The first few years of marriage are crucial for establishing the foundation for your marriage. If your marriage is rooted in love, kindness, and mercy, your relationship will be able to stay strong in the face of any adversity.
On the flip side, if the foundation is weak because of mistrust, selfishness, and hate, your marriage will be built on shaky ground and the slightest challenge will pull your relationship apart.
I have been blessed to be surrounded by Muslim women who are aspiring every day to live their lives according to Islam. They have imparted invaluable advice to me over the years on different areas of life, but specifically on married life.
These tips, and others derived from psychological research, are practical solutions to many of the problems that can arise early in a marriage. Adopting them into your marriage can greatly improve the quality of your married life.
1. Show and express gratitude.
Be grateful to Allah (swt) for blessing you with your spouse. Pray 2 rakahs of gratitude every day and ask for their health and wellbeing. These are small habits that go a long way as it is only He who can create lasting love and mercy between you and your spouse.
Express gratitude to your spouse as well for everything they do for you, from small everyday gestures to bigger ones. Don’t ever let them feel as if their efforts are being taken for granted.
2. Prioritize your marriage.
Since these initial years are key in establishing the foundation for the rest of your marriage, whenever a choice must be made between your spouse and someone or something else, choose your spouse. Consistently show them that they are now your #1 priority.
3. Take out time for smartphone-free bonding.
Keep your phone out of sight and out of mind when it’s just you and your spouse. Research on the role of excessive phone usage in leading to divorce is alarming. Put away the phone and give your spouse your undivided attention. Social media can wait but your time as newlyweds will never come back.
4. Have an attitude of serving and giving.
It is only through giving that we feel fulfilled and content in life. Getting can give us a temporary high, but only giving brings lasting joy.
Don’t keep a mental track of who owes who what. Instead, give without limit, out of love, kindness, and compassion. Ensure your partner feels loved through small but consistent gestures of affection.
5. Go easy on yourself.
Take your time adjusting to your new routine and life. Don’t panic if things seem overwhelming initially. Humans have a remarkable ability to adapt to change, so use this new stage of life as an opportunity for growth and personal development.
6. Communicate well.
Don’t let misunderstandings fester into grudges and ill feelings. We’ve all heard the advice – “don’t let your partner go to sleep angry”.
I’d modify this to add that even if you’re too angry to resolve the entire issue that very night, at least reach such a place of reconciliation that you’re both able to go to sleep having reached a truce.
The sooner you both learn to resolve your conflicts gently and lovingly, the stronger your relationship will be.
7. Keep your expectations low.
Don’t panic if everything is not perfect or 100% the way you imagined it. Movies, novels, dramas, and social media all have us thinking about some ideal Happy Ever After that happens as soon as you get married, but life doesn’t work like that.
Marriage is a source of great happiness and comfort but that doesn’t mean it’s effortless. Like any good thing in life worth having, marriage requires hard work, dedication, and patience.
8. Devote time to self-care.
If you don’t periodically take time to replenish your energy, you’ll eventually run out of supply and it will come out in ugly ways, often unintentionally. Take a few minutes out every day to recharge yourself by devoting time to something that makes you happy.
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9. Create simple romantic rituals.
Romantic rituals keeps the spark alive in the mundane routine of everyday life. It can be something as simple as making breakfast together every morning or taking a walk every evening to catch up on each other’s day. Did you know that taking an evening walk with your spouse is a Sunnah of the Prophet (saw)?
10. Eat your meals together.
This is another established Sunnah of the Prophet (saw). Few things bring the hearts as close together as sharing a meal does. If you and your spouse can develop the habit of eating from the same plate and using the same glass, that’s even closer to the Sunnah and will go a long way in strengthening the bond between you two.
11. Have the same sleep and wake schedule.
Make it a habit to go to bed and wake up together at the same time every day. Consistently striving to have the same schedule will give you both plenty of quality time to spend with each other.
12. Avoid expressing love through social media.
When you’re overcome with the urge to express your love for your partner through social media – don’t. Buy them a card instead, write down what you’re feeling, and gift it to them. This will be more meaningful to your partner and keep your marriage safe from the evil eye at the same time.
13. Keep God at the center of your marriage.
Last and most important – keep your relationship with God at the center of your marriage.
Don’t neglect your relationship with Allah (swt) in the whirlwind of your new role and the responsibilities that accompany it. Set aside time to meditate and remember Him.
With sincere intentions and a mindset focused on attaining success in both worlds, you can easily weather the challenges that the first year of married life brings.
I hope you found these tips useful. Which piece of marriage advice have you received that you found to be the most helpful? Let me know by leaving a comment below!