Source: Al-Asaalah Magazine. Translator: isma’eel alarcon
Guidelines for the Husband in Interacting with his Wife
The family is that brick which forms the foundation of a society. It is composed of individuals that have permanent relations established between them. Most importantly, it possesses almost a majority of the different kinds of personal relations. Because of this, there must be certain etiquettes placed in order to control and regulate these relations. This is such that it can be maintained in the best possible manner, and so that it can generate and produce its proper fruits.
Family relations consist of the relationship between the spouses from one perspective, the relationship between the parents and the children from a second perspective, and the relationship between the children themselves from a third perspective. Etiquettes of the husband: It is not from the deficiencies, but rather from good manners, that the husband shares in the responsibility of specified matters, such as the mending of garments or what is similar to that.
It is appropriate for a man to not restrict himself from serving himself. This is since the wife takes care of the household affairs. So therefore, it is from good manners that the husband extend a helping hand to his wife in the house, during times of necessity, such as when she is sick, pregnant, has given birth or similar to that.
The exemplary husband is he who cooperates with his wife by bearing good relations and showing kind manners (to her), according to the full extent of the meaning contained in these (last) two expressions. Truly, the husbands who are best at working alongside their wives are the best of mankind in the view of Islaam. This good way of living between the spouses must be deeply imbedded into the daily marital life, even at the time of divorce.
Beware of characterizing the relationship between the spouses with over-seriousness! For indeed characterizing the family life with a militaristic nature amounts to one of the causes for failure and bad results.
From the kind and noble manners of the husband is that he complies and assents to the requests of his wife, so long as they are not forbidden in the Religion. And being luxurious in food, drink and clothing is at the entrance of matters forbidden in the Religion.
The husband should specify a time in which he can play around and pass free time with his wife.
The relationship between the spouses must contain one singular and specific nature. And it cannot be this way unless the couple begins demolishing all the obstacles and impediments that stand between them. For example, the husband should not feel timid and restrain himself from drinking out of the same cup that his wife drinks out of.
There is no human being that is perfect. So there is no doubt that the husband will see things in his wife that does not comply with his natural disposition and preferences. If these aspects are not in opposition to the fundaments of the Religion or to the obedience of the husband and his rights, then at that point, he should not try to change her personality so that it complies with his natural preference.
And he must always remember that for each member of the couple, there will be an aspect of ones personality that conflicts with the others personality. And he should also remember that if there are some characteristics that he doesn’t find pleasing in his wife, then indeed she has other characteristics, which will definitely be pleasing to him.
Do not let Ramadaan be a barrier that impedes you from showing affection to your wife, such as by kissing her. But this is so long as you are able to refrain yourself, since what is forbidden during the days of Ramadaan is only sexual intercourse.
Do not chase after the errors of your wife and recount them to her, for too much blaming and reprimanding will worsen the relationship between the two of you, and it will pose a threat to your marital life. So overlook your wife’s easy ability to make mistakes, and make her falling into them seem like something small.
If you are able, do not hold back from providing your wife with good clothing and food, and from being generous in spending money on her. This is of course according to the extent of your ability.
Do not give little importance to implementing the punishment required for any acts in opposition to the Religion, which your wife has committed, whether it is in the home or outside it. This should be the main reason that causes you to become angry, thus no other reason should affect you (besides this one).
What has been stated previously does not mean that you should leave matters alone until that result comes to happen. Thus, whenever you realize that a matter is left alone, weigh it with seriousness and determination, without being too harsh or rude about it.
The woman is the head of the household, the one responsible for it. So do not attempt to meddle into affairs that do not fall into your area of duties and responsibilities, such as the food and the order of the house.
Beware of scolding your wife or blaming her for a mistake she committed, in the presence of others, even if they are your own children. For indeed that is an act that goes against correct behavior and it will lead to raising anger in the hearts of people.
If you are forced to place punishment upon your wife, then let it be by staying away from her at bedtime. And do not boycott her except that it is done within the household. And avoid using foul language, insulting her, beating her and describing her with repulsive names. For these matters do not befit an exemplary husband.
Having jealousy and caring about the modesty of your wife is a praiseworthy thing, which shows your love for her. However it is on the condition that you do not go to great extremes in this jealousy. For then at that point, it would turn into something worthy of no praise.
Entering the house:
Do not alarm your family by entering upon them suddenly. Rather, enter while they are aware of it, and greet them with Salaam. And ask about them and how they are doing. And do not forget to remember Allaah, the Mighty and Sublime, when you enter the house.
Beware of spreading any secrets connected with the intimate encounters you have with your wife, for that is something restricted and forbidden.
Constantly maintain the cleaning of your mouth and the freshening of your breath.
Guardianship of your wife doesn’t mean that you can exploit what Allaah has bestowed upon you from taking charge of her, such that you harm and oppress her.
Showing respect and kindness to your wife’s family is showing respect and kindness to her. And this applies even after her death, on the condition that it is not accompanied by an act forbidden in the Religion, such as intermingling of the sexes or being in privacy (with them).
Too much joking will lead to (your family having) little fear (of disobeying you) and a lack of respect for you. So do not joke too much with your wife.
Be considerate that fulfilling the conditions which you promised to your wife during the pre-marriage agreement is a matter possessing the highest of importance and priority. So do not neglect that after getting married.
When you lecture your wife or reprimand her or simply speak to her, choose the kindest and nicest of words and expressions for your speech. And do not reprimand her in front of others or in front of your children.
It is not proper for you to ask your wife to look for work outside of the house or to spend upon you from her wealth.
Do not overburden your wife with acts that she is not able to handle. Consider, with extreme regard, the environment she was raised up in. Rural service is not like urban service, and the service of a strong woman and her preparation for it is not like the service of a weak woman.
There is nothing in the obligation of a woman’s service to her husband that negates his assisting her in that regard, if he should find the free time. Rather, this is from the good manners of living between the spouses. This discussion will continue in an upcoming issue, if Allaah wills.