Home / Fiqh & Life / The Duties of Women toward their Husbands, part1

The Duties of Women toward their Husbands, part1

The man looks towards his spouse to find friendship and love, which is a requirement of all human beings, and he struggles hard to earn a living and to comfort his wife.

The task of a wife is to maintain and take care of a husband. It is not an easy undertaking. Those women, who are unaware of this feature of their role, may find difficulty in fulfilling the task. It is a job for the woman who is aware that the job requires a degree of sagacity, style, and ingenuity. For a woman to be a successful wife, she should win over her husband’s heart and be a source of comfort to him.
She should encourage him to do good deeds while dissuading him from bad ones. She should also provide adequate measures to maintain his health and well-being. The results of her efforts are directed towards making the man into a kind and respected husband who would be a proper guardian for his family, and a good father from whom the children would seek guidance and respect. Allah, the All-Knowing has endowed woman with extraordinary power. The prosperity and happiness as well as the misery of the family are in her hands.
A woman can turn the home into a lofty paradise or a burning hell. She can lead her husband to the peak of success or the dregs of misfortune. The woman with the qualities bestowed on her by Allah, who is aware of her role as a spouse, can elevate her husband to a respected man even if he had been the lowest of all men.

Kindness
Everyone is thirsty for friendship and kindness; They all like to be loved by others. The heart of a human being thrives on it. A person who is not loved by anyone regards himself as alone and deserted. Dear lady! Your husband is not any different. He is also in need of love and affection. Before his marriage the love and affection of his parents fulfilled this need, but now, he expects you to fulfill it.
The man looks towards his spouse to find friendship and love, which is a requirement of all human beings. He struggles hard to earn a living and to comfort you. He shares with you all the hardships of life and as your true partner cares for your happiness even more than your parents. Therefore, express your appreciation to him and love him, he will love you. Love is a two-way relationship which unites the hearts.
If love is mutual, the marital foundation becomes strong and the dangers of separation are averted. Do not proudly think that your husband fell in love with you at first sight, because such love is not lasting. A lasting love is through kindness and permanent affection in the form of a very close friendship.
If you love your husband and have a good friendship he will be happy and willing to strive and sacrifice himself for your well-being. A man who enjoys the love of his wife, rarely suffers from poor health or has emotional problems. If a man is deprived of a warm and friendly relationship with his spouse, he may become disheartened and may avoid his home. He may end up spending a great deal of time out of his home in search of friends and attention. He may say to himself: “Why should I work and support the people who do not like me. I might as well enjoy myself and try to find genuine friends.”
A woman may sincerely love her husband, but does not show it or express it very often. It is not enough to establish the ties of friendship and take it for granted. Occasional expressions of statements such a “I love you,” “I missed you,” “I am happy to see you,” help enormously in promoting a good relationship. When the husband is on a trip, the woman should write letters expressing that she missed him. If there is a telephone at the man’s office, the wife should phone him occasionally, but not in excess. She should praise him among friends and relatives when he is absent, and defend him if anyone is talking against him.

“Imam Rida (a.s) stated: ‘Some women are blessings for their husbands who express their love and affection’.”
“The Holy Prophet (S) stated: ‘The best of you among women are those who possess love and affection’.”
“Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) stated: ‘When you love someone, let the person know’.”

The Husband’s Respect
The desire for respect is an inherent one, but not everyone is willing to give it readily. Your husband is in contact with many people during the day while away from home. Some may be impolite and insulting him which eventually can upset the person. As his wife, he expects you to show respect and encouragement at home and thereby boost his trampled ego.
To honor and respect your husband does not belittle you, but it provides energy and inclination to struggle to make a better life. You should always greet him, and with your greeting, give him a feeling of veneration. Do not interrupt him when he is talking. Be courteous and polite when you are talking to him and do not shout at him. Let him enter first when both of you are going to a meeting.
Praise him in front of others. Ask your children to respect him and reprimand them if they are discourteous towards him. Be respectful of him in front of guests and be attentive to his needs, as well as the guests. When he is knocking at the door you should try to open the door with a smile and a happy expression. This small act of happiness has such an effect that it refreshes the man’s tired spirits. Some women may think that such behaviour is strange. Imagine greeting your husband as if he was a guest. This is not the correct attitude because the man has been struggling all the day for the well-being of his family and he deserves some consideration and respect when he returns home. That first greeting makes a big impression and what’s good for a guest is good for the family members.
“The Holy Prophet (S) stated: ‘The duty of a woman is to answer the call at the door and welcome her husband’.”‘
“Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) stated: ‘A woman who respects her husband and does not harass him, will be fortunate and prosperous’.”
“The Holy Prophet (S) stated: ‘A wife is duty-bound to arrange for a basin and towel to wash her husband’s hands’.”
Be careful not to humiliate him, do not talk to him harshly, do not abuse him, do not be inattentive to him, and do not call him by any obscene titles. If you offend him, he, in turn, will insult you. Eventually, the spirit of love and trust will erode. Consequently, you will have constant quarrels and arguments which may lead to a divorce. Even if you continue to live together, your lives will surely be filled with many turbulent moments. Feelings of antagonism and psychological disturbances may build up to the point that it becomes hazardous to the couple’s life in that it may lead to crime.

Complaints and Grievances
There is not anyone who does not have problems and grievances with regard to daily life. Everyone likes to have a sympathetic person with whom he can confide and who will listen to his problems. But the point to remember is that “there is a time and place for everything”. One should realize the proper time and occasion to complain. Some ignorant and selfish women do not realize that their husbands are very tired and nervous after a long day’s work. Instead of waiting an hour or two for him to regain his spirits, they start attacking him with a barrage of complaints. For instance the wife may say:
“You have left me with these damned kids and rushed off. Ahmad has broken the glass in the door of the front room. Our daughters have been fighting. I am going crazy with the noise of the kids outside. Hasan does not study at all and he has secured poor marks. I have been working so hard today and I am exhausted. Nobody listens to my cries!
These kids don’t help at all in the house-work. I wish I didn’t have any children at all! By the way your sister was here today. I don’t know what was wrong with her; she acted as if I had swallowed her father’s inheritance. May God save me from your mother! She has been talking ill about me behind my back. I am fed up with all of them. Also, I cut my finger badly with a knife today.
I wish I’d not gone to Muhammad’s wedding yesterday. You should have seen Rashid’s wife! What an outfit! Allah should give me the same luck! Some men really love their wives and buy them beautiful things. They are real husbands. When Rashid entered, everybody respected him. It’s true that people are only interested in what you’re wearing. What has she got that I haven’t? Why should she show off in front of me?! Oh yes, she is fortunate to have a husband who loves her, he isn’t like you!
This sort of attitude is incorrect. Women of this sort think that their husbands are going on a picnic or pleasure-ride every morning. Men confront hundreds of problems everyday. Dear lady! you do not know what your husband has gone through when he is at work. You do not know what rude and obnoxious people he has had to deal with all the day. So, when he comes home, you should not present all of your complaints at the same time. He should not feel guilty of being a man. Be fair and be considerate to him. If you, by grumbling and nagging, add to his worries and anguish, then he may either start a row or just leave the house and go to a cafe, cinema, or even walk around the streets.
Therefore, dear lady! For the sake of Allah, give up this habit of complaining at inopportune moments. Find a suitable time and then present him with your genuine problems, not by complaining, but in a consultative type of way. In this way, you do not create antagonistic feelings in him and the family bonds remain secure
“The Prophet (S) of Islam stated: ‘The prayers of a woman who teases her husband with her tongue, are not accepted (by Allah) even though she fasts everyday, gets up for the acts of worship every night, sets free a few slaves and donates her wealth in the way of Allah. A bad-tongue woman who hurts her husband in this way, is the first person who enters hell’.”
“The Holy Prophet (S) also stated: ‘The women of Paradise say to those women who abuse their husbands in this way: ‘May Allah kill you. Do not misbehave with your husband. This man (the husband) is not yours, and you do not deserve him. Soon he will leave you and come towards us’.”
I do not know what such women want to achieve by their grumbling. If they want to attract their husband’s attention or to show off, then surely they achieve the exact opposite and exasperate him. If they intend to distress him, to create for him psychological problems and to lead him towards fatal artificial addictions, then they are on the right track.
Dear lady! if you care about your husband and your family, then you should give up this improper and illogical attitude. Have you ever thought that your misconduct may lead towards breaking up your family life?

Pleasant Dispositions
Anyone who is good-natured with a pleasant disposition would also face the hardships and problems of life in the same manner. These are the kinds of personality that people are attracted to and continually seek. The pleasant disposition and attitude of a person would be immune to psychological disorders since their outlook to life is to overcome their hardships in the best feasible manner.
“Imam as-Sadiq (a.s) stated: ‘No life is more agreeable than the one which is of a pleasant nature’.”
But an ill-natured person would likewise find life unpleasant since the relationship of such people promote anxiety and tension. Such a person enjoys complaining and voicing one’s dissonance with life. This type of attitude is avoided by most people whereby the person ends up with very few friends, these are then the conditions which are susceptible to various psychological problems, and other illnesses due to the anxiety and emptiness with which the person with a bad attitude views life.
“The Holy Prophet (S) stated: ‘A person with a bad disposition and attitude would be in permanent agony and suffering’.”
A good and pleasant attitude is essential between all people in general and between couples in particular since the couple must be together to form a joint life.
Dear lady! If you want to enjoy a pleasant life with your husband and children, make your attitude and disposition pleasant and agreeable. Be good-natured and not quarrelsome. You have the ability to turn your house into a lofty paradise or a burning hell. You can be an angel of mercy whereby your husband and children can find peace through you. Do you know what a beautiful impression you would leave on their souls with your smiling attitude and good language? The pleasant impression is fresh in their minds as they start off to school or work and helps them to make a good start of the day.
Therefore, if you care about the quality of your life and the relationship you have with your husband; do not be negative in nature. Be positive in your attitude and disposition since the best supportive pillar of security to marriage is a good set of ethics leading to a pleasant disposition.
Most instances of divorce are due to the incompatible nature of man and wife. The statistics on divorce conclusively indicate that the compatible attitude, moral values and disposition was non-existent in the couples. The main source of family rows and discord is due to the incompatible character of the couple’s ethical principles and values.
Most of the family conflicts may be resolved with kindness, compassion and a pleasant disposition. If your husband is unkind, if he goes out for dinners alone, if he is abusive, wastes away all his wealth, speaks of divorce and separation or a number of reasons for family conflict, there is only one way to resolve them. The way is by being kind and good-natured. The results of exercising such behavior are miraculous.
“Imam as-Sadiq (a.s) stated: ‘Allah Almighty will grant a well-disposed person a reward equivalent to the blessings of Jihad. He will endow many blessings onto him day and night’.”
“Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) stated: ‘Any woman who bothers her husband and distresses him is distant from the blessings of Allah and any woman who respects her husband, is obedient and does not cause him sorrow, is blessed and prosperous’.”
“There is a tradition reported that the Holy Prophet (S) was informed of a good woman who fasted everyday and worshipped Allah every night, but she had an ill-disposed character and would hurt her neighbours with her sharp tongue. ‘The Holy Prophet (S) stated: ‘There is no good in her and she is an inhabitant of hell’.”

Wrong Expectations

Dear lady! You are the mistress of your household. Be wise and understanding. Keep an account of your expenses. Budget your expenditures in a way that it is not detrimental to your wealth and honor. Do not compete with others and be envious of them. If you see a nice dress on a woman, or if you become interested in some furnishings that you have seen at a friend’s or relative’s house, do not compel your husband to purchase them which is beyond his financial means and would force him to borrow. Isn’t it better to wait until your budget is higher or there is some extra saving to make non-essential purchases?

It is mostly the ignorant and selfish women who succumb to extravagance and rivalry. These women force their husbands to be under debt and they become exhausted and disgusted in trying to satisfy the unsuitable demands of their wives. Sometimes, the only solution to these problems for the men is to go for a divorce or even commit suicide.

The women who have not perceived the true purpose and meaning of marriage and instead they regard it in terms of bondage where the husband is acquired to fulfill their childish desires and material needs. They want a husband who will serve them like a slave and will not object to their way of spending. These women sometimes even go further. They make their husbands spend more than their means which may entail bankruptcy, murder, and other disastrous consequences.

Such women are a disgrace to other women. If her high expectations lead to divorce, the woman will be deprived of the love of her children, and will have to live a life of loneliness. For these women remarriage will not happen easily. Even if it does happen, it is not certain that the marriage will work out since most human beings do not like to be kept in unreasonable bondage and the new husband may not be able to meet their demands any better than the previous one.

Dear lady! Instead of being covetous, try to be reasonable. Spend more time and effort for the well-being of your family and husband rather than trying to imitate everyone. If your husband spends lavishly, then stop him and curb his unnecessary expenses. Instead of buying non-essential commodities, it is better to save some money for a rainy day.

“In a tradition, the Holy Prophet (S) stated: ‘Any woman who is not compatible with her husband and persuades him to act beyond his capacity, then her deeds would not be accepted by Allah. She would taste the wrath of Allah on the Day of Resurrection’.”

In the next part we will discuss the following Issues:
Be a Comfort for Your Husband
Be Appreciative
Do not Look for Shortcomings
Don’t Look at Anyone Other Than Your Husband
Islamic Hijab
Forgive Your Husband’s Mistakes
Coping with Your Husband’s Relatives
Coping With Your Husband’s Job

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