10 Best Pieces of Marriage Advice for Muslim Newlyweds

You’re probably going to receive all sorts of tips and advice as you embark on this wonderful journey called marriage. It’ll be hard to decipher between the good advice and the not-so-good advice. So with that being said, we’ve compiled a list of 10 best pieces of advice for newlyweds.

Here they are:

newlyweds

  1. Always, always treat each other with respect. No matter what.
  2. Watch your finances and learn to have healthy conversations about money.
  3. Delay starting a family until it’s right. You will feel the pressure of this as soon as you get married, but as long as you have a plan you agree on between the two of you, you’re fine.
  4. Learn how to give a massage. This is a great non-verbal way to show appreciation to your spouse.
  5. Be close, but give each other space. It’s important to know when to give each other space, but it’s also important to ask your spouse for this in a positive manner.
  6. Pay attention to the small things, they add up. As newlyweds, it’s going to take some time to adjust so pay attention.
  7. Maintain boundaries with family and friends. Again as newlyweds, this will be difficult at first, but everything will fall into place as long as you establish those boundaries early on.
  8. In-laws are not out-laws, but you must deal with them with sensitivity and respect.
  9. Don’t worry or get stressed out about sex. You and your spouse will find what works for the both of you. Communication is key!
  10. Never go to bed angry.

These pieces of advice will ensure both you and your spouse feel respected and comfortable. It’s all about balance and really understanding each other’s boundaries, and respecting them. It’s also important to put your trust in God at all times, that is probably the ultimate piece of advice we can give you.

Why Marriage is like a Car

Whether you’ve been married five months, five years or fifty years no one is immune from divorce. In our social circles and communities sadly we seem to be finding more instances of a perfect couple going their separate ways. Sometimes they can be small things that add up; You can be drifting apart, have unbalanced roles relating to chores or children, issues of sex, arguments over money, stressful careers, or or one deal breaker, eg having an affair.

Granted there is no perfect marriage but there is still a lot we can do to keep our marriages healthy, happy and vibrant (of course all with God’s help).
There are many metaphors/analogies relating to marriage and in this post we’re going to use the car.

car

Why a car? It has gauges which tell you how you are doing. Cars require periodic maintenance and tune-ups and last but not least most of us are pretty familiar with them. Just as with cars, in marriage too we have to pay attention to the emotional gauges of communication and do both short term and long term maintenance in order for marriage to run smoothly and efficiently. So where do you start? At it’s most basic level you both have to step back and ask “How are we doing?”, “What’s working?” (do more of it), “What’s not working?” (do less of it or ideally eliminate it).

The Gauges:
  1. Money Gauge: Is one of you a spender and the other a saver? Is the distribution of financial responsibilities working well for both of you? How is your cash flow?
  2. Frustration Gauge: Are you stepping on each others toes a lot? Do you find yourself becoming angry over small things. Is there a pattern to your conflicts?
  3. Direction Gauge: How are you doing based on your short and long term goals? Either both of you are traveling in the same direction or not. There is no coasting.
  4. Spiritual Gauge: How are you and your spouse doing with your faith and spiritually? Only you can answer this.
  5. Humor Gauge: What do you do to amuse each other? Do you share jokes, watch romantic comedies, get playful with each other?
  6. Fun Gauge: Yes life can me monotonous, but are you able to fit in fun-time just for the two of you? Do you try out new and adventurous things or are you stuck in a rut?
  7. Sex Gauge: How is the quality and frequency of sex. Are you both content with it?

As you pay attention to these gauges issues will come up. Some you may be able to agree upon, others you may have to agree to disagree, and then for others that are vital to your marriage and well-being, you may need outside help (both human and divine).

The Tune-Ups:
  1. Gender Role Tune-Up: This is about dealing with your differences. In modern times a lot of the boundaries between the roles of men and women have been removed or blurred. We’re not making a judgement here, just pointing out that the Masculine and Feminine are by God’s design and we have to find ways to work with in them rather pretend they don’t exist. Remember in life you can probably have anything you want, but you can’t have everything. What ultimately do you want and what are you willing to compromise on?
  2. Communication & Conflict Resolution Tune-Up: Explore ways you can openly speak with your spouse about any subject. Allow your spouse to feel heard, show empathy by giving them your undivided attention and paraphrase what they say. Conflict is inevitable in any relationship including marriage. Make sure when you fight that you “fight fair”. Disagreement is never a license to be disrespectful. Even if you disagree with criticism, avoid the knee-jerk reponse and become defensive. Similarly avoid going slient and stonewalling. Avoid saying “always, never” Dr. Gottman’s work on this subject is a must read in this area.
  3. Financial Tune-Up: Do a financial audit. Are you meeting your goals? If neither of you is financially savvy or do not have the time get a financial advisor.
  4. Spiritual Tune-Up: Although spouses can uplift each other, you may want to ask help from an Imam that you respect. Take a class together relating to faith. Share what you learnt eg through your own reading, or from a Jumah Khutbah or a mentor.
  5. Household Chores Tune-Up: Marriage is never a 50:50 endeavor. However, you can discuss if all the work inside and outside is being done equitably between the two of you.
  6. Sexual Tune-Up: Through discussion you can determine if you sex life meets both of your needs. Your tune-up should also include being sensual and having intimacy with each other. Bring back date nights. If not discuss, explore, iterate.
  7. Parenting Tune-Up: Being a parent is a life time blessing and sentence. Do you both see eye to eye on how the children are being raised?
  8. Family and In-Law Tune-Up: If In-Laws or other relationships are getting in the way of your marriage discuss what you can do to be respectful and accommodating of family while still having your own space.

Marriage is a blessing, but with it comes hard work. The work changes over time. Any time you take each other for granted or assume it is on Cruise control, that is a danger sign. If you and your spouse are not able to resolve major conflicts (or small ones that keep adding up), never feel that there is no one who can help you. For each area there are counsellors. Before marriage pre-marital counseling is the best investment you can make. Once you are married, a regular tune-up, ie marriage counseling is the best investment you can make.  Rather than wait for a small leak to lead to a transmission or engine failure,  it is better to get things checked out pro-actively.

Of course above and beyond counseling is the guidance we have through our beloved Prophet (PBUH) and the best counsellor and helper is God who never turns down the prayer of the believer. There you have it, cars are just metaphors/analogies for marriage. May God make your/our marriages a near perfect union of faith, fun, and healthy living. Go ahead pay attention to those dials and remember it’s never too late to get a tune-up.

10 Reasons to Have a Perfectly Arranged Marriage

Arranged marriage. Now that I have your attention, a question that I have to field lately by my co-workers is “How did you meet your wife?” While trying to be truthful, but reveal it in a positive light, I stumble through my words to give an answer.

It’s not a surprise to see the shock when they hear that it was an arranged marriage. They can’t believe that we (my wife and I), by God’s infinite mercy are happily married since almost the stone age. We’re madly in love, and continue to explore and grow in our love. Yet, our lives started as two total strangers.

arranged marriage

Even in the present, arranged marriages have a place in society. Note, we are not talking about “forced marriages” or arranged marriages with wrong intentions. It’s unfair to take outliers and use them to demonize a norm of society.

As a disclaimer, we will be the first to say that arranged marriages of the past do not have a place for children of immigrants where this was the cultural norm.

Here are 10 reasons to have a perfectly arranged marriage:
  1. Your parents usually pay for the wedding, not always.
  2. You have a whole lifetime to discover each other.
  3. With parents as filters, your social and family compatibility is almost a guarantee.
  4. There are no matchmaker fees as the “Aunties” just love to make introductions.
  5. You only emotionally invest in one person, so there are no dating games and/or heartbreaks.
  6. You will be a happy couple when you agree to share your parents guidance.
  7. Stress-free parental introduction. Yes that’s right, you don’t need to worry what the parents are going to think about your choice because well, they have the inside scoop.
  8. The honeymoon lasts about 2 years instead of a week, as you two are total strangers getting to know each other.
  9. Free childcare. Now that your parents are bought-in to your marriage, you can count on them to babysit. So go ahead and take that vacation or go to the movies.
  10. Less chance of being accidentally left out of your parents’ will and living trust if you get their buy-in before the wedding.
  11. Bonus. There are no blind dates, as Mom, Pops, “Auntie” Ji, and the whole family is with you on the date.
  12. Bonus, Bonus. You will have a Hollywood or Bollywood happily ever after ending. You just now have to fill in your love story, work hard on it and pray.

Javed

Founder

Perfect Muslim Wedding

References

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-life/10880548/Why-I-want-an-arranged-marriage.html

http://www.cosmopolitan.com/sex-love/q-and-a/a33627/what-its-really-like-to-have-an-arranged-marriage/

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/aug/27/my-arranged-marriage-thrived-after-my-marriage-for-love-died

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-science-behind-behavior/201511/why-are-so-many-indian-arranged-marriages-successful

http://www.vogue.com/article/arranged-marriage-that-ended-happily-ever-after-30-years-later

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ArrangedMarriage

http://www.therevival.co.uk/forced-arranged-love-secret-marriages

http://muslimmatters.org/2011/12/22/arranged-marriage-is-not-forced-marriage/

http://themuslimgirl.com/the-problem-with-arranged-marriage/ 

4 Lessons in 4 Years of Marriage

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.

marriage

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:

  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Marwa Diaf
Editor
editor.perfectmuslimwedding@gmail.com

10 Life Skills to Master Before and During Marriage

Although life is an ongoing education, there are some skills if we master, we can benefit from both before and during marriage.  We are not advocating you need to have all these down before marriage, as we all have our strengths and weaknesses. However, just being aware off them and for them to be a work-in-progress is all that counts. This is the difference between a marriage that struggles and one that flourishes

Here are the 10 life skills to master:

1. Learn, live and lead a healthy life
a) Your diet: eating nutritious,wholesome food
b) Your sleep: practicing good sleep hygiene
c) Your body: treating your body with respect and giving it exercise
d) Your spirit/ruh: Spirituality combined with faith
e) Avoiding risky behaviors

marriage
Photo by new Frank van Leersum available under a Creative Commons Attribution-license

2. Managing relationships
a) Identifying expectations
b) Managing inter-personal relationships
c) Knowing you, your family, those you interact with and God.
d) Understanding human nature
e) Conflict resolution

3. Learn the art of effective communication
a) Starts with active attentive listening
b) Followed by articulation
c) Learning what to say what not to say
d) When best to say it
e) Best way to communicate with someone, direct, indirect, email.

4. Learn the art of decision making
a) Learning which decisions are more important than others
b) How to research (Online, talking to people,…)
c) Determining needs vs wants, important vs urgent
d) Process and criteria to decide
e) Doing Istikhara (asking God for guidance)

marriage
Photo by Azlan DuPree available under a Creative Commons Attribution-license

5. Mastering education
a) Understand that education is a life-long process
b) Know the benefits and harms of technology
c) Learn how to master the right technologies

6. Coping with life
a) Learning about how to deal with daily and life-changing challenges/problems
b) At school, work, with family, friends, adversaries
c) How to manage your internal dialogue
d) Knowing your values and how to use them to guide you
e) Managing stress

7. Art of thinking
a) How to do critical thinking
b) How to be creative
c) How to be self-aware
e) How to show empathy

marriage
Photo by Steven Depolo available under a Creative Commons Attribution-license

8. Managing your finances
a) Learn how to become a wise consumer
b) Understand quality vs price
c) Creating a budget
d) When to save, when to spend, how much to spend
e) Understand the role of advertising and how it influences you

9. Goal-setting
a) Identifying short term and long term goals
b) Understanding that time is the greatest asset you have
c) Always using your energy at the right time to be the most productive
d) Knowing what to take on and what to say “no” to

10. Media and Community
a) Understand the psychology of how the media influences you
b) Not only what is being said but why and how
c) What isn’t being said is just as important as what is being said
d) What are you doing for the common good in your community?

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