Cultivating Friendship with your Spouse

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Any princess, who was swept up to the altar in the arms of her prince charming, can tell you that, a few months later, she’d gladly trade in the glittery clothes and tinkling laughter for a comfortable pair of pants and a good chuckle over a cup of coffee with her prince. Marriage is for the long haul, and like any journey, it is more fun when your travelling companion is a good friend.

Friendship in marriage must be developed and nurtured. Unfortunately, once the ethereal feeling of the honeymoon period ends, most couples take living together for granted. The following are top five “tried and tested” reminders of how to cultivate your relationship with your best friend – your spouse.

Companions on the Sirat-ul-Mustaqeem

We have been instructed: “O you who believe! Ward off yourselves and your families against a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones…” (At-Tahrim 66:6) Regrettably, many couples interpret this as fault finding and preaching to one another. A true friend desires to aid his companion grow as a person; husbands may arrange to oversee the children so that their wives could study the Quran or attend a class; similarly, a wife may ungrudgingly arrange the family schedule so that her spouse can spend time with beneficial brothers.

Buy mustard and Achar

Expect to have differences in opinion, tastes and even sleeping habits. Our Prophet Muhammad (sa) stated: “A believer must not hate (his wife) believing woman; if he dislikes one of her characteristics, he will be pleased with another.” (Muslim) Accept each other’s diversity and respect it. To put it simply: if he prefers mustard above your Achar, just serve both with dinner. To each their own.

Your spouse is not your extension

Best friends need not do everything together or account for every moment spent without each other; allow your spouse to chill with her friends or dedicate time to a project she values. Does his office work or other family obligations limit time spent with you? Focus upon the time you have together instead of the time you feel you are being cheated out of. Value the quality time that you spend with each other; don’t fret upon its quantity.

Surprise!

Giving a gift is just as much fun as receiving one, for Prophet Muhammad (sa) asserted: “Give gifts to one another, and you will love one another.” (Bukhari) So why wait for a ‘special’ occasion? Whether it is something wrapped up, a dinner for two, setting off with him to his favourite electronic store to get that gizmo he’s been raving about or taking the toddler outdoors so his exhausted mommy can get some sleep, a gift can be anything that is valued by your friend. Remember – rewards must be earned, but giving a gift is rewarding.

Love is saying you are sorry and meaning it

The term ‘sorry’ is much abused by couples: some don’t feel the need to say it, while others say it as a muscular reflex. The term ought to be valued and used to mean: “I apologize for my actions, which hurt you, and will try my utmost not to repeat them.” Use the term with sincerity and it will strengthen your relationship immensely, Insha’Allah.

Are you a happily-married couple? What tried-and-tested reminders would you like to share about cultivating friendship with spouse? Email us your suggestions at editor@hibamagazine.com.

Is my Spouse my Best Friend Forever (BFF)?

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Life after marriage can be either a constant tug of war or your spouse can become your best friend forever. Achieving the latter is the key to a healthy, happy and hearty family. Here’s how you can unlock the door to eternal bliss.

Khawar is fifteen years older than his wife Fouzia. He is diabetic, hypertensive, has had a kidney transplant and now cannot work or earn a living to support his family – the entire responsibility is on Fouzia’s shoulders.  Then why does she stay with him and take care of him with a smiling face and a happy heart?

My dad is seventy and has had a bypass surgery. When my mom went on a short trip to another city, my dad called her thrice every day. Heeding to our advice, he did not call her one day, so that she may enjoy unhindered; however, she could not bear not to hear his voice and called him to ask if he was fine, and if not, should she take an earlier flight? Was it simply her responsibility that fuelled her concern?

In the above-mentioned relationships, it was the strengthened bond of love, care and communication that compelled the spouses to be concerned for each other. Apart from being a couple, they had always been each others’ best buddies. How can a couple become BFF? The answer lies in the three verses that are recited as part of the Nikah ceremony:

“O You who believe! Fear Allah (by doing All that He has ordered and by abstaining from All that He has forbidden) as He should be feared…” (Al-Imran 3:102)

“…fear Allah through whom you demand (your mutual rights), and (do not cut the relations of) the wombs (kinship)…” (An-Nisa 4:1)

“O You who believe! Keep your duty to Allah and fear Him, and speak (always) the truth…” (Al-Ahzab 33:70)

According to these verses, the basis of any relationship is God-consciousness, which compels one to avoid anything that displeases Allah (swt) and work towards creating a feeling of mutual respect, trust and honest communication among the spouses – the building blocks to lifelong friendship. To achieve this, it is imperative for both spouses to:

  • Develop frank communication.
  • Not be judgmental – listen and offer sincere advice. Sometimes, just listen.
  • Respect and support the decisions of your spouse and their consequences.
  • Define roles and give each other time and space.
  • Rearing children should be a joint endeavour.
  • Grow together in faith.
  • Remember that fights are normal but forgive and forget quickly.
  • Be loyal as true friends – always stand up for each other, against all odds.
  • Intimacy is an essential part of any marriage. Dress up for each other and do something out of the ordinary once in a while to surprise your best friend.
  • Finally, accept each other as BFF and make nurturing this relationship a priority through all odds.

I have been happily married to my BFF for seventeen years, and our secret is laughing at ourselves, making up quickly after a fight, and working towards paradise together. Alhumdulillah.

Friends Forever

Noorjehan Arif observes: “Making good friends is also a craft, partly learnable and partly a gift of Allah.”

While life takes us through the ups and downs, friends and family provide us with some sanity and stability to move forward. Relationship with friends is very unique. Peer influences can either direct us in the positive direction or damage lives brutally. The Prophet (sa) said: “A person is likely to follow the faith of his friend, so look whom you befriend.” (Abu Dawood)

Choosing good friends is an arduous task but by no means an impossible one. One thing to bear in mind is that the person should be virtuous. Sometimes, we prefer hanging out with people, who are fun and cool! In due course, even if this means displeasing Allah, we simply do it. Allah warns clearly that these same friends will lead us to the Hellfire. Quran states: “Friends on that Day will be foes one to another except the Righteous.” (Az-Zukhruf 43:67)

The Day that the wrongdoer will bite at his hands, he will say: “Oh! Would that I had taken a (straight) path with the Apostle! Ah! Woe to me! Would that I had never taken such a one for a friend! He did lead me astray from the Message (of Allah), after it had come to me! Ah! The Evil One is but a traitor to man.” (Al-Furqan 25: 27-29)

But, in order to find a good Muslim friend, it is imperative to be a good Muslim yourself. The Prophet (sa) said: “The best friend in the sight of Allah is he who is the well-wisher of his companions…” (At-Tirmidhi)

Conversely, Hassan Haidi states: “Some argue that our society has become too transient, and it is hard to invest our time in people who are only in our lives for short a while. Others will tell you that they got burnt once, and they are not going to let someone get close again. Many will say they just do not know, how to make friends, and some say they are just too busy.”

In reality, friendship is soul-based, as is proved by the Hadeeth: “Souls are like conscripted soldiers: if they recognize one another, they will become friends, and if they dislike one another, they will go their separate ways.” (Muslim)

TV, the Internet, or magazines can never replace a loving and believing friend. An accessible friend serves as a protection, especially for late adolescents and young adults against various risk factors, such as substance abuse and criminality (Fraser 1997).

Obviously, success will be the order for such people, as Allah states: “As to those who turn (for friendship) to Allah, His Apostle, and the (fellowship of) believers, it is the fellowship of Allah that must certainly triumph.” (Al-Maidah 5:56)

May Allah guide us to right companions, who can steer us towards success now and in the Hereafter.

How Do My Friends Treat Me?

Vol 1-Issue 2   How do my friends treat meSomeone once quoted: “Show me your friends and I will tell you who you are.” So we know that a man is known by the company he keeps.

Friendships are formed on the pretext of common interests and similar values. But at times we desperately try to grow a friendship simply to fit into a crowd we consider cool. This may even mean giving up our own identity, changing appearances, anything short of selling our soul just to be accepted. Guess what? If that is the case, we are definitely hanging out with the wrong people and probably at the wrong places too!

A simple quiz can help you assess what your friendship is truly worth. Visualize your close friends and answer the questions below honestly.

  1. Do I have to put up pretences in the presence of my friends?
  2. Can I trust my friends with secrets?
  3. Do my friends agree with everything I do without ever correcting me?
  4. Do I suspect my friends make fun of me in my absence, especially if they are habitual backbiters?
  5. In the hour of need, do they make sacrifices for me?
  6. Are they sincere enough not to misuse my money and belongings?
  7. When I have trouble with my relations, do they instigate me further?
  8. Can I reveal my weaknesses before them without becoming a laughing stock?
  9. Am I hesitant to call my friends over to my house and meet my family?
  10. Can I call my friends good practicing Muslims who fear and love Allah?

If most of your answers are in the affirmative, way to go! You are one of the lucky ones whom Allah has blessed with good companions. But if your answers are in negative, you need to seriously consider your friendships. It is not necessary that people who are the life of a party can be meaningful friends too.

Example of a True Friend 

Abu Bakr (rta) is an unrivalled example of friendship and love for Allah (swt). Our Prophet Muhammad (sa) once said: “If I was to take a Khaleel (intimate friend) in this life, it would have been Abu Bakr. But our brotherhood in faith is enough.”

Abu Bakr (rta) was blessed for being the first and foremost, in his belief, his support and his love for the Messenger (sa). For this quality he was honoured with the title of As-Siddiq (Verifier of faith).

  1. He trusted Prophet Muhammad (sa) in the most turbulent times, like the incident of Ascension (Mairaj) when the majority disbelieved.
  2. At the battle of Tabuk, Abu Baker (rta) gave away all of his wealth and possessions for Allah (swt).
  3. In the cave of Thaur, when hiding from the chasing enemies, Abu Bakr (rta) covered the holes of snakes with his feet, so they would not bite the Prophet (sa).
  4. Once, he was almost beaten to death by the polytheists of Quraish, while protecting the Messenger (sa). Upon regaining consciousness he asked, “Where is the Messenger of Allah?” and refused to eat or rest until he saw the Prophet (sa).

Potently, friendships formed with good believers are really the ones that survive trials. Mainly because of a unified goal, that is to please Allah. Allah also loves such people dearly and states: “Where are those who loved each other for my sake? I will shade them on a day when there is no shade except mine.” (Muslim)