Her hands still show faint remnants of the intricate patterns of henna applied on the day of her nikah.
Their bedroom still emanates a whiff of fragrance of wilting roses still majestic in their ‘faded glory’.
The customary blushes, shyness, nervousness and social awkwardness still mark their nouveau relationship.
The initial days and nights after a wedding are a blur of activity for a newly married couple, as they respond to invitations by close family and friends to dinner parties, lunches and other social get-togethers with culturally resplendent bridal splendor.
As the newly married husband and wife get sucked into the whirlpool of wedding-related activities, alternating between intimate nocturnal moments and frenzied daytime decking up and dining, it is easy to slip into heedlessness of God and laid-backness regarding acts of worship.
There are a few things that the new bride and groom can do in order to prevent their marriage from creating a distance between them and God on an individual level. The answer lies in ‘joining forces’ to become each other’s pillar of support in staying closely connected to God during this blissful and blessed milestone of their young lives.
1. Praying Together
Late night dinners and frequent intimacy should not become an excuse to miss prayers, especially the pre-dawn Fajr prayer. The bride and groom should use their cell phones to put alarms for prayers that are spaced out in time, so that if one of them shuts off their alarm, rolls over and promptly goes back to sleep, the subsequent alarm set by the other spouse can wake them both up. It should be a priority for them that no prayer is ever missed when they are in each other’s company.
Many a young man who used to sleeping through Fajr during single life, has been known to reform as soon as he married a righteous, whose wife starts waking him up for Fajr when she gets up to pray herself.
It is for this reason that Prophet Muhammad has wisely and emphatically given the advice below to all single Muslim men:
“A woman may be married for four things: her wealth, her lineage, her beauty, or for her religion. Choose the religious one, may your hands be rubbed with dust (i.e., may you prosper).” (Ibn Majah)
2. Daily Reviewing the Quran Together
A few minutes per day should be set aside by the newlywed couple to review the Quran together, preferably early in the morning, before the day’s flurry of activities begin.
In order to help themselves remember to connect to the Quran every day, the husband and wife should recall how, innumerable times in the past when they were single, they used to pray with extra khushu’ (concentration), and recite the Quran with extra concentration, in order to earnestly supplicate to God afterwards for a righteous spouse; for the halal means of satisfying their biological urges; for completing half of their faith.
They should recall the many hours they spent fantasizing about what their future spouse would be like, and what kind of romantic dates they’d go on with them to fully enjoy married life.
Now that all those dreams are coming true, with romantic walks on sun-kissed beaches and cozy dinners at quaint restaurants, the bride and groom should try to consistently remember and thank God for granting them what they asked Him for in their dua’.
And, as a means of thanking Him, they should try to study the Quran together on a daily basis, reviewing the Arabic recitation, translation, and short exegesis of a few verses. One of them can start this review with recitation and tajweed, after which they can take turns in reading from the meanings of the text, gleaning practical lessons for their lives from those verses.
In this way, God will purify and bless the love that they have for each other, by transforming it into the selfless love that is purely for the sake of Allah.
3. Observing the Islamic Etiquette of Intimacy
A brother once attended a wedding at the masjid that was convened on a Friday after Jumu’ah prayers. In the khutbah, the imam exhorted the importance of a bride and groom never missing an obligatory prayer due to physical intimacy/conjugal relations.
He also claimed that when a husband and wife allow an obligatory prayer to be missed due to lovemaking, and if this intimacy results in a pregnancy, then the child that is born is disobedient and unrighteous.
The newly married husband and wife should take utmost care in following the Islamic etiquette of sexual intimacy i.e. starting with the prophetic supplication, and culminating with a timely ghusl (avoiding dozing off in a state of sexual impurity). They should also beware of straying into deviant forms of sexual satisfaction that would disgust any one possessing a sound mind and pure heart, such as those that humiliate or cause pain to one or both of the spouses.
When their physical, sexual relationship will commence on the right footing, i.e. including the remembrance of God and following the model of the sunnah (way) of Prophet Muhammad, the blessings of these conjugal relations will be felt and reaped by the couple in all the other areas of their marital life as well, for years to come,insha’Allah.
4. Attending Islamic Lectures and Workshops
Once they are married and a bit more settled into routine life, returning to their job or going back to classes at school, the newlyweds seize opportunities to spend leisurely time together in doing interesting, outgoing things, especially on weekends and public holidays.
In order to mix the pleasure of God with permissible entertainment and recreation, newlywed couples can attend Islamic lectures and workshops together.
If these workshops or lectures are in another city or state, the travel involved can bring a welcome breather from routine life, allowing them to sightsee and explore new places, in addition to gaining more knowledge of Islam, and making new friends in the path of God.
One of the best ways to listen to Quran recitation and beneficial lectures is to play CD’s and tapes of the same in the car when out and about, especially on longer rides and road trips.
I have personally seen the immense benefits of listening to beneficial tapes in the car over the years, and the best part is that this kind of learning takes no extra effort. Eventually, when the babies come along, it will amaze the parents to witness how quickly they start memorizing and retaining the Quran, only because they heard it being played repeatedly in the car whenever they went out!
Thankfully, the beauty of undertaking Islamic activities with one’s spouse as a form of leisure, is that there is great benefit and blessings in “mixing business with pleasure”!
5. Remembering God in the Natural Outdoors
Whether it is attending late-night cocktail parties at clubs, bars or elitist hotels with other couples, watching adult-themed films at home in bed, or hitting the theaters to catch the trending blockbusters, newlyweds sometime end up committing sins together in the name of romance, enjoyment and leisurely entertainment. They allow themselves to become heedless of God and the limits of Islam whilst blissfully riding the wave of youthful euphoria and gushy romance following their marriage.
The fact is that there are many alternative options for having fun with your spouse the halal way. Even better are those modes of enjoyment that combine the worship and remembrance of God with leisure and relaxation.
It would not just be more enjoyable to go picnicking, hiking, bicycling, kayaking, snorkeling, camping, or sailing – taking in the lovely, sprawling natural outdoors – but such outings will also rejuvenate the couple’s faith in God by allowing them to gaze at and admire the natural beauty that He has spread out through the earth.
When the time for prayer comes during these outdoor trysts, the adventuring couple can enjoy praying on grassy hills, lakesides, or tree-lined forest trails, surrounded by scenic beauty. Praying outdoors like this is truly one of life’s most beautiful experiences!
6. Touristy Trysts
Other alternative recreation that can enable young newlyweds to have some fun, includes amusement parks, which provide almost child-like excitement and thrills, and trips to educational museums and parks. Going to such places is a healthier alternative to wasting time, energy, money and bodily strength on modes of entertainment that incur the wrath of God instead of His pleasure.
If the couple can afford it, they can combine their vacation or honeymoon with an ‘umrah in order to incorporate the worship of God and an uplift of faith into their leisurely travels, as a gesture of thanking God for marrying them to each other, and granting them the blessings of marital bliss that ignite hopes for a bright and prosperous future ahead in life.
7. Conclusion: Bonding Through the Love of God
The newlywed phase lasts no more than a few months or a year or two, in which life is slow in pace and blissfully idyllic for a couple that is happily married and in love. As the bride experiments in the kitchen, the groom tries to squeeze in as much private time as he can with her after work hours and other commitments.
During the newlywed phase, the husband and wife should focus not just on bonding with each other, but also on sealing their relationship with the blessing of God’s pleasure, by becoming each other’s pillar of support in faith.
They will then come together, with God’s help, as a dynamic duo so strong in faith, that Satan and his army will not be able to come near them or their future generations, insha’Allah.