A marriage is a unique fusion of two people, coming together and forming a new whole. From their two souls, they form the new soul of their union.
For this union to flourish, it necessarily needs both individuals to be clearly defined. In this individuality, they bring life to something beautiful.
A marriage where both husband and wife have clearly defined boundaries flourishes honourably.
Let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
A marriage flourishes when both husband and wife clearly and lovingly define their boundaries. In doing that, they both understand the other, understand what is important to the other, of what is acceptable in the relationship or not – it closes the door on emotional guessing games.
When our needs are met, we thrive
A marriage thrives when both spouses honour their needs and respect their values whilst honouring and respecting the needs of the other.
Here are some of the main areas we need to ‘protect’ with healthy boundaries, and how you can protect these ‘treasures’:
Your Home, Your Sanctuary
- Make your home is a safe haven for both of you, a place where you can find foster love and tranquillity
‘And among His signs is that He created for you spouses from among yourselves That you may find tranquillity in them;’
- Ensure you have sufficient privacy in your private living spaces if you live with others. At the very least, ensure your bedroom has a lock and family members knock before they enter. A separate bathroom and living room is wonderful!
- Ensure that other family members honour your couple’s privacy, as well as space for downtime. When living with others, spending time alone together is especially important – try to go out together as a couple regularly.
- Work towards staying within your limits, so that you don’t burn out.
- Ensure that you take time out for yourself so that your energy levels can be replenished. Daily (yes, daily) self-care is a must!
- See a doctor or other health professional when you are in need of medical help, as soon as possible.
- A healthy marriage is on when you are safe from abuse – regardless of what type. Ensure that you work on eliminating abusive behaviour by setting down limits firmly on how you are treated.
- It is vital that both spouses honour each other’s need for sexual intimacy, as well as respecting when they are not available due to any health/emotional reasons. It is so upsetting for women when they have bitter, long-standing fights with their husbands. Then, typically, a husband wants to be sexually intimate – one that is void of any emotional connection. It makes women feel terrible. If you are going through difficult patches, try your best to resolve them before being intimate.
- Porn/Affairs are destroyers of relationships – if your spouse has headed in that direction, it’s time to let them know that it is not acceptable to you.
- If you are a woman whose husband wants to take another wife, ask yourself what your values and limit are with regards to this and communicate them clearly to him.
‘The adultery of the eye is the lustful look.’
- Work towards a parenting partnership with your spouse. Think about what your strengths and weaknesses are as a parent, and those of your spouse. See how you can create a partnership where you can both bring your strengths to the table.
- Reflect on what is important to you with regards to how you want to parent your children and what you need to do to live these values in a practical sense.
- If your spouse is parenting your children in a way that goes against your values. Consider whether or not these are deal breakers for you – and if they are, communicate this to your spouse – and work on ways that you can come to a compromise. or win-win situation.
- a family flourishes when they have the autonomy to be a unique couple, regardless of what other family members think. Work on establishing your own ‘groove’ as a couple.
- Nourish your family values – go out regularly as a couple, and as a family too.
- If you have extended family members who want you to do things their way – consider whether it is useful for your marriage. Is this something that both you and your spouse want? If it isn’t, then it’s best not to let those influences enter your home.
‘O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even if it be against yourselves, your parents, and your relatives, or whether it is against the rich or the poor…’
- You will only be able to be your best self when you manage your time effectively, prioritising what is important to you, so that you can find you calling and purpose in the world and express it effectively.
- Do you wish you had more time so you could pursue your dreams? Make a list of all the things that you have to do on a daily basis, and all the things you would really like to do. Consider if you are doing anything that is not really that important and consider delegating it or leaving it out of your life – this can free up time to do things you really want to do.
- If your time limits are not being honoured, then discuss this with your spouse.
- one of the beauties of our religion is that there is no compulsion for anyone – as you grow and flourish in your religion, you will increase your own connection with Allah and His Messenger.
- The paths to Allah are many – see which paths resonate with the most. Do you want to spend more time reciting the Quran? Do you want to give/do more for charity? Do you want to do more for your community? Do you want to spend some time regularly attending a class? Give yourself time to flourish in the areas that call out to you.
- While it is a beautiful thing to have both spouses on the same page Islamically, it often doesn’t always work like that. You may like one scholar, and your spouse may like another one. And that is okay.
There shall be no compulsion in the religion
- a respectful marriage is one where both husband and wife have their own desires and opinions that are respected.
- Consider what you like/don’t like, and what your opinion is on things that matter to you. Are you living a life in accordance to these desires? Are you available to express your opinions easily? Start stretching your communication muscles!
- If both of you desire the same thing and have the same opinions, then that’s great! But if you find that you differ, give yourself permission to do things your way and honour the way your spouse does things – unless they are deal breakers for you. A word of caution on deal breakers – if you have a lot of them, life may get very difficult to navigate.
Any person with greatest flexibility of behaviour will control the situation.
- A marriage thrives when both spouses are free to dream!
- Reflect on what your desires and wishes are and own them. We are often ‘called’ to particular dreams when they are part of the reason we were created.
There is only one way: Go within. Search for the cause, find the impetus that bids you write. Put it to this test: Does it stretch out its roots in the deepest place of your heart? Can you avow that you would die if you were forbidden to write? Above all, in the most silent hour of your night, ask yourself this: Must I write? Dig deep into yourself for a true answer. And if it should ring its assent, if you can confidently meet this serious question with a simple, “I must,” then build your life upon it. It has become your necessity. Your life, in even the most mundane and least significant hour, must become a sign, a testimony to this urge.
Letters to a Young Poet – Rainer Marie Rilke
- It is always helpful of both husbands and wives have money to spend on what they need and want.
- Consider making a spending plan and working out how much you ideally need each month for your personal things. That could be clothes, hygiene, haircuts, gym classes, entertainment, charity, coaching/therapy and even for some regular savings. This will give you an indication on how much money you would be happy to put away just for yourself.
- Couples benefit from discussing finances and how best they can plan their spending to ensure both spouses have enough money to spend on the family’s and their individual needs – autonomously.
A family where each person’s needs are being met is one where each member can thrive. If your needs are not being met, then express that clearly and lovingly to your spouse. In doing so, you are showing them how to treat you. When you honour your needs and put them first, you show up as your best self and allow your spouse to do the same.
Cultivating a Respectful Culture
If you are finding you’re are missing some boundaries in your marriage – then let your spouse know. Tell them what is important to you, what your limits are, what are you are willing/unwilling to do.
If your spouse is doing something that is violating any of your boundaries, let them know. Using the SESE formula, let them know what you would like from them, and the positive impact that would have on your relationship.
If your boundaries are not honoured by your spouse, then it’s time to be firm and let them know what they need to do for the sake of your relationship. Let them know what must/has to happen for things to improve. Let your spouse know what your deal breakers are, so they can evaluate how important their marriage to you is.
One of the fundamentals of establishing healthy boundaries is to uphold them oneself. It will be hard for your spouse to respect your need to be spoken to respectfully if your use abusive language towards them when you are arguing.
Sometimes, especially when establishing new boundaries, your spouse may fall short of honouring them. If this happens, let them know. Communicate any boundary violations to your spouse as a reminder – sometimes even the best of us need reminders.
‘And keep reminding for reminding benefits the believers’
Adh Dhariyat (51:55)
The good news is that when we put down healthy boundaries in calm and loving way, taking out all of the drama and highly-string emotions, it provides your spouse with a blueprint of how to treat you.
To summarise, the more you uphold your boundaries, the more respectful your marriage will become, giving you and your spouse to connect mor deeply, with both of you thriving in your unique design. In doing this, you can become an honourable couple – one that is respectful and inspires respect.
Self-Respect is the habit that we are cultivating in the month of October in the Cherished Seasons course, where we spend each month cultivating one habit from The Four Traits of a Cherished Muslimah. If you would like to nourish your life or relationships in a way that gains you Allah’s love, then come and join us! Check out what’s happening on my coaching platform: Cherished Muslimah.
  The SESE Formula, The Four Traits of a Cherished Muslimah – for getting rapport before making requests