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?
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:
- As a wife, I can better advise wives.
- Being ungrateful to our husbands can lead us to a very problematic situation on the Day of Judgment.
- It is better to divide the article into 2 parts, one addressing specifically wives and the other for husbands, so inshā’Allāh 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:
- 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 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 Allāh 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‘ā’ to Allāh to increase love in their marriage.
My advice to sisters, in addition to making du‘ā’ to Allāh of course, use the permissible spell Allāh 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.)