Consider this scenario:

A husband buys a house for his family. You ask the wife if she thanked her husband. Wife replies with a surprise, “Why is that necessary?”
You answer, “Because he bought a house!”
Wife says, “Yes, but its not for me. He lives there too!”
You remind her, “Yes but what's wrong with being grateful?”
Wife says, “No I didn't [thank him]. But I'm spending so much time and energy decorating the house just the way he wants it. Doesn't that show I'm grateful?”

What is this sister missing in her marriage?

Verbal gratification.

Unfortunately, this is a common scenario I have noticed in many marriages where gratitude is not expressed through words; assuming that the spouse will automatically know that a certain action of kindness was done in response to his/her initial action of goodness.

A simple “Thank you” can mend a relationship and the lack of it can break a marriage. Words of gratification have magically positive effects on us. Research has proven the positive and productive effects of verbalizing gratitude with a simple “Thank you”. Numerous businesses actually train their directors and supervisors to thank their employees in order to increase the productivity of their work.

This powerful effect of verbal gratification is not only limited to professional lives, rather, these words of appreciation play an integral role in our daily personal lives as well. Unfortunately though, many of us use them very conservatively, missing opportunities of improving relationships in our lives.

Although both husband and wife need to express gratitude, this article is specifically addressing wives because:

  1. As a wife, I can better advise wives.
  2. Being ungrateful to our husbands can lead us to a very problematic situation on the Day of Judgment.
  3. It is better to divide the article into 2 parts, one addressing specifically wives and the other for husbands, so insha'Allah in the near future MM will publish an article offering tips to the husbands.

Verbalizing appreciation to our husbands is one of the easiest ways of increasing love and respect in a marriage, not to mention a way of scoring high with the husband and increasing the amount of love we receive from our spouses; yet, regrettably, it is one of the most under-said words.

Sometimes it is easy to become comfortable and assume that “thank you” is implied and, therefore, unnecessary to repeat. This misconception can affect the quality of a marriage. Let not shaytaan trick us into thinking that gratitude is an inner feeling that is more meaningful when showed in actions. Gratitude is more than an inner feeling and, in addition to our actions, it must be shown through our words as well. Humans are in need of hearing the expressions of appreciation and gratitude. It is not merely a feeling that we hold within ourselves and assume that our husbands will miraculously recognize as gratitude through our actions.

Rest assured, our gratification doesn't have to be a grand overture of thanks. Usually, just simple acknowledgement will go a long way. For instance, whenever my in-laws come to stay with us, the load of work increases tremendously. During those times, at the end of a stressful day, my husband's simple “thanks” refreshes me and makes me more energetic for the next day.

Let's not wait for big events; rather let it become a daily habit of thanking our husbands for simple small things, energizing the productivity of our marriage through simple small words. Like:shutterstock_97155578

  • When you get in your car in the morning and find that the gas tank has been filled, send your husband a “Thank you” text.
  • When he picks up milk and bread for the next day, put a smile on your face and genuinely thank him.
  • When he helps the kids with the homework.
  • When he helps clear up the table.
  • When he helps clean up the kitchen.
  • When he throws away the trash.
  • When he takes the kids to the masjid to pray.

A simple “thank you” makes a husband realize that not only does his wife acknowledges the hard work, but also appreciates it. Without the expression of gratitude, a wife can be easily assumed for being unappreciative. Let it be clear that if we aren't thanking our husbands often, most likely, we aren't showing it in our actions either; because true gratification is acknowledgment in the heart, expressing it through words and showing it in our actions.

A common complaint that I hear from wives when I encourage them to express their appreciation is that they themselves feel unappreciated.

During another session of marriage counseling, the wife mentioned that her husband had put the baby to sleep one night. I interrupted to ask her if she thanked her husband. She looked at me with shock and surprise and said, “Why should I?”
I reminded her, “Because he put the baby to sleep.”
She insisted, “That's his child too!”
“True but he helped you nevertheless.”
“I put the baby to sleep every night, he doesn't thank me every time.”

True that although both spouses need appreciation, let us wives be the first ones to thank our husbands and earn some extra ajr by taking the initiative of a good act.

Remember marriage doesn't always have to be about tit for tat. It is about giving whatever we can without keeping a scorecard.  Also, by taking the initiative we may be able to remind our husbands the importance of expressing gratitude. Moreover, the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) especially advised the women to be thankful to their husbands. The way I look at it is an example of a woman who has a treasure locked behind a door and she is holding the key in her hand. If she waits for the door to miraculously open without her unlocking the door first, then not only its an unreasonable expectation, but she would also miss out on all the treasure awaiting her initiation. Similarly, when a wife takes the first step of being appreciative, she opens up the door of love, respect and appreciation from her husband.

Another important issue to consider is that our gratitude doesn't have to be limited to those things that were not our husband's responsibility, but he took care of them to help us. Let's not be stingy, let's moist our tongues with thanking the most important human being Allah blessed us with by making a habit of occasionally saying/texting/emailing a “Thanks” for:

  • Going to work every day
  • Being a good husband
  • Being a responsible father
  • Some days, on your way back from grocery shopping, text your husband thanking him for providing for the family and being a responsible man.
  • Thank him for taking time to listen to your rants
  • And some days just say, “Thank you for sharing your life with me.”

There is nothing more beautiful than receiving a text/call/email from your spouse in the middle of a busy day, randomly expressing their gratitude.

Additionally, don't shy away from thanking your husbands in front of others including his family and especially the kids. By showing gratitude in front of the kids, we:

  • Teach our children to be thankful to their father
  • Train our daughters to show appreciation to their husbands in the future
  • Teach our sons the necessity of being responsible family man

In his book, The Sword Against Black Magic, Abdussalam Bali mentions the story of a wife who cast a spell on her husband so he would always love her. In short, later on shaikh advises women that instead of resorting to magic they should make du'a to Allah to increase love in their marriage.

My advice to sisters, in addition to making du'a to Allah of course, use the permissible spell Allah has encouraged us to use on our husbands, and among those spells, one of the most important ones is the charm of “Thank You”.

Let's not finish reading this article until we email/text/say to our husband, “Thank you for being my husband.”

(Note: This advice goes out to both spouses, as it is essential to show appreciation to both parties.)

 

 

24 Responses

  1. Ahmad

    This article masha Allah is awesome,may Allah reward you abundantly sister, on your course to entrech unity love among muslim couples nd in muslim homes. Keep up with d good work THANK YOU

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  2. Amel

    Jazzacki Allah khair for an important reminder that can definitely help enhance love and appreciation between a married couple. We should also keep in mind the hadeeth of the Prophet (PBUH): “He who does not thank people does not thank Allah.”

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  3. ChocolateMachine

    JzkA for sharing, I agree; genuine verbal expression can have tremendous power on top of actions that display gratitude. Though we should not actively seek the pleasure of anyone other than Allah (swt) or have expectations to be thanked, we are human and I acknowledge that the ‘smallest’ of gestures do go a long way. Not only that, it increases the love and desire to give in a relationship. And this speaks for everyone and every relationship (not just wives/marriage!). May Allah (swt) allow us to express our appreciation and put a smile on our brothers and sisters’ faces =)

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  4. Aly Balagamwala | DiscoMaulvi

    Jazakillahu Khairin Umm Reem for this reminder. As a husband I fail at this most of the time. I read one of these reminders or something in a book somewhere, and for a couple of weeks I am great at thanks yous and text messages and then its back to radio silence!

    Maybe I need a reminder on my todo saying text Mrs DM. :)

    -Aly

    *Comment above is posted in a personal capacity and may not reflect the official views of MuslimMatters or its staff*

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  5. Sarah

    I think I find this concept easier to grasp because I learnt to do this with my family. I had a very similar attitude with my brothers, in that I felt resentful if I had to say thank you. Then I realized that it’s not a game – no one is ‘losing’ or ‘winning’ or ‘giving in’, and it’s not demeaning or ‘losing the battle’ to encourage people by smiling and saying thank you. Now, I live with many friends in a boarding school, and I know that nothing makes your day better than coming and finding that your friend left you a nice message, or came by to see you, or just did something as casual as leaning on you while you’re chatting, or giving you a hug or kiss. Perhaps it’s because I live in a high stress and very demanding environment amongst very high achieving youth, but hearing support, having a good conversation,telling someone how much you love them – it truly are the small things that create happiness and grate fullness

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    • khadijah johnson

      no it IS about being humiliated, especially if you have the kind of family I have….

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  6. Abdullah

    I thank my imaginary wife all the time…And our relationship has been great so far ..haha :D ..just kidding …..great post :)

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  7. Abu Asiyah

    I think it’s key for both spouses is thanking the other for the thing that they “should be doing anyway”. As a husband, I especially fail at thanking for the things that are less noticeable. It’s easy to remember to say thanks for a plate of food at dinner or a box of food for lunch, because it’s readily apparent in front of one’s eyes. But when one sees the apartment tidy, laundry neatly folded and stashes away in a closet, floors clean, bathtub and toilet sparkly white every day, it’s easy to forget that things don’t just STAY that way. I got a reminder the hard way when forced to spend months apart from my wife – within a few weeks the apartment became such a mess I was CLIMBING over things to get from room to room.

    It’s the same the other way around. The husband has to work, it’s just part of the routine – he leaves in the morning and comes back in the evening. The bank account gets a deposit every two weeks somehow. Alhamdulillah, I’m blessed with a wife who actually thanks me for going to work on occasion and it does wonders for our relationship. But I’ve heard of too many stories of where the wife simply assumes that this is how it’s supposed to be. So the husband can spend 60+ hours/week at work, plus hours of commute, come home exhausted, and feel like these efforts are being taken for granted.

    Many relationships also fall into this trap of where the husband says “Well I work all day so she can sit around the house, so why should I thank her for cleaning it once in a while?” and the wife says “I spend most of my day cleaning the house, taking care of the children, I have no time left for myself and I still have to take care of him when he comes from work, so why do I need to thank him for providing an income when he doesn’t pay me anything?”. And like the article says, if it becomes a tit-for-tat, then nothing will change – someone has to break the cycle and say “thank you”.

    Also, it’s interesting to point out that while nobody disagrees that it is the duty of the husband to provide for his wife, there is a difference of opinion among the madhhabs on whether the wife has to cook and clean. The Hanafis say she doesn’t have to and if she does, she is entitled to a compensation or a servant who would do it for her. So when the wife takes care of the home voluntarily, she has more right to be thanked than the husband who is obligated by Allah to provide for her.

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    • Umm Reem

      JazakAllah kahir Abu Asiyah.

      I’d studied that hanafi opinion years ago and it was interesting to say the least :)
      but we know that a wife is entitled to do what is the “norm” of the society she lives in…

      Anyways, without getting sidetracked from the main discussion, both husband and wife have the equal right to be thanked by each other, without keeping a score card and that’ the key to a happy marriage. As one of the shayookh said that marriage should not come down to “his duties” or “her duties”, it should always be more than just the duties or rights…

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  8. Mahmoud Adly Ezzat

    Thank you so much for this great reminder. I’ve seen this issue between many couples, and they totally forgot the charm of good words in the middle of the harsh life. Actually they started to see it as a luxury that in not meant to be for everybody.

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  9. Olivia Kompier

    I think the article would have been better if this was presented to both spouses and respective examples given rather than making it all about women thanking husbands and then tacking a note on the bottom. Regardless of the hadeeth, being thankful is for everyone. Just saying :)

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    • Umm Reem

      Liv, if you read the whole article I did point out in the beginning why I’m addressing only the wives…
      and had I’ve given examples to both it would have made the article too long.

      And although being thankful is for everyone in general, the Prophet sallallahu alihi wasalm’s warning is specifically for the wives. So yes, it should make us, the wives, more careful. :)

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  10. Young Muslimah

    PERFECT article!! I’m 17 and getting married this summer. Any tips like this really help besides the scare-tactics the older desi aunties use :)

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  11. Lanta "Amani" Craig

    This article seems a little demeaning to me. I guess it was intended for more conservative cultures. It makes me uncomfortable when women are talked about in such a single dynamic, and not as equal partners.
    Im america and my husband is 100% Arab. He is awesome. We both earn money and share responsibilities.
    I dont mean to be disrespectful, just my take on it.

    Salam.

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    • Umm Reem

      Hun, thanking one’s husband doesn’t make a wife lesser than her husband…it just makes her a better companion, even in liberal cultures ;)

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  12. Mahmud

    Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

    I had these thoughts before as well and it was confirmed when I read that an-Nabi (S) told Aisha “jazzakillah khair.” This is very important for both parties.

    *This comment was edited by the MM Comments Team to remove a URL*

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  13. Saj

    Such a beautiful and beneficial article may Allah reward you greatly for it ♥️

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