My husband, Ahmed, and I have known each other our entire lives. Our parents were always such good friends and our interest for one another sprung from there. We were both born in Marietta, Georgia by the same nurses (and at home…no really), and we’re about 1 year apart. His family then settled in Missouri and my family in California. We got married on July 6, 2012 and had our wedding reception on July 8, 2012 here in California.
Which means we have been married for a whopping 4 years. Meaning: we’re still very new to this wonderful journey of marriage. However, we have learned some of the basics of marriage that I’ll share with you. In this day and age, it is important to establish a true friendship with your spouse. Someone you can laugh with and someone you can share all your pain with. Someone you know will never judge you and will always cheer you on. Someone who knows your strengths and weaknesses, and knows what buttons to never push.
No one can really prepare you for marriage. They may give you great advice, but the fact of the matter is everyone is different, and therefore, every marriage is different as well. So going off of that fact, I’m sharing with you some of things I’ve learned from my own marriage. So here are 4 significant things I’ve learned:
- We are all different. This is really important because when you first get married you’ll start to notice a whole lot of differences. Not bad differences, but just natural human differences. Things such as cleaning habits, eating habits, sleeping habits, etc. We all need to be mindful and respectful of our different habits. They do play a significant role in your marriage. For example, I love to stay up late and have a not-so-normal obsession with coffee ($$). Ahmed on the other hand, is an early bird and his cleaning skills are 100 times better than mine (amazing really).
- We have entirely different personalities. This probably could have gone with number 1, but I think it is important to discuss on it’s own. This can refer to whether you’re outgoing or shy, or how you cope when you’re upset or happy. There is a whole lot to consider when it comes to personalities. The key is to pick up on these cues from your spouse and the bigger key is to be respectful. You’ll start to realize when they need their space, or when they want to talk.
- Appreciation is key. This is huge. When you get married, you are choosing to spend the rest of your life with this person. You are moving out of your parents’ or guardians’ home and all that you’ve ever known, to create a new life with this person. You and your spouse are coming together with your different life experiences and you’re assuming new roles in a new household. It is important to be mindful and appreciate all the things your spouse does whether it’s solely for you or your marriage as a whole. One thing you should also remember is that no role is superior to the other. Don’t ever make your spouse feel that they don’t do enough. However, you should both be aware of balance in the relationship. It’s not all about taking, you have to give just as much.
- Communication is extremely important. As with all relationships, communication is probably the key to a successful one. It is important to discuss with each other your expectations, your dreams, your fears, etc. However, one important thing to add is to be mindful of your tone. Without the right tone, communicating is simply pointless. If you are expecting something from your spouse, you need to communicate it to them in a respectful, calm tone. It is also important to note that if you need to discuss something serious, you and your spouse need to find the right time to sit down and talk. Springing a serious discussion on your spouse will most likely cause an argument.
So there you have it, 4 things about marriage coming to you from a not-so-newlywed newlywed. Remember its all about being mindful and respectful. We are all created different and we have all experienced different things in life. If we’re all mindful of our natural differences, our relationships would be that much stronger, inshAllah. Remember to always be patient, and take the time to show your appreciation for your spouse. Marriage is truly a beautiful journey. May we all marry our best friends and live happily ever after in this life and the next, inshAllah.
P.S. Ahmed and I recently started a YouTube channel to share our journey as a Muslim-American couple. Check out our first video here! Videos coming to PMW’s YouTube channel soon inshAllah.
To honor Muhammad Ali, we searched for quotes that bore some relevance to weddings and marriage. Here they are:
- It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.
In marriage the little things also count, annoying habits repeated over time become the pebbles that cause sores in relationships.
2. At home I am a nice guy: but I don’t want the world to know. Humble people, I’ve found, don’t get very far.
Domestic work, including looking after children is a shared activity, go for it pop’s.
3. Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.
The more you give in a relationship the more you get.
4. Live everyday as if it were your last because someday you’re going to be right.
Conflict in marriage is inevitable, however, when it happens don’t go to bed angry, don’t leave home angry, start each day a fresh.
5. There are no pleasures in a fight, but some of my fights have been a pleasure to win.
Although the ego feeds of winning spousal fights, ask yourself would you rather be right or happy?
6. A man who has no imagination has no wings.
Marriages are lifted by dreams, but of course are built on foundations.
7. Don’t count the days; make the days count.
Where possible put your heart and soul into whatever you do.
8. Allah’s the Arabic term for God. Stand up for God, fight for God, work for God and do the right thing, and go the right way, things will end up in your corner.
Knowing and having presence of God (Taqwa) is paramount to great husband wife relationships.
9. My toughest fight was with my first wife.
Arguments with loved ones are the most challenging, but remember there is no perfect spouse.
10. Silence is golden when you can’t think of a good answer.
11. He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.
Even in marriage the status quo becomes boring, so every so often reinvent your marriage.
12. Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.
There will be times when you feel you have come to the end of your rope, when you do just give it some slack.
13. The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses—behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.
Some couple marriages look simplistically perfect, yet what is not visible is the constant hard work forgiveness and love they put into it.
14. Age is whatever you think it is. You are as old as you think you are.
Have a youthful heart with your spouse but act age appropriate outside.
15. Friendship … is not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.”
Behave with your spouse like a best friend or better.
16. It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.
Make your spouse feel beautiful, strong and wanted every day.
17. A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.
Making mistakes is human, repeating them without learning the lessons is folly.
So you’re getting married. Congratulations! You probably have given some thought to the wedding night. You may have heard stories from friends, but you still have tons of questions and you may or may not feel too comfortable asking for advice. We definitely understand your struggle. So we decided to put together some things you can expect and some things you should probably know before the wedding night. This may be a great thing to share with your fiancé as well, so you’ll be on the same page. We tried to include answers to those really tough questions as well. So go ahead, get reading!
Photo by Azlan Dupree Available under the Creative Commons Attribution License
1. Expect you and your partner to be self-conscious. It’s ok. It’s okay to have the jitters. You will both be a little (or a lot nervous). If you let go of expectations, all the better.
2. You’re not a pro nor do you have to pretend to be. Unless you’ve been married before, this will be both your first time so if it feels awkward, clumsy or just clueless, not to worry. Like most things in life, practice makes perfect.
3. There is no single way to have or experience sex. What’s right is what works for both of you.
4. Repeat: “You don’t know everything.” The wedding and honeymoon is not the end, it is the start of your life.
5. Forget the picture-perfect wedding night and opt for being the best version of yourself.
6. Don’t expect to have sex multiple times a day and daily. Keep it balanced.
7. Communicate expectations and concerns. Forget the fantasies. Sex isn’t like in the movies. Real sex, although enjoyable, is well…realistic. Talk, play, and joke around. The more relaxed you are, the better.
8. Share the mental scripts that are going on in your head. The more you trust and the more you share your vulnerabilities the more intimacy you will build. This does not mean you have to confess your whole past life.
9. Recount the day. Laugh at the funny things that happened.
Comfort & Relaxation:
10. Keep your next day free. Any time you have a time pressure you are not going to enjoy it.
11. Share your anticipation, your passion. Small gestures count a lot.
12. If you’re tired or just too anxious it is okay not to have sex on your wedding night.
13. Confidence will come through practice, attitude, and how you prepare including your dress. Make it as sexy or romantic as you are comfortable with.
14. Remember you have the freedom not to have sex on your wedding night. If you waited so long one more night won’t make a difference.
15. Inner fears run from “will it hurt?” to “will I perform?” to “will he or she find me attractive?” These are not easy to answer, but if you lower the bar of expectations and communicate, that will ease the way. Think about it, billions of people have been getting married and having sex over centuries. You, too, will figure it out.
16. Embrace the excitement. Give love, get love.
17. Take deep breaths. It is one of the keys to relaxation.
18. Both of you can undress in different spaces, what ever makes the two of you feel comfortable.
19. Handle the awkward moments with grace. You can make fun of yourself (but not your spouse).
20. If you can, spend the first night at home before you head to the honeymoon.
Accessories & Ambiance:
21. Give a surprise gift. Make the night memorable. It could be flowers, a poem you wrote, chocolates, the list goes on.
22. Use accessories like lingerie that work for both of you. Keep it sexy and classy.
23. Don’t use the Kama Sutra or other guides to set your expectations. Keep it simple and don’t try anything you’re not comfortable with yet.
24. Prepare the room. Use candles, flowers, incense and other decorations to create an ambiance that makes the two of you feel comfortable.
25. If you have a choice firmer beds are better for sex (and the back) than softer ones.
26. Change the lighting. Soft low lighting is better than a lit up room.
27. Avoid eating at least 3-4 hours before having sex. Also avoid foods with strong odors as well as hard-to-digest foods.
28. Urinate and relieve yourself before (and after). Don’t let wanting to go to the bathroom and emptying your bladder get in the way of sex.
29. Take a shower before and after sex.
30. Keep a towel nearby.
31. Start with kisses and sweet words before you get to the next level.
32. A man’s arousal happens quickly, but to be fair to your wife, you need to allow her time to warm up.
33. You may enjoy it. It is like learning to first ride a bike. You will have a few stumbles, but once you get the hang of it – you’ll enjoy it. Enjoy the foreplay as much as you can. The actual act may only take a few seconds.
The Main Act:
34. For the honeymoon and first night it is best if both bride and groom bring along, over-the-counter contraceptives like condoms (you can get variety packs eg from Durex). These do not have to be used, of course, but it’s better to have them, until you have time to discuss when you want to start a family.
35. Treat sex as a journey of exploration rather than just a mechanical action.
36. Natural and external lubrication is important. Be patient and give the bride some time before penetration.
37. Forget about orgasms. Just focus on enjoying each other.
38. For men, premature ejaculation, the first few times may happen. With patience and practice it shouldn’t happen as often.
39. For women, the hymen may or may not bleed during intercourse. Bleeding is not a sign of virginity. Gentleness, patience and a loving attitude are key to helping reduce pain.
40.It may or may not hurt. As with any muscles you have not used before, you may be sore afterwards. Be gentle, sex is not a sprint. It is a mutual exercise.
41. After sex, don’t go to sleep right away, but make the after-glow last. Feed your spouse’s ego by telling them how great it was and how they look.
Learn & Grow:
42. In the morning you can ask for feedback. What worked, what could be better, how they feel, how was it different than expectations, etc.
43. Make small adjustments along your journey of discovery.
44. Learn to explore each other’s bodies. There is always room to change it up.
We hope you found these tips about the wedding night helpful. If you have any additional comments feel free to email us, or leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts!
Oh and don’t forget to turn off your cell phone.
A happy couple isn’t necessarily a perfect couple but they have sound habits that provide anchors in their marriage. Pretty much all these habits apply to Muslims and people of other faiths. If there is an over-arching rule being Muslim it is knowing that Allah (God) is witness to our intents, desires and actions and if we are aware of this that will go a long way in building a happy relationship. Here are 10 habits of happy Muslim couples:
Photo by feriansyah availablable under a Creative Commons Attribution-license
- You accept each other, without trying to change each other. Like most things in life easier said than done. However, once you become aware of this it will be an “Aha” moment. Whether it be your spouse, children or other persons in your sphere, the only one you can really change is yourself.
- You listen with the purpose of understand before replying. Acknowledging your spouse is one of the greatest gifts you can give them in any interaction. Feeling they are heard goes a long way, as opposed to it becoming a debate where one side is trying to outwit the other.
- You make trust and forgiveness your default mode. This may sound like motherhood and apple pie, but again it is something if you consciously work on will pay dividends. Give your spouse the benefit of the doubt even when you feel it is their fault.
- You respect boundaries and each other’s humanness. There is some trial and error in figuring out boundaries, but once you know where they are tread carefully.
- You use the power of touch. We live in a touch deprived culture. One of the beauties of most Muslim cultures is the power of hugs and yes kisses too among family and friends. Every day with your spouse greet and end with a kiss. Give them a back or shoulder rub. Where sometimes words are ineffective the power of touch can come into play.
- You are generous with you compliments. Compliments cost nothing and are priceless. Be authentic, but hand them out freely. This is another way of validation and making your spouse feel valuable.
- You have healthy fighting rules. We’re not talking physical here. You’re going to get into arguments. Never use the “D” word, i.e. divorce or threaten to leave, or name call, as much as you may feel like. Don’t bring up past arguments, or use “you never”, “you always.”
- You give without the expectation of getting anything in return. Generosity means giving unconditionally. No If’s buts’ ands.
- You show love every day, not just on special occasions. Birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine’s day are opportunities to show love, demonstrating your love every day is priceless.
- You create memories. Whether it be through photos, scrapbooks, or just retelling of stories, creating a long-term storage of happy memories will give your marriage a periodic boost.
There is this certain stigma around anything dealing with “dating” in the Muslim community. Dating, however, doesn’t always refer to premarital relationships. Who says married couples can’t have fun too? There are so many ways to spend date night with your spouse. Here are a few:
- The Classic: Dinner and a Movie
- The most common date night. Choose a restaurant you both love and end it with a movie, or make dinner at home together and rent a movie. You may have totally opposite taste in movies, but don’t let that be an issue. Take turns picking the movie if you need to.
- It Takes Two: Bowling or Skating
- Forget about all of your stress and do something fun together. Skip the classic dinner and a movie, and enjoy some nachos and pizza.
- Simple: Coffee and Stroll
- This will give you a chance to talk and enjoy the night out together. You can take a walk at the park, downtown, or even some window shopping at the mall.
There are so many other things you can do on date night with your spouse, that you really don’t even need to pay for. The bottom line is to enjoy each other’s company. We get so caught up in our day-to-day lives that we forget to slow down and enjoy the little things.
What are some things you do on date night? Comment below!
What are the odds you’ll be struck by lightning or win the lottery? The answer is 1 in 960,000, 1 in 13,983,816 respectively. Interesting statistics. If you browse the “The Book of Odds” a collection of stats that rule everyday life, there are some intriguing odds.
Photo by Phil Roeder available under a Creative Commons Attribution-license
From a wedding and marriage standpoint, here are a few that we at Perfect Muslim Wedding found to be interesting. These numbers are for the wider U.S. population, but we believe in some way shape or form they are mirrored in the Muslim community.
|Where and how people met (% people dating)
|At a bar, club, restaurant
|Through work as client
|In a primary or secondary school
|In a non church social group
|In the neighborhood
|On a blind date
|At a private party
|In a public space
This correlates with an earlier Perfect Muslim Wedding Survey which showed that most people met through family and friends and not online. You can skip the line item about bars and instead of church think masjid.
Here are some more interesting ones.
|Why get married?
||1 in 1.2
||1 in 1.2
|Right time in life
||1 in 2.2
||1 in 2.5
|Not wanting to be alone
||1 in 4.4
||1 in 5.6
||1 in 5.6
||1 in 6.3
||1 in 6.3
||1 in 7.7
|Got them out of a bad situation
||1 in 50
||1 in 25
Hmm, get out of a bad situation, what could that be?
|Age at first marriage
||1 in 21.7
||1 in 7.6
||1 in 3.2
||1 in 2.1
||1 in 1.7
The median marriage age for men is 27 and 25 for women in the larger US population.
|Why People Stay Married
|Both spouses live to their commitment
|Too much trouble to end marriage
We love this one, not only do we want to encourage perfect weddings but also healthy marriages. Thoughts, comments?