It is no secret that successful marriages are the result of time and effort. In the fast paced world of today however, the work marriage requires may unintentionally take a back seat. If we remember that Allah (SWT) refers to marriage as a mithaq ghaleeth, or sacred covenant, maybe we will be able to give it the precedence it deserves. Here are some tips that will, insha Allah, bring increased love, happiness and passion to your relationship.
1. Focus on the pros
We are all human, and we all have our flaws. We can try to change each other, but keep in mind this will never be easy. So if things don’t go your way, don’t get upset by it. Recognise all the beautiful qualities of your husband and show him you appreciate them. Feeling appreciated by you will be a huge incentive for him to show his appreciation in return.
2. Go on dates
Try to schedule a ‘date night’ at least once a month. Get someone to sit with the kids while the two of you go out for dinner. Or, if this isn’t possible, plan to have an in-house date once they are asleep. Turn off the TV, light some candles, wear a sexy cocktail dress and act like a newlywed on her honeymoon!
3. Get to know each other all over again
Ask him questions you should know the answers to, but maybe don’t any more: what’s his favorite colour, favourite food, where would he like to travel, what are his biggest fears, dreams and hopes for future? And when he just answers and doesn’t reciprocate the questions (as guys often do), go ahead and tell him about yourself.
4. Never argue with your spouse in anger
When the two of you disagree, pull away from the situation, explaining that you’ll continue the discussion when you’ve both had a chance to think about it and you’ve both calmed down. This will help you reach a solution or compromise much more smoothly. Remember that the Prophet (SAW) is reported to have said, “The deeds are presented on every Thursday and Friday and Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, grants pardon to every person who does not associate anything with Allah except the person in whose (heart) there is rancour against his brother. It would be said: Put both of them off until they are reconciled” (Sahih Muslim). Be the first to try to reconcile, even if it’s not for your husband’s sake, but rather for the sake of Allah (SWT). In doing so, Allah (SWT) will return the reward to you by blessing your marriage, insha Allah.
5. Take care of yourself and of your appearance – and show it at home
Don’t leave your hair uncared for because you figure no one sees it besides your husband – he is the most important one! Just because we wear hijab or may be getting older doesn’t mean we should stop caring about how we look. When you’re just hanging out at home, some perfume and make-up will grab his attention.
6. Treat your spouse as you would treat yourself
If you know that he doesn’t like something, avoid it. That may be a type of food, a type of behaviour or even an item of clothing. Respecting his desires will encourage him to reciprocate.
7. Send him messages
Literally! When you know he’s stuck at work, or even if the two of you are in a large family gathering, send him a joke on his mobile just to make him laugh. Or text him to say you miss him and can’t wait to be alone with him. Get creative! (Just be wary of who else’s eyes may see it!)
8. Sacrifice willingly
We sacrifice willingly for our children all the time; we put our careers aside for a while, or forever, for the sake of our children. We lose sleep when they are ill, we sit beside them to help solve whatever problems they may face. We should do the same with our husbands. We are here to help carry their load – if that means putting our own load down for a while, there is no reason to feel resentment for doing so.
9. Accept that sometimes you may not be the priority
Often our husbands’ responsibilities towards their parents and siblings can make us, the wives, feel like we are in second place. This may stem from a slight resentment that our own responsibilities seemed to shift once we married to centre almost completely on our husbands. But this feeling is a match which can burn down a forest! The sooner you accept that sometimes his family has to come first and that he will never side with you against them, the sooner all the in-law pressure will disappear. Being there for his parents is his obligation and a strong indication that he is a good Muslim; recognise this positive behavior and don’t ever make him choose between you and his family. If you do, you will lose.
10. Pray together and make du’a
Worshipping together helps build stronger bonds. On a daily basis, make du’a that Shaytan never comes between you and your husband.
11. Be Intimate
Our husbands are the only people in this world with whom we have no ‘awrah; our entire being is open for them to see and experience, as is their entire being to us. Take advantage of that! There is no reason to be shy with your husband. Wear that lingerie you’re too embarrassed to buy and dress up for him. It will make you feel sexy, and he’ll appreciate it. Be the one to suggest – with or without words – intimacy; initiating sex is a great turn on! Don’t let your sex life become routine. Talk with him about different positions you might both like to try. Spicing up your bedroom activity is an important part of keeping the passion alive in your marriage.
12. Communicate Clearly
This includes accurately reading his moods and his body language. Sometimes a squeeze of the hand may be just what he needs to bring a smile to his lips. He may have something weighing heavily on his mind that he doesn’t want to trouble you with, but if you offer to listen, maybe he’ll open up. Racing to listen, you’ll find that he will be happy to do the same when you need to talk. And when it is your turn to talk, make sure you are as unambiguous as possible. Don’t give him hints; men rarely respond to them. If you want something, you have to be blunt. And even if you think there is no way he could have misunderstood you, it is usually a good idea to ask him to reiterate what he heard. It sounds juvenile, but really it’s a very simple way of making sure he heard what you intended to say.
In the Noble Qur’an, Allah (SWT) says, “And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquility in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought” (Ar-Rum:21). May you find that these tips lead to increased affection, passion and mercy in your marriage, and may the warm, loving moments always outweigh the difficult ones.
Hend Hegazi is an Egyptian American freelance writer and editor with a degree in biology from Smith College. Her first novel, Normal Calm, was published in January 2014 by FB Publishing. Her second novel, Behind Picket Fences, is due out in July 2016. Hend currently resides in Alexandria, Egypt with her husband and four children. To check out her books, keep updated with her writing, or contact her, please visit her website, www.hendhegazi.com.