As I was walking towards the runway from the boarding lounge, I couldn’t help but notice the very aged couple in front of me. Hardly being able to walk yet supporting each other, the husband quietly adjusted the warm stole on his wife’s shoulders. I smiled to myself and moved on towards the gate, not seeing them again until our plane landed at the destined airport.
After going through the usual procedure, I was standing next to my bags, waiting for the luggage when I saw a worker pushing two wheelchairs across the slippery floor. He stopped right in front of me and I saw the same old man and woman in a wheelchair each. The worker helped the old man out of his seat and went to get his bag leaving him standing there. The old man walked slowly over to the other wheelchair and bending his already bent back some more, gave his wrinkled feeble hand to his wife and tried to pull her up unsuccessfully. By that time, the worker returned and helped his wife out of the wheelchair. The husband told her respectfully to “go sit down”. She responded with equal respect and said “it’s okay, don’t worry about me”.
In the meantime, my luggage had arrived and after collecting my bags, I left the airport. But my heart was touched by what I had seen. I wondered to myself, what had kept the spark alive for this old couple? Why is it that today young spouses can’t bear the other’s face just a couple of years into marriage? I remembered their respectful looks and tones towards each other and I knew I had found my answer.
Indeed, it is respect that we lack today. We wait for love in the form of a missed heartbeat, tingly feelings, sentimental songs and rainbows and butterflies. But it never happens, and even if it would, it would get tiresome after a while. We forget that love is not a temporary phase of excitement rather long-term solace and loyalty built by giving respect and compassion. Unless we lay the foundations of this very basic family unit correctly, how can we expect to construct a building on it free of cracks and flaws?
May Allah grant us wisdom to deal with our spouses and families in the best possible manner and may He make them the coolness of our eyes. Ameen.