Photo by Swami Stream
Note: This is a guest post from my wife
After my husband wrote the “10 Habits of Highly Effective Muslim Husbands,” he thought it would be interesting to add the other perspective.
So, I made a list of 10 habits that my husband has commented on over time that has produced positive changes in our relationship. He is right, the first year of marriage is really about adapting and compromise. We are shown our terrible habits (how did our parents put up with us?) and overtime you do fall into a groove.
But, don’t get too comfortable in your routine. Adding some spice and maintaining some good habits will make a very successful and enjoyable marriage. Some of these habits are similar to the “Muslim Husband Habits” but, some are just for us, girls.
Stay Healthy and Get Outside!
This is by far the most important habit a Muslim Wife can do to make a successful marriage. Before marriage, my husband and I were both active people. He was an extreme biker and I played basketball for almost 10 years before we met. After marriage and the onset of chores, work and family obligations, time for staying healthy was becoming low on our priority scale.
Over time, we both forgot the initial attraction we had for one another – an active, healthy lifestyle. An active lifestyle brings many benefits from clearing the mind from trivial matters to enjoying each other’s company in a different way.
As we have brought the active lifestyle back into our lives, we both realize we learn a lot about each other through activity. For example, on our hikes we see the other person’s stamina and determination, in playing basketball, we see our competitiveness side, and in our daily walks we see each other’s stillness and appreciation for nature.
It is by far a crucial aspect of our relationship and one that really keeps us connected, alhamdulillah.
Listen and Be Supportive
One of the best things a Muslim Wife can do for her husband is be supportive. We all know the famous story of our Beloved Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him; after receiving revelation, he came straight home to his nurturing wife, Sayyidina Khadija, may Allah be pleased with her. She wasn’t on the phone with her girlfriend nor was she too busy on the computer, she was ready to comfort and listen.
For me, this starts as soon as your husband comes home through the door. Greeting your husband with a salaam, a smile and a hug is sure to set a peaceful atmosphere right away.
A Muslim Wife is attentive to her husband’s needs. If he is holding something in his hands, like groceries, take them from him, hand him a glass of juice or have some fruit or snacks readily available. These small gestures show simple kindness and goes a long way.
If your husband had a hard day at work, the initial greeting will soothe him. Thereafter, if he needs to vent about his boss or co-worker, listen to him. A good listener asks questions, makes good eye contact and reassures with nods and affection. Initially, take his side! If things are said that you don’t agree with, wait until a better time to give advice. The first initial response he is looking for is support and kindness from his wife, even if he is wrong. Thereafter, of course you can give advice and guide.
Another tip – remember names of people your husband says. A week later after the work problem is over, simply ask your husband, “Is everything okay with Michael, now?” He will be happy that you really listened by remembering names.
So, lend a good ear and your hearts will come closer together.
Be Creative – Change is Good!
We like to change things around in our apartment every season. This is as simple as changing the furniture into a different position, changing hanging pictures or de-cluttering old knick knacks.
Over time, my husband and I have become minimalists. We like the clean counter-tops, things put away in drawers and cupboards, and we have a new distaste for random objects. So, we minimize every season by giving away clothes, dishes and books.
We also change our “usual” eating spots at the table and seating in the living room. We change our chores around too. I usually cook and he washes the dishes, but lately we have been cooking together and then sharing the dishes too (I soap while he rinses).
We have about four or five home-cooked meals that we both enjoy and we basically just rotate them week to week. But, after a while we add a new dish to the mix. I’ll learn something new from mom or a girl friend and surprise him with it one night.
Small changes creates new growth and stimulation to your relationship without falling into boredom and we always feel like “we’ve just moved in” every time we change things around.
Engage in Good Conversation – Learn New Things
Engaging in meaningful dialogue that does not consist of talking about family, friends or every day matters can boost your marriage.
Very easily we can fall into talking about what’s happening in our lives right now, which is fine and needed. However, your relationship truly grows and tests new boundaries when you learn new things and share them with your spouse.
My husband shares new things he is always learning from blogging, marketing and computer stuff. To be honest, this is foreign to me. But, it is something that he is motivated by and by listening to him I have learned a lot of interesting things about it (and he has convinced me to write this article for example, lol.)
It’s nice to talk about the books or articles I’ve read and thought about with my husband so I can gain his perspective, learn about him and enrich my own. At times, when we disagree on a topic, our persuasive strategies kick in, allowing for a good debate.
When other temporary things fall away that make you happy – a good conversation can last a life-time.
Be Alive and Excited about Life
Do you remember the first time you met your husband? Probably one of those awkward meetings or something. But, I remember both of us being alive and happy. We tried to look our best and be interesting too. I don’t remember either of us letting all of our problems out!
I’ve met a few sisters in the last little while that exude a certain kind of sadness or worry or fear that they don’t even realize that they exude. They actually walk around with a frown!
They might have a problem or concern that of course makes them look and feel a certain way, but over time if the sad state continues it can really dampen the best of relationships.
Yes, the honeymoon phase (they say it’s the two year mark) can reach it’s end – but it doesn’t have to! If you find yourself bored and sad, then it is really up to you to make a change in the relationship. If you are seriously upset about something, then seek help!
There are so many things to be excited and alive about in the world! You might need a change in your circle of friends (who really do have a big influence on how you see and do things) or you might need a new hobby or need to get outside and get fresh air on a regular basis.
Being energetic and happy and willing to try new things with your husband is an important aspect of marriage. Being grumpy and unmotivated can lead to a whole bunch of problems for both of you. Find a new friend or a new hobby or a new book and get excited about life. Your husband will notice the energy and cheerfulness in you and you could change the atmosphere of your home and relationship just by changing your mood.
Have One Good Girl Friend (Or Mom) – Share your Problems with Grace
There are some things that you just need to tell a girl friend because she will just understand and some things you can only tell your husband and it is important to know the difference.
It is very easy to get so comfortable with our husbands that we share some things with them that they really could be spared. There is a certain kind of respect and dignity a husband needs to have. And, sisters, there is a certain level of respect and dignity he also has for you, too.
I have seen too many times, sisters complaining about other sisters, their clothes or their characters to their husbands. Please don’t do this! Sharing secrets or worse the flaws of other sisters to your husbands is a big no-no, especially if the sister confided in you. Even though you and your husband are a pair, your sister friend should not feel that everything she tells you is going straight to the husband!
This is not only gossip and forbidden in Islam, but boring and undignified to your husband. Instead, having a good girl friend or even your mom or someone else you trust provides an excellent outlet to let out frustrations that can dampen a marriage or a husband’s mood or respect for you.
In the same vein, sisters should not tell other sisters their husband’s secrets! It’s okay to seek advice but not in a way that can make your husband lose respect in front of your friend.
Your husband can be your best friend and will be with you to the very end, inshaAllah. It is not worth it to lose your husband and what matters to him over a friend who no matter how close they are, can end up not being there for you in the end.
Dress Up and Smell Good – Take Care of Your Outward and Inward Appearance
Finally, after years of searching for the “one” you are married! You look into the face of your spouse and you think, “so it was you” that I was meant to marry. And, the marriage chapter of your life begins.
Marriage is “half our deen” and now that there is this one man in your life, this is your chance to make it everything you’ve ever dreamed of. And one fun thing a Muslim Wife can do is simply dress up and smell good.
I always think it’s interesting that sisters (and brothers) can be “frumpy” in their homes but as soon as they step out of the door they dress up and go all out. Very often we dress up for the world (strangers who we don’t know or at our workplace) and sometimes we just let ourselves go in front of family and our spouses.
I think it’s great that couples get so comfortable with each other that they can stay in their pajamas all day. But, sisters, simply dressing up and smelling good can really uplift your husband’s appreciation of you and may make him dress up and smell good for you too.
If you are a stay-at-home sister/mom, yeah you can stay in your pajamas all day – but if you know your husband is coming home at 5:30, then change into something nice and put on some perfume at 5:00!
Taking care of personal hygiene and working on yourself inwardly is sure to add to your overall character. Reading Quran, catching up on a Islamic lecture, praying and making heartfelt dua’a all add to the beauty of you.
So, strike a balance between the outward and the inward appearance of you and watch the positive benefits come into your marriage and family.
Be Affectionate – Don’t Hold Back Your Love
I think culturally, many sisters can bring a lot of baggage to their marriages and it is not our fault because it’s the way we’ve all grown up.
Some of us have been too immersed in Western culture and seen all the movies that we have expectations of our husbands to act a certain way or we are the complete opposite where we have been so sheltered that marriage and the thought of living with a boy (when you are married) is strange and almost – wrong!
And, it is strange. All of our lives, sisters grow up in the homes of parents only to leave them (quite suddenly) to live with a complete stranger (most people only know each other for a short while before they get married.)
But, the truth of the matter is that marriage is a noble sunnah that is one of the most beautiful aspects of our deen. And, one of the best things a Muslim Wife can do is to be affectionate, even if it has to be learned over time. This is your husband now. The one man that you married and will be married to for ever, inshaAllah. Be affectionate with your husband, whatever that means to you, and the affection will lead to a closer and more connected relationship.
Human touch, whether it be holding hands or a hug, leads to Mercy (Rahma) in relationships whether it is with your husband, sister friends or even your parents. So, be affectionate often and reap the benefits.
Go the Extra Mile – He’ll Notice (Hopefully)
Going the extra mile means doing something for your husband that goes above and beyond what he expects of you.
If he asked you to make a meal for his family, it means you go all out and make the dishes with care and effort.
If you are going out for a special day, it means you take time to find the right outfit and perhaps wear it a bit differently than he is used to. It could mean sending him a random text message to say you are thinking of him or a random e-card.
It could mean spending extra time listening to him talk to you about his concerns without you changing the subject. It could mean baking home-made cookies, inviting him on a special day you have planned, making him a gift or cleaning his desk space.
It could mean wearing earrings if you normally don’t at home, or giving him free time to work-out or for his hobby, or even helping him get ready in the morning with a packed lunch with a nice note inside.
The ideas are endless and with a bit of extra time and effort, your husband will appreciate the little details you’ve paid attention to, inshaAllah.
Say “Thank You” – Be Grateful for Small and Big Things
One of the hadiths that scare me to death is the one that says, “The majority of hell is made up of women who were ungrateful to their husbands.” Yikes!
So, say thank you every night to your husband before you go to sleep for anything and everything that he has done for you. Don’t overlook things you have got used to like him buying groceries, helping out with dishes, listening to your problems or simply going to work everyday.
Remember the big things and the small things and soon all small things will turn into big things for you, inshaAllah.
Thank him sincerely: “Thank you for helping with the dishes because it really cuts the time out I have to spend in the kitchen.” Rather than simply saying thank you, explain yourself to him and tell him why it’s important to you and that you noticed.
He will feel happy that he could help and may make him feel like doing it even more for you! Most importantly, give thanks to Allah, most Generous, and He will increase your marriage even more, inshaAllah.
This list is a reminder first to myself before I send them to you. All of these are from experience of being married for almost three years now. You may agree or disagree, but these are just some things that have helped the both of us over time.
And, we are always learning and growing and making mistakes, alhamdulillah, it’s all part of the journey. Feel free to share more insight or your own tips with us in the comments below.
InshaAllah, may Allah pour blessing upon blessing into all our marriages! Ameen!
Posted in Lifestyle on July 14, 2009