Before getting married, marriage was all we thought about. We thought about it while attending conventions, walking to class, in class, leaving class, and surfing the Internet. “Who will complete half my deen?” It was an all-consuming thought that would sneak into our very core, putting our intentions into question. We even used to say, “Once I’m married, it will be so much easier to memorize Qur’an.” “Once I’m married, I can more easily work for the sake of Allah.” “Once I’m married, I can begin raising a righteous family.” And then, it happens. You meet the perfect person who has the same goals and you’ve even compiled a list of what you want to achieve together.
In the beginning, things seem clear enough. The goal is getting each other into Jannah. Somewhere along the journey, however, the goal becomes muddled with lesser goals. “How can we push your career forward?” “How many kids should we have?” “Where do we send our daughter to school? Should we home school?” “Is it wise to buy a house?” “Where should we settle; close to family or further away if an opportunity presents itself?” On top of all these major life decisions, our days are filled with dirty diapers, crying, consoling, groceries, bills, work, cleaning, and dinner making that by the end of it, we often ask ourselves where the day has gone. Days quickly turn into weeks, which blur into months and years that sometimes it takes such a gut-wrenching experience of losing a friend and sister in Islam to help us realize why we’re doing everything in the first place.
We are all going to die. Our parents, spouses, and children will also die. Dying it seems is no longer part of our everyday conversation. It’s uncomfortable to talk about, imagining what will happen to those closest to us. It’s easier to talk about and strive towards those lesser goals. However, if we don’t have the end in sight, will those goals be enough to carry us through? How can we, as a couple, strive towards Jannah together?
- Make a commitment to pray together, even if it can only be one or two prayers.
- Hold each other accountable. This is difficult to do for fear of hurting the other’s feelings, but there are ways one can act as a reminder without hurting the other. Remember that you are a mirror to one another and that often the best reminder is leading by example.
- Do something for the sake of Allah together. What is a special project outside of the many different committees each one is on that can be done between the two of you? What strengths do you each bring to the table that can increase your faith and good works?
- Compete with one another in doing good deeds. If Marwa does the dishes, then I’ll do the laundry and vacuum. This healthy competition can help raise our degrees in Jannah, insha’Allah. Be the first to forgive if you both get into an argument.
- Get rid of the TV. It’s almost obsolete anyway.
- Set times to unplug and stick to it. Use this time to have an evening Qur’an halaqa.
- Constantly renew intentions out loud in front of one another.
- Pray istikhaara together for all decisions you take as a family.
- Remind one another to keep in touch with family and friends and help them whenever possible.
- Make constant dua’a for one another.
By Marwa Aly and Ahmed Eid
This post was inspired by a couple that we both truly admire, Rehab El-Buri and Zaied Abbassi. May Allah have mercy on Rehab’s soul and may He grant them both the highest level of Jannah.