Saturday, May 07, 2005

Marriage is hard

Saturday, 7 May 2005

OK, obviously there are reasons that I am writing this, but I am going to talk about the subject in a general sense.

Unless you married someone who is exactly like you in most ways, which I think would be hard if not impossible to find, marriage is the end of having things your way all the time for both partners. That's the reality of sharing your life with other people. Unless you are living on a deserted island you will have to learn to live with that fact. And yet the is the sticking point for most couples... How do they maintain individuality and work as a team?

I have no hard answers, only my thoughts... My first thought is that it seems like there is usually one partner doing the bending most of the time, and that is hard for them. If you are that partner you know what I am saying. I think the best thing for that partner would be to have a break from that role occasionally. Which means that the other partner will have to know who they are in the relationship and make an effort to back off every so often. And I don't mean about what's for dinner. I mean about something big. I think this could help to equalize things. And of course when this balance is not found, arguments arise... Which leads me to the next thought.

The other thing I think is important is no matter how angry you are NO INSULTS!!!!! And I can't stress that enough. One bad word can stick in the mind of your spouse indefinitely. And in the religion there is a principle that it is best to control your anger when you can. Here is a brief article about anger and its effect on health. It is reported that the Mohammad (saws) asked a question of his companion, "Who among you do you consider a strong man?" They said, the one who can defeat so-and-so wrestler in a fight, and he said,"That is not so. The one who is strong is the one who can control himself at the time of anger."

Another advice that I have heard and i think it goes to the idea that a diversion from the argument can help you to control yourself is the following hadith:
A couple went to Prophet Mohammed and said, We have been fighting each other for many years. Each time she says something to hurt my feelings, I become angry, and then I fight back and this fight comes to such a degree that I am afraid that this verbal fight may,become physical, or we may end up divorced. So please advise how we can control our anger. He told the husband that when your wife provokes you and makes you angry, take a sip of your water in your mouth and do not swallow it or spit it out, but keep it there until she has calmed down. Well, he practiced that and a few months later, he reported back that it did work.
Now I don't know about the authenticity of this hadith at this time, but the idea is what is important in my mind. We will fight as married people, and the challenge is to control ourselves and guard against it escalating.

The other thing I think can really strengthen a relationship is remembrance of Allah (swt) and setting the home to be a place where the family can worship together, and strengthen one another's iman. This takes the focus off of less important things, and sets the standard that the disagreements will be settled by the rules of the religion. I have seen the relationship between the spouses and their level of iman many times. It seems like they can lift each other up or drag each other down depending on the dynamic. And the minute the foundation of the family (Islam) falls down the whole relationship tends to sour. It would benefit us all in so many ways if we could pray with our families and instead of parking in front of the TV in the evening we could sit together and talk about the religion, or study Quran.

Obviously I am coming from a place of self examination at this time... And I have a long way to go in all these areas. But I hope that we can all look at these things as goals. No one should feel disconnected from their spouse, no one should feel like they are constantly doing the will of the other person and thus losing their individuality. And no one should have to bear the brunt of their spouse's anger.

As Muslims we should remember our adhab, and remember that even though we are close to our spouses and we share many things they still deserve to be treated with the same courtesy you would show a stranger you meet during the course of the day.

Just my thoughts......