No woman is ideal in all aspects, but every one needs to strive towards the ideal, especially when it comes to dealing with disagreements in marriage. A woman needs to be realistic; the same husband she is fighting with is the one with whom she will have to share a bed and a house; he is the very man she depends upon for love and support. Hence she must have the right mind-set when she gets into a disagreement with him. Her goal should not be to get the best of him, but rather to bring an end to their disagreement as quickly as possible and without any ill feelings that might linger in her heart or his. It is especially important for her to avoid using harsh words, for even long after a disagreement ends, such words usually linger in a man’s heart, where they remain dormant until the next disagreement. In fact, each spouse needs to avoid inflicting emotional wounds on the other, so as to avoid a buildup of bitterness. Conversely, to remain quiet might temporarily make things better, but doing so might also have the effect of just delaying the argument and battle for a later time.
Insulting one’s husband, refusing to talk to him in the hope that he will come crawling back, being arrogant with him in an attempt to quell his will to argue, reminding him of his shortcomings – these and similar strategies used by some women don’t work; instead, they only exacerbate an already difficult situation.
What then should a woman do? Primarily, she should try to decrease the level of tension that exists between her and her husband when they are arguing or fighting. To achieve that end, she must take a number of positive steps.
First, she must use her sound judgment to determine whether she is having a real disagreement with her husband or just a temporary misunderstanding – there is a difference between the two. Sometimes, when the lines of communication between husband and wife are temporarily disrupted, each will not understand the feelings and sentiments of the other. They will then continue to deal with one another based on that misunderstanding, until tension mounts, and a small misunderstanding develops into a fight. This is why it is of the utmost importance that each spouse clearly expresses his or her feelings, leaving no room for confusion. Clarity in expression helps remove misunderstandings, so that both husband and wife come to realize that they are not really disagreeing with one another after all; they simply had not understood one another properly.
Second, if they are having a real disagreement, the wife should agree to discuss the actual source of the dispute, without going into side matters that are irrelevant and that, if discussed, will only make matters worse. Therefore, she needs to concentrate on the issue in question, without mentioning all of her husband’s past mistakes. If she brings up the past, she will broaden the scope of the argument and draw attention away from the issue that made her angry in the first place.
Third, she should speak about herself only, expressing only her feelings and sentiments. If she speaks about her husband and his intentions, he will feel that he is being accused, at which point he will begin to defend and justify his stance. Then he might become completely unwilling to budge from that stance. By speaking about herself, a wife gives her husband an opportunity to learn more about her feelings – what she considers to be important, what she likes and dislikes-which better enables him to later avoid those matters that lead to disputes.
Fourth, she needs to search out for those points they agree about and then to emphasize that agreement. The points of agreement form the basis of a harmonious relationship, which will then help to bring an end to a dispute when it is in its earliest stages. When each person concentrates on the faults of the others and the excuses for one’s own behavior, a fight between them will grow in its intensity, scope, and duration.
Fifth, she must work towards a complete reconciliation, one that ends in both spouses being completely free from resentment and bitterness. When one of the two spouses is not completely satisfied, making not a complete reconciliation but only a half-hearted truce, the next fight will be looming in the horizon. And it is only when both spouses make those concessions and sacrifices which they should make as life-partners that a complete reconciliation can be reached.
Sixth, as soon as an understanding is reached, she must immediately begin to apply the terms of their reconciliation. Words alone are not sufficient; they must be accompanied by action.
An Example And A Potent Cure
Salman Al-Farisi (May Allah be pleased with him) married a woman from the tribe of Kindah. One day, he entered upon her, greeted her, sat down, and then said, “Will you obey me if I command you to do something?” She said, “You are like a king here: obedience to you is binding.” How many women these days need to learn a lesson from this pious woman! Nowadays, people in developed countries might boast about technical advancement, but no one can claim that advancement in any science has helped to cure mental diseases, such as depression, or societal woes. Many marriages today are best described by the words misery, wretchedness, constant strife, and failure. Men don’t know how to treat their wives properly, and women don’t know how to honor and respect their husbands. Yet centuries ago we have the example of a woman who knew how to maintain harmony in her marriage; sweet words did she speak when she said, “You are like a king here: obedience to you is binding.” Such words are sure to appease the anger of any just and fair, or at least loving, husband.
The potent cure to most marital problems is for each spouse to be kind to the other. In this regard, a woman would do well to take the first step.