While out dining with my sister today, I saw something which really saddened me. I saw a young, Muslim couple eating in sheer silence. Ok, so we know it’s the Sunnah not to speak when you are eating, but that’s not my point.
Compared to everyone else who was talking, laughing and really enjoying themselves, to me it seemed as if they were just passing the time for the sake of it. Perhaps I’m wrong, but it got me thinking about marriages where the fire disappears.
You know the scenario – where the only thing keeping a marriage together is children, finances or the family situation. There’s nothing to talk about and as for cozying up when the winter sets in, well, the thought of that is about as cold as ice!
What happens when the person you loved with a passion no longer holds that place in your heart? When you’re actually GLAD they are out, or grateful that others are around so you don’t have to bear each other’s company?
There comes a time in many marriages when your soul mate becomes more like a stale mate – almost as if you have outgrown each other. Like two strangers living in a marriage, with little or no interaction in between.
The truth is, the fire in a marriage only dies when you allow it to die. Life gets in the way, bills need to be paid and that love that raged with a purpose fizzles without so much as a spark. In reality, not having the processes in place to nurture your relationship will mean you very quickly tire of each other’s company. It’s dangerous ground by any stretch of the imagination.
So why exactly does that happen and what can be done about it? The truth is that 90% of cases like this are preventable. Once the honeymoon period is over, reality kicks in and people have to earn a living. Stress (especially over family or financial issues) is a MAJOR cause of problems in a marriage, and it’s hard to relax when you are worried about the bills or what’s happening to so and so. Spending long periods of time away from each other’s company is another cause of stress in a marriage and yet another reason why marriages lose their sizzle. You feel as if you never see each other and when you do, your time is spent worrying about other things.
Taking each other for granted can cause people to drift apart – not saying the little things like ‘thank you’ and ‘please’ and showing gratitude for small things causes upset. Women who are homemakers in particular feel quite ignored and underrated, especially when it’s expected for them to cook, clean and look after the home. The fact that it’s taken care of without being acknowledged can really cause resentment.
So here are some tips to avoid stale mate setting in:
1. Pay attention to each other’s needs – show your appreciation by helping your spouse in any way you can. Give your spouse at home a break. Housework is a tough and thankless task, as is raising children. Help do the dishes, bath the children or give your spouse the day off so they feel valued and appreciated! Plus, stepping into each other’s shoes helps you understand the other half better.
2. Make a point to eat together at least once a day – Some of the Companions of the Messenger of Allah (SAWS) said: “We eat but are not satisfied.” He (SAWS) said: “Perhaps you eat separately.” The Companions replied in the affirmative. He then said: “Eat together and mention the name of Allah over your food. It will be blessed for you.” [Abu Dawud]
This hadith confirms that Allah SWT will put blessing in your food and satisfy you – so eat together to not only increase your love, but to touch base and earn a blessing at the same time
3. Make time as a family – it doesn’t matter how busy you are, make a point of reconnecting with each other at LEAST once a week where you are doing nothing but enjoying each other’s company for the day. I have a friend of mine who has been married 10 years and her husband is as much in love with her now as he was when he first married her. Their secret? Once a week, they have a full day where they go out, dine out, take their daughter somewhere nice and spend time to connect as a family.
4. Have quality couple time – even best friends will drift apart if they don’t spend quality time together. With couples, give yourself time WITHOUT kids and family around to worry about. Give each other a massage or a facial (yes, I used to give my husband a facial and he would love it!) and dress up in the privacy of your bedroom.
5. Dress up and make the effort for one another – sisters, this is more important for you because Allah SWT has commanded us to do this and in it we will find a reward. Allah SWT loves beauty, so make yourself beautiful for your husband and do this often so you are pleasing to the eye. Dress well and make the effort to SMILE and be pleased to see him!
When the Prophet sallallahu alihi wasalam was asked which woman was best, he replied, “The one who pleases (her husband) when he looks at her, obeys him when he gives a command….” (Nasa’i)
6. Complement each other! – Brothers, this applies MORE to you than the sisters. Know that Allah SWT has made women soft and they DESIRE their man to pay them complements. So when your wife dresses up, make her smile by noticing she looks good and saying it!
7. Develop common interests – are you able to do something as a couple or family together at least once a week? I know a couple who Mash’Allah work out together at least 3 times a week in their own home gym, go cycling with the kids and do a lot of sporting activity together. The end result? They are one strong family unit!
8. Develop separate interests too – sometimes being in each other’s company too much can mean you are left without much to say to each other. Having a separate interest means you are channelling your energy into something that will make you happier from the inside and insha’Allah will benefit your marriage and keep things fresh.
9. Buy each other gifts – you don’t have to do this all the time, but small gifts like flowers, chocolates, those earrings your wife was looking at or those shoes your husband wanted – all make a person feel special and appreciated.
10. Hug each other regularly – hugging and showing affection is a natural and innate characteristic – much like parents who cuddle their children. Not only is it a sign of love, but it also makes you feel secure and protected. Plus, it keeps the bond between husband and wife strong.
I hope you can see from these suggestions that there really is no need for stalemate to set it. Think of your marriage like a bank account – the more you put in, the more your interest grows!
Until next time!
Written by the Girl In The Black Hijaab