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10 Tenets of the Marriage Contract

My daughter is engaged to be married. As the big day approaches, I have been mulling over the significance of marriage and the responsibilities it entails. When two people choose to spend the rest of their lives together, they make a beautiful commitment to loving and supporting one another through many unknown future adventures. But what does it mean to love and support one another, especially in the face of challenges? How can two unrelated people build a strong team? From my experience and reflections on the guidance of the Qur’an, I came up with ten principles to serve as a strong foundation for any marriage. Here they are:

  1. Both husband and wife should promise to be faithful to each other, and to not cheat on each other by getting involved in another intimate relationship, whether physical or emotional.

  2. Both husband and wife should promise to cultivate their love with honesty, appreciation, and sincere efforts to make clear communication.

  3. Both husband and wife need to build their marriage on a foundation of trust, which implies assumption of good intention on the other’s part, willingness to try and see things from another person’s perspective, and desire to support each other as they grow together.

  4. Each one must protect the health and wealth of the other and increase their own patience in difficult times.

  5. Each one must protect the privacy and dignity of the other by not sharing any private information with an outsider or insulting or mocking the other, whether in public or private.

  6. Each one must respect the family of the other, even as they set new rules for their own shared family based on the teachings of the Qur’an or whatever other way of life they both chose before marriage.

  7. Each one respects the gendered nature of the other, and assumes or shares roles based on their abilities and agreements, with consideration for physical, emotional, and social needs.

  8. Spiritual growth and changes are the only constant in life. Both partners should be open to evolution in themselves and each other, and support each other’s growth.

  9. In case of major conflict, both partners agree to seek professional counseling and/or support from an agreed-upon and spiritually qualified third party.

  10. If any aspects of the agreement are not respected by one or both partners, then either of them reserves the right to terminate the contract in accordance with local legal requirements and procedures.

If you or another person you know are considering getting married, I invite you to share these ideas with them. Perhaps you will be helping them establish a strong foundation that will strengthen their relationship enough to prepare them to endure a difficult time. Or perhaps you will deepen their love and respect for each other, and encourage them to grow spiritually in ways they could not have imagined. For those who would like to dive deeper into these principles, I have a premarital counseling workshop coming soon, so stay tuned!

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Best advice fir not only the newlyweds, but also many tgat have been married for many decades to remember and strengthen their relationships for many more years to come.

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