The Golden Rule in Marriage
by Megan Wyatt, Founder of Wives of Jannah
There is a beautiful hadith which many of us are familiar with but we rarely think about within the context of marriage.
Anas narrated that the Prophet (saw) said:"None of you believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself." (1)
This hadith is version of the golden rule where we treat others as we’d like to be treated. Yet, it’s much more powerful than that because this hadith equates our faith, our level of iman, with how much we want someone around us to have the same things we love.
Your spouse has an ever greater status in your life than “your brother” or “your sister” in Islam because of the level of closeness and the importance of the relationship.
Yet one of the most common relationship patterns I coach people to move beyond is the pattern of withholding love and kind actions towards their spouse because they want to get, first, what it is they could potentially give.
If you see yourself as a really giving and kind person to others but not as much with your husband it’s time to rethink your relationship strategy. He isn’t perfect. He never will be perfect and he is going to do things that annoy you and upset you from time to time.If you live with anyone day in and day out, year after year, I promise you they will also annoy you and upset you.
The fact that things aren’t perfect isn’t a reason for you not to show up as your best self and give the best you can give, for the sake of Allah, in your relationship.
Don’t hold back on goodness. Don’t hold back on love. Don’t hold back on loving actions.
Be the person you want to be in front of Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala because it’s the person you are. The person you are, and will become, isn’t defined by what your husband does or doesn’t do. It’s defined by who you decide to be.
Do your best to be a mirror of the person you want your husband to be for you.
In other words, want for him what you truly want for yourself.
“I’m always nice but he doesn’t pay enough attention to me.”
You might be thinking this as you read this post. I hear you. I hear you loud and clear and I understand that a good marriage needs two people both making the same effort to treat each other well and take care of each others needs. I absolutely hear you.
One of the things I help women do in my coaching program is help them develop the voice, words, and opportunity to express what they need more of in their marriages. If this is you, and you feel upset reading this then there is a good chance you aren’t feeling fulfilled in your relationship right now. That most definitely needs some to be changed.
I want you to feel loved, supported, and cherished in your relationship. If that’s not how things are, yet, then consider what steps you could take to help things change. If what you’ve been doing isn’t working for you, it’s time for a new approach. *
But do consider the fact that when you do something for your husband, while loving him for the sake of Allah, you are also nurturing your iman.
You are being encouraged to be selfless and giving in a way that’s consistent with what you hope he would be for you.
Selflessness doesn’t mean, just to clarify, doing something that is harmful for you.
It means to see the person and opportunity in front of you to give love to the person you love for no other reason than love itself and seeking the love of Allah.
Yes, it’s a high standard. Islam sets high standards for all of us to aim for. The bar is high but the bar brings about rewards in this life and in the Hereafter.
Here is a simple and sweet example which I found in the hadith which reflects wanting for spouse what you want for yourself.
Narrated Jabir ibn Abdullah: A woman said to the Prophet (ﷺ): Invoke blessing on me as well as on my husband. The Prophet (ﷺ) said: May Allah send blessing on you and your husband. (2)
As you go through your day and week think about small but loving actions you can bring into your marriage and do them knowing that every single kind action is being done for the sake of Allah and seeking to perfect your own character and iman.
“And those who believe and do good will be the residents of Paradise. They will be there forever.” (Qur’an: 2:82)