Man has been created for woman and vice versa. They are attracted to each other like magnets. Marriage and establishing a joint life is a natural desire of human beings responding to their instincts.
It is considered one of the greatest Divine blessings. In fact, where else could one find a better shelter for the youth than a sincere family unit ? It is the desire of raising a family which preserves the youth from pursuing irrational dreams and internal anxieties. The marital union enables them to find a kind and faithful partner who could share the hard and difficult times. The sacred marital covenant is a Divine rope which links the hearts, calms them when they become unsettled, and focuses irrational dreams on one ideal goal. The house is the centre of love, kindness, and friendship, whereby it is the best place to relax and live comfortably.
Be a Comfort for Your Husband
The burdens of life weigh heavily upon the shoulders of men since they are responsible for maintaining and supporting their families. In fulfilling this responsibility, the man of the household must confront many problems and obstacles outside of the home. Some of these problems may be the pressures of work, the hassles of traffic and commuting from the office to home, concerns over economical and political issues of the day, empathy and concern for friends and colleagues, and the pressures of trying to improve the living conditions of his family. The amount of preoccupations and pressures upon a responsible man is enormous and multifaceted. It is no wonder that the average lifespan of a man is less than the woman.
In order for the human being to be able to cope with the burdens of life it is necessary to have someone to listen to and sympathize with him. Your husband is no exception. He may feel alone and in need of finding refuge and comfort amidst these pressures. It is natural that the man looks towards his wife and family as a source of comfort and relief. Therefore, anticipate his expectations and needs. Be cordial and warm when he first returns home after working and have refreshments or let him feel that you are at his disposal to care for his needs. Try not to overwhelm him with criticizing him the minute you see him. Let him rest and recover his strength before putting up the demands of the family’s personal issues.
When your husband comes home, try to have a smile and a warm greeting for him. Attend to his physical needs of fatigue, hunger, and thirst. Then ask him about his problems. If he is not willing to talk, be a good listener and sympathize with him. Try to express your genuine concern and then help him realize that the problems are not as impossible and huge as he had thought. Give him encouragements of support to help him cope with the issues. You can say something like this: These problems are being faced by many people. With a strong will-power and patience, it is possible to overcome the difficulties as long as one does not let the problems get the better of you. These problems, as a matter of fact, are tests as well as builders of the true character of a person. Do not despair. You can solve them through determination and perseverance.
If you have some ideas on handling the problems, share them with your husband. If not, may be you can suggest a good friend who is more qualified.
Dear lady! at times of difficulty, your husband is in need of your attention and love. You should come to his aid and nurse him like a sympathetic psychiatrist and wife. What a psychiatrist could give the amount of care that you would give? Do not underestimate your ability to soothe and strengthen him. There is no one more devoted and concerned over your husband’s well-being other than yourself. He would be able to draw strength from your devotions to him and cope with his problems which will relieve his emotional and mental pressures. Consequently, the mutual bond of respect and love would also be greater which can only lead towards strengthening your marital relationship.
“In a tradition, Imam as-Sadiq (a.s) stated: ‘There is nothing better in the world than a good wife. And a good wife is the one whose husband, becomes glad upon seeing her’.”
“In a tradition, Imam Rida (a.s) stated: ‘There are a group of women who raise many children. They are kind and sympathetic. They support their husbands in times of difficulty and in the affairs of this world and the next. These women do not commit any acts which would incur a loss upon their husbands nor multiply their difficulties’.”
If a person is generous and charitable with the wealth that he has acquired from hard work, the appreciation and notice given in response to such acts will warm that person’s inner feelings and give him a feeling of accomplishment. Acts of goodwill may then become second nature to the person whereby it becomes a habit to spend and share one’s wealth for those in need. However, if the acts of goodwill are taken for granted and unappreciated, the person may lose the desire and drive to do good. It would be natural for a person to conclude that it was a waste to give away his hard earned money when it was unappreciated.
Gratitude and appreciation are admirable characteristics in a person and it is the secret by which one may attract charitable acts. Even Allah has mentioned that gratitude for His blessings are conditional on the continual perpetuation of his grace upon mankind:
وَإِذْ تَأَذَّنَ رَبُّكُمْ لَئِنْ شَكَرْتُمْ لَأَزِيدَنَّكُمْ وَلَئِنْ كَفَرْتُمْ إِنَّ عَذَابِي لَشَدِيدٌ
“And when your Lord made it known: If you are grateful would certainly give to you more, and if you are ungrateful, My chastisement is fully severe”(14:7)
Dear Madam! Your husband is also human. Like everyone else, he enjoys being appreciated. He is willing to support his family and regards it as a moral and lawful obligation. When he is thanked and appreciated for doing his duty, those duties no longer seem to be a burden.
Whenever he buys home appliances or something like clothes and shoes for you and the children, be happy and thank him. Show your gratitude for the trivial things he does such as buying groceries, taking the family on trips and gives you your allowance. By showing your appreciation, you will make your husband feel good and rewarded for the trouble he has taken. Be careful that you do not take his duties for granted and become indifferent towards his contributions to the family. He may become disheartened about the welfare of the family. He may prefer to spend his money elsewhere or on himself.
If a friend or relative presented you with a pair of stockings or a bunch of flowers, you would thank them repeatedly. So it is only natural and fair to show appreciation to your husband for his consideration and thoughtfulness. Do not think that you would be belittling yourself by demonstrating your appreciation. On the contrary, you would be loved and cared for more because you appreciate the efforts of your husband whereas snobbism and selfishness can only lead towards great misfortunes.
The following are some Traditions referring to the characteristics of gratitude:
“Imam as-Sadiq (a.s) stated: ‘The best women among your women are those who show appreciation when their husbands bring home something and are not discontented if nothing is brought home’.”
“Imam as-Sadiq (a.s) also stated: ‘ Any woman who says to her husband that she has not seen any good things from him then she has fallen in her credibility and has voided her acts of worship’.”
“The Messenger (SA) of Allah stated: ‘Whoever does not thank the people who help him is, in fact, not showing his gratitude to Allah for His Blessings’.”
Do not Look for Shortcomings
Nobody is perfect. Some are too tail or too short, or too fat or too skinny, have a big nose or a small one, talk too much or are too silent, are bad-tempered or too easy-going, have a very dark complexion or a very fair complexion, or eat too much, or too less, and the list can continue. Most men and women have some of these shortcomings. It is the hope of every man and woman to find a spouse who is perfect but such hopes are unrealistic. It is unlikely to find a woman who regards her husband as perfect.
Those women who are in search of faults in their husbands will undoubtedly find them. They would find a trivial shortcoming and exaggerate it by dealing on the matter to the point that it becomes an unbearable impediment. This defect then replaces all the merits of the husband. They always compare their husbands with other men. They have established a so-called ideal man in their imaginations whose standards do not fit in their husbands. Therefore, they are always complaining about the shortcomings in their marriage. The women regard themselves as unfortunates and failures which gradually turn them into spiteful women.
What does such behaviour in a woman do to her husband? He may be a very patient person who can tolerate his rudeness but most likely he will become insulted and develop a grudge against her. This would likely lead towards mutual arguments and elaborations of the shortcomings in each other. They will both become contemptuous of each other and their life wit! turn into a series of rows and arguments. Thus, they will either live in misery together or go for a divorce. In either case, both will lose, especially when there is no guarantee that another marriage may prove otherwise.
It is a pity that some women are ignorant and obstinate in their ignorance. It is possible that they may shatter their family life over a trivial matter. The following are some illustrative cases of such women:
Of course all women are not like this. There are those who are intelligent, realistic, and aware enough that they do not foolishly jeopardize their marriage and happiness by exaggerating the shortcomings of their husbands.
Dear Madam! Your husband is a human being like you. He is not perfect, but he may have many merits. If you are interested in your marriage and your family then do not set out to find his weaknesses. Do not regard his small defects as important. Do not compare him with an ideal man whom you have established in your mind. There may be some faults with your husband which are not present in others. But you should remember that other men may have other defects which are non-existent in yours. Be satisfied with his merits. You will consequently see that his merits outweigh his faults. Besides why should you expect a perfect husband when you are imperfect yourself. If you are proud enough to think you are perfect, then ask others.
“The Prophet of Allah (S) stated: ‘There is nothing worse for human beings than to seek the faults of others, while ignoring their own flaws’.”
Why should you exaggerate a trivial fault? Why should you shatter your life for the sake of something unimportant?
Be wise? Stop being frivolous! Ignore the faults and do not mention them in front of or behind your husband. Try to create a warm atmosphere in your family and enjoy the blessings of Allah. However, there may be flaws in your husband’s character which you may be able to correct. If so, then you can succeed only by behaving considerately and with patience. You must not criticize him or start a row, but approach him in a friendly manner.
Don’t Look at Anyone Other Than Your Husband
Dear lady! Before your marriage you may have had other offers of matrimony. These offers may be from rich, educated, handsome men, etc whom you may have wished to marry. Such expectations were natural before your marriage. But now that you have chosen your partner and signed a sacred covenant with him to be together for the rest of your life, then forget the past altogether. You must put aside your past wishes and forget those past offers. Do not think of any men except your husband and find peace with him. If you do otherwise you will place yourself in a strained condition.
Now that you have agreed to live with your husband, why should you be constantly noticing other man? Why should you compare him with others? What do you achieve by looking at other men except putting yourself in a permanently miserable state and cause mental anguish for yourself?
“Imam Ali (a.s) stated: ‘Whoever leaves his eyes at liberty, will always suffer through his nerves, and will be trapped in a permanent state of envy’.”
By looking at other men and comparing your husband with them, you will find a man who does not have your husband’s faults. You might then think that man is perfect, because you are not aware of the deficiencies of such a man. You regard your marriage as a failure and this thought might lead to disastrous ends.
Dear Madam! If you are interested in an everlasting marriage; if you do not want mental distress; and if you want to conduct a normal life, then stop being selfish and forget your vain hopes. Do not make compliments for other men. Do not think of any man other than your husband. Do not think to yourself:
“I wish I had married so and so;”
“I wish my husband looked like…;”
“I wish my husband’s job was…;”
“I wish…,” “I wish…” “I wish…”
Why should you imprison yourself with these thoughts? Why should you upset the foundations of your marriage? If any of those wishes had come true, how would you know that you would have been more satisfied? Are you sure that the wives of those so-called “faultless” men are satisfied with them?
Dear Madam! If your husband suspects that you show interest in other men, he would be disheartened and would lose interest in you. You must not cut jokes with other men or keep company with them. Men are so sensitive that they cannot even tolerate their wives to show an interest in a picture of another man.
“The Holy Prophet (S) stated: ‘Any married woman, who looks at other men, would be subject to the vehement wrath of Allah’.”
Men and women, although having many aspects in common, also possess unique characteristics. One such characteristic is that women are delicate, beautiful, and likable beings. They are charming, attractive, and lovable; whereas men are charmed, attracted by and love women’s qualities.
When a man marries a woman, he wishes all his wife’s beauty and affection to be reserved for him. He wishes to be the only one who benefits from her charm, affection, coquettishness, beauty, sense of humour, etc and to strictly avoid men. Man is, by nature, very ardent and intolerant of another man either looking at his wife or having any kind of relationship with her. He would regard a close relationship between his wife and other men to be a violation of his lawful right. He expects his wife to observe Islamic Hijab (statutory Islamic dress for women) and by adapting herself to Islamic behaviour and ethics she cooperates in maintaining his lawful rights.
Any faithful and fervent man would have such a wish. A woman’s social behaviour, which is based on Islamic ethics, would set her husband’s mind at rest; he would then work enthusiastically to provide for his family and his affection for his wife would increase. Such a man would not be attracted to other women. On the contrary, a man whose wife is not concerned with Islamic Hijab and displays her beauty to other men or socializes with them, would seriously become upset. He would regard his wife as responsible for trampling over his rights. Such a husband would always suffer from distress and pessimism and his love for his family may gradually fade away.
Islamic Hijab and its observance in society is beneficial to women in many aspects:
(1) They can protect both their social worth and inner values much better, and guard themselves against just being an object on display.
(2) They can prove both their faith and love for their husbands more effectively and thus help create and maintain a warm family atmosphere while preventing ill-feelings and family rows. In short, they can win their husband’s hearts and establish themselves in their families.
(3) By observing Islamic Hijab, unlawful flirtation looks by such people as ogles would cease and help in lessening the amount of rows, strengthening the family roots, and as a result create an atmosphere of tranquility within its circle.
(4) Islamic Hijab of women would also help prevent young unmarried men, from deviating from the right path. Thus forestalling harm to the young men, which would also benefit the women of the society.
(5) If all women observed the regulation of Islamic Hijab, then all women could rest assured that their husbands, when not at home would not encounter a lewd woman who might draw his attention away from the family.
Islam is aware of woman’s specific nature of creation and regards her as a very important base of society with responsibilities towards it. It demands her to make sacrifices to carry out her responsibility by observing Islamic Hijab, which in turn would forestall social corruption and deviation and go a long way in creating stability, security and glorifying her nation. But definitely the greatest reward is with the Almighty Allah for performing her divine duty.
Dear lady! if you are interested in the stability and peace of your family and your husband’s continual trust in you; if you are concerned about the social rights of women; if you are interested in the youth’s mental health and are worried about their deviation from moral values, if you want to take positive steps towards bringing to a halt the seduction of women by corrupt men; and if you are seeking Allah’s satisfaction by being a faithful and sacrificing Muslim; then you should observe Islamic Hijab.
You should not display your beauty and adornments to strangers, be it in the house with your close relations or at other social gatherings outside your own home. You must cover yourself before your brothers-in-law and their sons, sister-in-law’s husbands, aunts’ husbands, and cousins. Being not dressed as per Islamic Hijab before these people is a sin and may also cause great distress to your husband, even though he may never mention it.
A woman is not restricted to covering herself to the same extent before her father-in-law, her own brother, and her nephews, although it is better to observe a certain degree of Islamic Hijab before these people too. In other words women should not appear before these relatives of hers in the same way as she would make herself attractive for her husband. This is because most men dislike their wives to appear attractive by wearing attractive clothes and make up before other men; and of course it should not be forgotten that the tranquility of mind and the trust of a man in his wife is crucial to the survival and security of the whole family.
Forgive Your Husband’s Mistakes
Everyone, except those that Allah has declared as “Infallible” makes mistakes. When two people, who love together, and cooperate with each other, make mistakes, they must be forgiving, if they do not forgive each other, then their marriage will come to an end. Two business partners, two neighbours, two colleagues, two friends, and specifically, a husband and a wife need to be able to forgive each other. If the members of a family are unforgiving and pursue each other’s mistakes, then either the family will separate or they will experience an unbearable life.
Dear Madam! Your husband probably makes mistakes. He may insult you, abuse you, tell lies, he might even hit you. Such acts might be committed by any man. If your husband, after making a mistake, regrets it or you feel he is regretful himself for his misconduct, then forgive him and do not pursue the matter. If he is regretful but not prepared to express his apologies, then do not try to prove his mistake. Otherwise, he might feel humiliated and he may retaliate by picking out your mistakes and consequently start a major row. So it is better for you to remain silent until he condemns himself from his conscience and starts to feel remorse about it. He would then regard you as wise and devoted wife who is interested in her husband and family.
“The Prophet of Allah (S) stated: ‘A bad woman does not forgive her husband’s mistake and does not accept his apology’.”
Is it not pitiful that a sacred marital covenant should be broken because a woman is not prepared to forgive some mistakes of her husband?
Coping with Your Husband’s Relatives
One of the problems of family life is the one cause between the wife and her husband’s relatives. Some women do not have a good relationship with their husband’s mother, sisters, or brothers. On the one hand the wife may try to dominate her husband so that he would not be able to pay any attention even to his mother, or any other relatives and she may try to sow discord between them.
On the other hand, her mother-in-law regards herself as the owner of her son and daughter-in-law. The mother tries hard to hold on to her son and is watchful that the new woman does not try to possess him fully. She may fabricate lies about her daughter-in-law or find fault in her. Such an attitude might be followed by many arguments and even occasional hostilities. The situation becomes even worse if they all live in the same house. Even though a row may occur between two women, the real anguish and distress remains with the man in the middle.
The husband is trapped in an argument where he cannot take sides. On the one hand is his wife who would like to have an independent life without any interference from outsiders. He naturally feels that he must support her and make her happy. But on the other hand, he thinks of his parents who have helped him with his life, education, and have spent their own lives in bringing him up. He feels that his parents expect him to help them in their times of need and that it would not be fair to abandon them.
Besides, if he himself was in need of something, who else, other than his parents, would help him and his family. As a result, he realizes that his best and most trustworthy friends are his parents and relatives. So, the dilemma for a sensible man is either to choose the wife and abandon the parents or vice versa; but neither of these is possible.
Consequently, he has to cope with both sides and keep them satisfied which, itself, is a difficult task. The only possible way to ease the situation is that the woman should be loyal and wise. A man in this situation expects his wife to help solve the problem. If the wife respects her mother-in-law, seeks advice from her, and becomes obedient and friendly with her, then the mother-in-law will be her greatest supporter.
Is it not sad that one, who can attract many people through kindness and good manners, should repulse them through stubbornness and selfishness? Do you not realize that in the ups and downs of life, one might need the help of others, and especially of relatives who would support you when everyone else deserts you? Is it not better to enjoy a good relationship with one’s relatives through consideration and good behaviour? Is it really wise and fair to become friends with strangers while breaking away from your own relations?
Experience shows that when one needs the help of others, friends leave but the abandoned relatives come to help. This is because the family ties are natural and cannot be broken easily. There is a general proverb which says: “Even if one’s flesh is eaten by relations, they would not throw away the bones!”
“Imam Ali (a.s) stated: ‘One is never able to do without his relatives, even though he may possess wealth and children’.”
One would need the respect and kindness of one’s relatives. It is they who would support one physically and mentally. Relatives always come to the rescue. In times of need they could come to one’s assistance faster than others. Whoever disowns his relatives will lose many helping hands.
Dear Madam! For the sake of your husband and for the sake of your own comfort as well as to find many good friends and supporters, put up with your husband’s relatives. Do not be selfish and ignorant; be wise and do not cause your husband any distress. Be a good and devoted wife in order to be accepted by both Allah and the people.
Coping With Your Husband’s Job
Everyone has a job and jobs are different. For example, a driver who is mostly on the road and is unable to come home every night; a policeman who may have to stay out some nights; a medical doctor who has little time to spend with his family; a lecturer or a scientist who reads a great deal at nights; a mechanic whose clothes are dirty and have smell of oil; a factory worker who works at night. Therefore, there are rarely jobs which are entirely convenient and do not entail any discomfort of the family. There is not any other way of earning an honest living than working. It is necessary for the men to put up with the difficulties of their jobs. However, there is another problem which is the complaints of the family.
Women usually like their men to be nearby and prefer them to be home when it becomes dark. Women want their husbands to have a decent job with a high salary. They like to have enough time to go out in the evenings. But unfortunately, the jobs of most men do not live up to their wives’ expectations, and this, for some families, is a source of rows and arguments.
A driver who has been on the road for a few nights, who has not had a decent sleep and has not been eating regularly, enters his house to rest and find peace and comfort with his family. Then his wife, without sparing a moment, starts to moan and groan: “What is this life? Why do you leave me with these kids and where have you been? I have to do all the work myself because you are not here to help. I am fed up with these naughty children. As a matter off act driving is not a good job. You should either change your job or settle with me. I can’t live like this any longer!”
A poor driver who has such a wife cannot be expected to perform well on his job and may endanger his life; and the lives of those whom he transports. A doctor who, from morning to night, visits tens of patients cannot cope with the grumbling of his wife. Then how could he continue to practise medicine? A worker who works during the night shifts cannot enthusiastically pursue his job if his wife is a shrewish woman. How can a scientist be successful in his field of research if his wife is constantly nagging him? These are the tests which distinguish the wise women from the ignorant ones.
Dear Madam! We cannot make the world according to our wishes, but we can adapt ourselves to the existing situation. Your husband needs to have a job to earn his family’s living. His job has certain conditions which you must adapt to. You must program your family life according to his job. Why do you grumble and find fault with his job? Welcome him home with a happy face and be kind to him. Be wise and cope with his job.
If your husband is a driver who is mostly on the road, then realize that he is trying to bring money home for your sake and the children’s. There is nothing wrong with his job. He is a part of society and is serving it the best way he can. Would it have been better if he was a lazy person or if he was engaged in an irreligious job? So, there is nothing wrong with him. The fault lies with you, expecting him to be at home every night and not being able or not wanting to adapt yourself to the present conditions.
Is it not wise to get used to the existing situation and live more comfortably? Would you not rather welcome him with a smiling face and persuade him to carry on in his job with a warm “Good-bye” when he leaves home for work? If you act kindly, his interest in his family would increase and he could work harder. He would not isolate himself from you; he would come home as early as possible; he would not have accidents and he would remain healthy in his morals.
If your husband is a night-shift worker, he is missing his night’s good sleep in order to meet the expenses of his family. Try to get used to it and do not express your dissatisfaction. If you get bored, then you can do some of the housework, sewing and reading at night. In the morning prepare the breakfast when your husband comes back from work, and then prepare his bed in a quiet place. Keep the children quiet and teach them not to disturb their father when he is resting. You can even sleep less at night and take a rest with your husband during the day. But, do not forget that he has been awake all the night and the sleep during the day to him is the same as the night sleep for you. Women in this situation have to have two programs, one for themselves and one for their husbands.
If your husband is a driver, a doctor, a worker, or a scientist etc, then you must be proud of him. Your husband is not an idle loafer or engaged in an irreligious occupation. So appreciate him and show your gratitude.
Do not expect him or ask him to leave his job, but try to adapt to his existing one. If he is reading or researching on a particular field, then do not disturb him. You can do the housework, read a book or, with his permission, go and visit your friends or relatives. But when he is resting, try to be at home. Prepare his food and other requirements. Receive your husband with a smiling face and good manners. By showing your kindness and by pleasing him you can make him forget his tiredness. If you are a good wife, then not only you can expedite his promotion, but also you are contributing to his services towards society.
Not all women deserve such hardworking men. So by being well-mannered and sacrificing, prove that you are worthy of him.
If your husband’s job requires him to wear special clothes which become dirty, then wash them frequently. Do not grumble and do not tell him bad because of his job. Do not ask him to change his job. It is not easy to change jobs. What is wrong with being a mechanic? In any case, this is not an important matter and families should not be broken because of it.
“A woman told the judge in a court that her husband’s job was selling kerosene and that he always smelled bad and hence she was fed up with the situation’.”
The selection taken from “Principles Of Marriage & Family Ethics” by Ibrahim Amini.