Monday, August 10, 2015

Top Advice for The Wedding Night & Newlyweds

Image result for wedding night

I've had a few friends get married this summer, and each time it brought back memories of myself when I was in that situation. I was the first of my friends to get married, and with no sisters, so I never really got any useful tips on what to expect. I remember trying to do research on how best to approach the, ahem, conjugal activities, but ended up with Kama Sutra-type instructions, which was totally not a beginner's place to start! It slowly dawned on me that there weren't many good resources for women starting their journey as wives. In this society, many young women become sexually active in high school or early college, so by the time WE (women of faith who have NOT become sexually active before marriage) are getting married, much of the advice is for...shall we say, advanced practitioners. And many women in the community become tight-lipped when it comes to sharing advice b/c no one wants to potentially reveal something about her own sex life. Or the reverse :can happen, some people love an opportunity to over-share (and potentially scar you for life!). The topic quickly becomes taboo, and you can be left to figure things out on your own as generations of women have done in the past.

Of course, women figure out what they need to eventually, but sometimes it could take months, or even years, before they make certain discoveries. And in the meantime, they might think they they, their bodies, and their relationships with their husbands are sub-standard. Seeing as how there are enough challenges when you first embark on your marital life (such as becoming accustomed to someone with a different family culture, in-laws, different temperaments and habbits, etc), why stress over something that easily can be apprehended?

Here, I've rounded up some of the most vital tips for your wedding night in hopes of empowering Muslimahs who are preparing for their weddings! They are the tips I hope to share with my own daughters, and I would share them with anyone who is receptive to advice b/c I feel like they make a huge difference in your level of preparedness! To your empowerment, inshallah.

First-Time Intimacy

1.  Family Planning

Before you even think about your first time together, you need to have your family planning choice ready and working so that you have one less thing to learn about on your first night together. This should be done one--three months in advance. If you are open to starting a family immediately, that is fine too, its just good to be intentional about the whole process.

2.  Fertility & Anatomy/ Reproductive Cycle Awareness

Learn about your body—trust me, there’s a lot about fertility and the reproductive system that you were never taught and need to know. This book is a great resource. It also outlines a form of family planning that uses fertility awareness, instead of hormones or barriers. Ladies, anytime there is a chance to avoid artificial hormones, please consider it!!! Artificial hormones can really do a number on ya, for years to come. 

3. Work Up Your Confidence

 Do what you can to feel confident for yourself and in front of your husband! Whether that is excellent grooming, wearing something pretty, or shutting the magazine so you don’t compare yourself to air-brushed images, many women need to find ways to boost their confidence. Exercise is an amazing way to pump up your mood: you feel strong, you become more aware of your body, and the added circulation gives you an unbeatable glow. Try doing cardio a few times a week for a month before getting married. Knowing you look good will also do amazing things for your confidence when you are in front of your hubby. The best way to be confident is to OWN IT, even if at first you are only pretending. Practice being confident until you really feel it.

4.   Set Realistic Expectations

Your first time together will NOT be like a Hollywood movie!! It takes couples many practice runs to figure it all out and make it work for both people.

5.  Intimacy

Your first time together will most likely be about intimacy, getting to see each other for the first time and not have any boundaries separating you. So focus on getting comfortable, relaxing, and being in the present instead of reenacting some unrealistic scene from your favorite movie. Your first time together highlights your emotional as well as physical vulnerability (for both of you!), so be gentle and loving.

6.   Take It Slow

The first time does hurt for many (if not all!) women, so go easy and slow. Don’t be afraid, it won’t hurt forever. Many couples do not actually have full intercourse on their first night together, and that is fine! What is important is enjoying the process.

7.  Lubrication

You might find artificial lubrication really helpful in these early times. You can purchase this in the birth control section of the pharmacy. Whole Foods has an all-natural one with aloe vera gel instead of petroleum-based ingredients. The reverse could also be true: some find that lubrication facilitates penetration very quickly, and that could also be painful. But its good to have it on hand in case it ends up working for you.

8. Have a Towel Handy

This activity is quite messy! Keep a towel/ special blanket/ cloth nearby or beneath you. Panty liners are a helpful item to have on hand for afterwards as there is some leakage up to several hours after the fact.

9. Communication

Use really good communication to express what feels good and what doesn’t. Don’t assume that he’ll figure it all out magically. He doesn’t live in your head.

10. The Big 'O'

There are (at least?) two kinds of orgasm! The clitoral one and a vaginal one. Experiencing either or both is fine. But please don’t get caught up on terminology, it’s just good to know that there is more than one way to feel good. Don't feel like you have to accomplish something in a textbook in order to have 'succeeded'! The goal is to meet each other's needs and express love, and there are many different ways of doing that.

11. Skills

Making love is a skill that people develop over time, it’s not an all-or-nothing experience where you’re either “good” or you aren’t. It only gets better as you learn to listen to your body, get comfortable with your spouse, and be open to trying new things.

12.  Relax

The biggest obstacle to enjoying yourself is…your brain! So learn to relax and focus on your immediate sensations instead of fears or anxieties. Do something beforehand that relaxes you, if possible, like take a bath, get into something comfy, do some deep stretches, etc. Yoga is a wonderful tool to generate circulation throughout the body, and make you feel limber and aware.

13. Ghusl

Know that for women, the Ghosl of Janabah is only required if there is penetration. And that it counts as wudhu!

14. Stay Clean

Be careful not to allow bacteria from your backside to come into contact with your vaginal area b/c it can give you a painful UTI. If you do experience painful burning when you urinate, immediately drink lots of water, and consider a cranberry concentrate pill or (unsweetened) cranberry juice. If it doesn't clear up within a few hours, make an appointment to be seen by your doctor.

15. Observe Islamic Sexual Etiquette

And make sure your hubby is on board! Ideally, a Muslim adult should totally know what to do and what is not allowed by the time he/ she is getting married, but there just might be a brother or sister out there who missed out on this chapter. Familiarize yourself with the sunnah and ahadith on the subject a month prior to your wedding night, if you haven't already.

Real Life Husband-Wife Magic

Marriage is half the Deen b/c it takes a lot of work to be self-less and create a unit with a person who is different from you! It’s not about your happiness, it’s about the overall effort you put into it and the long-term satisfaction you have from pleasing Allah by dedicating yourself to something He loves, which is marriage. “Happiness” is fleeting but contentment is what makes us feel good in the long run. But we are bombarded by messages from movies and modern culture in general that make us act in hostile and selfish ways, ways that would destroy the sweetness of marriage beyond the “honeymoon” phase. So here are a few simple tips from my own experience that help keep the marriage healthy and strong inshallah.

1. Leave space between yourself and your man. It shows trust and it leaves you both room to grow and breathe. It may be hard now when you want to spend a lot of time together, but down the line it’ll be really important to have your own activities and me-time, and let him have his.

     2. When you marry your man, you marry his family, too. While you won’t be living with them, know that they will forever be in your life. Foster good feelings. J

         3. Have NO EXPECTATIONS of your in-laws going into the marriage. If you have no expectations, good or bad, you will not be disappointed. If you expect certain things, like presents or to have a second mommy, you will be disappointed because families just do things differently. That’s not to say there won’t be good surprises, but if you expect them it does you no good.

     4. Forget ALL the romantic movies you enjoyed watching!!! They are totally designed to be entertainment. If you use them as the basis of a relationship, you will be disappointed. If you are rude to your husband then run out in the pouring rain, don’t expect him to come chasing after you! Men do not appreciate clinginess or immaturity. Unlike those movies, you are a real mature women married to a real, mature man. Just never compare your life or relationship with ANY romantic comedy! J

     5. Don’t shout at each other unless the house is on fire! If you BOTH come from cultures where loud speaking is usual and expected, then maybe it could be tolerated. But for most cases, having your spouse shout/ use ugly language is extremely disturbing to the other spouse.

     6. Don’t say things that you will regret in a few hours. Painful words or actions do not go away.

     7. Let the past stay the past, don’t bring it up out of curiosity or fun. This is a new chapter of your lives.

     8. It is not OK to be sarcastic to each other. Show mutual respect, even when you are upset. If you let out ugliness, it just goes downhill.

     9. Don’t keep score! Marriage is about sacrifice and forgiveness from both parties. Tit for tat is a petty way to treat your life-long partner! But if you see a specific pattern of behavior emerging, do pay attention to it b/c it may need to be addressed.

         10.  Be willing to grow with your husband. Be willing to accept that he will see your weak spots and he will point them out to you. You have to be willing to accept them from him and change yourself, even if it hurts your feelings or is annoying. J

   11. Read Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. A classic tale of how men and women are designed to approach issues and situations very, very differently. If you expect your man to approach an issue in the same way that you do, you will be disappointed (and frustrated!). Learn about your differences and anticipate them, it’ll save so much headache!

     12. Read The Five Love Languages, which discusses the different ways people seek out love. Find out how your spouse needs you to express your love for him. What he needs might be different from yours. You might need words of affirmation every day (“honey, I love you”), while he might need an act of service (like packing him a lunch).

     13. Guard your husband’s feelings. Sometimes we assume that men are macho, emotionless beings but they can be sensitive and vulnerable. If you pinpoint a trigger of his, guard it for him instead of using it against him.

     14. Guard your own feelings and your marriage from the jealousy or weakness of others. Some women will try to put you down and make you feel inferior in some way. Guard your heart and your marriage. Don’t share your intimate secrets with other random women, UNLESS you need a trustworthy and wise person to vent to in times of conflict. Don’t compare yourself to any other woman, and don’t let them try to make you compare yourself to them. We are all beautiful and sexy and loved in different ways. Some people have low self-esteem and they seek to bring you down in some way to make themselves feel better. Don’t let it happen!


I'd love to hear from you! Which of these would have been most helpful to know when you were preparing for your wedding night? Did you find any of these useful and eye-opening?

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