Tuesday, 26 December 2006

A better way to overcome spousal (and kinds of) arguments

Ustaz Abdullah, a friend of my family, shared with us a very interesting observation. As an ustaz, he sometimes plays the role of mediator for married couples who are weathering some of the most stormiest phases of their marriage.

Usually, when the arguments starts to escalate to a breaking peak, both sides will always blame the other for everything that has gone wrong. Vis-a-vis, they both will try to convince the mediator that they are the one suffering from all this.

A good mediator would often suggest the spouses to go back, reassess the entire situation and come back when everything has been cleared up. And here's the interesting part: once the two has put everything into perspective, the opposite thing happen. They would instead willingly own up to their mistakes and would even go to defend whatever the other is trying to admit.

This happens almost every time. So much so that Ustaz Abdullah is convinced that there's a third party at work. It's none other than syaitan, who would rejoice greatly at the collapse of a marriage. Syaitan's work include causing friction between two harmonious parties and people who also assume this role (batu api) can also be considered as syaitan.

During the arguments, syaitan is hard at work to make the husband and the wife angry at each other. However, when things cool down again, both spouses are able to work thing out because syaitan has left.

What's sad is that sometimes syaitan's influence will finally be gone after the words of talaq has been uttered.

How can husbands and wives avoid from this influence? According to Ustaz Abdullah, the best way is to remain calm and praise Allah by saying subhanallah. Spouses will always find themselve in situations where their patience for the other are tested. But those who successfully overcome these situations are the ones who always praise Allah, in good or bad. Praising Allah is an effective way to counter syaitan's influence. We would be able to maintain our composure and focus on the issue at hand. On the other hand, venting out anger will often lead to other bad things like verbal abuse and feelings of resentment.

Ustaz Abdullah also mentioned that in life we are often tested with people who are opposite of us. A punctual husband will be tested with a wife who's incautious about time. An disciplinarian mother will be tested with a rebellious child. And that's the way it is, since our lives is a test after all. Staying connected to Allah will help us to do right things in handling such people.

Anger will only perpetuate and eventually worsen the problem. The better approach would be to remain calm and ask the other person to help make the situation better. Be kind but firm about it.



dzul said...

But what you said only applicable in a situation that is closed to ideal. Laying things into perspective for ourself or other person is hard but personally I think what is harder is to swallow that pride when it is seen that the mistake is not on the other side but on our very own end. Most of the time people are unaware that the pride actually is the one built by the "third" party.

rol said...

That's an interesting insight. Pride is a major obstacle for men particularly husbands and fathers because they see that "others must obey" and that they're supposed to be right most of the time.

I've been advised by someone long ago that in order to maintain harmony in the household, the husband and father must learn to take the blame for things that do not get done properly. Like a good manager who would blame himself for anything that doesn't go well, even if it's the fault of the subordinates.

For example, he said, if dinner isn't ready on time, don't immediately get angry. Instead, do something to help the food to get prepared faster. Similarly, when the kids forgot to do the laundry as told, ask them to do it while we help them (since laundry belongs to everyone). The key is to avoid getting angry and to instead take corrective measures. This is the point of the post, but maybe I'm not explaining it well enough.

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