a nice massage when she least expects it.
68. Send your wife a text message out of the blue with a message of love
69. Send your wife an email without a reason
70. Go out on a date (yes dates WITH YOUR WIFE are HALAL after marriage!) monthly or set up some schedule and follow it religiously, WITHOUT the kids.
71. Plan a get-away for a weekend in a nice location, preferably without kids (may be stuck with infants).
72. Do something for your wife’s family, whether it is a gift, or a chat with her teen brother who needs mentoring, or whatever. It will get you LOTS of brownie points.
73. If the husband needs to give her advice of something delicate, tell her with wisdom, good timing and when she is in good health without the woes of menses.
74. Do not keep reminding and demanding your rights all the time. Ibn Abbas reported to having said: “I fear Allah from demanding my rights from my wife for I worry that I will not be able to fulfill mine of hers”
75. Open the door for her and help carry her humongous ‘Coach’ or Target bags.
76. Shop groceries for her and call her from the store and ask her what she needs for the home, for herself or for her to give to people as gifts.
77. Ask her if she would like to invite her sister-friends over for ladies get together dinner and cook for them too!!!
78. Continue with her practice of giving gifts to her parents and siblings. Ask her what she thinks they might be in need of. Only if one can afford it.
79. Help her parents pay off debt or if they are ill. Send her poor relatives some money every year in Ramadhan and also for them to sacrifice for Udhiah during Eid ul Adha. Or even offer to send them to make Hajj if one can afford it.
80. Write love notes or poems and place them in the book she’s been reading for her to find. Also place them in her jacket pocket or drawer.
81. If the wife tell the husband something that she had just learned from the Qur’an or hadith book, do not dismiss her or ridicule her effort, instead listen to her and take her word.
82. Hey, why not take her for Hajj or Umrah if this have not been performed yet, better than Coach bags.
83. Plant her a rose garden!!! Or better plant her a kitchen garden with all kind of herbs she needs for cooking.
84. Adopt a kitten for her if she likes animal (only if one knows how to care for cats)
85. Get her a new car to replace her old problematic banger; or take her car for maintenance and wash it too.
86. Upgrade her pc or lap-top to a new version with bigger memory; or upgrade her cell phone to the one with itunes and download her favorite Surah recitors.
87. Learn to do special massage technique and surprise her with your new expertise. (This one was mentioned during the TDC lecture for sisters only program)
88. Teach your children some relevant Islamic etiquettes pertaining to respecting and honoring their mother.
89. Be humorous with her when she made a mistake in the kitchen, like putting too much salt or burning her baking. And never ever threaten her that you’ll take a second wife.

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