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Monday, August 08, 2005

Foundations of Successful Marriage

Love is the bedrock of marriage, and one of its twin foundations. When two people choose each other for lifelong partners, in a lawful union sanctioned by Divine Writ, God Almighty makes it obligatory upon Himself to protect them. Their love is an _expression of the Divine Love, for God Himself is "Al-Wadud" the Loving One. A marriage, based on true love and in fulfillment of God's writ is therefore a taste of Divine Love.

Aside from Love alone, the following form core features of a successful marriage:

M - Mercy. Mercy is one of the twin pillars of Marriage. God Almighty tells us " And among His signs is that He created for you, among yourselves, spouses that you may dwell in tranquility; and He has placed between you Love and Mercy" (Sura Rum)

A - Attentiveness. Many a marriage falters because the initial attentiveness to each other fades away in the wake of other pursuits, hobbies, interests etc. If spouses were to take enough time to be attentive to each other, to recognize the needs of each other and to respond accordingly, marriage would be strengthened.

R - Respect. Respect is born not only out of admiration for the other, but out of a deep understanding that your spouse fills the vacuum in your life. Respect must include a respect for the sensitivities of each other, his/her likes and dislikes, your roles and responsibilities among other things.

R - Rights and Responsibilities. Any successful marriage seeks to create a balance between rights and responsibilities. A spouse who only cares about his/her rights only and reneges on his/her responsibilities is not only unfair, but undermines the foundations of the marriage.

I - Integrity. A key ingredient in marriage, and even before marriage at the stage of engagement. Integrity engenders trust. Lack of it breeds mistrust which erodes a happy marriage.

A - Acknowledgement. Spouses must acknowledge the positive things in the other and seek to remember these at times of difficulty and tension. At the same time, spouses must acknowledge their own weaknesses and seek to rectify them, rather than to be defensive and to be in denial. After all, spouses are "garments" to each other - embellishing and protecting each other.

G - Goodness. Represented by the Arabic term "Ma'aruf", this quality is mentioned several times in one page of the Qur'an, both in the context of living together or in contemplation of separation. Goodness or kindness must be expressed in every way - in the choice of words, the tone of voice, the sacrifices, forgiveness and overlooking of each other's faults.

E - Expressions of Love. Spouses must not be shy in expressing their love for each other, in both words and deeds. The Prophet (peace be upon him) taught us to show our love by placing a spoonful of food in the mouths of our beloved; and even when Khadija (may Allah be pleased with her) passed away, he spoke of her in terms of endearment.

Author: Mohamed Khadim, Toronto, Canada

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