Is there such a thing as a perfect marriage? No. Just as there is no perfect person, a perfect marriage cannot exist. However, as Muslims, we are commanded to do all things with ‘IHsaan’, to the very best of our ability.
To perfect our recitation, we take tajweed classes with a qualified teacher. And to sharpen our work skills, we take courses from experts. When we are cooking for a special event or guest, we try our best to make a perfect meal.
Life for the Muslim is like that: realizing perfection is for Allah, but striving to do our best. Perfection is the goal and the way of working is excellence.
So when we begin the process of getting married, or we are already married trying to improve our relationship, we aim for perfection. To help in that task, we get guidance from the following 3 ayaat from the Quran:
Destined for Comfort
“And one of His signs is that He created for you spouses from among yourselves so that you may find comfort in them. And He has placed between you compassion and mercy. Surely in this are signs for people who reflect.”
Surah ar Rum, 30:21
When Allah mentions that something is a sign, it means that we need to pay special attention and focus on it from all angles. At the beginning and the end of this ayah, Allah mentions His creation of spouses for comfort being a sign for reflection.
That Allah has created spouses for us means that we were destined to be married to our spouse at the exact time Allah decreed, for the length of time that Allah decreed. It can help us understand and treasure the time we have while married to our spouses. When we reflect that Allah, who is the One in control of all things and Who is the Most Wise has decreed our marriage, we can be relaxed and expect good from it.
The intention of the creation of our spouses is so that we find comfort in them. When can we be comfortable with someone else? When we trust them, and we know they trust us, we can find comfort being with them. When the harshness of this world creates tension, it melts away because of the presence of our spouse. What a beautiful relationship this sentiment creates!
After Allah tells us to reflect and focus on the comfort He creates our spouses for, and after mentioning that they were made for us to find comfort in, He finishes describing the marriage relationship as one in which He places compassion and mercy. This is the basis of a great marriage: being merciful and compassionate. If the husband and wife are compassionate and merciful to each other, then even at times when there are disagreements or challenges, hearts will still be soft.
And what does a soft heart need? Protection.
Protection from Harm
“…Your spouses are a garment for you as you are for them.”
Surah al Baqarah (2:197)
Consider the many things that clothing does for the Muslim: helps in modesty, protects from the elements, beautifies, and brings honor.
After you marry, your second half is with you and you no longer desire to be with others, so being married helps a man or woman with their modesty. When they are attracted to someone outside their marriage, they lower their gaze and remember they have someone who is halal for them waiting at home.
When you are married, your spouse protects you. He or she never says anything behind your back, and is committed to your marriage unlike a girlfriend or boyfriend. The marriage contract and the social commitment protects you from heartbreak and drama, as you have an agreement to try your best to stay married in peace and mercy.
How your spouse can beautify you is that you finally have one place to live out the beautiful loving thoughts you have had up till you got married. Your heart is at peace, and your desires are met, and your soul is content which makes you a more beautiful person inside and out.
Being married has a special status to it: it means you’ve graduated to a certain adult status that your single friends have not reached. Being a wife or a husband has a noble status attached to it in Islam. You have more responsibilities of course, but that means you have more opportunities for good deeds and rewards.
Connection with Grace
“If you anticipate a split between them, appoint a mediator from his family and another from hers. If they desire reconciliation, Allah will restore harmony between them. Surely Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware.”
Surah an Nisa (4:35)
Of the most beautiful points of Islamic marriages is the involvement of the family before, during and after the marriage actually takes place. The protocols set in place by the Quran and Sunnah in the married life of two people are the best way for marriages to be successful, and end amicably if ending the marriage must take place.
A point to note from this ayah is the phrase, ‘If they desire reconciliation’, meaning that Allah will allow a husband and wife to live happily together when they both wish to do so. Problems can be worked out when both parties are willing to get to the final goal: marital bliss. Compromise can take place from both parties equally when they wish to solve their problems.
When challenges become larger than the couple, they are to involve people from one side and the other of their families. This is such a fair and merciful consultation: people from the outside of the marriage who love and know the husband and wife will support the couple. They will listen and be impartial and try to help the marriage stay together.
We don’t claim that every marriage that is forged between two Muslims will be successful in the worldly sense, a long-lasting marriage until death separates the couple. However, the Quran dictates the beautiful manners of how to exist in a marriage, and even how to end it so the couple may be successful in this life and the next.