Can Romance & having Kids exist together?!?
Written on : 16th December, 2009
Assalamu Alaikum Parents,
“Please excuse any tones of sarcasm and/or annoyance you may get from me as I address this issue, as they may come across this way. Please be assured that these are merely tones of ‘passion’ as this is a topic that I am very much ‘moved-by’ and passionate about Insha Allah…..(Yours truly, Azizah)”
I’ve seen so many couples make the mistake of thinking that ‘Having Children too early will be the end of our romantic life!’. Worse yet, the elders are greatly to blame for this because in this generation, you would find your own parents telling you on your wedding day, “Wait a few years and then have children. You will ruin your marriage by having them too young!”. Astaghfirullah….
So what does this mean really? Does this mean that you were the biggest mistakes your parents ever made? Does it mean that children are a burden rather than a blessing? Or maybe it means that we should have ‘fun’ at the beginning of our marriage and then doom it to ultimate boredom when we are finally ready for kids?
Hummmm….Does this make sense? For the life of me, I just cannot understand this new mode of thought that seems to be dominating our society today!?!
I mean….have you seen a baby recently? Have you seen their soft little eyes, their amazingly soft skin, heard their gentle little ‘coo’ sounds and that cuddly feeling you get in your heart when you hold one…. Yes they cry, and yes they fuss sometimes or a lot, but come on people…the joy of bringing such a beautiful thing into this world far outweighs any other feeling you could possibly feel…
Too often, parents get all caught up in this dunya and its many stressful & distracting affairs and they forget this important feeling. They forget this blessing and they forget to be grateful to Allah(swt) for giving them the ability to even have children and give birth to life beyond their own….This is a very high honour and yet people treat it like a curse… Astaghfirullah…
Well…now that I’ve given my two-cents on the “Don’t have a baby right away” bit I can confidently say now, from experience and observation of other romantically successful parents, including my own parents, that “NO! Having children does not necessarily mean the romance is over”. Marriage and children has been around since forever and yet only now do we see the climbing divorce rates and this new trend of ‘children are burdens’ thinking. Only now do we see Muslim men suffering with the so-called ‘mid-life crisis’ and Muslim women with their ‘need to be free feminists’ and to be ‘equal to men in all ways’. And yet we ask ourselves what has happened to the Muslim home?!?
This new world where the housewife is frowned upon & considered ‘not good enough’ and dinner together as a family is considered ‘boring and uneventful’. This new world is the world of the self-destructive kuffar and NOT of the Muslims! We are becoming sucked into this culture and we need to understand that this ‘way of life’ is not meant for us… The only ‘way of life’ that we should be emulating is Islam and what our beloved Prophet Muhammad(saw) has brought to us through revelation from the Almighty Allah(Swt). The Qur’an & Sunnah(everything the Prophet(sal Allaahu alaiyhi wa sallam) said, did & allowed) are our only guides and only remedies for the damage this world today has inflicted on marriage & family life.
But before I give ideas on how to rekindle romance, it is essential that the foundations of your marriage are mended, STRONG and functional!
Here are some steps I have formulated to help achieve equal balance within the home:-
1) We must first fix ourselves and our priorities – It is important to any marriage that we, as the adults, figure out what is important to us and educate ourselves about Islam’s stance on marriage & children! As I said in another article entitled “Azizah’s Story”, separate boys night out & girls night out (with ‘friends’) has no place in married life(especially when you have children). You now have a spouse, a soul mate… This person is your new best friend and trusted companion who deserves your full attention and appreciation. Your children are your gifts from Allah(swt) and you need to treasure them just as you would treasure the most priceless of jewels. You need to sit down together as husband and wife and devise some kind of a plan as to where you would like to be in ten to twenty years; if Allah(swt) wills you are still on this earth. Don’t just live day-to-day with no ambition, no dreams and no goals. Otherwise you would just be ‘spinning top in mud’ as they say; meaning that you would just be going in routine circles and let’s face it…circles are the most boring and uneventful shapes…
2) Write your ‘Last Will & Testament’ together – Be sure to have separate wills, but still develop them together and plan things out together. No, this is not morbid and unromantic. As Muslims, writing a Will is a very important part of Islam. Having a clear and detailed ‘Will’ will keep both your minds at ease throughout your lives…constantly update it and ensure that your children’s affairs are cared for even after you death. This will bring about a sense of maturity and accomplishment to a couple. It’s the right start towards a healthy lifestyle and will help give you an idea, Inshaa Allah, of what you really want for yourselves, from each other and for your children.
3) Understand The role of the husband and wife – Although this has clearly become distorted in the ‘modern’ world, it is important that we delve back to our roots as Muslims and realise that men and women can never be ‘equal’ in the way that the western world so desperately desires. You cannot take two completely different beings and make them the same in all aspects of life. Rather, regarding equality, what is prescribed in Islam is fairness and granting each party their due rights which has been legislated clearly in the Qur’an & Sunnah (via authentic Ahadith). The following is one of my favorite descriptions of this dilemma:-
“Marriage is a bond held together by mutual rights and responsibilities for each of the two spouses. It is a partnership between them, and they are both required to play an active role in that partnership. The man is appointed as the leader of the household, and the woman as the supportive helper whose expertise in many areas cannot be handled by the man. Some of the women who have been corrupted by the Western ideologies want to be the leaders of the family. But only chaos would prevail in such a family where the correct and natural standards are reversed”
(Extracted from the book: “The Fragile Vessels: Rights & Obligations between spouses in Islaam” by Muhammad al-Jibaly)
4) The way you budget says a lot about a couple and how they live – We must remember that the wife’s earnings (if the husband allows her to work) and wealth that belongs to her outside of what the husband gives her, is hers! And it cannot be touched under Allah(swt)’s perfect law, unless she gives of it to him willingly. The husband, on the other hand, is required to take of his wealth and care for his wife and children.
Jabir(r.a.) reported that Allah’s Messenger(sal Allaahu alaiyhi wa sallam) said: “Have taqwa of Allah in regard to your women. Indeed, you took them (in marriage) through a trust with Allah, and had access to their private parts by Allah’s word (permission). They have a right on you- that you provide them with food and clothing in a fitting manner.” – Recorded by Muslim and Abu Dawud as part of Jabir’s long hadith describing the Prophet’s(sal Allaahu alaiyhi wa sallam) Hajj.
I must also add, from observing several couples and their budgeting methods, that a husband and wife CANNOT budget their household finances as if they are two strangers living under the same roof. You cannot give $300 to mom, $300 for dad and $2000 for bills and then expect not to inform each other of what purchases are made with ‘your’ part of the money. This firstly leads to selfish spending as there is little, or no, joint-decision making. It leads to suspicion between spouses when each party has no idea what the other is spending their money behind. It leads to impulsive and unnecessary spending, as there is little or no collaboration on what purchases NEED to be made and which purchases are just frivolous and/or unnecessary. Nothing is wrong with indulging a little now and then of course, but these impulses should be joint decisions and not separate ventures. This type of budgeting also leads to minimal saving as you are now trying to divide you money amongst four adults (father, mother, children & bills) as opposed to one family unit. But ladies, please remember this important hadith when you are spending of your husband’s wealth:
Aisha (r.a.) reported that Hind Bint ‘Utbah came to Allah’s Messenger (sal Allaahu alaiyhi wa sallam) and said “O Allah’s Messenger! Indeed, Abu Sufyan is a stingy man. He does not give me what would suffice me and my children – except for that which I take without his knowledge.” The Prophet (sal Allaahu alaiyhi wa sallam) said: “Take of his money, in a reasonable manner as much as would suffice you and your children”. – Recorded by Muslim (Hind Bint Utbah was Mu’Awiyah’s mother)
5) Weigh the joys of ‘family life’ against the joys of this dunya (world). If ‘joys of this dunya’ wins your argument, something is wrong…There is something missing in your home life…something is broken. Just always remember on a day-to-day basis that two wrongs don’t make a right and two quarters don’t make a whole. Therefore when you give something to your spouse, give with your whole heart and when you start something, be sure to finish it. Don’t be halfway, don’t be incomplete and don’t leave for tomorrow what you can do today! Fix things when they are ‘broken’… NOT when they are ‘rotting’…
“May Allah bring us closer as husbands & wives…Ameen”