A happy household, filled with a happy loving couple and their smiling children is not an easy feat. Indeed, like most things that are good and wonderful gift by Allah SWT, even a happy contented life is one that you must work for.
So how does one make sure that your spouse is satisfied and pleased with their lot? How does one be certain to have their children continue to be carefree and yet grow up with good Islamic values instilled in them? Let us explore several tips that are the ticket to happiness on earth, Insha Allah.
First of all, the married couple themselves must love one another for Allah’s sake. This means that they should strive to love each other sincerely and purely because their significant other reminds them of Allah SWT, hence, bringing them closer to The Almighty.
When your spouse loves you enough to stop you from gossiping behind your friends’ back, or when they remind you to perform the solat, or when they help you to forgive someone, this all helps bring you closer to Allah. In other words, regardless of whatever action that your spouse inspires you to do that will insight Allah’s pleasure then this is indeed the definition of loving each other for Allah’s sake.
Why is this quality so important to possess when one is married you may ask?
The reason this is so vital in a marriage is because when a couple loves one another for Allah’s sake and not for petty reasons such as looks or money then they will be content living the rest of their lives together. It’s hard work living with another human being for the rest of your lives; hence, it is important to do it for Allah SWT.
The next key thing that helps with building a stable and strong marriage is that the couple must be able to communicate with each other like best friends during the good times and the bad times.
In fact, Aisha raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) narrated that: Allah’s Messenger ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said to her: “I know when you are pleased with me or angry with me.”
I said, “Whence do you know that?” He said, “When you are pleased with me, you say, ‘No, by the Lord of Muhammad,’ but when you are angry with me, then you say, ‘No, by the Lord of Abraham.’ ” Thereupon I said, “Yes (you are right), but by Allah, O Allah’s Messenger, I leave nothing but your name.” [Bukhari] This is proof that the parents in a family must be able to work things out on their own without resorting to plate-smashing arguments that most couples these days are so fond of.
It is also important to read between the lines and be able to detect when your spouse is unsatisfied with you for whatever reason as well be able to confront them about it so that the issue may be solved. Communication is always the key to any successful relationship and a marriage is no different.
Another tip to maintaining a good relationship with your wife or husband knows that marriage is a lot of hard work. I’m talking over time, long hours, no school breaks off, and you don’t win awards for the Best Husband of the Year.
This means that the married couple must always make time for one another. Yes, we all have 9 to 5 jobs, demanding bosses and work fatigue but at most you can only rest for half an hour. You must always make time for your family no matter what. You must never become a cog in the wheel whose job is simply to put food on the table and raise your kids because once your kids are grown and that wheel (ie. Your job) doesn’t need a cog anymore then what is life going to be like now that you’re living with a stranger?
You mustn’t ever let your relationship with your significant other get to that. Remember, people who care say ‘I’ll be there’, people who don’t say ‘Sorry, I can’t make it!’.
A key tip to making sure that your marriage is one to last through the ages is to always be grateful for one another. One of the basic needs of human beings is the need to feel appreciated and relevant.
Most marriages don’t work out though because human beings are shackled to the bad habit of taking things for granted including your significant other. In the beginning of a marriage, a wife is excited and looks forward to preparing her husband to go out to work that day. However, as time goes on, she begins to see this as mundane and him going out to work becomes “just his job anyway”. The same for the husband’s perspective in regards to his wife.
When you have just gotten married, whatever dish the wife makes is a delightful treat but then as the years roll on by, her dishes begin to taste more and more bland to the point that it’s become “merely the old woman’s cooking”. As Narrated Abu Hurayrah, The Prophet SAW said: “He who does not thank the people is not thankful to Allah.” Always be grateful to your significant other as much as possible.
Be grateful for even the most “littlest” of things that people tend to take for granted such as coming home to them, making them a meal, putting a roof over your head, clothes on your back and so on.
Keeping promises is also very important in building a strong relationship and this one doesn’t only stop at your spouse but also extends to your children as well. Staying true to your words is a sign of faith and even Allah SWT has said in the Quran “And fulfil the covenants; indeed all covenants are accountable” and “And those who keep their trusts and covenants.”
Thus, this shows that indeed keeping your word and not going back on it is very important. The couple should always try their level best to fulfil their promises.
The same goes for when you promise your children to do certain things for them. Even the Prophet Muhammad has narrated, “Like your children and treat them with affection and kindness. When you make a promise to them, you must keep it, because children consider you their sustainer.”
So, if you’ve promised to be there for little Ayesha’s 8th birthday then be there for her. If you’ve promised to come home early for your wedding anniversary then be there for your wife. The trust between family members is then built on solid grounds and the love and respect come and hand in hand when you manage to fulfil those promises. No one likes an empty tin can spouting false words that are never fulfilled.
Let us now move on to child rearing in the Islamic way. Yes, even raising your children has an Islamic way about it. The trend I see happening with most parents is that they have truly spoiled their children rotten and spared the rod. Most parents will give in to any whim their children have such as getting expensive toys or delicious snacks.
There are many children who fully know this and they begin to see their parents are this provider of all the worldly goods rather than a parent, friend and confidant who is there to nurture you in the right way. Spoiling a child too much can lead to so many problems in the future such as the fact that they will grow up thinking that the rest of society should also strive to please their every desire much like their parents did.
This will only make them face the harsh truth which is that not only no one will comply with such ridiculous demands but also the fact that people will humiliate the spoiled person for having said demands in the first place. This will then result in the spoiled children feeling humiliated and bitter about their situation.
Aside from that, spoiled children are also prone to throwing tantrums, acting out aggressively and being rebellious towards their parents. Hence, knowing when to discipline your child from the moment they can walk and talk is of the utmost important for new parents.
To further explore the issue of child rearing, there are some extreme cases whereby a parent or the parents are far too strict that they inhibit the child’s creativity, passion and or withhold love and care towards the child. These parents need to understand that while there is need to discipline your child, there is also a need to love and cherish your child so that it grows up with a healthy mind and psyche.
Don’t neglect your child of kisses and hugs which are much needed and craved for human physical contacts. Some parents think showing children such affection is beneath them but this is so untrue. In fact, one of the Imaam has even said this; “Kiss your children a great deal because for every kiss, you will be granted a Divine heavenly rank which would otherwise take 500 years to achieve!”
Furthermore, parents should also show affection and love by actually playing with their children when they can. When you play with your children it can also be a way to train and nurture your child while at the same time increasing the bond between parents and offspring.
The next tip to ensuring a happy household and family life is to respect your children as they are also human beings despite their very young age. We must show them the respect they deserve as we want them to in turn respect us as parents. We should never ridicule or humiliate their actions no matter how silly we may think it is because they are still children.
Even the Prophet Muhammad prolonged his sujud because his grandson had clambered onto his shoulders. As parents, we must strive to fulfil our children’s natural desires and urges before they resort to achieving them by means of sinning. Whatever curiosity they may have we must be able to explain to them in an Islamic way so that they are satisfied and will not try to do things in a negative way that could result in sin.
Aside from that, parents should also try to foster the Islamic faith in their children from a very young age as only then will they grow to love the teachings of Islam as well as our creator Allah SWT. In other words, parents need to show their children the teachings in Islam such as performing the solat regularly, covering the aurat, fasting during Ramadhan, and paying the zakat.
All of this should be accompanied by explanations on the significance of each action. Tell your children why we must perform the solat, why we must fast from dawn to dusk during Ramadhan, why we must pay alms to the poor and so on. There is always a reason why we must do these things. Also, explain to your children that they must also adhere to these rules especially once they reach puberty as these are Allah’s rules not your own. Imam As-Sadiq even said, “Teach traditions to your children as soon as possible, before opposers (to your beliefs) reach them before you do.”
Last but not least, ensure that your children begin to perform the solat beginning at 7 years old and fast at 9 years old. As narrated by Imām as-Sadiq: “When our children reach 5 years of age, we tell them to pray solat, so you tell your children to do this when they reach 7 years of age; and we tell our children at the age of 7 years to fast however much they have the ability to, half a day, or more, or less, and to break their fast when they become hungry or thirsty so that they get used to fasting and develop the ability for it, so you tell your children at the age of 9 years to fast however much they have the ability for, and when thirst overcomes them, to break their fast.”
So depending on their capabilities, we as parents must begin to instil these practices within our children. This is the foundation that will help build your children’s iman and they will carry on this practice for all their lives.
By Nur Jalilah Binti Abdul Aziz