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Duties of Husbands towards their Wives, Part 1

Man and woman are the two basic pillars of a family, but since men are endowed with special qualities by the order of creation they are regarded as the guardians of their families.

The following are some duties of Husbands towards their Wives:

The Guardian of the Family
Man and woman are the two basic pillars of a family, but since men are endowed with special qualities by the order of creation, and because their power of logic is stronger than women’s, they are regarded as the guardians of their families.
The Almighty Allah regards men as the guardians of their families and states in the Holy Qur’an that:
الرِّجَالُ قَوَّامُونَ عَلَى النِّسَاءِ بِمَا فَضَّلَ اللَّهُ بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ

“Men are the maintainers of women, because Allah has made some of them to excel others…” (4:34).
Therefore, men have a greater and more difficult responsibility in supporting their families.
It is the man who can, through his wisdom, support his family and prepare the grounds for their happiness and it is he who can turn the house into a paradise and his wife to act as an angel.
“The Prophet of Allah (S) stated: ‘Man is the guardian of his family and every guardian has responsibilities towards those under his guardianship’.”
A man, who is supporting his family, should know that a woman is also a human being like a man. She also has desires and the rights of freedom and life. Marrying a woman is not hiring a servant, but it is a selection of a partner and a friend who would be able to live with for the rest of one’s life. Man has to care for her and her desires. Man is not the owner of his wife and in fact a woman has certain rights upon her husband.

Taking Care of your Wife
The secret to a family’s prosperity is the way in which one takes care of one’s wife, and this is, like the duty of a woman towards her husband which is regarded to be at the same level as Jihad, is also regarded as a man’s best and most valuable act. But a married man must learn how to treat his wife in a way that she turns into an angel-like character.
For this, a man must find out about his wife’s behaviour and her desires. He must program his life according to her wishes and righteous requests. He can, through his own manners and attitude, influence her in a way that interests her in both him and his house.
This is a subject which needs more explanation and detailed discussion will be presented later in this book.

Be Loving towards Her
A woman is a center of kindness and a being who is completely emotional. Her existence depends on compassion and affection. She longs to be loved by others and the more the better. She sacrifices herself a great deal in order to seek popularity. This character is so strong in her that if she realizes nobody loves her, then she regards herself as a failure. She becomes disappointed in herself and feels dejected. Therefore, certainly one can claim that the secret of a successful man in a happy marital life is his expression of love towards his wife.
Dear Sir! Your wife before marrying you was enjoying her parents’ love and kindness. Now that she has entered into marriage agreement with you and now that she has chosen to live with you for the rest of her life, she expects you to fulfill her desires for love and affection. She expects you to show more love to her than she received from her parents and friends. She has trusted you extremely and that is why she has entrusted you with her existence.
The secret to a happy marriage is the expression of your affection to your wife.
If you want to conquer her heart, if you want to make her obedient with regard to your demands, if you want to strengthen your marriage, make her love you and remain faithful to you, or…, then you must always show your affection to her and express your love.
If you deprive your wife of kindness, then she would lose interest in her house, children and, above all, in you. Your house would always be in a messy condition. She would not be prepared to make efforts for a person who does not love her.
A house, in which there is no affection, resembles a burning hell, even though it may be very tidy and full of luxurious goods.
Your wife may become ill or have a nervous breakdown. She may seek popularity with others if she is not satisfied with you. She may grow so cold towards you and the house that she may even seek for a divorce.
You are responsible for all this because you have failed to keep her content. It is certainly true that some divorce procedures take place as a result of unkindliness.
Your attention is drawn to the following statistics. The psychological requirement of affection, the carelessness of husbands with regard to their wives’ wishes and the overlooking of the importance of the mental status of women, have been responsible for many divorce cases.
Family love and friendship is more precious than anything else and that is why Allah has regarded it as one of the signs of power and a great blessing which mankind has been endowed with, Holy Qur’an says:
وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ أَنْ خَلَقَ لَكُمْ مِنْ أَنْفُسِكُمْ أَزْوَاجًا لِتَسْكُنُوا إِلَيْهَا وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَكُمْ مَوَدَّةً وَرَحْمَةً ۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ
“..And one of His signs is that He created mates for you from yourselves that you may find rest in them and He put between you love and compassion; most surely there are signs in this for a people who reflect.” (30:21)
Love and affection must of course be genuine to appeal to another’s heart, but even so loving for someone is not enough, as it is vital to express one’s affection. By showing your feelings through your words and actions, the love you have shown will be returned to you and your hearts will strengthen their bonds of love.
Be frank and do not be discrete in expressing your love towards your wife. In her absence or presence, you should make compliments for her. Write to her while traveling and inform her that you miss her. Occasionally buy something for her. Phone her when you are at work and ask how she is.
One of the important things on a woman’s mind is these kinds of expressions of love.

Respect Your Wife
A woman is proud of herself just the same as a man would be. She likes to be respected by others. She would get hurt if she were to be insulted or belittled. She feels good when respected and would hate those who try to degrade her.
Dear Sir! your wife surely expects you to respect her more than others. She has every right to expect her life partner and best friend to care for her.
She works for you and your children’s comfort and thus expects you to value her efforts and to respect her. Honouring her would not belittle you but it would indeed go to prove your love and affection towards her. Therefore, respect her more than others and talk to her politely. Do not interrupt her or shout at her. Call her by respectful and virtuous names. Show your respect when she wants to sit down. When you enter the house, if she forgets to say ‘Salam’ (greetings), then you should say ‘Salam’ to her.
Say ‘Good-bye’ when leaving your house. Do not lose contact with her when travelling or away from home. Write to her.
Show your respect for her when in gatherings. Seriously avoid all insults and humiliation. Do not abuse or even jokingly tease her. Do not think that because you are close to her she would not mind you making fun of her. On the contrary she will dislike such an attitude but may not express it.
All women expect their husbands to respect them and all of them hate insults If some women keep silent before their husbands’ humiliations, it is not the proof of their satisfaction.
If you respect your wife, she will do the same to you and thus your relationship will grow stronger. You would also earn more respect from others. If you maltreat her and she retaliates, it is again your fault and not hers.
Dear Sir! Marrying is not equal to getting a slave. You cannot treat a free person as a slave. Your wife has married you in order to live with you and to share her life with a man whom she loves. She expects the same things from you as you do from her. Therefore treat her in a manner in which you would like to be treated.
“Imam as-Sadiq (a.s), quoting his father, stated: ‘Whoever marries, must respect his wife’.”
“The Prophet of Allah (S) stated: ‘Whoever respects a Muslim, Allah would pay him his own respect’.”
“The Prophet of Allah (S) also stated: ‘None would respect women except the magnanimous ones, and none would insult them except the ignoble ones.’ In addition, the Prophet of Allah (S) stated: ‘Whoever insults his family, would lose happiness in his life’.”

Be Well-mannered
The world takes its path according to a regular pattern. Events happen and show themselves one after another. Our small existence in this vast universe is like a small particle which moves and impinges on other particles at every instant of time. The running of this world is not in our hands and the events of this world do not occur according to our will. From the moment that one sets foot outside his house in the morning until the time he returns home in the evening, one may be confronted with hundreds of unpleasant circumstances.
One comes across a great many difficulties in the arena of life. You might be insulted by someone, have an unfriendly colleague, have to wait for the bus too long, have been accused of something at work, have lost some money, have been robbed, or have come across anyone of a number of similar events that could happen to anybody anywhere.
You might be so frustrated with the usual everyday events of your life that you resemble a time bomb which could explode any time.
Well you may think that you cannot blame other people or the world for your mishaps, so when you come home, you try to vent your anger out on your wife and children. You enter your house and it is as if ‘Izrail (the angel of death) has arrived. The children disperse like little mice in front of you. God forbid that you should find something to pick up fault. With! The food may be salty or salt less, your cup of tea may not be ready, the house may be untidy, or the children make a noise. And it gives you a good excuse to blow your top in your own house.
You then become furious and shout at every body, abuse them, hit the children, and so on. You will have then turned a house of affection and friendship into a burning hell in which you and the rest of your family would have to suffer.
If the children are able to run away from home into the streets, they would do so, and if they cannot do that, then they count the seconds until you leave the house.
It is patently obvious what an apathetic and horrific atmosphere is dominant in families of this kind. There are always rows and arguments. Their house is always in a mess. The wife hates to see her husband’s face.
How can a woman live happily with a grim and bad- tempered man?
Worse than all is the fate of children who are to grow up in such an environment. The parents’ quarrels would certainly leave a scar on their sensitive souls and hearts. Children, who experience this kind of hardship, tend to become furious, aggressive, depressed, and pessimistic type of people in their adulthood. They become disheartened in their family and go astray. They might fall into the traps of corrupt people and turn to crimes of different kinds. They might even become so complexed and mentally disturbed that they might even endanger other lives and commit murder or even suicide.
The reader is recommended to conduct research into the backgrounds of criminals. Statistics and the daily news of criminal events all reflect this fact.
Responsibilities of all these lie with the guardian of the family who has not been able to control his temper and who has mistreated his family. Such a person can never find peace in this world and would be punished in the next.
Dear Sir! We are not in a position and cannot control the affairs of this world. Mishaps, hardships, and sorrowful events are all inseparable parts of this life. Everybody experiences difficulties at different times. As a matter of fact, one can reach maturity through hardship. One must confront them with strength and must try to find solutions to them.
Human beings have the ability to meet with hundreds of small and large difficulties and not to give in under the strain of misfortune.
Worldly events are not the only reason for our being upset, but rather it is our nervous system which becomes affected by such events and causes us to experience discomfort. Therefore, if one could control himself when faced with the unhappy events of life, one would not become annoyed or angry.
Suppose that you have experienced an unpleasant event. This event is either an inseparable part of daily events with which we cannot interfere or that we cannot help. Or it might be an event in which we can thrust our own decision.
It is obvious that in the former case, our annoyance would not help in anyway. We would be wrong to become angry or bad-tempered. We must remember that we were not responsible for its occurrence and even try to welcome it with a smiling face. But if our bad experience is of the latter type, then we can seek a suitable solution for it.
If we do not lose heart when faced with hardships and try to control ourselves, we can, through prudence, overcome our difficulties. In this way we would not resort to anger which may itself add to our problems. Therefore, a wise person is the one who is not affected by hardships.
We have the ability to overcome all difficulties through patience and wisdom. Is it not a pity that we lose control over matters resulting from inevitable events of life?
Moreover, why should you blame your wife and children for your misfortunes?
Your wife is performing her share of duty. She has to take care of the house and the children. She has to do the washing, cooking, ironing, cleaning, etc. You should encourage her in the way you treat her.
Your children are also doing their own work. They too wait for their father to make themselves happy. Teach them the right things and encourage them in their studies.
Is it fair that you confront your family with a grim and angry face?
They expect you to fulfill their righteous desires. They expect kindness from you and want you to talk to them gently and behave pleasantly.
They would hate you for ignoring their feelings and for turning the house into a dark place in which there is not a glimpse of happiness.
Do you know how much they could suffer from your unpleasant and harsh manners?
Even if you do not take your family very seriously, at least have mercy upon yourself. You can be sure that you would damage your own health by being bad-tempered.
How can you continue to work and how can you achieve anything successfully? Why should you turn your house into a hell?
Is it not better for you to always be happy and confront your problems with prudence and not anger?
Would you not prefer to believe that anger would not solve your problems, but rather it would add to them? Would you not agree that, while being at home, you should rest and regain your strength in order to find a suitable solution to your problem with a clear mind? You should meet your family with a smile on your face. You should joke with them in a nice manner and try to create a happy atmosphere at home. You should eat and drink with them and take rest. In this way you and your family would enjoy life and you would overcome your problems easily.

Complaining Unnecessarily
The problems of life are many. There is not anyone who is completely happy with his situation. But some people are more patient with their hardships than others, they try to record them in their memories and do not mention them except when there is reason or revealing them.
On the other hand, there are people who are so weak that they cannot keep any problem to themselves.
They are so used to making complaints that upon meeting others, they start complaining. Wherever they, go and whenever they are in a gathering, they moan about the everyday events which have effected their lives it is as if they haven sent on a mission by Satan himself, to spoil the happiness of others. That is why most friends and relatives do not want to be bothered with these and try to keep away from them as much as possible.
But one must feel sorry for their wives and children who have to cope with them. Because no one else is prepared to listen to their moaning, these men vent their problems before their families.
They sometimes complain about their expenses, the taxis, their friends, and sometimes they moan about their colleagues, their businesses, diseases, doctors, and so on.
These men are very pessimistic and, do not see any good in this world. They suffer themselves as well as make and especially their families, suffer too.
Dear Sir! What is the point of making complaints all the time? What do you achieve by moaning? Why should your family suffer if you are angry with the taxi driver? Why do you blame your wife if your business is not brisk?
Do not forget that your attitude would repel your family from you. They will become disappointed in you and disheartened with the house. They might even run away from home and might fall into the trap of corruption and crime. The least is that it leaves a mental scar on them.
Is it not better not to spoil your family’s happiness?
When returning home, try to forget your problems. Be happy with your family. Eat with them. Have a laugh and enjoy their company.
Islam has also regarded patience and refusing to make complaints as good behaviour and has even allocated a reward for it.
“Imam Ali (a.s.) stated: ‘When hardship falls upon a Muslim, he should not make complaints about Allah to other people, but that he should take the problems to Allah who possesses the key to all problems’.”

Picking up Quarrels
Some men are constantly seeking excuses to pick up fault with everything. They moan at every trivial matter: “Why is this table dirty? Why is the lunch not ready? Why is that vase here? Have I not said before that ashtrays should not be on the floor?” etc…
Some men take this attitude so far that it causes rows and quarrels within their family, and sometimes a family break- down as a result of their behaviour.
Of course we are not saying that men do not have the right to tell their wives what to do and what not to do. In the first part of this book, women were recommended to acknowledge this right. There we stated that women should not show stubbornness towards their husbands’ suggestions regarding household affairs. However, men should keep their logic and wisdom. They are their families’ guardians and as such they should act properly.
If a man wants to successfully participate in the affairs of the house then he should do so in a calculated manner.
As a matter of fact, since a man does not have enough time to participate in all the matters regarding his house and because he lacks the necessary expertise in this connection, then it is to his advantage to leave the housework to his wife. A man should leave his wife at liberty with regard to running the house.
Men can, however, under the pretext of consultation, not forcefully, remind their wives about certain points. Once a wise woman finds out her husband’s wishes about any matter, she would try to conform with them. Therefore, a man and a woman who care for each other and their family, can through talking together in a kind manner, reach many agreements on all matters. In this way, most women are prepared to conform with their husbands’ occasional demands.
But if his participation takes the form of picking up fault and constant moaning, then the housewife gets used to them and consequently this attitude becomes a usual affair from which nothing useful would result.
A woman with a moaning husband would not take him seriously. She may even ignore his proper and important points of concern. She would reason for herself “Why should I waste my energy, if my husband is not ever satisfied with my work?”
Not only would she ignore her husband’s criticism, but might even take retaliatory measures.
This is when their house turns into a battlefield. Constant criticism of each other would then prepare the ground for separation and thus a family unit breaks down. In this scenario the woman is not to be blamed because even a wise and patient wife would run out of patience as a result of continuously humiliating attitude of her husband. Men should remember that housework is an area for their wives to perform their duties. It is wrong to deprive them of their rights or to turn them into puppets. It is wiser to leave them to run the house the way they like.
As a result, your wife does her job enthusiastically, you would remain happy and your house would be a home for a happy family.

Appease Her and Sympathize with Her
A woman also, similar to a man, undergoes emotional changes. She experiences happiness, anger, sorrow, etc. She becomes tired from housework and may become annoyed with the children. Others may upset her by their criticisms. She might become involved in competing with others. In short, a woman confronts many problems of which some may affect her so much so that she might become desperate to such an extent so as to react unkindly towards trivial matters.
This is especially the case for women, because they are very sensitive and would react more critically towards unpleasant events as compared to men.
Women, who experience hardship, need appeasing. Men must comfort them because they are their partners and the ones who are trusted by their wives.
Dear Sir! When you find your wife in a state of distress and anger, then try to understand her situation. If you enter your house and she does not salute you, you say ‘salam’ to her. This would not belittle you. Talk to her with a smiling face. Avoid-grimness. Help her in the housework. Be careful not to offend her in any way. Do not tease her. If she is not in a mood to talk, then leave her alone. Do not say: ‘What is wrong with you?’
If she feels like talking, listen to her and sympathize with her. Pretend you are more concerned with her problem than herself. Let her reveal her grievances for you. Then like a kind father or a sympathetic husband try to help her find a solution to her problem. Encourage her to be patient. Through wisdom and logic make her regard her problems as trivial. Strengthen her character and assist her in overcoming the cause of her annoyance.
Be patient and treat her according to your logic. She would certainly find your help useful and life will soon get back to normal for both of you.
On the contrary, your wrong approach would cause more distress for her. You would also suffer and it might even turn into a major row from which, both of you would suffer.

Do not pick up Faults
There is no one in this world who has all the qualities and free from all the faults. Some people may be too fat or too thin. Their mouth may be too big, have large noses or big teeth. Others may be dirty, impolite, shy, cheeky, depressed, bad-tempered, jealous, lazy or selfish. Some women may not be good cooks or talented hostesses. Some people may eat too much or spend lavishly. In brief, everyone is imperfect and no one in this world can be regarded as a perfect being.
Men usually, before marriage, imagine their ideal woman to be devoid of all faults. They ignore this fact that there is no angel-like figure in our universe. These men, once married, find their ideal wives not to be perfect and thus start to point out their faults. They might even regard their marriages as failures and call themselves ‘unlucky’.
These men are always moaning and do not even spare the trivial faults of their wives.
Some men exaggerate the faults so much that they always appear before them like high mountains. They occasionally mention these faults to their wives and humiliate them. They might even mention them before friends and relatives.
As a result, the foundation of their marital life starts trembling. The woman becomes depressed and loses interest in her husband and family. She would think it illogical to work in the house of someone who criticizes her. She might even take retaliatory measures.
The man says to his wife: “What a big and ugly nose you have!?” And the woman replies: “It is not as bad as your ugly face and deformed figure!” The man would then say: “Your feet smell foul!” And the woman replies: “Shut up your big mouth!” etc.
A continuation of this conversation opens the door for criticisms and turns the house into a battlefield in which the couple insults and degrades each other.
If they live like this, they would not enjoy their lives ever again, because a house devoid of family love and sincerity, is not a place of comfort.
Moreover, a man who regards himself as unlucky and his marriage as a failure, and a woman who is constantly being humiliated, are both prone to mental disorders and other illnesses.
If the magnitude of their row becomes larger then there is always the danger of divorce and separation. A divorce is not very helpful to either party especially if there are children in the family.
Society does not have much respect for a divorcee. Moreover, a divorce would inflict economic losses on a man, which are not easily repairable. This is especially true if he wants to re-marry, since he would also have to spend money on his second marriage. Furthermore, it is not at all clear that a divorcee is able to find another woman who would live up to his expectations.
Re-marriage would not be easy for him because of his past record. Even if he finds another woman, she would definitely possess certain faults also. She may even turn out to be worse than his first wife. He would then have to cope with her. This is because some men are too proud to confess their shortcomings. It is rare to find a man who is fully satisfied with his second marriage. It has even been seen that some men return to their first wives.
Dear Sir! Why should you look at your wife with a view of finding her faults and why do you place so much importance on her trivial defects? Why do you magnify her deficiencies so much so that it causes suffering for you and your family? Have you ever seen a perfect woman? Are you perfect yourself? What are trivial deficiencies worth that you endanger your marriage for their sake?
Be certain that if you look at your wife with a logical and fair view, you would see many good points about her. You look and see that her merits would outweigh her deficiencies.
Islam regards this attitude as harmful and distasteful and thus forbids all from finding other people’s faults.
“The Prophet of Allah (S) stated: ‘O you who express to be Muslims by tongue only but faith has not entered your hearts! Do not speak ill of Muslims and do not set out to find their faults (because) whoever picks up fault with others, would be criticized by Allah and even if such a person is at his house, he would be disgraced’.”

Do not Pay Attention to Slanderous Talk of the Critics
Some people are in the habit of uttering slander about others. This distasteful behaviour creates enmity among friends and relatives and can break families. It has even been responsible for murder. There are various reasons for such behaviour, like jealousy, anger, vengeance and hostility.
Some people resort to defamatory words in order to satisfy their own ego, to attract others’ attention towards themselves, or to pretend to be sympathetic with someone else. But it is rarely a case that slanderous statements are based on good intentions.
Therefore, a wise and clever man should ignore such statements. He must always analyze the statements of the speaker in order not to be deceived or influenced by his evil insinuations.
One of the points for men to remember is that generally their mothers, sisters and brothers, despite their apparent friendship, do not enjoy a good relationship with their wives.
The reason is that a man, before marriage, spends years with his parents where he does not have much independence. His parents, who have worked hard to bring him up, expect him to be helpful to them in their old age.
Even after they marry their son off and apparently give him independence, they expect him to conform to their own will and wishes. They like their son to pay more attention to them than to his wife. But the reality is that when a man starts a marital life, he makes a great deal of effort for his new family, wife, and independence. He directs his love towards his wife and works hard in this connection. The more he steps in this direction, the farther he goes away from his parents.
Thus his mother and sister(s) specifically feel offended. They regard their new bride as a threat who would be taking their young boy away from them. They might even blame their bride for separating their boy from his family.
Mothers may sometimes think that the best way of confronting this danger is by implementing ways of lessening their sons’ affection towards their wives. A mother of this kind would then start to point out her daughter-in-law’s deficiencies, spread lies about her, speak defamatory words about her, conspire against her, etc.
If a man is simple or naive, he might even be influenced by his mother’s defamatory statements. He would then become a tool in the hands of his family after which he would lose interest in his wife. Under his parents’ influence, the man would start to moan and pick up faults with his wife. He would criticize her on any possible occasion.
As a result, the family house could turn into a cold and dull place.
Instigations of men by their mothers and sisters could lead to rows and even fights between a man and his wife. A wife in this condition might resort to drastic measures such as committing
Therefore, criticisms, bad attitudes, and defamatory words of mothers, sisters and brothers-in-law can be very harmful and thus a man must be aware of their nuisance. Of course it is not possible to stop people from talking but it is possible to neutralize their talks.
A man must be aware that criticisms about his wife by his mother, sister, etc are not meant to be sympathetic and out of good intentions, but the main reasons are jealousy, enmity, selfishness, etc.
He must remember that because his wife draws much of his attention towards herself, his family envies her and regards her as a usurper of their young man. Therefore, they resort to ways of preventing their love to grow.
Dear Sirs! In brief, mothers, sisters, and brothers of this kind are not bothered with your happiness, but rather they are concerned with their own interests. If they were concerned with your happiness, they would have done something different.
It is very strange that parents make a great deal of compliments of a woman who wants to marry their son, but once their son marries that woman, the parents turn completely the opposite way.
Dear Sir! Do not be deceived. Those deficiencies that your family set forth for your wife are not relevant; and even if they are not trivial, then remember that nobody is perfect.
Anyway, are your sister, mother or others who criticize your wife, themselves perfect beings?
Paying attention to their slanderous statements would only adversely affect your family life. You might even end up with a divorce as a result of which you would suffer mentally and economically.
A re-marriage would not be easy. Even if you find another woman to marry, it is not at all obvious that she is any better than your former wife. How do you make sure that your family would not treat her as badly as they did with your former wife?
So it is better for you to tell your mother, sister and others right now that your wife suits you and that you love her. You must declare to them that they should stop criticizing your wife or else your wife or else you would cut off your relationship with them. Once they feel your firm attitude, they would stop their instigative attitude and you may find peace with your wife.
But unfortunately, some mothers and sisters do not give up easily and resort to malicious accusations such as adultery. The problem becomes so serious that a man might, based on his mother’s statements, divorce his wife or even kill her.

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