Apr 18, 2014

Stress busters for marriage

by Bela Khan


After my last article on repairing marital relationships, my inbox was flooded with e-mails seeking help and guidance. I felt overwhelmed by the sheer number of e-mails I had to reply to. However, that actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise as it inspired me to shed light on another related subject: stress busting in marital relationships.

It is family ‘Z’ now.

When a man coming from a family ‘A’ marries a women belonging to family ‘B’, they start a new family ‘Z’. This family ‘Z’ is neither ‘A’ nor ‘B’. It’s a new family with its unique set of values, principles and rules. If the two pioneers of this family (husband and wife) sit down and decide upon their values (yes, they can take all the goodies from their individual families ‘A’ and ‘B’), they will save themselves from a lot of trouble and needless bickering.A very strong cause of friction between the couple is referring back to their individual families every now and then.

“My family always held dinner parties.”
“My family cooked meals twice a day.”

You can avoid this by having your own set of values, and avoid referring back to what your old families used to do. By doing this, you will eliminate a very strong motivator of rift between you two.

So this is the way, family Z thinks and works:

“My family used to sleep very late but we will make sure that ‘our’ family sleeps early.”
“My family used to spend thousands of dollars on shopping, but ‘our’ family will opt for the middle path.”

Sounds cool, does it not? Below is some friendly advice to keep in mind while tackling marital differences.

Compassion or competition?

Let us be open-hearted and realistic enough to accept this reality first: No couple on earth can “always” live in compassionate harmony. Differences are bound to surface. We need to graciously acknowledge these differences in word and deed.

Take a common scenario: The husband is a very passion-driven and career-obsessed man. The wife, too, happens to be a visionary woman but once the knot is tied, she is left to take care of the laundry, dishes, cooking and kids 24/7. The husband is not concerned in the least bit that many of his wife’s innate talents and desires are being stifled. What should his correct approach to this situation be? He can either choose to ignore all the sacrifices the lady is making; and declare in a callously nonchalant manner: “So what? Every woman on earth does this; she is not doing anything unique for the first time”. Or he can place himself in his wife’s shoes. How does it feel when someone deprives you of all the dreams that you cherished for decades, and locks you up in a cage with your life confined to cooking and cleaning? Once the husband truly empathizes with his wife, he would definitely try to lessen her household burden (by pitching in to help, hiring a maid, or simply decreasing his demands and lowering the bar) and try to give her adequate time and space to live her passion.

It is true for the reverse scenario. Consider the wife who is well-established in her business and generating revenue from seemingly everywhere while the husband just lost his job. Will the wife chide him now and label him a ‘loser’? Or will she be able to empathize and provide him a helping hand and reassuring support?

You are made to find tranquility and compassion in each other. Competition is for the strangers. For you, it is love, peace and respect only.

And among His signs is this that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquility and He has put between you love and mercy.” (30:21) 

You will not always see eye to eye on every subject

No matter how strong your compatibility is, no matter how perfect a fit you guys are for each other, difference of opinion is inevitable. Couples will have disagreement, fights, heated discussions, and let us face it - it is the very consequence of being a human with intellect. Here are a few pointers to save your home from becoming a battleground every other day:

- Stick to issues which concern the present. He might have embarrassed you in front of your sister-in-law 10 years ago, but today is not the time to discuss it. If you will keep on bring up past issues, you will never be able to resolve the issues at hand. You will only drift further apart.

- You might feel that she ‘never’ pays heed to your instructions and that she is ‘always’ complaining about your mom, but using words like ‘never’ and ‘always’ to highlight the other's mistakes is lethal. These words are enough to instigate her to start throwing dishes at you.

- Remember, you lose the right to be respected the moment you stop respecting. At the end of the day, both of you are intertwined in a divinely-ordained relationship. Name calling, blame-game and pointing fingers suit the hooligans only.

- Win-win solutions always help. Do not try to have everything in your basket. You will only stumble and fall. Mutually beneficial solutions are really helpful in the long run.

And say to My slaves (i.e. the true believers of Islamic Monotheism) 
that they should (only) say those words that are the best. 
(Because) Shaitan (Satan) verily, sows disagreements among them (17:53)


- Define the values of your family and vow to never go against them, come what may.

- If you have not done it lately, steal some moments for compassionate communication, confession and re-union.

- Come to common terms on at least 5 issues you both have not settled yet. Writing always helps.

Brainstorm and share some more vibrant tips with us.

I'd love to hear your views on this topic. Please post in the comments section below!


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