Congratulations! Now that you are married and the big day and honeymoon are behind you, you’re probably wondering, what now? Hopefully you discussed some important things before the wedding, if not now is the perfect time. Here is a list of things to do or think about during the first 90 days of your marriage.

Photo by Thejas available under a Creative Commons Attribution license httpscreativecommons.org license

Photo by Thejas available under a Creative Commons Attribution license httpscreativecommons.org license

  1. If you rented any clothes or equipment or borrowed things from family and friends for the wedding, it is important to return them. Decide what you are going to do with the wedding dress. Have it cleaned, and store it away or if you have decided to give it away in charity or will keep it to pass onto a family member, those are all valid options.
  2. Send thank you cards to all the guests. Although the trend in most Muslim marriages is to give cash, do open presents. Acknowledge cash gifts (you don’t have to mention the amount, but you should record the amount for future reference) or gifts (be specific). Do this as early as you can in the first 90 days, to make it meaningful. Sending a thank you card a year late is too little too late. This isn’t required, but is always nice to do.
  3. Get your photos and videos sorted out and share with family and friends.
  4. Complete any registration paperwork you need to do. This usually involves taking the Nikah paperwork to the registrar’s office.
  5. If you, as a bride, are planning to do a name change, now is the time to take care of this. Remember this is not an Islamic requirement.
  6. Depending on how you decide to set up your finances and bank accounts, decide how you will distribute the cash gifts. Discuss this with your parents. Cash gifts from your friends are ones you will want to match or exceed when it is their turn. For cash gifts your parents friends gave, your parents may offer you to keep, or it would be nice to ask them to keep all or half of those, as they will have to return those favors in future. Again there is no one rule, have the conversation and do what is equitable.
  7. As you get to know your spouse more, both the good and the bad, something akin to buyer’s remorse (sense of regret after having bought something) may set in. Let’s call it marriage remorse or wedding remorse, or spouse remorse may come your way. Brush it aside. Remember no wedding or marriage or spouse is perfect including you. Focus on what works, and the qualities of your spouse that you know or are getting to know. For the rest of your issues you have a lifetime to work through your differences and preferences.
  8. Even though in Islam we don’t have a dating routine, what ever attracted you about your spouse and the things you did to court him/her, continue to do.
  9. Share interesting stories from your past, and ask intriguing questions about your spouse. Listen and acknowledge them. Share some of your dreams, frustrations, or humor. On the subject of humor it is a great bonding experience, so whether you watch a romantic comedy or tell a joke, it does wonders.
  10. Allow yourself to become vulnerable as that builds intimacy. This does not mean you have to turn your new relationship into one long confession, that would be detrimental and would have the opposite effect. Your spouse is your confidant, so sharing your hopes and fears will hopefully increase your bond.
  11. If you get into a difference of opinion or things become heated, take a timeout and agree to reconvene later, or take three deep breaths.
  12. Create time to be with each other. Yes, you need your “me-time” to be alone or with family, friends, but “we-time” is just as, if not more, important.  Take daily walks, short expeditions on a weekly or monthly basis, plan some travel together.
  13. Try out new experiences, it doesn’t have to be adrenaline pumping bungee jumping, it could be cooking together, visiting museums, local parks or taking a hike. It could be a spiritual journey like going to Mecca for Hajj or Umrah.
  14. Discuss how you like to spend “me-time” to identify your boundaries. Remember just because you have done things as a single person does not mean you have to carry over all that baggage to your married life. Make your marriage the priority.
  15. Living together as husband and wife means learning each other’s pet peeves. Take the time to discover these now and address them rather than letting this become something you fester over for the rest of your lives.
  16. Discuss  expectations and obligations  from each side of your in-laws. Navigating any relationship is challenging and those of in-laws both for the parents and the children become doubly challenging. If you ever want to see a humorous side of this relationship watch the TV series “Everybody Loves Raymond.”
  17. Discuss social gatherings and invites. In most Muslim cultures, being social and the invites that go along with them from friends and families play a big role. You may or may not have different values about attending anniversaries, birthdays, and more. If you combine these for both of you it can become overwhelming, so prioritize and decide what is nice versus necessary. Otherwise your social obligations can start running your life at the detriment of your marriage.
  18. Discuss household chores and who will be doing what. For some things there will a natural inclination to do a particular task and for others neither of you may want to do. Remember marriage is not a 50:50 venture. There is a lot of give and take, and this will change over time too, so be generous and flexible.
  19. Give micro-gifts to your spouse every day. This does not mean flowers and chocolates, but thoughtful actions including chores, that in most cases cannot be bought in the store. Everyday acts of love, respect and kindness go a long way.

Marriage is a lifetime journey, so we are not saying you have to compress what unfolds over time into the first 90 days. It is just that you need to get some important things down. We have tried to focus on things you can do and we will address things to avoid in a future write-up. God-willing you will make it through not only the first 90 days, but the 90 after that and continue until 90 becomes 900, and then 9000 and beyond. You, as we all do, will make mistakes and figure things out. You and your spouse will go through this journey we call marriage. It’s wonderful, it’s fun, it’s scary, enjoy the ride.

 

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