Every young person whether man or woman would like to have a successful marriage and peaceful life. According to Islamic culture, we can define three stages for this purpose.
The first stage, which is prior to getting married includes investigation to find the right person with whom one may have a successful life and also acquiring the preliminary and necessary knowledge about such person.
In this step which is very important and is the stepping stone for the next stages one should first know him or herself and their characteristics and determine the preliminary and secondary qualifications they would want their future spouse to possess and try to find the person who meets at least the preliminary qualifications.
Preliminary qualifications means those conditions that if you do not find them in your spouse you won’t be able to continue living with him or her in contrast to the secondary conditions which if present that would be very good and if not you can cope with.
More than hundred cases under research show that if people get married to one who is their equal the life would be easier. In many cases the quarrel between husband and wife is because they are from different walks of life and do not match each other. Islam’s most emphasis in this issue is on faith and belief.
Religiosity is one of the most important preliminary conditions especially for those to whom religion plays a crucial role. Imam Baiqr (a.s) says: get married to those who are religious.
One mistake that some young men and women make is that because of some factors like not being offered enough proposals for marriage or the insistence of parents and the like they put aside their preliminary conditions or if the person they want to get married to lacked some of those preliminary conditions they ignore it and think that those differences will be solved later on. This attitude could work for the secondary conditions but not for the preliminary ones.
According to what mentioned above, in this stage exact and true research to get the primary and necessary knowledge about their would-be spouse is of great importance. It is in this case that one can determine whether it is good to marry that person or not.
Second stage is after getting married (recitation of the marriage Khutbah) and before the wedding ceremony i.e. before starting living together. In this stage the couple try to know each other’s characteristics and acquire the skills of coping with each other’s differences.
In some societies many marriages take place in two phases: the first is the one in which the Khutbah is recited and man and woman become each other’s spouse and the second is the one in which the couple start their marital life together. The second phase is not based on religion though it is not against it. Sometimes it may bring about a number of problems but on the other hand it might have some good aspects as well.
The mistake that numerous young men and women and even some marriage counselors make is that they believe this stage to be the one in which man and woman start to get to know each other. The couple are told to have their Khutbah recited so that they become mahram to each other and can better know each other. Then if they see they do not match one another they can become separated. this mistake can cause many problems for the man and woman. As we said, the stage in which man and woman should start to know each other is the first stage (i.e. the one before getting married and recitation of the Khutbah) not the second one. The aim in this stage (after acquiring the primary knowledge and finding the preliminary conditions in the person to whom one wants to get married to) should be trying to know the characteristics of the person one wants to get married to, which might be different from those of themselves but they can try to acquire the skills by which they can cope with each other’s differences. In this stage through getting to know each other more, the couple should try to learn how to tolerate a different opinion and try to found a marital life which is based on love and mercy.
Imam Sadiq (a.s) quotes from his father Imam Baqir (a.s): every man who gets married should respect his wife.
The third stage is after getting married and when the couple start living together. The goal in this stage should be strengthening mutual relations by learning more necessary skills and being patient and tolerant.
After succeeding in the previous stages, in this stage the couple should face the realities of life and lower their expectations from each other and by the help of the knowledge that they have acquired about each other they should accompany each other in the vicissitudes of life and help each other in times of difficulties and show their love and affection towards one another so that they could overcome the problems of life. In this stage they should not think about divorce whenever a problem arises. Divorce is always the last resort. Very few problems are for which there is no solution except divorce. Most marital problems can be solved through friendly conversation and mutual understanding. Thus patience is an important principle for marital life, a fact which has been emphasized in our traditions as well.
Imam Baqir (a.s) says: all the virtues are summed up in understanding the religion, patience when facing the problems and spending wisely. In another tradition he has been quoted as saying: verily God Almighty has obligated Jihad on men and women. The Jihad of man is to spend his many and blood (be martyred) in the way of God and the Jihad of woman is to be patient in facing the misbehavior of her husband. In another hadith the Imam says: Whoever tolerates the bad behavior of his wife even if it be a word, God will free him from the fire of hell and he will be entitled for paradise and God will register for him two hundred thousand good deeds and will eliminate from him two hundred thousand sins and will raise him two hundred thousand grades and will grant him on account of every single hair on his body the worship of a year.
By following these pieces of advice one can start and continue a happy and successful marital life.
 Ali Qa’emi, Nezame Hayate Khanevadeh dar Islam, p. 69.
 Wasa’il al-Shi’a, Vol. 20, p. 38, عَلَيْكَ بِذَوَاتِ الدِّين.
 Ibrahim Amini, Ayin Hamsardari, The original text could not be found.
 al-Kafi, Vol. 1, p. 32, اَلْكَمالُ كُلُّ الْكَمالِ، التَّفَقُّهُ فِی الدّینِ، وَ الصَّبْرُ عَلَی النائِبَهِ، وَ تَقْدیرُ الْمَعیشَهِ
 Man la Yahdurhu al-Faqih, ibn Babwayh, Vol. 3, p. 439, إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ كَتَبَ عَلَى الرِّجَالِ الْجِهَادَ وَ عَلَى النِّسَاءِ الْجِهَادَ فَجِهَادُ الرَّجُلِ أَنْ يَبْذُلَ مَالَهُ وَ دَمَهُ حَتَّى يُقْتَلَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ وَ جِهَادُ الْمَرْأَةِ أَنْ تَصْبِرَ عَلَى مَا تَرَى مِنْ أَذَى زَوْجِهَا وَ غَيْرَتِهِ.
 Tabarsi, Makarem Akhlaq, Quoting from the treatise of Imam Sajjad (a.s), edited by Naraqi, من احتمل من امراة و او کلمة واحدة اعتق الله رقبه من النار و اوجب الله له الجنة و کتب له ماتی الف حسنة و محی عنه ماتی الف سیئة و رفع له ماتی الف درجة و کتب الله عز و جل بکل شعرة علی بدنه عبادة سنة.