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First year of Marriage - What to expect

by: mybetterhalf

The first year of marriage consists of three phases - Excitement, Discovery and Adjustment. The real challenges after the first year of marriage make it difficult for many couples to adapt to each other. There are ways to overcome challenges during this first year of marriage itself.

Excitement of marriage

The initial period is an exciting and transformative time for spouses as they embark on a new journey together. It is a period filled with hopes and dreams for happiness. Right from the day of waiting for marriage the excitement overflows. The excitement is just like spring. That is why the Prophet صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم commanded that a virgin girl must get seven days reserved for her after her wedding and a widow or divorce should get at least three days.

حَدَّثَنَا يَحْيَى بْنُ يَحْيَى، أَخْبَرَنَا هُشَيْمٌ، عَنْ خَالِدٍ، عَنْ أَبِي قِلاَبَةَ، عَنْ أَنَسِ بْنِ، مَالِكٍ قَالَ إِذَا تَزَوَّجَ الْبِكْرَ عَلَى الثَّيِّبِ أَقَامَ عِنْدَهَا سَبْعًا وَإِذَا تَزَوَّجَ الثَّيِّبَ عَلَى الْبِكْرِ أَقَامَ عِنْدَهَا ثَلاَثًا ‏.‏ قَالَ خَالِدٌ وَلَوْ قُلْتُ إِنَّهُ رَفَعَهُ لَصَدَقْتُ وَلَكِنَّهُ قَالَ السُّنَّةُ كَذَلِكَ

When anyone who has already a wife marries virgin, he should stay with her for seven nights (and then turn to his other wife), but when anyone having a virgin with him (as his wife) marries a woman who has been previously married he should stay with her for three nights. Khalid (one of the narrators) said. If I were to say that it could be directly traced to the Prophet (ﷺ). I would have told the truth, but he (Hadrat Anas) said: Such is the tradition.

(Sahih Muslim 1461 a)

Islam endorses the right of excitement and it includes emotional and physical intimacy.

The Discovery of Each Other's Quirks and Habits

You can even call it exploring each other. It is navigating relationships with their respective in-laws, particularly the mother-in-law. It can be a chance to build strong bonds and create a supportive family environment. In order to make the relations more secure, ‘The father-in-law’ is declared as Mahram for the wife.

The most astonishing discoveries would be about shortcomings and here is where many cracks appear in the happy-going relations during the initial days. Finding traits like short temper, untidiness, laziness, disorganizedness and bad money management in spouse would give a big shock to each. However, there are success stories about the upliftment of the character of spouses too. Some wives have been amazing teachers of their husbands.

Saeed ibn Jubair, a Tabeyeen,  got his daughter married to one of his students who was not so rich but a boy full of enthusiasm to learn Deen. Seven days later when the groom got up to attend his teacher, Saeed’s sessions his wife stopped him and said, “Now I will teach you InshaAllah.” She was a Hfizah and Aleemah with a grip on Fiqh.

وَٱلۡمُؤۡمِنُونَ وَٱلۡمُؤۡمِنَٰتُ بَعۡضُهُمۡ أَوۡلِيَآءُ بَعۡضٖۚ يَأۡمُرُونَ بِٱلۡمَعۡرُوفِ وَيَنۡهَوۡنَ عَنِ ٱلۡمُنكَرِ وَيُقِيمُونَ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ وَيُؤۡتُونَ ٱلزَّكَوٰةَ وَيُطِيعُونَ ٱللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُۥٓۚ أُوْلَٰٓئِكَ سَيَرۡحَمُهُمُ ٱللَّهُۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٞ

The believers, men and women, are Auliya' (helpers, supporters, friends, protectors) of one another, they enjoin (on the people) Al-Ma'ruf (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam orders one to do), and forbid (people) from Al-Munkar (i.e. polytheism and disbelief of all kinds, and all that Islam has forbidden); they perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat) and give the Zakat, and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah will have His Mercy on them. Surely Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.

(Surah At-Toubah: 71)

Adjusting to the New Environment

It is an important task for couples. Whether it's dietary choice, scheduling timetable or relocating to a different city or country, adapting to these changes can be both difficult but rewarding. The wife has to adapt to a new way of living and those liberties she enjoyed at her dad’s place may not be available here. Her mother-in-law may be strict, unlike her friendly mother. The size of the house may be smaller as compared to the number of people staying in it.  She might even have to struggle with a Hijab in the presence of brother-in-laws and other visitors.

At her dad’s home, it was all about pocket money and shopping but at ‘dad-in-law’s house’ there may be some financial restrains. Her husband’s salary may not be enough and other expenses like medical expenses of her own pregnancy or elderly people may be expected from the husband.  

The third phase appears stormy but then a calm sea can never make a skilled sailor. That's why the supplication

َٱلَّذِينَ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا هَبۡ لَنَا مِنۡ أَزۡوَٰجِنَا وَذُرِّيَّٰتِنَا قُرَّةَ أَعۡيُنٖ وَٱجۡعَلۡنَا لِلۡمُتَّقِينَ إِمَامًا

And those who say: "Our Lord! Bestow on us from our wives and our offspring who will be the comfort of our eyes, and make us leaders for the Muttaqun"

(Surah Furqan: 74)

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