By getting married you are not just getting a wife, you are getting your whole world. From now until the rest of your days your wife will be your partner, your companion, and your best friend.
She will share your moments, your days, and your years. She will share your joys and sorrows, your successes and failures, your dreams and your fears. When you are ill, she will take the best care of you; when you need help, she will do all she can for you; when you have a secret, she will keep it; when you need advice, she will give you the best advice. She will always be with you: when you wake up in the morning the first thing your eyes will see will be hers; during the day, she will be with you, if for some time she is not with you by her physical body, she will be thinking of you, praying for you with all her heart, mind, and soul; when you go to sleep at night, the last thing your eyes will see will be her; and when you are asleep you will still see her in your dreams. In short, she will be your whole world and you will be her whole world.
The best description that I personally have ever read describing the closeness of the spouses to each other is the Qur’anic verse which says: “They are your garments and you are their garments.” (Surah Al Baqarah 2:187). Indeed, spouses are like garments to each other because they provide one another with the protection, the comfort, the cover, the support, and the adornment that garments provide to humans. Just imagine a journey in the winter of Alaska without garments! Our spouses provide us with the same level of comfort, protection, cover, and support in the journey of our lives on this earth as garments would do in the Alaskan journey.
The relationship between the spouses is the most amazing of all human relations: the amount of love and affection, intimacy and closeness, mercy and compassion, peace and tranquility that fills the hearts of the spouses is simply inexplicable. The only rational explanation for these most amazing of all human feelings is described by Allah Most High when He says: “And Allah has made for you Mates (and Companions of your own nature …” (Surah Al Nahl 16:72)
Only our Almighty Allah Most High in His Infinite Power, Boundless Mercy, and Great Wisdom can create and ingrain these amazing and blessed feelings in the hearts of the spouses. In fact Allah Most High is reminding those who search for His signs in the universe that these feelings in the hearts of the spouses are among the signs that should guide humans to His existence as He says in the Qur’an, “And among His signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves that you may dwell in tranquility with them and He has put love and mercy between your hearts: verily in that are signs for those who reflect.” (Surah Al Rum 30:21)
But Allah Most High knows that the human heart is not a static entity, it is sometimes weak and at times dynamic. Feelings can and do change with time. Love may wither and fade away. The marital bond might weaken if not properly cared for. Happiness in marriage cannot be taken for granted; continuous happiness requires constant giving from both sides. For the tree of marital love to remain alive and keep growing, the soil must be sustained, maintained, watered and nurtured.
Remember that our Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) had found the time to go out to the desert and race with his wife Aisha. She outran him but later after she had gained some weight, he outran her. Remember that the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) took his wife to watch the young Ethiopians playing and dancing their folk dances*. The show of emotions is necessary to keep the marital bond away from rusting and disintegrating. Remember that you will be rewarded by Allah Most High for any emotions you show to your wife as the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said “One would be rewarded for anything that he does seeking the pleasure of Allah even the food that he puts in the mouth of his wife”
Never underestimate the importance of seemingly little things as putting food in your wife’s mouth, opening the car door for her, and so on. Remember that the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) used to extend his knee to his wife to assist her up to ride the camel.
Try to always find some time for both of you to pray together. Strengthening the bond between you and Allah Most High is the best guarantee that your own marital bond would always remain strong. Having peace with Allah Most High will always result in having more peace at home.
Remember that the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) gave glad tidings for those couples who wake up at night to pray together. The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) even urged the spouse who rises up first to wake the other spouse up, even by splashing cold water on his/her face.
Always try your best to be good to your wife by words and by deeds. Talk to her, smile to her, seek her advice, ask for her opinion, spend quality time with her and always remember that the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “The best of you are those who are best to their wives.”
Finally, it is common that spouses vow to love and honor their spouses until death do them part. I do believe that this vow is good or even great, but not enough! It is not enough that you love your wife. You have to love what she loves as well. Her family, her loved ones must also become your loved ones. Don’t be like my colleague who was unhappy about his wife’s parents coming to visit for few weeks. He candidly said to her “I don’t like your parents.” Naturally she angrily looked at him straight in the eye and said, “I don’t like yours either.” Also, it is not enough that you love her until death do you part. Love should never end and we do believe there is life after death where those who did righteousness in this world will be joined by their spouses (Surah Al Zukhruf 43:70) and offspring.
The best example in this regard is the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) whose love for Khadija, his wife of 25 years, extended to include all those she loved; this love of his continued even after her death. It was many years after her death and he never forgot her and whenever a goat was slaughtered in his house he would send portions of it to Khadija’s family.
* The “folk dances” referred to here are the traditional African spear dances mentioned in the hadith of ‘Aisha in Bukhari when she (Allah be pleased with her) said: “It was the day of ‘Id when black people would play with leather shields and spears. Either I requested Allah’s Messenger (saws) or he himself asked me whether I would like to see the display. I replied in the affirmative.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 4.155)