Answered by Ustadha Sulma Badrudduja
Question: I am a little upset with my husband’s behavior towards impressing me. We have discussed this issue many times and no approach seems to work. Overall he is a great husband but he really does make me feel like he doesn’t want to impress me wen he is with me. He repeatedly wears old, undesirable clothes when he has a wardrobe full of nice clothes. Is it not a right of the wife to also want to see her husband look nice? What approach might make him understand?
Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I hope you are doing well inshaAllah.
The Islamic Teachings
Taking care of one’s personal appearance is from teachings of Islam, as well as the basic etiquette of a successful marriage. Each spouse should strive to make sure that they appear pleasant and attractive the other spouse.
There are many sayings of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) which indicate this. Among them are the guidance to remove pubic hair, to use the toothbrush frequently, to trim one’s nails, and other measures for hygienic purposes or for appearing seemingly to those around one. The companions learned these things from the Prophet and loved to apply them, striving to follow his way and to please Allah, who loves ihsan (excellence) in all actions. This is seen evidently in the words of Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be well please with him) who is narrated to have said: “Indeed I beautify myself for my wife, just as she beautifies myself for me.” He then cited as his proof for this the words of Allah, “And due to the wives is similar to what is expected from them, in that which is reasonable…” [Quran 2: 228]
Dealing with Difficult Situations — Positive Methods of Bringing About Change
When you are dealing with a difficult situation in your marriage and you want to see a change, you must use positive methods to bring about the change. Nagging, showing resentment, and distancing oneself are all very negative reactions which will not benefit. People will often gladly change if they are respectfully and discreetly nudged towards the good. But if they are reprimanded or shown disdain, they will resist.
Another positive method that will encourage your husband to change his behavior is for you yourself to exhibit the desired behavior. If one spouse does not fulfill his/her duties in the best manner possible, then this does not give license to the other spouse to slack in their own duties. You mentioned that you are not satisfied with your own appearance. Are you making sure you are presenting yourself to him properly as well? Also, don’t compare yourself to what you think the general society feels is “beautiful” or “ugly.” Rather, remember that simple changes such as nice clothes, a cheerful demeanor and a contented personality will contribute vastly to one’s appearance.
Seeing the Bigger Picture
Whether your husband fixes this behavior or not, you must see beyond this issue to the entirety of your relationship. You mentioned that he’s “overall a great husband.” That’s a wonderful blessing which not all wives have. Every spouse will find things they do not like about other spouse. The success of a marriage depends on how well they are able to solve their differences, and to look over and be accepting of those which can’t be solved.
May Allah bless you and the whole ummah with successful marriages and harmonious families which produce servants who are pleasing to their Lord.
And Allah knows best.
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Sulma Badrudduja began her Arabic and Quranic studies privately in Kentucky when in high school. She furthered her studies in these fields and in other Islamic Sciences for several years in Amman, Jordan. She has a masters in Math Education and currently resides in Michigan where she is continuing her Islamic studies.