Last Saturday, I was invited by Darul Arqam as one of the panel speaker for their In-House Talk titled ‘Marriage: Love & Faith’ in conjunction with their 35th year anniversary open house celebration.
For the benefit of others, I will share the transcript of my talk here:
Love or Respect: Which do you prefer?
Between love and respect. Which one I prefer.
For me, Both. Love and respect. They are related. Without respect, there is no love.
Respect is earned, not given. Respect is for those who deserve it, not for those who demand it.
The question is how does one gain his wife’s love, and then, her respect?
In this platform, I will share some of the characteristics that we as husbands should have or at least try and work towards:
A husband who always perform his prayers. Five times daily.
A husband who leads his wife and children in congregational prayers, as well as other sunnah prayers.
Not a husband who expects the wife to guide him.
Therefore, as a reminder, even if one is a convert, he cannot expect his wife to guide him forever.
We continue to guide and lead our family. We remain the pillar of the family.
A religious husband is very important, that the Prophet himself mentioned.
If someone with whose piety and character you are satisfied with comes to you, marry to him. If you do not do so, there will be trials in the earth and a great deal of evil. “(Tirmidhi)
This is the first step towards earning respect from his wife.
Being religious alone is not enough. A husband must also be responsible.
One the husband main responsibility is to give nafkah to his family.
And in today’s context when both are working. Let say they both agreed to share 50%. Then the husband must contribute his part.
We should always remember this, and not take it lightly because many marriages fail due to the fact that the husband did not fulfill his obligations.
So my beloved brothers, please fulfill your responsibilities.
Thirdly, Treating women (the wife) with kindness
We cannot say a person is religious, responsible and claims to be obedient to Allah, if he does not treat a woman, what more his wife with kindness.
The Prophet is the best examples of showing kindness towards his wives.
Rasulullah said in a hadith which means: ‘The most complete believer in faith, is the one with the best character (akhlak). And the best of you are those who are best to their wives.’ (Bukhari)
There are many cases, when a husband called hurtful names such as stupid, or hurled with abusive words.
How can we gain respect and love from our wife if we behave like this?
And when a husband shows his wife less love, she in turn shows him less respect.
Show love to your wife.
Love her despite her flaws and weaknesses.
And Inshallah, she’ll respect you despite your flaws and weaknesses.
And the interesting thing is, the more you love your wife, the more she respects you.
He loves you (wife) even if he doesn’t always show it
Not sure about others, but I like to show my affection and love to my wife
Afterall, my wife is my soul mate.
During my days at alfalah, once I met a couple who came for counseling, the wife complained that her husband doesn’t like to show his affection. Doesn’t one to hold her hand in public etc. Then I asked him, why? He said because I’m shy. Then how you manage to court your wife, because you are too shy?
Because I fought my shyness (I fought hard to overcome my shyness) to get her. And I did.
So that you should do.
How they will know that we love them, if we not show it. That’s is not right. This is not sunnah.
Do we know how romantic our prophet was?
We consider Romeo to be romantic but not the Prophet.
I will say that the Prophet was the most romantic individual in the world.
By looking at the sirah, you will find that he was the most romantic person to walk this Earth.
He is the best example for the ideal husband. I will give you some example:
Firsly, Drinking and eating from one place
Aishah r.a. would drink from a cup. The Prophet would take this cup and search for the place where the lips of his beloved wife made contact. Upon finding the place where his wife drank from the cup, he would put his lips on the very same place so that his lips have touched the place where her lips touched. He would then drink the contents of the cup at the same time enjoying union with his spouse.
When there was meat to eat, Sayyidah Aisha take a bite. The Prophet would take the meat from her hand and again place his mouth the very same place where his wife ate from.
Do things together with your wife.
Or do simple things. Hold her hands. Touch her hands, when you’re watching TV etc. Do everythings together.
Secondy, Know their feelings
The Prophet once said to Sayyidah Aisha: “I know very well when you are pleased or angry with me. Aisha replied: How do you know that? He said: When you are pleased with me you swear by saying “By the God of Mohammad” but when you are angry you swear by saying “By the God of Ibrahim”. She said: You are right, I don’t mention your name.”
By being conscious of one another’s feelings, it will help resolve any differences. When your spouse is down or upset, be there to console him/her. Sit with them, speak with them, listen to them. Try and make them smile.
If the husband is always conscious of his wife’s feelings, and the wife is always conscious of the husband’s feelings, then this will help to strengthen our relationship.
Each spouse has to be there for the other in the good and bad times. The wife should find comfort and solace in the husband and the husband should find warmth and love in his wife. Be gentle with one another.
Thirdly, Calling her by a beautiful name
The Prophet would call his wife ‘Humairā’’ out of love. Linguistically it means the little reddish one.
Once the Prophet stared into his wife’s eyes. He then said to Sayyidah Aisha in praise of her beauty,
“How white are your eyes.”
Call your spouse nice sweet names. One has to show his partner love and affection in every little thing.
This is what is needed. The husband and wife should be constantly complementing and praising each other. The husband has to show his love and attraction to his wife. The wife needs to show her infatuation for her husband.
Wife is a pillar and not a servant
A wife is a pillar to a husband. It doesn’t matter whether they are career women or a housewife. Each of them contribute to the family in their own.
As you’ve said, wife should be treated as a ‘consultant’, not a personal valet or slave.
Respecting our spouses’ opinions and views,
Eventhough you are the head of the family, you need to give your wife space to voice her opinions, and you should not just direct and give orders.
What’s wrong in asking the wife for her opinions, Especially when u married with an intelligent wife. In fact you should listen to them if they have the expertise. if the wife is wise and have some specific skills. If the wifeis a financial planner, for example, seek her opinions in budget management or in family financial planning.
Shura for good leader
For a successful marriage, there is a need for understanding from both parties. Yes, the husband is the leader, but a good leader must practice shura or consultation. Keep in consultation, talk to each other. A good leader must be wise in making decisions, and will seek feedback from his wife before making any decision.
Kedai Kopi Friends
There’s also a group of husbands who only listen to what their friends say. I term these people “coffeeshop friends” or “kawan kedai kopi”. Everything that their friends say is right, even though sometimes his wife has mentioned the same thing before his friends did. Sometimes these friends whom they consult are just the same, if not worse; their own family is disorganised and a mess.
In this regard, I’d like to share a teaching of our beloved messenger, Rasulullah s.a.w. In some matters, Rasulullah would seek his wife’s opinion.
Remember the events after the Prophet’s receive revelation? Who was it that calmed him down? Who was it that suggested that the Prophet meet a monk named Waraqa bin Nawfal, if not Khadijah r.a.?
Ummu Salamah r.a.
Also in the events after the deal of Al-Hudaibiyyah, in a narration reported in in Sahih Bukhari, the Prophet ordered his companions to rise carry out the sacrifice and shave their heads, and he repeated it thrice, but no one did so. When he complained to his wife, Umm Salamah, she said:
“O Messenger of Allah, do you want to do that? Go out and do not say a word to them, until ye sacrifice a camel and call your barber to cut your hair. “Then the Prophet did so. Then the companions rushed to do the same, as the Prophet wished!
If he could discuss with his wife, and would at times listen to his wife’s opinions, why not us? Are we not very lucky to be blessed with a smart wife, one whom we can discuss with and exchange views with?