It goes without saying that the relations between the spouses should be based on tranquillity, love and mercy. These are very important concepts in Islam. These three summarize the ideals of Islamic marriage. It is the duty of the husband and wife to see that they are a source of comfort and tranquillity for each other. They should do everything physically, emotionally and spiritually to make each other feel happy and comfortable. They must care for each other. They should not inflict any harm or injury, neither physically nor verbally, to each other.
In order to increase the tranquillity and comfort in their relations and in their home, they should love each other and should have mercy and kindness for each other. Loving and merciful relationship is an important ingredient of a good marriage and good family life.
In Islamic marriage, neither the husband is allowed to demand his wife what is forbidden by Allah and what is harsh and unseemly, nor the wife is allowed to demand her husband to do anything that Allah has forbidden and what would put undue burden upon her husband.
Dr. Salah Sultan, President of the Islamic American University and professor of Islamic Jurisprudence, Cairo University, states: “There are four major objectives of marriage in Islam. These are as follows: (1) tranquillity, (2) romance and sexual pleasure, (3) begetting children, and (4) increasing or expanding (one’s) relations.
To fulfil the above, there has to be agreement, shura (consultation), and understanding in marriage. If the husband divorces his wife and she is breastfeeding then shura or mutual consultation is obligatory for the sake and benefit of the children. Scholars say if there is shura for how the children are breastfed after the divorce, then it should be made during the marriage.
The man should be obeyed in ma`ruf. The ma`ruf is threefold:
1) wajib (obligatory) like ordering the wife to wear hijab or offer obligatory prayers, etc.
2) mandub (recommendable) like asking the wife to lower her voice or to visit a sister or someone in order to help her;
3) mubah (permissible) like asking her to go out with him to a certain place or to make a certain food, etc.
It is makruh (disliked) and haram (forbidden) for him to order what is makruh or haram. For example, it is not permissible to listen to him when he is requesting her to go out in tight clothes; or when he is asking her to buy lottery, severe relations with parents, or not to wear hijab.
Husband’s right is tied to his ability to provide financial support. If he does not financially support his wife, he loses the right, due to the verse in the Qur’an: “Men are responsible and in charge (qawamun) because of what Allah has given them and because of what they spend…”
On the other hand, it is better for the wife to discuss matters with her husband. My advice to every wife is to talk to her husband’s heart before his mind. A husband needs someone to appeal to his heart before reason. The intelligent woman knows how to convince her husband with her femininity and by capturing his heart. Then it is easy to convince him rationally. What many women may do is to criticize their husbands’ decisions and opinions and discuss them rationally and by raising their voice. This only makes the man more insistent on his decision or opinion. Umm Salamah was able to convince the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) lovingly with a very critical religious and political opinion after the Hudaybiyah Treaty.”