Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari
Question: What can a wife expect out of her husband? Can she have expectations about him surprising her on occasion, getting her gifts and saying kind words to her?
Answer: In the Name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful
Thank you for your question. I pray this Ramadan finds you well.
Allah Most High says, “And of His signs is that He created for you, of yourselves, spouses, that you might repose in them, and He has set between you love and mercy. Surely in that are signs for a people who consider.” (30:21)
The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “The best of you is the one who is best to his family and I am the best among you to my family.” (Tirmidhi)
The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, also said, “When one of you has love for his brother, he should inform him that he loves him.” (Bukhari, Al-Adab al-Mufrad) [Note: This advice also applies to spouses.]
And, finally, “Give gifts and you will love one another.” (Bukhari, Al-Adab al-Mufrad)
All of the above establish that love, mercy, and generosity are part of a healthy relationship. In describing the Islamic marriage, Shaykh Hamza Yusuf relates that husbands and wives should avoid treating intimacy as a perfunctory routine devoid of spiritual meaning, love, and tenderness. The principle is that a marriage has to be sustained beyond the level of just being concerned with one’s physical needs.
The emotional, psychological, and spiritual needs of both husband and wife must be met. Research shows that it is the small gestures–the loving words, the kind glance, the warm smile, the tokens of appreciation, the small gifts–that add up to huge benefits in the marriage relationship. These small but meaningful gestures show regard and open the couple’s hearts to each other, setting the stage for deeper and more satisfying intimacy. In other words, these small things keep the romance alive.
If you don’t find yourself receiving these things in your marriage, then give them. Insha’Allah, when your husband sees the extra mile you are going, he will reciprocate. If he doesn’t, then tactfully express to him that your marriage will be strengthened and joy will be created in your heart if he could be more forthcoming with loving gestures. Feel free to share with him the above Qur’an and hadith references.
May Allah Ta’ala facilitate love between you and your husband,
Ramadan 12, 1433
August 1, 2012