The Basics of Parenting (part 1)
The importance of the marital relationship
A strong marriage leads to a properly functioning family and, in turn, a solid foundation for society. Marriage is so important in Islam that the Prophet (saws) said:
«Whoever marries has completed half of his faith. So let him have fear of Allah in the remaining half.»
Marriage is thus a form of worship and an opportunity to enhance one’s subservience to Allah. The couple should focus on growing together in obedience and love of Allah, and should seek Islamic knowledge for the goal of developing eeman and fear of Allah in their hearts. Their lives and life decisions should be based upon the teachings of the Noble Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet (saws), and their children should be nurtured in such a rich environment.
Considerations in Marriage
Prior to marriage, one must carefully select a mate, giving priority to the eeman or faith of the person and not his or her social status, wealth, nationality, beauty, and so on. One should also enter the marriage with a commitment to the relationship and to following the guidance of Allah in all matters and decisions. Marriage is a relationship in which there should be mutual love, affection and compassion between the spouses, and in which the husband is protective, caring and generous toward his wife, and the wife is obedient and respectful toward her husband.
The happiness of the other partner should always be placed above one’s own will or desires.
Through these efforts, the couple will find repose and harmony in each other’s company. Marriage is a blessing, but it can also be a test from Allah, the Exalted, the Almighty. When problems arise, the couple should discuss possible solutions in an appropriate manner. Each must place his or her trust in Allah, seek to achieve the best in His way, and rely upon Allah’s guidance and judgment in all affairs.
Marriage and Parenting
In relation to parenting, the couple must work on strengthening their marriage for sake of their children. It is important to understand that the husband and wife present models of married life to their children, as well as models of parenting. This modelling has a major influence upon the beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors of a developing child. Children, in fact, learn more by observing others than by what they are told. Marital conflict should be avoided in front of the children, and models should instead be provided of dialogue, compromise, and patience. Consultation, fairness, reasonableness, and equanimity are essential ingredients for a harmonious family unit.