Should a Wife Expect Nice Things from Her Husband?

Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari

Question: What can a wife expect out of her husband? Can she have expectations about him surprising her on occasion, getting her gifts and saying kind words to her?


Answer: In the Name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful

Dear Sister,

Assalamu alaikum,

Thank you for your question. I pray this Ramadan finds you well.

Allah Most High says, “And of His signs is that He created for you, of yourselves, spouses, that you might repose in them, and He has set between you love and mercy. Surely in that are signs for a people who consider.” (30:21)

The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “The best of you is the one who is best to his family and I am the best among you to my family.” (Tirmidhi)

The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, also said, “When one of you has love for his brother, he should inform him that he loves him.” (Bukhari, Al-Adab al-Mufrad) [Note: This advice also applies to spouses.]

And, finally, “Give gifts and you will love one another.” (Bukhari, Al-Adab al-Mufrad)

All of the above establish that love, mercy, and generosity are part of a healthy relationship. In describing the Islamic marriage, Shaykh Hamza Yusuf relates that husbands and wives should avoid treating intimacy as a perfunctory routine devoid of spiritual meaning, love, and tenderness. The principle is that a marriage has to be sustained beyond the level of just being concerned with one’s physical needs.

The emotional, psychological, and spiritual needs of both husband and wife must be met. Research shows that it is the small gestures–the loving words, the kind glance, the warm smile, the tokens of appreciation, the small gifts–that add up to huge benefits in the marriage relationship. These small but meaningful gestures show regard and open the couple’s hearts to each other, setting the stage for deeper and more satisfying intimacy. In other words, these small things keep the romance alive.

If you don’t find yourself receiving these things in your marriage, then give them. Insha’Allah, when your husband sees the extra mile you are going, he will reciprocate. If he doesn’t, then tactfully express to him that your marriage will be strengthened and joy will be created in your heart if he could be more forthcoming with loving gestures. Feel free to share with him the above Qur’an and hadith references.

May Allah Ta’ala facilitate love between you and your husband,

Zaynab Ansari
Ramadan 12, 1433
August 1, 2012

Related Answers:

The Intentions of Marriage – Shaykh Ali bin Abu Bakr al-Sakran

Ramadan Reminders (10): Faith, Character, and Marriage by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Complaining About Spouses to Parents and Managing Marital Finances

Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari

Question: Assalam Alaikum,
I heard a shaykh say that a husband doesn’t need to tell his wife how he spends his money. He said that a wife has a right to a portion of it that fulfills his duties to her, but everything else is up to the man’s discretion.

My husband has taken this quite literally and tells me I can’t tell him how to spend his money or disapprove of how he spends his money. This negatively has affected our marriage as naturally, a girl tries to plan for her future (kids, studying abroad, paying back loans, saving, etc). How much should a husband consult or notify his wife about how he spends his money as we all know spending even a little here and there ends up being a lot at times.

Also, how much can someone share information to their parents about marriage? What if a husband believes it is okay to share with his parents arguments he has with his wife, but the wife believes it is best to keep marriage a private affair and to ask proper people for advice but not to include relatives as it affects the in-laws perception, attitude, and behavior of the daughter/son-in-law?

Answer: In the Name of God, the Gracious, the Merciful

Dear Sister,

Assalamu alaikum.

Thank you for your question.

I’ll answer your last question first. Husbands and wives need to be very careful about complaining–or having the appearance of complaining–to their parents about their spouse. It can generate ill-feeling and should be avoided at all costs. Instead, if there is an issue, they should mutually agree to seek advice from someone who can be neutral. However, if spouses insist on talking to their respective parents, they should be fair and present the other side of the story.

Your first question is also very important and perhaps can be addressed from two angles.

1. From a fiqh standpoint, i.e., the letter of the Sacred Law, no, a husband does not have to tell his wife what he does with his money, as long as he takes care of her and their children. However, no marriage can be run strictly by a fiqh manual. That would make for a rather unhappy marriage in most cases, especially given that personal-law-type fiqh rules, generally speaking, are applicable when there’s a conflict and and are not intended to dictate the daily nuances and details of everyday married life. This concept leads to my second point:

2. A husband and wife can certainly sit down and determine how they wish to manage finances, whether they are technically his, hers, or theirs. It would, in fact, seem prudent to do so, considering that you’ve mentioned having children, paying off student loans, and studying abroad. There’s no way you can tackle these issues if you don’t, as a couple, come to some common ground. And to reach this common ground, you’ve got to have the money talk.

Now keep in mind that if you had any debt coming into the marriage, then, technically, your husband does not have to pay it off. And, technically, he can go blow all his money on a purchase and doesn’t have to tell you. But the “I don’t have to tell her/him” attitude doesn’t get one far in marriage, and won’t bring you two any closer to your mutual goals.

May Allah make things easy for you,

Zaynab Ansari

My Parents Tend to Fight Very Often: What Should I Do?

Answered by Ustadha Sulma Badrudduja

Question: My parents tend to fight very often. What should I do?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

I hope you are and your family are in the best of states inshaAllah.

The essential role that good character holds in one’s faith and practice, in general, and a priori towards family, is clear from the words of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace: “There is nothing heavier in the believer’s scale on the day of Judgement than good character.” [Tirmidhi]

Thus, at the level of one’s personal religious obligations, in addition to the level of family and interpersonal relation, allowing one’s marriage to continue in a tense and argumentative fashion is unacceptable.

You are in a difficult position because, as the child, you may not have much direct influence over your parents’ behavior, and they may not be likely to want your interference. Nevertheless, if you think they may listen to how you are feeling about the situation and benefit from your input, then you should try speaking to them. Professional help should be seriously considered. You, or another close individual to the family, should suggest this to your parents. In addition to this, there remains some important steps you can take:

(1) Make continuous supplication that Allah turns their relationship into a healthy one. Your du`a is special, as you are in need and you are supplicating for your parents.

(2) Do not allow the negativity from your parents’ relationship to affect your relationship with each of them or to cause you to feel like the source of their problems. This is a common feeling that children will face. They will blame themselves for their parent’s marital problems. It is important that they realize they are not the problem, even if the parents are fighting over matter related to the children. The parents’ inability to reach an amiable compromise in an amiable manner is from their own shortcomings.

(3) Initiate healthy and joyful family activities. If you put in the extra effort to make one night in the week special, for example, you may find that your concern and input into the family’s happiness reminds your parents that they are the ones who should be working towards creating a harmonious family environment.

Allah places each one of us in the situations that we are in for a specific wisdom. Strive to do what you believe is right and you will find relief inshaAllah.

Allah knows best, and success is with Him alone.


Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani