The June edition of Ottawa's Muslim Link (muslimlink.ca) debuts its advice column for newly- weds on how to maintain marital bliss and success.
By Yahya Abdul Rahman
The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is reported to have said that marriage is half of the deen (religion of Islam). For this reason, the subject matter of this column is of crucial importance.
When I first came up with the idea of writing a regular advice column for newly-wed Muslims, I have to admit I felt a little foolish and under-qualified. But then I witnessed so many misunderstandings among those who are about to be married or are still seeking a spouse, I felt such a column was sorely needed in our community. When I mentioned the idea in our staff meeting there was an enthusiastic response, so you are now reading my first installment.
As a personal introduction, please allow me to tell you a little bit about myself. I am 44 years old. I embraced Islam on February 21st, 1993 and about a year and a half later I met my wife and we were married on September 21st, 1994. We are truly best friends.
My educational background is in Christian theology, political science, sociology and English literature. I also enjoy reading works on human psychology. I have worked as a journalist for a number of years.
In the months ahead, I intend to share with you some of the things I have learned with regards to achieving marital happiness and how to avoid those things which sabotage it. I don't pretend to possess all of the answers, but I will offer you what I know in hopes that you, the newly-wed, will benefit.
The one thing I have learned is that marriage is a partnership and, as with any successful partnership, requires real effort if it is to be successfully maintained, and not just paying it lip service.
If one wants to achieve anything of any significant importance, real honest effort must be made. This effort requires an act of one's will to not give into anything that will sabotage one's stated goal. Yes, there may be occasional set-backs, but the final goal is always kept in focus and one's behaviour is modified so as to bring it into line with that goal.
Before taking a certain course of action one will be required to stop and ask themselves whether that action will contribute to arriving closer to their goal. If it does not, then the impulse to carry out that action - no matter how strong it may be- must be resisted through an act of one's will-power. The one doing this on a consistent basis - while admittedly not always having an easy time of it and experiencing numerous setbacks - will eventually attain success. This principle can be applied to many areas of life, including the goal of marital bliss.
Suppose a person were overweight and expressed a desire to slim down. If that person - despite his or her verbal expressions of a desire to lose weight - continued to over-indulge in fatty foods and failed to exercise, would that person be considered really sincere? A statement of desire is made, but then the person's actions blatantly contradict everything he or she has said. The average person would conclude that appropriate self-restraint has not been exercised by this individual and thus the stated goal of slimming down has not been achieved but sabotaged by the person's actions.
Consider another example. Imagine someone running into a room filled with a group of people and crying out "there is a fire, everyone must evacuate the building immediately!" What would you think of those people who responded to this warning of danger by saying "yes, we most fervently believe you when you say there is a fire," but then proceeded to remain in their seats without moving and instead continued on with what they were doing? Again, the average person would say these people do not really believe the warning because their actions did not fit with what they have said. No matter what words came out of their mouths, it was their actions which revealed their true belief. Nothing could convince an outside observer that these people truly believed the warning issued to them even when they said they believed.
And this is what many people do with their married life also. They say they want to experience marital bliss, but then proceed to do things which sabotage that stated desire. They fail to practice the proper self-restraint and discipline and, not surprisingly, never achieve what they utter with their lips. Their words say one thing, but their actions say something altogether contrary. Such individuals then proceed to blame others for their failures when it fact they are to blame and no one else.
The general tone of this column is that you, and you alone, are responsible for achieving marital success. It is both desirable and possible when you have the right tools in your hand.
As always, I appreciate your feedback and questions. Your anonymity will be maintained at all times. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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