By Amal Al-Sibai
Do you find yourself nostalgically looking at the photos from your honeymoon? Do you look back at the days when you and your significant other would hold hands in the mall, in the car, and at home when watching TV? Instead of texting each other cute love messages when apart, do your text messages to each other now look more like, “What’s for dinner tonight?” and “We need milk and bathroom tissues.”?
For a successful marriage, just as mutual respect, understanding, and being responsible for fulfilling one’s duties are important, romance, affection, and passion are important too.
For a healthy marriage, both the man and woman should learn their rights and their obligations in marriage in Islam. However, that is not enough for the marriage to flourish. Happy couples put the time and effort to keep the romance alive in their marriage.
If Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) found room for love, romance, and playfulness to nurture his marriage, surely we can too. When you study the life of your Prophet (peace be upon him), study all dimensions of his life; not only his interactions with his companions, how he ruled, and the battles he fought. Read about the Prophet’s life in his home and how he dealt with his wives; you will come to look at marriage in Islam from a new angle.
Sometimes it is the little things that you do that can keep the romance blooming in your marriage, for example, at the dinner table feed your spouse a mouthful of his/her favorite dish. This romantic practice is rewarded in Islam and is actually considered as good as giving charity.
The Prophet’s companion, Saad bin Abi Waqqas, narrated that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “You will be rewarded for whatever you spend for Allah’s sake even if it were a morsel which you put in your wife’s mouth.” (Sahih Bukhari)
It was known that the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to drink from the same glass that his wife, Aisha, drank from and he would drink from the exact same spot that she did. These gestures keep tenderness and fondness in the marriage.
Open the car door for your wife every time she gets in and out of your car. It may seem trivial to the husband, but it makes a woman feel respected and pampered.
We read about the Prophet’s life and we find that he once made a cushion out of his own cloak for the comfort of his wife, Safiya, riding on his camel. To help her mount the camel, he knelt down on the ground, so she can stand on his knee and lift herself on the camel.
We can learn etiquette in our relationships from Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
Surprise your spouse with a gift to express your love and appreciation.
It has been narrated that Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said,“Give each other gifts and you will love each other.”
Everyone loves to receive a gift, and it can make the hearts grow fonder.
Rather than sitting in front of the television after dinner, break the routine and do something fun together. You can play a board game or chess, or take a walk. Find a way to connect that is fun and interesting to the both of you.
Remember, even Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) raced with his wife, Aisha. At first, they raced and Aisha won. But after Aisha put on some weight, they raced again and the Prophet (peace be upon him) won. He laughed and said to her, “This one for that one.”
Try to be in tune with one another’s feelings. Emotional intelligence may be a relatively newly coined term but, but it was a skill that the Prophet (peace be upon him) had.
When any of his wives were upset, the Prophet (peace be upon him) could tell and accordingly he tried to cheer them up, he gave them some space to calm down, and he showed concern.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) once told Aisha that he knew when she was pleased with him and when she was angry.
When she asked how he knew, he (peace be upon him) replied, “When you are pleased with me you swear by saying, ‘By the God of Muhammad’ but when you are angry you swear by saying, ‘By the God of Ibrahim.’”
The Prophet (peace be upon him) did not criticize or reproach or ridicule his wife for having those feelings.
Call your partner with the most beloved of names to him/her. Use nicknames to show affection and praise one another. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) called Aisha by a nickname, Humayraa, which meant the one with rosy cheeks.
Choose your words wisely because they can either heal or hurt, they can lift the spirit or break the spirit of the ones you love.
Mother Teresa once said, “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”
And the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Speak a good word or remain silent.”