I have a distinct memory of my husband and I holding hands as we drive to Tarawih prayers. He is wearing a crisp white thobe and, as we drive along the freeway, a cool breeze drifts in through the windows. He recites Qur’an along the way, a soft recitation just audible above the humming sounds of cars and trucks outside. Such a moment is so simple, yet I can still remember the feeling in my hands, and it makes me smile every time.
Ramadan can be a beautiful month for you to connect with your spouse, to utilize the safe haven it provides away from Shaytan, with the increased remembrance of Allah, and the increased levels of worship taking place in your lives together. Unfortunately, this month becomes thirty days of frustration and resentment simmering beneath the surface because couples fail to create a focused goal they are both striving towards together.
In this article I am going to tackle some key areas of tension Muslim couples face in Ramadan and practical solutions to tackle them, insha’Allah.
Less Food, More Worship!
I find iftaar time really special with my husband. The kids and I set out the dates, start filling up cups with water, and we all wait together for Maghrib to arrive. I think it is an honor to hand my husband a date and glass of water for him to break his fast with, to rush to serve him, and share in the quiet space while we make du’a upon breaking our fast. The evening is quiet outside, the sky is beautiful, and we pray Maghrib together as a family. There is no rush, and as we all sit down at the table, after a busy day that took place while fasting, we reconnect and relax over a hot meal before preparing to leave for Tarawih prayers.
In many households, however, iftaar time is stressful and definitely not spiritual. One of the main reasons for this is hosting large and regular iftaar parties in the home. While it is wonderful to earn the reward of feeding those who are fasting, honestly,this trend of having to host and entertain to exhaustion has to stop. This practice affects mainly women because they are the ones expected to do all the cooking, cleaning, and prep work involved for hosting large iftaar parties. It robs a wife of time and energy better spent in greater acts of worship, and creates a strain between her and her husband. She often feels overwhelmed with the amount of work involved, with whiny children in the background who are getting ignored. There is no time to connect with her husband, her children, or feel loved and appreciated because both are busy running around for guests and, once meal time is over, her husband is out the door for Tarawih, leaving her to do the clean up. Do this once, maybe twice in the entire month of Ramadan, on a weekend when there is more time to help each other out, but not throughout the week or on a regular basis.
The goal of Ramadan is less food and more worship! You can entertain friends all year long – and cook for them whatever you would like – but this month is a time to recharge your “iman battery,” to have extra time to reflect on your character, and to cultivate new spiritual practices.
Too many social gatherings not only prevent you from this extra time, they also keep you away from your spouse. “But we live together, we have all year to spend time together,” you might be thinking. Let’s look at this the other way around: You have all year to spend time with friends, but only this one month to revisit what marriage means at its highest level, to strive the hardest in honoring and serving your spouse, this beautiful human being put into your life, the person that allowed you to complete half your deen. You both desperately need time to reconnect on what matters most, to realign yourselve as individuals, then as a couple, with the greatet purpose of your beating heart, which is to worship Allah (glorified and exalted be He) with every action.
Serve each other, donate together, recite Qur’an near one another. Hold hands, share long hugs, make du’a for each other, even kiss one another while fasting as our beloved Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was reported to have done with Aisha while he was fasting. Put each other and your family first before the rest of the world. Soon enough, the fast pace of life will return, Shaytan will be back trying to interfere in your happiness, and the energy of this beautiful month will slowly fade.
Having focused on each other and on your love and commitment to one another, as well as to fear Allah in the way you treat each other, to seek His pleasure in the way you love your wife and respect your husband—the barakah of this month will continue in your marriage throughout the year insha Allah.
And that is true romance isn’t it? Love, affection, words. and touch all with the remembrance of Allah, with the angels busy writing down each exchanged glance and kind word between the both of you, preparing for you a palace in Jannah.
Suggested Planning Activity for Couples
Write up your personal Ramadan goals together over dinner and include one goal as a couple that you want to celebrate on Eid. It could be hugging each other every morning before your husband heads to work, reading a book and discussing it, planning out which evenings you’ll make space for intimacy, or letting go of small issues for a harmonious home life. Romance doesn’t just “happen” all the time; a successfully married couple plans the space for romance so that when you greet each other you can relax, tune in and connect.