Salaam lovely ladies. So this is the final part of my conversation with Sofina Begum, which focused primarily on her marriage. Today, I share with you the countless ways a wife can encourage love and friendship with her husband, while living with her in-laws.
I want to thank Sofina for sharing her story with us. I was moved by her sincere devotion to seeking the pleasure of Allah (swt) irrespective of the sacrifice required on her part. While I realize that the lifestyle described by Sofina may not be for everyone, I shared her story to inspire us towards making intentional changes, however small they may be, so that we may create a more peaceful environment in our homes and continue to strengthen our relationships, especially the difficult ones.
Sofina Begum is a 20 something year old mother of two. She’s currently living in Orlando, Florida, with her husband, kids and in-laws.
Sadaf Begum: How were you able to develop a strong relationship with your husband while living with in-laws? Do you have the privacy you need?
Sofina Begum: You know, strong bonds form from deep love. The concept of love is taken for granted these days and also taken very lightly. The worldly concept of love is misused and misunderstood by many. Love is extremely heavy, sacrificial, and in need of compromise. It’s also the most beautiful part of our life. Those people who go into relationships expecting to be loved without expecting to give anything in return end up in trouble. The motto “I’m going to love them so much, nothing can ever come between us” is problematic. They expect this fairytale moment and if a problem does arise, all their love disappears. True love is stronger than any fleeting moment of hardship. Love should grow with every moment including the difficult ones. Love is not just a word used to express a feeling. It needs to be felt and acted upon.
Make every night date night. Dress up for your husband. Order take out or cook a special meal. Plan activities you can enjoy together.
I came into my relationship already loving my husband. I never once spoke with him before we were married which was completely arranged yet I loved him anyway. I knew our bond was from Allah. It wasn’t just two people getting married, rather a spiritual union, that would bring me closer to Allah and His messenger (peace be upon him).
Before I was married, I learned of the concept of “mukaam” or status of a husband in Islam. I read about the responsibilities as a wife and realized early on that the more love I gave, the more he would love me back because we reap what we sow. But bigger than that, with the correct intention, you hope to gain the greatest reward, the pleasure of Allah. My husband and I make a lot of dua of our love. We often underestimate how powerful our duas (prayers) can be.
I never let my joint family lifestyle become a barrier in my relationship with my husband. I never blame his family or even him if we don’t always get private time. We are both family oriented so instead of complaining that I don’t get enough time alone, I try to enjoy the moments we spend together as a family which is such a blessing in itself. My in-laws appreciated the time we gave them and then encourage me to go spend time with my husband which was really Allah’s reward for me. Now, this joint family has also become such a beneficial part of my children’s lives.
So if we could just re-direct our way of thinking a little, our lives could become much more peaceful. Once we start thinking of giving before receiving, loving instead of complaining, we can start to build stronger relationships. I want to imagine a world where we are selfless, loving for the sake of Allah and embody the personality of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his companions, where everyone is ready to extend a helping hand. I truly believe, in return, Allah will offer endless blessings and favors on his Ummah, not only in this life but also in the Hereafter.
Sadaf: Do you have any advice for women in similar living situations who want to carve out more time to connect with their husbands?
Sofina: Take advantage of every minute. Learn to enjoy each other’s company without needing to leave the home. I love watching TV with my husband, playing online games and building puzzles together. If your husband is into video games, grab a controller and play with him! It’s not that hard! We even play sports together. This is from the sunnah of the prophet (peace be upon him). I’m planning to get my husband into painting with me, which can be such a great bonding experience and it’s fun! We also like to read and perform dhikr together.
Love is extremely heavy, sacrificial, and in need of compromise. True love is stronger than any fleeting moment of hardship. Love should grow with every moment including the difficult ones. Love is not just a word used to express a feeling. It needs to be felt and acted upon.
We’re living in times where it seems you must go out to have a good time which is not true at all. It’s of course okay to go out also but you don’t always have to leave the home and spend a ton of money to have a date night. Make every night date night. Dress up for your husband. Order take out or cook a special meal. Plan activities you can enjoy together. You can make your home your Jannah.