Allah, most Gracious says about spouses in Quran:
Among His signs is [the fact] that He has created spouses for you among yourselves so that you may dwell in tranquillity with them, and He has planted love and mercy between you; In that are signs for people who reflect.
... they are a garment for you and you are a garment to them ...
Consider this in conjunction with the following verse:
... the best garment is the garment of God-consciousness ...
It requires that a husband and wife should be as garments for each other. Just as garments are for protection, comfort, show and concealment for human beings, Allah expects husbands and wives to be for one another.
Whom to marry
And the believers, men and women, are protecting friends of one another; they enjoin the right and forbid the wrong, and they establish worship and they pay the poor-due, and they obey Allah and His messenger; as for those, Allah will have mercy on them; Lo! Allah is Mighty, Wise. Allah hath promised to believers - men and women - gardens underwhich rivers flow, to dwell therein, and beautiful mansions in gardens of everlasting bliss; but the greatest bliss is the good pleasure of Allah: This is the supreme felicity.
Allah also gives us freedom and urges us to:
...Marry the women of your choice...
Similarly, for the women:
"A girl came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and informed him that her father had married her to her cousin against her wishes, whereupon the Prophet allowed her to exercise her choice. She then said, 'I am reconciled to what my father did but I wanted to make it known to women that fathers have no say in this matter'".
Narrated Abdullah: "We were with the Prophet, peace be upon him, while we were young and had no wealth whatever. So Allah's Apostle, peace be upon him, said, `O young people! Whoever among you can marry, should marry, because it helps him lower his gaze and guard his modesty, and whoever is not able to marry, should fast, as fasting diminishes his sexual power.'"
Narrated Abu Huraira: "The Prophet, peace be upon him, said, `A woman is married for four things, i.e., her wealth, her family status, her beauty, and her religion. So you should marry the religious woman [otherwise] you will be a loser.'"
Mahr is the gift that is given by the husband to his wife at wedding. It can be anything in any amount, as agreed by the bride and bride-groom. Allah says about Mahr in the Chapter `Woman' in Quran:
And give the women (on marriage) their Mahr as a free gift ...
But if you had given the latter a cantar (of gold i.e. a great amount) for dower (Mahr) take not the least bit of it back ...
Narrated Sahl bin Sa`d: " A woman came to the Prophet,, and presented herself to him (for marriage). He said, 'I am not in need of women these days.' Then a man said, 'O Allah's Apostle! Marry her to me." The Prophet asked him, 'What have you got?' He said, 'I have got nothing.' The Prophet said, 'Give her something, even an iron ring.' He said, 'I have got nothing.' The Prophet asked (him), "How much of the Quran do you know (by heart)?' He said, 'So much and so much.' The Prophet said, 'I have married her to you for what you know of the Quran.' '"
Marital relation is seen as an act of procreation. An eye for the what is about to come is kept open in this respect as well. The following prayer reminds us of God, results of our actions, and reminds us of our commitment to train our offsprings.
Narrated Ibn Abbas: "The Prophet, peace be upon him, said, `If anyone of you, when having a sexual intercourse with his wife says:
In the name of Allah! O Allah! Protect me from Satan and protect what you bestow upon us (i.e. an offspring) from Satan.
and if it is destined that they should have a child, then Satan will never be able to harm him.'"
Walima is the wedding reception given to friends and family after the consummation of marriage. It is given by the husband on this auspicious occassion, showing his happiness and sharing it with the friends and family.
Narrated Anas: When 'Abdur-Rahman came to us, the Prophet established a bond of brotherhood between him and Sa'd bin Ar-Rabi'. Once the Prophet said, "As you (O 'Abdur-Rahman) have married, give a wedding banquet even if with one sheep." '"
Narrated Abu Musa: "The Prophet, peace be upon him, said, `Set the captives free, accept the invitation (including to a wedding banquet), and pay a visit to the patients.'"
By this saying of the Prophet, peace be upon him, it is also enjoined upon us to join in the happiness of our brothers.
Duties and Rights of Husband and Wife after marriage
Allah informs us about the just rights of each other on us:
... the wife's rights (with regard to their husbands) are equal to the (husband's) rights with regard to them, although men are a degree above them; and Allah is Almighty, Wise.
The statement that men are a degree above women means that authority within the household has been give to the husband in preference to the wife because a heavier burden has been placed on his shoulders by another verse of the Quran which says:
Advices to Husbands
Men shall take full care of women, because Allah has given the one more strength than the other, and because they support them from their means.Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in (the husband's) absence what Allah would have them guard ...
Jabir Narrated that the Prophet, peace be upon him, gave these instructions in his sermon during Farewell Pilgrimage: "Fear God regarding women; for you have taken them [in marriage] with the trust of God."
Narrated Aisha, God's messenger said: "Among the believers who show most perfect faith are those who have the best disposition, and are kindest to their families."
Narrated Abu Huraira, God's messenger said: "The believers who show the most perfect faith are those who have the best disposition and the best of you are those who are best to their wives."
Aisha has related that the Holy Prophet, peace be upon him, would enter the house with a pleasing disposition and a smile on his lips.
Narrated Al-Aswad: "I asked Aisha, `What did the Prophet, peace be upon him, do at home?' She said, `He used to work for his family and when he heard the call for the prayer, he would go out.'"
Narrated Abu Huraira: "Allah's Apostle, peace be upon him, said, `The woman is like a rib; if you try to straighten her, she will break. So if you want to get benefit from her, do so while she still has some bent.'"
Narrated Abu Huraira: "The Prophet, peace be upon him, said, `Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should not hurt (trouble) his neighbor. And I advise you to take care of women, for they are created from a rib and the most crooked portion of the rib is its upper part; if you try to straighten it, it will break, and if you leave it, it will reamin crooked, so I urge you to take care of women.
Narrated Abdullah bin Amr bin Al-As: "Allah's Apostle, peace be upon him, said, `O Abdullah! Have I not been informed that you fast all the day and stand in prayer all night?' I said, `Yes, O Allah's Apostle!' He said, `Do not do that! Observe the fast sometimes and also leave them at other times; stand up for the prayer at night and also sleep at night. Your body has a right over you and your eyes have right over you and your wife has a right over you.'"
Narrated Ibn Umar: "The Prophet, peace be upon him, said, `All of you are guardians and are responsible for your wards. The ruler is a guardian and the man is a guardian of his family; the lady is a guardian who is responsible for her husband's house and his offspring; and so all of you are guardians and are responsible for your wards.'"
Men should forbear any shortcomings of women in view of the following verse of Quran:
Advices to Wives
Live with them in kindness; even if you dislike them, perhaps you dislike something in which God has placed much good.
Anas reported God's messenger as saying, "When a woman observes the five times of prayer, fasts during Ramadan, preserves her chastity and obeys her husband, she may enter by any of the gates of paradise she wishes (in other words nothing will prevent her from entering paradise)."
Um Salama reported God's messenger as saying, "Any woman who dies when her husband is pleased with her will enter Paradise."
Abu Huraira told that when God's messenger was asked which woman was best, he replied, "The one who fills [her husband] with joy when he sees her, obeys him when he directs and does not oppose him by displeasing him regarding her person or property."