Four Keys to a Successful Marriage, Part 1: Respect

Respect word collage


By Wael Abdelgawad |

I was once engaged to a woman with whom I was madly in love. I thought she was the most beautiful woman in the world. Her voice was like honey to me, and just her name was a magical incantation.

The thought that she could love me in return – and she said she did – had me walking on the clouds. The first few months were among the happiest of my life.

But then things turned sour. She became short-tempered with me, sometimes sarcastic, and often critical. She still claimed to love me, but the bad times outnumbered the good. My daughter was three years old at the time, and at times the woman was annoyed with my child and even angry. That was the last straw for me. I still loved this woman madly, but I ended the relationship for the sake of my own self-respect, and for my daughter.

My point? “True love,” is NOT the foundation of a healthy relationship. That heady, intoxicating sense of romantic love is amazing and can fill you with happiness, but it’s not sustainable, and even if it can be maintained it’s not enough.

So what does a successful marriage require? Four things:

respect, kindness, honesty and communication

1. Respect

Without mutual respect, all is lost. A marriage cannot survive if one or both of the partners curse each other or abuse each other in any way. Ways in which you can treat your husband or wife with respect include:

  • Greet them kindly, show interest in their well being, ask about their day.
  • Never compare them to anyone else.
  • Notice the good things they do for you, and thank them for their contribution.
  • Always be faithful. This doesn’t only mean not cheating on them, it means to be on their side, to support them through hard times, and to stick with them through thick and thin.
  • Similarly, never demean or criticize your spouse in front of others. Do not gossip about them, mock them or put them down in public, ever.
  • Keep your promises.
  • Consider your spouse’s happiness to be equal to your own (not more important than your own, but equal). Strive to make them happy.
  • Always consult with your spouse before making important life decision that may affect both of you.
  • Listen to your spouse’s opinions. You may not always agree and you don’t have to, but be courteous and listen with an open heart. Genuinely try to understand what your spouse is feeling.
  • When it comes to romance, attend to your spouse’s needs as well as your own. If your spouse is not in the mood at that moment, respect that and do not push. On the other hand, try to be attentive to your spouse’s romantic signals. If you can meet their need without discomfort, do so.

A last word about respect: of course both partners should respect each other, but it is especially important for a wife to treat her husband with respect. I say this because women and men are different. Most women want to be loved, protected, cherished, and included in the man’s inner life. Men, on the other hand, need to be respected. A woman might love a man passionately, but if she doesn’t treat him with respect he will not be happy and the relationship will not last.

Next: Four Keys to a Successful Marriage, Part 2: Kindness

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Husband and Wife Relationship


  1. You said a mouth full when you said she was beautiful and had a voice like honey. There within lies your problem. Granny always said everything that looks good ain’t good for you and everything that shines like gold ain’t gold.

    I’m always amazed at the reasons for which people base love off of and think that these reason are a basis by which they can build a life long relationship. Just because someone looks and sounds good doesn’t mean you know the character or heart of that person. I know that looks or attraction are a healthy part of any relationship. But should not be the main basis thereof. I always ask people who are gaga over someone’s looks what would they do if they were to, God forbid, be involved in an accident that altered those looks. If you have a relationship that’s built off looks or anything superficial, God help you if anything should happen to alter it. I bet she didn’t look or sound so sweet later on down the road. Indeed her once sweet name tasted like bile in your mouth, huh?

    People spend more time researching and learning about potential cars, electronics, clothes and houses than they do their intended spouse. Why when a marriage is a life long endeavor, longer than any of those purchases? It’s important to get to know the person that you will marry instead of falling in love with the person you’ve built in your head or dreams based off of looks and other superficial qualities.

    Next time ask yourself, what qualities does this person posses, other than looks, that I want to spend the rest of my life loving them for.

    For ANYONE (male or female) if the only reason(s) for being so called “in love” with a person you can thank of is looks, voice, money, nice car, nice house or citizenship perhaps you need to rethink your decision. You definitely need to re-evaluate yourself as a person as well, for these are all shallow and selfish reasons. Real love is blind and selfless.

    • Kayla, it wasn’t only those things that I mentioned. It also seemed to me at the time that she had a strong faith in Allah. She’d also been through a lot of difficulty in life and I felt compassion for her.

      You almost seem to revel in my unhappy experience.

  2. I cannot believe a man would or could love his wife that much as described in the article, especially after marriage and kids. I get so surprised by reading man loving and respecting their wives .my experi.

    • As-salamu alaykum. It’s all about making an effort to keep the love alive, isn’t it? For example using some of the methods described in this article:

      50 Romantic Things to Do for Your Wife (can also be for your husband)


      55 Ways to Have a Happy Marriage

      You began to write about your experience, but you didn’t finish. What was your experience?

      I am not married at the moment, but inshaAllah when I do get married I will shower her with love every day for the rest of our lives, and hopefully she won’t get sick of me, ha ha.

      Wael Editor

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