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Article appeared Friday, April 5th, 2019 in The News Today, Bangladesh

The Revelation (565) yousuf mahbubul Islam, PhD

Marriages often break up – sometimes soon after the marriage ceremony. What is it that
went wrong? Was the match not considered properly? Did the parties rush into the
marriage without much thought of the future?, etc. So, is it important to find the right type
of person for marriage? What should we look for in a companion for marriage?

If we look for clues in the World Wide Web, i.e., the Internet, we would find a variety of
causes on why marriages break up. The website Essence {1} discusses 8 most
overlooked reasons why marriages fail. The first reason given is Lack of Investment –
not money, but investment of time and attention given to the spouse. Before marriage
often a lot of time is invested in each other. Afterwards, a spouse may be taken for
granted. Another website, LIFE {2} turns this problem on its head and states that
marriage isn’t for you – its for her, i.e., one should marry only if one wants to make
his/her spouse happy. Not because he/she wants to make himself or herself happy. Thus
it proposes a commitment for investing time and attention in each other while entering
into the marriage bond. Both parties entering into a marriage to make the other happy
provides a perfect formula for success of a marriage. What can people who want to
make others happy be called?

The website LIFE {2} also cites poor knowledge of self as a problem. Parties not
knowing their own personal choices, i.e., what they themselves prefer and expect from
the other. The article In Honor of Women and Relationships {3} tries to look at this
problem a bit more in depth by examining the general nature of men as opposed to that
of women. It suggests that the man-woman relationship in a marriage can be like likened
to that of a pilot and navigator. This is because of short-term and long-term views of the
partners. While a man might consider a relationship before marriage as a temporary
one, women are likely to have a long-term view – they may actively have considered the
man as a lifetime partner. Conflict is caused when it is assumed that the other person
has the same or similar views. It may help if each partner asks himself or herself the
question, why do I want to enter the bond of marriage? Or equally ask the question to
their partner, why do you want to marry me? If the intentions are selfless, i.e., the answer
is anywhere close to the thought; I want to make the other happy, it makes for an
objective that, if followed, should have the makings of a successful marriage.

What do the Holy Scriptures say about marriage? The website The Knot {4} presents 38
Bible Verses on marriage and love. Among these, it quotes the following:
“For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He
gave up his life for her.” [Ephesians, 5:25] {4}

We see the theme of dedicating oneself to their partner repeats itself. The Al-Qur’an
summarizes this with the following Verse – an encompassing Verse that is applicable for
all ages.

24.32 “Marry those among you who are single or the virtuous (righteous),
ones among your slaves male or female: if they should be poor, God will
enrich them out of His bounty: for God encompasses all and He knows all
So a person who develops himself/herself into a righteous or virtuous human being
automatically becomes eligible for marriage, if single or unmarried. Among the synonyms
of virtuous included in the dictionary are upright, moral, upstanding, righteous, good,
ethical, etc. Looking for goodness and developing oneself as a good person provides a
complete formula and code of life for surviving both in the current world and the
Hereafter. Can a person who would like to dedicate himself/herself to a spouse be
classified as virtuous? A righteous person is one who also dedicates himself/herself to

How should one approach a virtuous person for marriage?

“…seek (them in marriage) with gifts from your property desiring chastity not lust.
Seeing that you derive benefit from them give them their dowers as prescribed;
but if after a dower is prescribed you agree mutually (to vary it) there is no blame
on you and God is All-Knowing, All-Wise.” [4.24]

This Verse from the Al-Qur’an helps develop one’s attitude towards his desired spouse.
The dowry promised to the bride may be varied, but this must be mutually agreed. For
those who are not well off God recommends the following.

24.33 “Let those who find not the means for marriage keep themselves
chaste until God enriches them from His bounty. And if any of your slaves
ask for a deed in writing (to enable them to earn their freedom for a certain
sum) give them such a deed if you know there to be any good in them; and
give them something from yourselves out of the means that God has given
to you. But force not your slave girls to prostitution when they desire
chastity in order that you may make a gain in the goods of this life. But if
anyone compels them yet after such compulsion is God is Oft-Forgiving
Most Merciful (to them).”
God knows what is in our hearts, so we should be patient till such time that He provides
the means to marry. Once the conditions of marriage have been met, God gives the
following Verse to indicate the nature of relationship that should prevail between
husband and wife.
“…They are your garments. And you are their garments…” [2.187]

What does God mean by this analogy? In what ways does a garment benefit or support
a person? A garment provides protection from the weather, it hides our shame, it
absorbs our sweat, it guards our modesty, it portrays status, it reflects our moods and
tastes, etc., so must the mutual relationship of a husband and wife. For example, any
conversation or disagreement between wife and husband should remain private and be
resolved mutually – a garment absorbs and does not react. These guidelines provide a
code for a happy and peaceful married life.
“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.”

24.34 “We have already sent down to you verses making things clear an
illustration from (the story of) people who passed away before you and an
admonition for those who fear (God).”
Our Wise Creator has completed His Guidance for those who believe and fear Him.
{1} https://www.essence.com/love/relationships/most-overlooked-reasons-marriages-fail/
{2} https://www.huffpost.com/entry/marriage-isnt-for-you_n_4209837
{3} https://www.scribd.com/document/27670000/In-Honor-of-Women-Relationships
{4} https://www.theknot.com/content/bible-verses-about-marriage