The institute of marriage is the most ancient institute that man has ever known. Since the time Allah Almighty created the first humans, the prophet Adam (alaihis-salaam) and Hawwah (Eve), He instilled a special feeling for a man to a woman. Their marriage took place in the heavens long before they were sent down to live on this earth. The rest of their lives is history.
In modern times, marriage has acquired a bad reputation amongst various sections of society. To some, it is a burden that can lead to additional, stressful responsibilities. To others, its benefits are of minute scale, compared to the stress, depression and bitterness it brings. To them, the benefits of a formal union between a man and a woman are exaggerated and are not reflective of the reality. Therefore, they prefer a relationship to opposite gender which is free from all responsibilities, stress and bitterness. They prefer a short-term, easily exchangeable, girlfriend-boyfriend relationship over a long-term, often permanent, husband-wife relationship.
The reason behind this tendency is very simple. It is the statistics. The statistics demonstrate that a great number of modern marriages culminate in painful, bitter divorces. The initial relationship of mutual love between a husband and wife soon fades away and becomes a cause of hatred and bitterness. This has created an evil image of marriage in the perception of the above-mentioned groups of society.
Another reason may be the fact that getting married is no longer cheap. Society has created such a vast number of unwritten rules and formalities which mean that a wedding costs fortune. There are various types of ceremonies and parties that may precede the actual wedding ceremony. Special dresses are to be bought, and expensive jewelleries to be purchased. Super-delicious food to be cooked, luxurious cars, limousines to be hired and fabulously decorated wedding halls to be booked.
But, is getting married such a bad decision?
If we analyse the phenomenon of why so many marriages end in divorces, reasonable people may differ in its explanation. However, a particular cause that a vast majority of people will agree upon is that selfishness is playing a dominant role in all of this. When husband and wife take their mutual bond as a relationship of rights and obligations, rather than a bond of love and sacrifice, then soon things begin to get chaotic. For a marital relationship to be full of happiness and bliss, willingness to sacrifice is a key factor. Both husband and wife must stop looking at their relationship through the prism of rights and obligations. Allah Almighty says in the Holy Qur’an:
“And it is among His signs that He has created for you wives from among yourselves, so that you may find tranquillity in them, and He has created love and kindness between you. Surely in this there are signs for a people who reflect.” [Surah Room, 33:22]
The cure for the second phenomenon, i.e. the modern trend of extravagant weddings, has also been provided by Islam very beautifully. It is an undeniable fact that societal norms and traditions play a major role in encouraging a person to spend extravagantly on weddings. However, the Noble Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) says very wisely: “The most blessed marriage is the one which costs the least.”
Therefore, families should try not to give in to unreasonable and unethical pressures from relatives and friends. To be honest, in extravagant weddings, the losing party are the families of the bride and groom; and there are no winners, except for the business people who run various types of wedding-related businesses.
In summary, marriage is one of the essentials for the survival of human species on this earth. It is the bedrock of society. The marital life can be made happy and harmonious by preferring one’s spouse’s needs over one’s own needs, as well as fulfilling the rights and obligations of each other.