What I have noticed about young, mostly practicing married girls is that they are usually more concerned about pleasing the in-laws and keeping the home perfect, rather than preserving their lustre and focusing on their sensual side. Why does it happen? Is it culture? Or have we misunderstood the importance of Halal intimacy in Islam?
Jabir bin Abdullah (rtam) has narrated: While we were returning with the Prophet (sa) from a Ghazwah (Holy Battle), I started driving my camel fast, as it was a lazy camel. A rider came behind me and pricked my camel with a spear he had with him, and then my camel started running as fast as the best camel you may see. Behold! The rider was the Prophet (sa) himself. He asked: “What makes you in such a hurry?” I replied: “I am newly-married.” He said: “Did you marry a virgin or a matron?” I replied: “A matron.” He said: “Why didn’t you marry a young girl, so that you may play with her and she with you?” When we were about to enter (Madinah), the Prophet (sa) said: “Wait so that you may enter (Madinah) at night, so that the lady of unkempt hair may comb her hair, and the one, whose husband has been absent, may shave her pubic region.” (Bukhari)
It is obvious from this Hadeeth that enjoying a healthy relationship with one’s spouse and grooming oneself is part of Sunnah. Instead, married women today may have homes that run like perfectly oiled machines, but when it comes to intimacy, they don’t know where to begin.
As Muslims, it is our duty to support each other in all walks of life and for a marriage to run smoothly, moms and moms-in-law play a bigger role than they realize.
How can moms and moms-in-law help young married girls, overwhelmed with their roles and responsibilities, preserve their lustre? Naturally, elderly people do have more time on hand and they all want to see their kids settled happily in life. If their daughters or daughters-in-law are dishevelled, it will affect their marriage. Maybe they can give some of their time (depending on their own health, resources, stamina and patience) to offer relief to these girls. The sensual side is the first to go, when women are overworked, mismanaged or, at times, lazy and don’t want to make an additional effort to groom themselves, when they have house chores to manage, kids to raise and social commitments to fulfill.
They start lying: “My husband doesn’t mind that I look ten years older than him. Even if he does, too bad, I can’t do anything about it.” Or they complain that their spouse neglects them, talks about other women and even dreams about them. Who would want to live with a wrecked mess and for how long?
Here is a list of suggestions that moms and moms-in-law can begin with:
- Encourage grandchildren to sleep with their grandparents sometimes, especially in a joint family setup.
- Offer to keep an eye on the maids, so the girl can spend some time grooming herself.
- Offer to entertain the children once in a while, when the husband returns home.
- Babysit the children at times, so that the mother can get a few hours of undisturbed sleep or visit a spa for relaxation and makeover.
- Take care of children during the weekend, giving the couple a two hours’ time. They may take the grandchildren to a place of their choice, or just spend time at home watching an interesting animal documentary or cricket match, playing board games, reading books or teaching a skill.
- The responsibilities assigned to the daughter-in-law in a joint family setup can be limited to those, which can be accomplished during daytime, while the spouse is away. Anything that holds her back at night in the kitchen or requires her to be there early in the morning could be considered with sympathy.
The point is not to spend money, ending in skyrocketing expenses. It is simply to keep the magnetism alive between the spouses, which will make them happier and better care-givers and providers for the family. It will also keep petty disputes at bay and nourish the communication. Physical appeal is essential for every marriage. Nanis and Dadis should prepare unmarried girls for it and help the married ones carry on with it.
The son should also be more available for his parents during daytime hours. (Wives should not complain about that, too). This will strike a balance. He can hire some help (part-time driver or maid) to enable his parents to stay more independent, without relying upon him and his wife in all daily matters. Adl (justice) has to be done with everyone.
A husband has to honour his parents, and the wife should help him in that. The wife should not be the cause of discord between him and them. When the parents will be taken care of and cherished, they will not mind the couple spending more quality time together.
Since a large number of family setups are joint family based, grandmothers also need to step up – their cooperation is a great help. Likewise, the girls need to be trained for becoming independent – they have to learn to prioritize work, manage time and work wisely for everyone’s benefit.