This is the third and final part of the results from the 2015 Perfect Muslim Wedding and Marriages Survey. Once again there thank you to all who participated. We believe there is tremendous learning we can gain from each other. There are some wonderful gems in this survey. Read through them. Take one or two that resonate for you and implement them in your lives. Rinse and repeat. May Allah make everyone’s marriage a blessed one.

Photo by feriansyah availablable under a Creative Commons Attribution-license

Photo by feriansyah availablable under a Creative Commons Attribution-license

What was the biggest challenge in the first few years of your marriage (or that of a friend or family member)?

  1. For me personally, it was living so far away from my parents. Also, trying to fit into a new family and in-laws is difficult because it’s not something you’re used to.
  2. Getting to know each other’s little habits, such as squeezing out the toothpaste, cleanliness, moods when hungry, tired or stressed etc.
  3. Giving up single life, such as hanging out with friends.
  4. I have only been married for two months. Among friends and family members, communication seems to be a big challenge.
  5. I used to go to work and my wife used to stay home, she was lonely the first year.
  6. Know each other closely, and which buttons not to push!
  7. Learning how to cope with in-laws who are critical and judgmental.
  8. Learning to live with another person, realizing that your spouse is not perfect and you are not perfect, but love each other for who you are. I wish we could all work on self-growth and self-understanding before we get married.
  9. Learning when to keep quiet and not continue in the fight or complaining.
  10. Learning where to compromise and where to stand your ground.
  11. Living together and sharing a bathroom.
  12. My ex was unprepared for sharing his life and was very self-centered and negative.
  13. My friend was having a hard time being accepted by the guy’s mom because she did not choose her.
  14. Not doing pre-marital counseling or rushing into marriage.
  15. Not knowing your role or not agreeing on roles.
  16. When you marry someone from abroad then navigating immigration laws is stressful.
  17. Young couple, not financially stable.

What have you taught your spouse, or learned from them (or observed)?

  1. Compromise and understanding are essential characteristics, but these of course are subjective. To me, understanding means completely listening to the other person you may disagree with (without talking and interrupting), empathizing with them, and responding in a way where you explain that you hear and understand what they are saying, but that your position is different, and WHY. Basically painting a picture for that person to understand your perception since that person can’t read our mind (even though we want them to so bad sometimes).
  2. Everything is not what you expect. Expect differences. I learned from my spouse they were from a very different upbringing and that I needed to understand that point of view as well as they needed to understand where I came from better. Though both Muslim, our family upbringing was very different.
  3. Happy wife = happy life (Editor’s comment, nice formula).
  4. How to be more affectionate and less shy when at home. Being Muslim we weren’t culturally accustomed to being around our halal partner.
  5. How to communicate how easily people are influenced by their family even if they are wrong, there can be a bias. The importance of establishing and maintaining healthy, respectful boundaries with others.
  6. I have learned patience and respecting others in all situations. I used to be very hot-headed and would get angry or impatient easily. I’ve learned from my husband that remaining calm and collected in situations is better in the long run.
  7. I have learned that hope is stronger than fear.
  8. I learned the difference between what is really important to him, but of lesser importance to me, and vice versa, so we learned how to compromise.
  9. I taught my husband to communicate his feelings and he taught me to share them/the issue with the best intention and in the best words, time and place.
  10. I think I probably learned more from my spouse over the past almost 30 years than he has learned from me. I learned about being patient and understanding, I learned about how to truly care about someone else, I learned how to love without being perfect. I learned a lot about letting  go and not holding on to anger and grudges and hurt feelings.
  11. I’ve learned a lot from my wife, and consider myself blessed to be married to such a mature, responsible individual. Before marriage, I used to consider myself ready and mature, but luckily my wife knocked some sense into me. (Editor: High Five’s brother)
  12. I’ve learned to be more giving to those in need.
  13. I’ve learned to expect nothing and to depend on me and only me.
  14. I’ve learned what a wonderful cook my husband is.
  15. I’ve taught him to be more open minded, and he’s taught me to really depend on Allah for everything. (That is the formula)
  16. Share.. Be transparent with finances
  17. Taught her to drive car, she taught me to dress appropriately for an occasion.
  18. That certain things don’t matter in life and that we have to give up certain things and take turn in making sacrifices if we want our relationship to work.
  19. That you can take on bad habits and you can take a leadership role no matter what the other person is doing it’s a choice.
  20. The importance of communication. What a relationship needs to survive – e.g. unity, sincere wanting to be together, efforts toward the relationship, spending time together, respecting what is important to each other outside of the relationship (e.g. volunteer work), etc. Respectful boundaries with in-laws.
  21. To accommodate the lifestyle of each other, and to ensure that it is in compliance with social and community values.
  22. Unconsciously and slowly, we have adopted a lot of each other’s basic habits.

What makes your (or someone you admire) marriage tick?

  1. Allah comes first. Always. Makes everything else fall into place.
  2. Believing in the marriage wholeheartedly. Knowing that we all make mistakes and we are not perfect and everyone has up and downs but learning to forgive quickly and moving on. Don’t let one issue or event or some hurt feeling get in the way of the larger picture-your love for each other. Most importantly, true belief in Allah and self-growth, self-evaluation and self-understanding will help you learn your weaknesses and once you know yourself better and help yourself become a better person (along with your spouse doing the same thing) you will help each other in all aspects of life. Like true partners, you will help and complement each other, Inshallah.
  3. Envisioning your spouse to not only be your protector and lover, but your best friend. The one who you go to when you feel vulnerable, when you need to feel safe. This person understands your ins and outs, and accepts you knowing all of it. Embrace it and give the same in return. This equal exchange of love is what I feel makes a marriage “tick.”
  4. Going away on “mini vacations”.
  5. Laundry (no explanation required)
  6. Making oath to myself that what ever happens I will never end this marriage. Meaning you will do everything in your power to keep this marriage. in other words I will make all kind of sacrifice to keep marriage. I believe you would need this few times during your marriage or at least once.
  7. Open communication,  kindness, humility, patience, understanding, commitment to a married lifestyle (instead of living like roommates), loving each other for the sake of Allah, desire to please Allah, taking marital responsibilities very seriously, making efforts toward each other daily, being affectionate with each other, learning about the other, being apart of each other’s lives. Being interdependent (not completely dependent on each other or independent of each other, but rather of combination of the two). Two separate bank accounts. Spending some time apart, not all time spent together. Making time for each other. Common goals, common interests. Disagreements that are respectful with no yelling, name calling, put-downs, criticizing each other’s character. Being kind to each other’s family. Sharing household and childcare responsibilities. Making warm gestures toward each other. Being best friends. Being able to lean on each other and emotionally support each other. Having fun together and being able to laugh together. Equality may not always be possible, but striving for equity can be. Following the extensive research by Dr. John Gottman on what makes marriage work – “The 7 Principles of Making Marriage Work.”
  8. Patience on her part (Hmmm, says something about you?)
  9. Seeking help from Allah
  10. We both realize it is a work in progress and we try to be there for each other no matter what.
  11. We work together. No relationship is made or broken by one person. It takes two to make it, and two to break it. Each person has to contribute equally.
  12. When we are angry we do not discuss the matter. Later when we are cool we discuss. We ignore each others’ shortcomings and learn to work around them. As time passes our standards and habits begin to synch with each other. Apart from sticking with each other nothing really matters in the long run. We are both different people from the ones we married. We have grown older together as a couple there is no I or you between us now after 18 years.

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