Marital love in Islaam inculcates the following:
Faith: The love Muslim spouses have for each other is for the sake of Allah (the Mighty) in order to gain His pleasure. It is from Allah (the Beneficent) that we claim our mutual rights (Quran 4:1) and it is to Allah that we are accountable for our behavior as husbands and wives.
It sustains: Love is not to consume but to sustain. Allah expresses His love for us by providing sustenance. To love in Islaam is to sustain our loved one physically, emotionally, spiritually and intellectually, to the best of our ability (to sustain materially is the husbands duty, however if the wife wishes she can also contribute).
Accepts: To love someone is to accept them for who they are. It is selfishness to try and mould someone as we wish them to be. True love does not attempt to crush individuality or control personal differences, but is magnanimous and secure to accommodate differences.
Challenges: Love challenges us to be all we can, it encourages us to tap into our talents and takes pride in our achievements. To enable our loved one to realize their potential is the most rewarding experience.
Merciful: Mercy compels us to love and love compels us to have mercy. In the Islamic context the two are synonymous. Mercy in practical application means to have and show compassion and to be charitable.
Forgiving: Love is never too proud to seek forgiveness or too stingy to forgive. It is willing to let go of hurt and letdowns. Forgiveness allows us the opportunity to improve and correct ourselves.
Respect: To love is to respect and value the person, their contributions and their opinions. Respect does not allow us to take for granted our loved ones or to ignore their input. How we interact with our spouses reflects whether we respect them or not.
Confidentiality: Trust is the most essential ingredient of love. When trust is betrayed and confidentiality compromised, love loses its soul.
Caring: Love fosters a deep fondness that dictates caring and sharing in all that we do. The needs of our loved ones take precedence over our own.
Kindness: The Seerah (biography) of our beloved Prophet is rich with examples of acts of kindness which he showed towards his family. Even when his patience was tried, he was never unkind in word or deed. To love is to be kind.
Grows: Marital love is not static it grows and flourishes with each day of marital life. It requires work and commitment, and is nourished through faith when we are thankful and appreciative of Allah's (the Mighty) blessings.
Enhances: Love enhances our image and beautifies our world. It provides emotional security and physical well being.
Selflessness: Love gives unconditionally and protects dutifully.
Truthful: Love is honesty without cruelty and loyalty without compromise.