Marriages flourish with compromise, understanding and appreciation on behalf of both spouses. In this narrative, a wife shares the way in which she was understanding and compromising of her husband’s personal preferences, and the way through which he still understood the importance of him showing his love to her a certain way.
“My husband is not someone who celebrates birthdays. In fact, on my first birthday/our anniversary when my husband gave me a card, my sister-in-law couldn’t get over it for a week. He thinks they are a waste of time and attract too much attention to self, not to mention the commercial business of it. Moreover, ‘The Prophet ﷺ (peace be upon him) didn’t celebrate his,’ my husband says. I agreed with him.
However, I couldn’t help but plan something every year for his birthday. It was a very special day for me, and I wanted to express it. I didn’t care much for the anniversaries. I even forgot them for the first couple of years. So for 5 years, I would always celebrate his birthday with surprise gifts and plans, and for 5 years he would give me a card and a candy for my birthday and our anniversary (which I would often forget). This was fine by me, because I knew he had a very hard time celebrating birthdays and planning for one was like a huge project for him.
So, last year around my birthday time, I went to work as usual and so did he. As the routine goes, he gave me a card and my favorite candy right after we prayed fajr. By now, I was used to not expecting anything more from him.
Days before he had mentioned that he needed to take my car for service, so he would have to drop me off. That happened to be the day of my birthday. He wished me well and left for work. I am a teacher. I started teaching my first period and soon after the office manager delivered a beautiful bouquet of roses with a card. Imagine my surprise when I read on the card, ‘From hubby’! And of course, once the students found out, I had all my classes singing for me, which of course totally made my day, alhamdulillah (praise be to God)! Especially because I was not expecting it.
We usually call during the day to chat. But, that day I couldn’t wait until the lunch time and called him right away in disbelief, just to confirm that he was the sender. On that particular day, I had also forgotten my lunch and was super hungry by the time school ended. My husband still was not there to pick me up. So, he called me at 2:45pm and told me that he is stuck in a meeting and won’t be able to pick me up until 6 or 7 pm. I replied with calmness, like how he usually does.
Five minutes later, he called back and said that he had changed his mind and was going to pick me up. To my surprise, he was waiting in the car in the parking lot. By now, I had understood that he was teasing me about the 6′ o clock meeting.
Later he took me out to my favorite restaurant, which was another surprise, because I usually have to convince him to eat there.
By the end of the day I found out that it took him weeks to plan this day; he had taken a day off, planned my car service timing, and everything that he was going to tell me so it would flow well and be a complete surprise.
So, I said, ‘Wow, so you spent weeks planning this? You didn’t go to work for my birthday, when I went to work myself? You woke up like it was a regular day instead of sleeping in, you took a shower and got dressed just so I wouldn’t know? That’s crazy! You put on an act just to surprise me? You did the chocolates, the card, and the flowers. All these things that you dislike? That’s crazy! May Allah reward you for all this!’
Then I said, ‘But wait, if you were home how come I didn’t hear a thing (we had guests over at that time with their kids) when I called you this morning, thinking you were still in the office?’
To which he replied, ‘I spoke to you from our closet and made sure the door was locked!’
Then he continued, ‘Yes, it’s a very special day for me. I wouldn’t be me without this day. This is a blessed day, a lucky day for me. A day I am very thankful for.'”
This narrative specifies a celebration. You personally may not be religiously comfortable with celebrating birthdays and anniversaries, and that is fine. Please respect the differences of opinion amongst the scholars on these issues.
The point is what should not be missed: This wife did not expect her husband to do anything extra special for her birthday because he was uncomfortable with doing so. She understood that and never made him feel bad about not doing “what other husbands” do for their wives. Instead, she realized he would be okay with her doing something for him and she did, never expecting an equal return. But when he did surprise her with something, she appreciated it. She recognized his effort and appreciated it. Through compromise, understanding and appreciation, couples can find mutual ground to help their relationships blossom.
*If you would like share sweet glimpses from your marriage with hopes of spreading awareness of positive relationships in the Muslim community, please email Maryam@SuhaibWebb.com with a short narrative. Your submission may be featured anonymously in this mini-series of Glimpses of Marital Bliss.