I am not a counselor nor am I an expert. But Alhamdulillah, Allah has blessed me with a wonderful husband who is willing to learn with me and work together to make things even better. Inshallah, the following pieces of advice will help newlyweds or even a couple with many years under their belt.
If you were fortunate enough to go somewhere for a honeymoon, make sure a vacation like that doesn’t end with the honeymoon. Go away as often as you can. Yes, money and work can get in the way, but getting away from it all and focusing on what’s more important (the two of you) is one of the best things you can do during your lives together.
Even little getaways like a day trip or eating out makes a difference. My son’s daycare does Parents Night Out on the last Friday of every month. Want to know where we went on the last date night? McDonalds. Yup. We parked the car and walked inside hand in hand.
I loved that feeling! We never went to a fast food place for a date night, so that felt so different and refreshing! Ah, how simple things can mean so much.
Okay, now on to something that doesn’t cost a thing. Always say kind words to each other. “I love you” are three little words that can ring beautifully in the ears for so long when said so often during unexpected time. Try it when you’re both in the middle of preparing dinner, for instance, or while the husband is changing a light bulb. Throw out “[spouse’s name]”, wait for a “yes?”, then answer “I love you.” Just as important, thanking each other. Thank your spouse as you leave a restaurant, for making dinner, or for simply making you smile. The list is endless, and we shouldn’t need reasons to thank one another. We all love to feel appreciated.
Along the same lines, compliment your spouse. Tell each other “you look great/beautiful/hot”, etc. And if you have nothing good to say, don’t say it at all. I hated the saying “sticks and bones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” growing up. Hurtful words, even if they’re not said intentionally, can echo inside a person for a very long time. Say a sweet dua’ in front of each other. My mother always did it around us (such as “Allah Yehmeeki”- may Allah keep you from harm), so it’s something that comes naturally. I would say, “may Allah protect you and keep you with us for a very long time. May Allah bless our marriage, and keep us happy forever,” etc. Finally, since this doesn’t cost a thing, kiss each other goodnight every night even if the other person is already sleeping. And kiss each other goodbye even if the other person is just going out to check the mail. We don’t live forever so always depart on good terms and as hard as this is, don’t fall asleep upset at each other. Say sorry, even if you’re still hurting. Kiss and make up and say, literally say, ‘I hate being upset with each other. You know I love you.’ – something along those lines.
Limit outings with the friends. They’ve always said, family comes first. Make family your priority. Spend quality time with each other, and spend quality time with your parents and in-laws (be the first to pick up the phone if they live far away). I believe that he who respects his mother, respects his wife. After all, it is our responsibility as Muslims to stay close to our families and give them our utmost respect. When things aren’t going too great (or even when they are), communicate. Choose your words carefully when you’re unhappy. Kindness goes a long way, and no one likes to feel like they’re in fault.
Finally, and most importantly, make dua’ always. Remember to thank Allah at every chance you get when things feel like they can’t get any better. Also remember that patience is a virtue. For Allah is with those who are patient. Ask Allah for guidance and help whenever you are in need. Sitting and letting your heart out to Allah is easier and more beneficial than doing the same to any human being in your life. Allah wants for us to ask from Him, and He tells us, “Remember me during the easy times, and I will remember you during your hard time.”
May Allah bless your marriage with all that is good. Ameen.
Hoda is a blessed wife, mother to two boys and a stillborn girl, and a third grade public school teacher.