loving-loveTHE more I read and talk to people, the more I think we are in love with love. Now don't get me wrong – love is nice. Love is beautiful. Love is sweet.

And I love a cute love story just as much as other people. Girl wants to marry guy but he's not interested. She's heartbroken but then she realizes he wasn't the right one for her and she marries someone better. Happily ever after, right?

I told a friend that it seems that people put so much energy, time, and effort into the wedding but not the marriage, and they focus on having the babies but not raising them. There's this desire to have the wonderful wedding, the wonderful guy, and the wonderful family, but then what? And where does Deen fit in?

Sooner or later in marriage, most likely during those times when you feel like you've had more downs than ups, you start to feel like love isn't enough.

Love doesn't equal dreamy happiness and love doesn't solve all the problems.

Love can be directed to different things and different people. We can do a lot in the name of love. But when we do things purely for the sake of love itself, and not out of love for Allah and trying to earn His pleasure, there will be many problems.

We should be getting married for the sake of Allah, and if things get to the point of divorce, we should separate for the sake of Allah. Not marry and divorce solely for the sake of love, or lack of it. And since we are on the topic of love and marriage, where in Islam does it say that being in love is a requirement?

Allah says, {And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquility in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.} (Qur'an, 30:21)

This isn't the same as the obsessive, consuming desire we see or read about. This isn't the "crazy in love" stuff or the "I'll do anything for you" love. This is a calm, moderate, purposeful love.

Have you ever had your spouse do something so nice, so extra loving? And then it seems like all the sadness, anger, or resentment and disappointment fades away? And everything seems okay after all? Or even with your kids...all of a sudden they will clean up without being asked, listen without having to be told twice, or show unexpected affection, and it seems like the world is great.

On the other hand, when your spouse makes you furious, when the kids are on their worst behavior, and when the house is a mess...how quickly everything seems to go wrong. When everything is based on love, and then something happens when it's taken out of the equation, you are left with nothing.

This happens when we become too attached to "love" and "good times", when our world seems to turn upside down when we don't have either one. It hurts.

And I think this is because we love "love and happiness" and fairy tale ideals. But then again who doesn't love these things? We all enjoy good times and ease. No one wants hardship or a cold marriage. But I think this focus on romance is a distraction from Shaitan. We get so caught up with being in love that when things go wrong (and they will because this is the dunya), couples want to separate or divorce. Couples want to give up. They think the relationship is hopeless because "the love isn't there anymore".

Some people think that love makes the marriage. They think if they aren't holding hands while taking long walks in the park or staring at each other over candlelight and roses, something is wrong. I knew a young woman who felt that something was missing because her husband hadn't fallen head over heels for her.

I read a question online recently. "What if God designed Marriage to make us Holy instead of Happy?"

This is something to consider. Perhaps Allah gave us marriage as a means to draw closer to Him, not to the dunya.

Your spouse is supposed to help you get closer to Allah, and marriage teaches you things about yourself you otherwise would not have learned. And that's what marriage is about.

Marriage isn't supposed to be this super relationship where you love your spouse more than you love yourself. Sometimes we think our spouse is supposed to do anything and everything for us, because they "love" us. And vice versa... we feel so "in love" that we would do almost anything to keep our spouse pleased. And we feel upset when we don't get that level of devotion in return. But the only One we need to love unconditionally is Allah, and then His messenger (peace be upon him). Not yourself or your desires. Not your spouse, and not even your children.

Allah says, "Say [O Muhammad, peace be upon him], if your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your wives, your relatives, wealth which you have obtained, commerce wherein you fear decline, and dwellings with which you are pleased are more beloved to you than Allah and His Messenger and Jihaad [i.e., fighting] in His cause, then wait until Allah executes His command." (Qur'an, 9:24)

Allah also says, "Yet, there are those who chose to worship others beside Allah as rivals to Him, loving them as they should love Allah, but the believers have greater love for Allah." (Qur'an 2:165)

And

'Abdullah Ibn Hishaam, may Allah be pleased with him, said: "We were with the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) as he was holding 'Umar ibn Al-Khattaab, may Allah be pleased with him, by his hand. 'Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, said to the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam): "You are more beloved to me than everything except myself." The Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) replied: "No O 'Umar! I swear by Him in whose hand is my soul, [you will not truly believe] until I become more beloved to you than your own self." Thereupon, 'Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, said: "I swear by Allah that you are now more beloved to me than myself." The Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) replied: "Now! O 'Umar (i.e., now your faith is complete)." (Al-Bukhari).

Allah says, "The Prophet is more worthy of the believers than themselves." (Qur'an, 33: 6).

Look what happens when we love Allah and His messenger (peace be upon him) – Anas bin Malik, may Allah be pleased with him, said that a man asked the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam): "When will the (last) hour come?" He (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) replied: "What have you done to prepare for it?" The man replied: "Nothing, except the love I have for Allah and His Messenger." The Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) replied: "You will be (on the Day of Judgment) with those whom you love." (Al-Bukhari).

Anas Ibn Malik, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said: "One who attains the following three things will taste the sweetness of faith: to make Allah and His Messenger more beloved to himself than anything else, to love a person for no other reason except for the sake of Allah, and to hate to return to disbelief just as much as he would hate to be thrown into fire." (Al-Bukhari, Muslim and others).

So when we do things out of love, let's do it because we love Allah and His messenger (peace be upon him)—and because our love for each other stems from this greater love. Let our love for Allah be the base and the reason for our actions and In-shaa'-Allah we will earn Allah's reward and mercy.

In this way, we will attain a greater happiness—in this world and the Hereafter, more than could be gained through "loving love."