In any relationship, differences and conflicts are natural. As long as the disagreement is verbal, spouses would often have different opinions about certain matters in their life. Yet when these disagreements arise, it is recommended to resolve conflicts in marriage shortly.
Before discussing the steps to resolve conflicts in a marital relationship, let’s discuss in short healthy habits that cultivate a healthy relationship.
Nourishing a healthy relationship
Spending quality time together is essential to strengthening the bond between the spouses. A small chit chat and some humour will make life more livable, with all the other responsibilities being juggled every day.
The prophet Muhammad (PBUH) with all his da’wa burdens (Islamic propagation) and his involvement in the state’s affairs, he made time for his wives and family. In fact, it was a top priority for him (PBUH) to give each of his family members their rights, help with the household duties, and treat them tenderly.
It was narrated by Aisha (RA), the Prophet’s wife, that he used to often race her. Besides, whenever he (PBUH) offered Ishaa prayer, he would enter his house and have a pleasant talk with his family before going to bed, thereby giving them a good company.
The Almighty says
There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent pattern.
Surah Al Ahzab 33:21
Yet, often disagreements happen, and we become so overwhelmed with our feelings that we tend to lack focus on solutions.
6 steps to resolve conflicts in marriage
1. Find the real issue
Typically, arguments happen when one partner’s wants are not being met. Try to get to the heart of the matter. As if their wishes are always unmet or not addressed, the nagging will persist at home. If your partner seems needy, maybe they’re just feeling insecure and need your support and encouragement. If you’re angry that your partner isn’t taking out the trash, perhaps you’re really upset because you feel like you do all the work around the house.
Instead of holding grudges for days, communicate your thoughts, and discuss actionable steps together that suits both sides. Communication enhances a smoother relationship.
After the wedding ceremony of Fatimah (his daughter) to Ali, he went to their home and advised Fatima to honour her husband. Then, the Prophet (SAW) headed to Ali and told him: ” Ali, do not get angry, and when you get mad, sit-down. Remember Allah’s power over the servants and His tolerance over their sins. If you are advised to fear Allah, abandon your anger, and go back to your deliberateness.”
2. Put yourself in their shoe
We often get so overwhelmed with our feelings and thoughts that we get to only see one side of the story, our own. While it is common human nature to be subjective towards our issue and concerns. It is healthy and recommended to see the problem from another perspective to be able to resolve conflicts.
Getting out of our bubble and walking a mile in our partner’s shoes helps us gain a little bit of empathy towards their feelings and concerns. It allows us to see troubles from a different angle. Though we may or may not agree with them. After all, we would have gained some empathy towards the reason behind their recent behaviour. And this cultivates understanding and forgiveness at home.
3. Compromise when possible
Easy to say but hard to do, compromise is a major part of conflict resolution. Life will not always go your way. As partners, you have to agree to disagree. Try to take turns compromising and reach a common ground that would quite satisfy both of you.
And live with them in kindness. For if you dislike them — perhaps you dislike a thing, and Allah makes therein much good.} [An-nisaa 4:19]
Yet if the problems still persist, and the conflicts in your marriage keep rising, other corrective measures should be taken.
4. Forsake in bed
The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has never advocated violence in handling conflicts. One of the corrective measures that might bring back order at home is forsaking in bed, not out of it. This means that the husband should not let anyone notice that he is upset with his wife.
At times, wives might get disobedient, arrogant, and negligent of their husbands’ rights and duties. According to the Quran, first, the husband should advise her patiently, then encourage at times and dissuade at others. If her arrogance and negligence remain, he shall abandon her in bed.
But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance — [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them. But if they obey you [once more], seek no means against them.}[Quran 4:34]
It is important to note that this is not by any means done to humiliate or take revenge. Rather than save the marriage from a worse route, which is divorce. This discipline method can be used when husbands had tried different ways to stop their wives ’ arrogance and negligence of her family. And have reached the conclusion that his wife’s behaviour and arrogance become worse with kindness, and with strictness, she gets back on track.
Every sensible man realizes that if temporary sternness could bring back discipline, and prevent the family from breaking up, it would be better than divorce and separation.
And settlement is best.} An-Nisaa 4:148
5. Family intervention to resolve conflicts
When other trials to resolve conflicts are not successful, the couple should seek the help of older, wiser, and trustworthy elders, scholars, or marriage counselors. They will try to help them think rationally, resolve their differences, and reach an agreement should they wish to continue living together.
Allah (SWT) tells us in the Quran that:
وَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ شِقَاقَ بَيْنِهِمَا فَابْعَثُوا حَكَمًا مِنْ أَهْلِهِ وَحَكَمًا مِنْ أَهْلِهَا إِنْ يُرِيدَا إِصْلَاحًا يُوَفِّقِ اللَّهُ بَيْنَهُمَا ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلِيمًا خَبِيرًا
“If there appears to be discord between a wife and her husband and if they desire reconciliation, then choose arbiters from the families of both sides. Allah (SWT) will bring them together; Allah (SwT) is All-Knowing and All-Aware.” (An-Nisaa) 4: 35)
One of the best dua for easing marriage life is
((اللَّهُمَّ أَلِّفْ بَيْنَ قُلُوبِنَا، وَأَصْلِحْ ذَاتَ بَيْنِنَا، وَاهْدِنَا سُبُلَ السَّلَامِ
أخرجه أبو داود (صحيح ،
O, Allah! Join our hearts, mend our social relationship, guide us to the path of peace.
Sahih (Al Albani)