"And among His Signs is that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquility with them, and He put love and mercy between your hearts. Verily in that are Signs for those who reflect." [Sûrah Rûm: 21]

We should think about this verse of the Qur'ân. We should consider it well. What does it tell us about married life?

The verse tells us quite clearly that the marital relationship is to be established on a basis of mutual understanding, compassion, and love. Moreover, this relationship is a reciprocal one. It is not one-way. This relationship something that both the husband and wife must maintain together with closeness, affection, softness of heart, and mutual caring. This is the way that the "tranquility" mentioned in the verse is realized.

The measure of marital success is in the harmony and openness of the marital relationship. Its failure can be measured in the degree of discord and emotional imbalance it suffers from.

Marriage is one of the noblest of human relationships. It is the very foundation of society. Allah has established a strong foundation for this relationship.

Love and affection are translated into action through kindness of expression, leniency in conduct, sincerity, mutual respect, and other behaviors. Tranquility comes about through their familiarity for one another, their natural sense of ease and comfort in being together, their need for each other. This reciprocity of feeling comes from their common origins. Allah says in the verse: "…mates from among yourselves." Adam and Eve were from a common source. She was created from him. This is why the two genders are always longing to be completed by each other.

When a marriage is just starting off, this is most obvious. The emotional bonds are strong and easy for both parties to maintain. These are the romantic times. However, this romance wanes over time. Even the love and affection that the feel for each other can grow cold. Routine sets in. Tension can easily replace affection. The mutual desire they once had for each other can be lost.

Dissonance enters into a marriage when one party ceases to carry out the positive role that the relationship demands. This makes the marriage tedious and tiresome for both husband and wife. The basic ingredients of the married life become tepid. Instead of the beautiful rhythms of a happy marriage, new rhythms begin to take hold, beating with a desire to do away with the marriage altogether. Harmony in marriage requires real and substantial effort from both parties. Otherwise, there will be discord.

They can easily become the victims of mutual neglect and negative attitudes. It could start with one of them, but soon enough this coldness and negativity will become something that they share.

But does this mean their love for each other dead?

Not at all – as long as their love for each other had been true form the start. If they had felt deeply for each other and had taken comfort and satisfaction in each other's company, then their love will still be very much alive, just buried under layers of neglect and muffled by a deafening silence. It will have receded into the background, lost in all the distractions of their busy lives.

We will find that their love resurfaces at times of crisis or hardship, like when one of them falls seriously ill. Then we see the other spouse's concern and love, sitting worriedly at the bedside, all arguments and disagreements forgotten.

Their love is alive, but their emotional connection had cooled down far too much. Sometimes this has to do with emotional problems that one spouse is suffering from. In this case, the other party must try to help that person get out of their emotional rut.

However, often the problem is simply that of taking each other for granted. Life becomes too much of a routine. This can happen after years of marriage. Behaviors and words that had once been invested with affection and significance become mere gestures and habitual acts.

This situation can be cured. It behooves us to point out that it is certainly not cured by laying the blame on either the husband or the wife. Accusations do not help. Listening to one another does. Each part needs to hear what the other is feeling and suffering from without blame or censure. There solution is not in pronouncing judgment on this one or that, but in seeking a way to cultivate that love and restore it to the level it once was.

Sometimes what is needed is forgiveness. This is a cure that Allah calls us towards. Forgiveness and clemency are among the best qualities a person can have.

Allah says: "Be quick in the race for forgiveness from your Lord, and for a Garden whose width is that of the heavens and of the earth, prepared for the righteous – who spend in ease and in adversity, who control their wrath and are forgiving toward others. Allah loves those who do good." [Sûrah Al `Imrân: 133-134]

Finally, sometimes the problem is boredom. The couple should to put some spice back into the marriage and dispel the tedium. If they cannot work out their problems on their own, they should not feel shy to seek advice or counseling from someone they trust, especially someone specialized in marital problems. They should never seek the advice of mere acquaintances, since it is never good to talk about one's problems except in total confidence.