Lecture by Suhaib Webb | Transcribed by Fuseina Mohamad
Problem Number Two: Marriage Makes Me Happy
The second major problem that people fall into – and there was a fifteen year study done in the West [on this] – 95% of people said, “[I had] the same amount of happiness before marriage, as…I have after marriage.” [Thus, the second problem] is the idea that marriage is going to make me happy.
One brother came to me and said, “Akhi, I just need Khadija, man. I just need Khadija! If I have Khadija, everything’s going to be all right.”
I said, “Really? Then you be Muhammad, brother, and she’ll be Khadija. You be Muhammad, you’ll find Khadija.”
The idea that “If I get married…” – and also parents [who think] “Oh, all we have to do is get them married. Oh, she got a B+ on her exam, oh got to get her married.” [They think] marriage is like Harry Potter: *bing* and everything’s fine. Again, that goes back to a misunderstanding of how things work in Islam and in life in general. I’m going to get married, I’ll be happy.
Of course, there’ll be initial happiness. There’ll be the initial happiness of companionship, of a physical relationship – let’s be honest – being together, spending time with a woman or a man. You’ll feel happy; you’ll feel that you protected your deen (religion). But after that, man, they’re waking up with dirty breath and nappy hair.
He’s going to leave his clothes on a chair. She might burn the biryani. All that happens. So that [initial happiness] is going to disappear after a while. Marriage doesn’t make you happy, but your investment and the time you spend to build a healthy family makes you happy. The work, the cultivation - that’s why the believers are called muflihoon, from the word fallah (farmer). We have some farmers in the south of Egypt called fallahoon (and also in all of Oklahoma). And they call them fallahoon because they’re famers, because they cultivate. Why did Allah call the believers muflihoon? Because they cultivate this dunya (world) to harvest the akhira (hereafter). So you’ve got to cultivate your marriage.
Don’t come into the marriage, brother, at the age of 25 thinking everything’s going to work. You’re going to have to be patient.
I remember, wallahi (I swear by Allah), a brother got married once, he said,
“Everything is fine except she eats too much.”
I said, “Come on, brother.”
He said, “I didn’t know.”
I said, “What? You didn’t think they eat? They just walk around and clean the house, make you happy and don’t eat food?”
He said, “I forgot about that part. I got to buy food.”
[Or a] sister comes and says, “You know, I didn’t know that men smell sometimes.”
Come on, sister.
And that might sound funny but these are the things that need to be talked about in these conferences because all of us have questions that we’re scared to ask because of the barriers set up in our communities of self-righteousness. If I were to tell you the two main reasons people get divorced, you would ask the board to fire me. Number one is money, and number two starts with an ‘S’ and ends with an ‘X’.
Yes! I’ll be honest with you. Physical relationships. But can you even engage that in the Muslim community on a private level? You better because problems are boiling over. Pornography in homes: 25% of marriages in America are destroyed because of pornography. So that tells you there’s a problem that needs to be addressed and the job of fuqaha’ (jurists) and ’ulama’ (scholars) is to deal with the issues – to engage problems with adab (manners) and with akhlaaq (morals).
Problem Number Three: There’s No Conflict in Our Marriage
“Oh, there’s going to be no conflict in our marriage.” The idea that we could be fighting, man, we could have fights all morning long, but then there’s no conflict in our house. Deal with problems. Deal with problems. Deal with problems. Engage them, don’t ignore them. Because what happens with that teapot [when] you try to hold it down? After awhile what happens? It explodes. And how many of us know couples who one of them held things in for years, and after something set them off, the marriage was ruined. I know a situation right now – not in this community – where this is happening. It’s not funny. Seven years he held some things in his heart. Seven years!
Forgiveness [is important] but not forgiveness as a blank check; forgiveness with responsibility. Why [is it that] men who beat women are the nicest men to their women after they beat them? To get over that feeling of beating them. So that’s why psychologists say don’t forgive them for beating you. Same thing – I know brothers that have been beaten by women. And we have to be very careful that the feminist narrative is not sneaking into our community where we cater to the women and ignore the brothers, because a wife has to obey her husband if he’s doing his job. He is the Imam of the house.
One sister came and told me, “My Imam is So and So.”
I said, “No he is not. Your Imam is your husband.”
She said, “What?”
I said, “Yes.”
She said, “Well I don’t want…”
I said, “Then I’m telling that brother not to marry you. Go marry So and So.”
She said, “Well, if that’s the case then he is my Imam.”
I said, “Yeah, he is your Imam.”
So we have to be very cautious here. There are conditions, there is a unique balance there, but brothers are getting hit hard by the feminist narrative as well from John Wayne to Homer Simpson. The man has been destroyed in Western society and now it’s seeping into the Muslim community. These are the representatives of the Prophet (s). You are the representatives of the Prophet (s). These brothers have an honorable sharaf ’inda Allah (honor with Allah). So we have to be very cautious about that, that in these types of conferences we don’t cater to women and ignore that brothers have a right from their wives to obey them, if those brothers fulfill certain conditions. We don’t have to make our families like Western families. We have our own identity as Muslims. That identity is perfectly acceptable in the West, but it’s unique. We’re not liberals. We’re not going to cast everything aside from the Qur’an and Sunnah to please Michael Eric Dyson. No. We have our own identity and that says the man is the leader of the household if he fulfills certain conditions and rights. Not an oppressor. Not an oppressor, but a just leader who takes the time to listen to his wife and his family. So don’t come into a family thinking we’re not going to have conflicts.