Bearing the end in mind is about the principle of vision, and vision is powerful. According to a well-acclaimed research, it is this principle that helps prisoners of war survive the atrocities and brutalities of concentration camps. Vision is the same principle that gives children the drive to succeed. It is a moving power behind effective individuals and organizations in every walk of life. Vision is also greater than the negative baggage of the past and even the accumulated heartache of the present.

Mariam, a woman married for almost fifteen years shared that, “There are times when my husband and I disagree about things and put a wall between us due to a difference of opinion. I have resolved not to let the wall expand and drive us apart. Almost instantly or later, I realize what Satan is trying to scheme against us. Without caring who is right or wrong, I willingly apologize to my husband or try talking things out.

Many of my friends think this is a loser’s policy. They prefer to be caught dead than to admit their mistake, or kiss and make up for a quarrel they never started. To them, I have only one piece of wisdom to offer:

Before getting married, I envisioned a strong, healthy, growing marriage. And I have since found that when you have that kind of a clear vision, it gives you the sustaining power to swallow hard in difficult moments, to not say something that would hurt feelings, to apologize, and to come back to it, because you are affirming something more important to you than just the emotion of the moment.

You don’t care about the number of times you have apologized. Rather, you take pride in the number of times you have obeyed Allah (swt), kept your sacred covenant made in the form of Nikah, and helped your union stay thriving and healthy. Besides, I have always envisioned us growing old together, when our children fly away from our loving nest. The thought of being alone, sick, and abandoned scares me.”

Another married woman, Ayesha, offered her reasons as to why is it so important to build and maintain a positive perspective in one’s marriage: “To me it’s more important to be ‘one’, rather than to always be right or have things done my way. As the adage goes: ‘The tiny victory that comes from winning the argument only causes greater separation which really deprives you of the deeper satisfaction of a marital relationship.’ I count that as one of my greatest life learnings. From that point onwards, I was determined to always do everything in my power not to focus on being perfect – because I knew that was impossible – but to keep working at my relationship and keep trying. Even if my spouse doesn’t try as hard as I do, I am at peace with myself.

I take initiative to do all the right things in my relationship, rather than sulk, complain, hold grudges, and settle old scores with my better half. Allah (swt) is watching every second

It is the vision of a happily married couple that motivates me to do my share willingly.”

Hina shares insights about her marital life: “It hasn’t been easy. It is one of those things that are easier said than done, especially when I know that what I just said or did is right, and my spouse is being unreasonable or non-cooperative. At that time, my instant reaction is to strike back with an equal might. But then I always force myself to visualize the life of our beloved Prophet (sa). He could have used that option to settle his issues, but not even once in his life we find this. And yet eventually he was able to win each and every situation to his own liking with patience. This happened because his eyes were always fixed at the end point, the goal, the destination. What came along was a test to prevent him from getting there. And he understood that very well.

“Hence, my resolve to reaffirm my love and commitment to my husband reflects a priority that wouldn’t have been there had I not been a striving Muslim in the way of Allah (swt). I do not let myself ever forget that Hell will be inhabited by more women than men. Also the prime cause for many wives to land in such a despicable situation would be their constant thankless attitude towards their husbands. The vision of Heaven, on the other hand, with all its rewards and bounties lures me into struggling harder as a responsible wife.”

The philosophy of having a vision is also based on the idea that all things are created twice. First comes the idea, or mental creation; then comes the reality or the physical creation. It is like drafting the blueprint before constructing the building, writing a script before performing the play, and creating a flight plan before taking off.

Keeping this principle in mind, families are encouraged to create a mission statement. This is a combined, unified expression from all family members of what your family is all about and the rules you choose for governing your family life.

You need to ask each and every family member (your spouse in particular) what the purpose of your family is. What values are important to them that they wish to live by? And then respect that, discuss it several times, and recap before the final penning down in order to avoid any misunderstanding. Once written down, frame it, and hang it up as a constant reminder for all. It takes ages to fully live by them, but their existence is a daily reminder especially when we go off track.

This is vital to have the entire family culture aligned to ensure that we are heading towards a mutually agreed upon destination. We cannot have the pilot in the cockpit flying off to Karachi while the flight engineer assumes they are headed for Lahore. What will happen under such circumstances? If you will not have a future vision for your family, you will be swept along with the flow of society’s values and trends, without any sense of purpose. You will feel as if you are living out the script someone else handed over to you.

Remember, without vision, people perish because all things are created twice. If you do not take charge of the first creation, someone or something else will. May Allah (swt) grant us the courage and comprehension to see beyond our present problems and keep focused on the final product we aspire to achieve. Ameen.