The following notes are based on the second of the two day Workshop held in Nov 2010 by Sobia Kamaladdin (wife of Shaykh Kamaluddin Ahmed) on the topic: Marriage in Islam. The workshop was held in Karachi and was addressed only to women. These notes are not transcript of the workshop but simply based on my understanding of the topic.

 

The workshop was divided into three broad sections:

1. Conflict Resolution Guidelines
2. How to win the heart of your husband
3. Common Marital problems

I. Conflict Resolution Guidelines

a. Take initiative:
One should remember that good and bad marriages are all made. The first one who makes up is more muttaqi. What you need is:

i. Open mind and heart: Be open minded. Ask yourself: What is it that I did wrong?Think like a third party and try to be in other person’s shoes. Step out of the situation without being emotional.

ii. Communication: Communication is extremely important. Both the spouses should be willing to listen and to talk. They should take turns and say ” You talk and I will listen” and then ” I will talk and you listen”.

What each of the spouse should not do?
– Put the issue under the carpet
– Have this mindset ” I am going to win”

What mindset should each have?
– “Let’s resolve the issue”

  • Schedule a time to discuss the issue if you cannot find a common time. You can say, “Look, we need to talk”.
  • Give attention to listening. Pay attention to body language because 80% of communication is always non verbal. Look in the eye and talk.
  • Don’t bring up any old stuff. Do not rehash the past. Think: “Why are we arguing? What is the root cause” Do it all without any judgement.
  • Put yourself in your spouse’s shoes. Empathize. Think that your spouse maybe working too hard or S/he is maybe sick.
  • You have to tell him/her that “I care about you”
  • Give ten minutes to your spouse and keep your mouth shut and while s/he is speaking you can even take notes but let the other person speak.
  • Avoid any negative points if you can.
  • You need a lot of humility while trying to resolve conflicts. You shouldn’t be afraid to say that ” I didn’t mean to hurt you, but I am still sorry”. Crush your ego.

iii Accommodation: Don’t say ” Do this immediately” or ” You have to do it all”.

b. Practice anger management:
It is a famous hadith that when a person gets angry he/she should become silent. The same strategy is to be applied here that if you get angry, remain silent.

Other strategies are:

  • Do wadu
  • Change Location (go to bathroom or sometimes when the couple is fighting, a phone call comes. It is a good way to diffuse the situation if one of them goes to pick up the phone and has to change the tone of the voice and attitude all of a sudden. Then when the phone call ends, the aggression in the conflict is usually lost and the couple is like ” oh, what were we talking about, where were we?..”
  • Change position ( If you are standing, then sit, if you are sitting, then lay down.)
    One should remember that 90% of the conflicts in marriage are always related to a third party. Remember that Shaitan is the biggest enemy of a happy marriage. Shaitan is pleased the most when husband and wife fight because an unhappy home leads to various evils in the society.

c. Forgive and forget:
If you want Allah to forgive you, then you should also learn to forgive others. Remember that, when you love someone, you love their flaws too.
Also that most women will enter jahannum because of being unthankful and ungrateful to their husbands.
Your Taqwa is that you forgive and forget. The biggest person you should do Silah Rehmi is your husband or your wife.
If something unfortunate happens, instead of complaining, think ” This was in my destiny”.
If you want high honour in jannah, establish link and connection with those who cut ties!

d. Avoid humiliating behaviour:
Avoid the following behaviour:

i. Name Calling: Avoid abusive name calling to your spouse or saying for example “You are the source of all problems”.

ii. Blaming: Avoid blaming your spouse or saying, ” I have never seen any khair in you”.

iii. Finger pointing at your spouse.

II. How to win the heart of your husband

a. User your eyes:

  • When you look in the eyes continuously, attraction increases.
  • All the emphasis on the eye makeup etc is not without reason.
  • Real happiness shows in the eyes: have “Bright smiling eyes”. If somebody looks with a good intention, then it affects the relationship.
  • Sometimes a couple of tears work too!

b. Say right things at the right time:

  • Express your love to your spouse. Show your love.
  • Imagine we sms everyone, what about sending a love message to your husband? Saying “I miss you” and a few words of praise can do wonders

c. Daily positive reinforcement:

  • Do small chores for your husband like giving water to him.
  • Use your sense of humour.
  • Consult internet if you have any problems.
  • You can even have a wish box. Place it in your home and both the spouse can put little chits in that regarding what each of them wants the other one to do.

d. Use fragrance:

  • Humans are attracted by fragrance therefore you should definitely use fragrance in front of your husband.

e. Physical context:

  • Fulfill the physical needs of your husband
  • You can touch while speaking because what you say becomes more effective Sometimes, hugging even works. You can hug tightly until the husband needs to breath!
III. Common Marital Problems

a. Becoming distant:
Common problems include:

“I feel like we are going apart”.
“He’s never home”
“He doesn’t spend time with family”

Solutions:

  • Find time with each other. Initially you do it automatically but later you need to take out time.
  • Talk about things that your spouse likes.
  • Keep the romance alive!
  • Play games together.
  • Have similar experiences like going together to Islamic lectures or doing any activity together.

b. Over critical and demanding husband:
Common problems include:

“I can never do anything right”
“He blames me for everything”
“I cannot enjoy anything around him”

Solutions:

  • Try to explain to the spouse that ” I am trying to be perfect but the way you say it, it hurts me and it is difficult for me to love you that way”
  • Sometimes you need psychological help if your spouse is too demanding

c. Excessive fighting and backbiting:
Common problems include:

“He is always in bad mood”
“There is no peace in the house”
“We are always fighting”

Solutions:

  • Remember that some salt is like a seasoning in the food and so it is in the relationship of husband and wife. But too much of it is bad. Identify the root cause of the problems. (See conflict Resolution)

d. Issues with In-laws:
Common problems include:

“They interfere too much”
“Mother in law is dominating”
“He can never say anything to his mother”

Solutions:

  • You need to hold balance but not at the expense of your children.
  • Never say anything bad about your in-laws.
  • Once a week, a woman has a right to go to her mother’s place even if husband doesnt want her to. It’s her right.
  • Older brother takes the position of father when father passes away so give him due respect
  • A woman has a right to demand her husband three things: a separate living area, a separate kitchen and a separate entrance to her home.
  • If you are too busy and your inlaws want you to attend too many invitations etc, then you can explain ” Okay, I can attend this and this event, but I will not be able to attend that event” Tell them prior to the event. Don’t tell or complain at the last moment.

e. Impermissible actions/ Reactions:
Sometimes your spouse may ask you to do something haraam or is involved in doing something haraam himself. Remember the hadith which says that there is no obedience to the creation, if it involves disobedience to the Creator.

Solutions:

  • Try to educate your spouse about it.
  • If the wife continues doing haraam activity, then the husband should:
    • first stop speaking to her
    • Next separate bed from her
    • Next, extremely lightly hit her with a miswak (This is more symbolic and should not cause physical pain)
What to do when there is no way out?

a. Divorce: This should be the very last resort. Remember, it is the most disliked of all permissible acts

b. Do Sabr: Remember that no life is perfect and we need to do sabr in a lot of situation

c. come closer to Islamic spirituality:

– Make dua to Allah SWT.

-Work on your relationship with Allah SWT and everything will start falling into place
-Do Zikr of Allah
-Attend Islamic classes etc

May Allah bless us all with a loving companions and keep Shaytan away from all the marriages. Ameen!