When thinking about one of the major factors that could influence one’s productivity, we inevitably think about our relationships. After all, many studies will indicate that our relationships can be very instrumental in our level of happiness and subsequently, our level of productivity.
One of the most important relationships we have in our lives is the relationship with our spouse – they are the person that we spend the majority of our time with, live with under one roof, and share just about everything with. Unfortunately, it seems like we are facing a crisis as the rate of divorce has increased in our Muslim community; it is particularly alarming that divorce increases in the first year or two of marriage, indicating the couple may have lacked in-depth knowledge of what marriage entails, and of what to look for when choosing their spouse. The consequences of a poor marriage partner and marital dissatisfaction are indeed far-reaching and have been correlated to higher rates of depression, lowered physical health and poor work production, may Allah protect all of us from these negative consequences.
Many people nowadays will spend months and sometimes even years preparing for a wedding that will last a few hours, and spend tens of thousands of dollars as well.But how many people actually prepare for the marriage itself? Which is intended to last a lifetime. A successful marriage consists of choosing a spouse through the appropriate criteria and by also being an excellent companion yourself.
Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) describes marriage to us so beautifully in the Quran. He says what means:
“And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves that you may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts). Verily in that are Signs for those who reflect” (Quran Chapter 30 Verse 21).
So how can we find this love and mercy? How is it that we can live in tranquility?
Marriage is a two-way street; it’s not that each person puts in 50-50, but rather both husband and wife need to put in 100% of their effort to make it work. You will be half of that marriage and so you should learn about how you can be the best spouse for a successful marriage bi’ithnillah. If you focus on learning and fulfilling your own duties, then your rights will be fulfilled too.
Ultimately, this is not just a matter of ensuring a happy marriage – this is a matter of the Ummah. A happy couple leads to a happy and strong family and therefore emphasis is placed on a successful and strong Ummah which is better for our world insha Allah. The family is indeed the core of our community and so the decision of choosing the most suitable spouse and the efforts made to ensure a lasting marriage is highly important.
Now that we’ve discussed the importance of marriage as enhancing one’s productivity, here are a few steps in the formula towards a productive married life bithn’illah:
1. Educate Yourself
- Learn about the etiquette of seeking a spouse, what is permissible to do and what is impermissible
- Research what type of meaningful questions to ask
- Learn about your responsibilities and rights over each other (as husband/wife)
- Find out the Sunnah acts of marriage and romance (there are beautiful examples from the Seerah)
- Pay the Islamic Bookshop a visit for reading material on this chapter in life
2. Decide On Desired Characteristics
- Make a list of characteristics you want your spouse to have; keep in mind that you are not perfect and cannot expect your spouse to be for we are reminded in many ahadith that what we perceive as a disliked quality may be good for us
- Recognize traits or values that he/she must have and also areas that you are willing to compromise, no one is perfect!
- Review this list and make sure it is realistic and reflect on your own self, what qualities do you have to offer?
3. Consider a Potential Spouse
- Consult trusted friends, family, the local mosque for help
- Hold meetings in the presence of a wali
- Ensure you or your family speak to this prospective partner’s close friends and family to gain a complete and truthful insight into the person
- Reflect upon his/her character traits, values, expectations, goals/dreams, and your compatibility in this respect
4. Pray Istikhara (The Guidance Prayer)
- Pray Istikhara for counsel, guidance and make du’a
- Consult family and friends and take good advice
- Seek your parents approval and blessing, a really important factor to ensure they agree with your decision
Finally, having come this long way (!) – Place your trust in Allah when you have made your decision, and inshaAllah it will be the start of a productive chapter of your lives.