This article deals with how to save a troubled marriage as this is something that plagues so many families.
The question we’re going to address today is, why do husbands, wives, and families have such a difficult time getting on?
Actually, the relationship dynamics play out through all of our relationships, whether it’s with our siblings, our parents, our kids, or even at work.
But in this article, we focus on marriage, because that’s a very common one.
Isn’t life challenging enough? So how can I fix my marriage, and my relationship, and save my family from falling apart?
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Fasten Your Seatbelt
What you’re about to read in this article isn’t necessarily going to be what you usually see or hear.
So, switch off and block out all distractions.
One of the greatest challenges that we face is that we’re trying to get clarity in the midst of chaos, trying to get a clearer mind, trying to find a solution to the problems that we’re facing.
But you’re doing that with everything coming at you all in one go.
Now, close your Facebook, close the tabs, and switch off all those apps that are running in the background, focus just for a short while and see what you get out of it.
When you focus and slow down and you think about what’s actually happening, you’ll get a lot more out of it than expected.
Have you ever wondered what it feels like when a family is tearing itself apart?
Two people cannot connect because they’re constantly at each other. When people you love the most, or those that you want to love the most seem to really get under your skin.
When husbands and wives fight with each other, it becomes so challenging in the family life.
There’s a constant struggle to connect and blame game for all of the issues that they’re facing.
“How could he or she have been so inconsiderate?”
“Why does it feel like I’m not supported and they don’t have my back?”
Intimate Nitty Gritty
The worst thing that arises for many people is that they don’t feel that intimacy anymore.
There’s no real intimacy because you can’t go from that evil eye or the cold stare of death, staring each other out with anger and emotion all behind it, to loving moments of enjoying each other’s unfunny jokes.
It’s difficult to break out of that harsh mode of thinking and into happy, lovey-dovey thoughts.
I once heard something from a really great coach. Talking about relationships she mentioned the phrase that goes through Sisters’ minds, a woman’s mind.
When she gets married, the thought is, “You complete me.” When I heard that, I thought, Subhanallah, that is so telling about how women see their husbands.
The funny thing is men don’t actually think that way. And it’s not that we don’t love our wives or that men don’t cherish their wives at all.
In fact, men adore their wives. But they show it in completely different ways.
I haven’t, but if you’ve ever read the book Men are from Mars, and Women are from Venus, the title alone tells us that we are so different.
We’re like different planets and that’s the truth.
The metaphor I’d like to give you is that men and women are from the same planet. We’ve been created to be together.
However, men and women are like the Sun and the Moon.
You can decide who’s the Sun and who’s the Moon in your family.
Who’s that fiery, red-hot, burning Sun in your relationship? And who is that cool, calm, serene moon that lights up the darkness of the night; that lights up the life of your world?
It’s the perfect metaphor for men and women. Who is that?
Fiery and Hot VS Cool and Calm
One is the Sun and the other is the Moon. We are totally different.
However, the difficult question which is invariably going to be different in every household, is who is which.
You might be thinking right now, well, that red hot Sun, fiery, lighting up my life one minute with warmth and love, then all of a sudden, sparks start to fly and temperature just heats up.
And before you know it, that fiery anger just comes out of nowhere. All of a sudden, it just burns me down. That’s my spouse.
At the same time, your spouse may be thinking exactly the same thing. Because we think completely differently.
On the other hand, you might be thinking my spouse is the Moon. So calm and thoughtful, always taking care of things.
I can rely on them. The atmosphere is nice. There are no temper tantrums and no rash behaviour. I can really rely on that sort of person, or that type of behaviour.
It’s like all the beauty and the calm in my marriage comes from my spouse.
What is wrong with me? Why can’t I be like that? Now, you could be thinking like that.
I feel like I’m the Sun, one minute, warm and loving. And then all of a sudden, my sparks start flying. I just explode and let my rage out.
They’re two completely separate situations.
You might say, I try to be connected to Allah, I try my best to pray and do good to others but for some reason, life just always gets in the way.
And bang! Before you know it, I’m in the middle of a storm. And it’s all getting out of control.
Husband and wife are both unhappy; the kids can’t handle the atmosphere. And the general mood in the house is either fireworks or complete silence as though you are in a graveyard.
It’s like a complete drama or nothing at all. Just horrible.
Let’s get out of that story for a second because you might be imagining right now that it’s playing out in your life.
Focus on Reality
Let’s just pull ourselves out of that story. That’s only in your mind now that I painted that picture. It’s not actually happening.
So if you’re feeling a little bit anxious, or if you’re feeling like that describes you all the way, it’s just your thoughts.
Here’s the question. Do we have to be like the Sun or the Moon?
Do you have to be that person? Or could you have the best of both?
The Sun, and its warmth, and it’s loving, how it just lights up your life. And at the same time, having the calm, serene coolness of the Moon.
That’s the struggle that most couples have.
The truth is, you might not see the humour in it, because you’re so caught up in it, you’re so wrapped up in it, that for you, it’s unbearable.
I get that completely.
No one likes to be in that situation. No one wants to be burnt. Whether by themselves, by their spouses, or by whoever it is they’re dealing with.
But the last thing I want you to do right now is get caught up in that story in your mind about what’s happening and how you can’t handle it.
If this is reminding you of all your problems, then back off, and think about it as a story that’s playing out in your mind.
And let’s look at how to deal with it.
If you’re the one with the anger issues, experiencing these flying emotions going all over the place where you feel like you’re losing control from time to time, then the first thing that will help your marriage is to understand and acknowledge what’s actually happening.
This is so important because it’s one of the biggest problems.
If you don’t even know what’s happening, and you’re the one who has the issue, then you’ll always feel as though it’s your spouse.
You’ll always blame the other for causing your problems.
You’ll always think someone or something is causing you to lose control.
But you are in control of yourself, even though at times it doesn’t feel like it.
Others may say or do things that really tick you off and push you to the edge.
But that doesn’t give them the power to cause you to react or have that internal reaction.
That internal reaction, those emotions that you’re experiencing when you are in a situation, is happening within your mind.
You interpret everything that comes into your mind, and you have the power to stop that interpretation. You can change it and just let it go.
The truth is, letting it go is the easiest way.
It’s as though you’ve got an interpreter in your mind. Every one of us has that.
Think about this for a minute.
You’re travelling and going to a different country, and you arrive there but you’ve got a problem.
The language of the country is Chinese and your interpreter speaks Dutch so every time you hear something , your Dutch interpreter translates it into a different language.
So you’re not going to understand the people that you’re communicating with, because the translation is wrong.
That’s a bit of a funny example. But that’s what’s going on.
Within our minds, we are interpreting things in ways that get us all worked up.
They get us frustrated, they make us feel hopeless, they make us feel angry, they make us feel like we have no control.
But the reality is that you can let that all go. You don’t even have to control it, just let it go.
Relax And Let It Go
Let me give you a quick way to do that.
When something or someone is annoying you, and maybe you’re feeling anger, sadness, frustration, or whatever you feel.
Whatever is affecting you, all you have to do is focus. Or look at what you’re focusing on.
Imagine for a second that in the middle of that situation, you’re totally angry.
Suddenly, you get distracted by something really beautiful, something wonderful happens, something really funny.
You might even feel the urge to laugh in the middle of that anger. And if you can’t bring yourself to laugh, you smile a little.
At the same time, your mind is going back to anger. So ask yourself.
Do you ever remember a moment in your life, when you were really angry?
Then all of a sudden, something happened and you thought about something funny. Then all of a sudden you laughed and you found yourself between wanting to laugh and wanting to be angry.
That’s probably happened to all of us at some point. All of a sudden, you’re stuck between laughter and anger. Or laughter and sadness.
You’re feeling sad and all of a sudden something makes you laugh.
A thought or a feeling or someone says something or you see something.
So you struggle to decide on which one to be or which one to do. I want to laugh, but I’m angry. Which way do I go?
You might laugh and it’s all over.
You actually give in to the laughter and you just get on with things.
Or you decide to be stubborn because you feel wronged and you stay angry or you stay sad.
But what you’re feeling after that is a lighter form of anger or sadness, where you just move on without losing it.
You might have done otherwise, if you didn’t get distracted with that funny thought. So what actually happened in that situation?
What is happening here is that you are between two states of mind. Anger and chill-out mode, anger and laughter. Either you lose it versus you have a laugh.
At that moment, you decide which one you want. You can move into laughter and a completely lighter, chilled-out frame of mind and let the anger pass.
Or alternatively, you can choose to stay with anger. And you let that window of opportunity pass.
Either way, you have a choice of what to focus on.
Whatever you decide to focus on will fuel your anger or calm you down.
Then you will feel what you focus on and that will become your state of mind. Changing the state of mind is as simple as focusing on what you want to do.
You don’t have to be angry and you don’t have to lose control.
Losing control is just a myth anyway. It doesn’t actually happen.
It’s just something that we say to describe how we’re feeling in that moment, to describe the rage or the uncontrolled anger.
Because you do have actual control of your mind.
You have the ability to focus and choose. And you can control how you behave by controlling what you focus on.
The Prophet (saw) informed us that if we find ourselves in a state of anger, we should change our physical state.
By changing that, we change what we’re doing. That will have an effect on what we’re feeling as well.
In the Hadith, the Prophet ( saw) says, If you’re standing, then sit down, if you’re sitting then lie back.
When you’re standing, you’re in more of a confrontational position. But by sitting down, or by reclining, your physical position is a position of relaxation.
No one starts freaking out when they’re in a reclined position or relaxing.
Changing your physical state helps you to change your mental state.
So if you’re angry, get into a relaxed way of thinking, distract your thoughts, and focus on something else.
Changing your state of mind, or what you focus on at that moment is always down to you. No one can force you to feel or think about something that you don’t want to.
You have the power of mind to change that.
It’s what you call emotional resilience or emotional power. And you have both of them.
So whether you’re the one who has to endure that emotional rollercoaster of a family member, or you are the one that’s causing the emotional roller coasters, you have the power to focus.
You have the power of choice.
People tell themselves, “I’ve lost all control.”
If you tell yourself that, then that’s your challenge. This is what you believe in.
It’s what you’re telling yourself. By saying this to yourself you took yourself out of your God-given ability of choice and focus.
No one can control your mind except you. Others or circumstances or things that happen do not control it.
They only have the ability to control it if you give it to them.
If you and your spouse are not able to let go of what happened, you’ll always find it very difficult to stop and just enjoy each other.
You and your husband or your wife, and your children will be affected by this poor choice. The choice of not letting go.
Having fun and laughter in your lives can simply be to let each other be.
Don’t be so strict about everything and everyone else living up to your expectations.
The expectations and rules that we make up cause us such problems at times. It’s almost like self-imposed prisons.
We imprison ourselves, denying ourselves fun and just leaving ourselves in that serious state.
Being serious all the time is not fun. No one enjoys that.
By telling yourself I’m a serious person, all you’re doing is restricting yourself to a self-imposed prison.
When we think of the Prophet (saw), we know that he was someone who was always smiling. We know that he ( saw) used to race with his wife, Aisha (ra).
He used to smile a lot. He would laugh so his molar teeth could be seen. Even though he couldn’t be heard.
He had fun with his family. So find a way to just let go and have fun with your family. Don’t be so serious and impose your seriousness on everyone else.
That’s so boring. It takes the life out of a nice day.
Now, if you’re feeling bad right now, because of this, just stop. Let it go. And enjoy a moment of freedom from your expectations and from your seriousness.
Think about all of the beautiful things that Allah( swt) has blessed you with in your life. Don’t take anything for granted.
Think of the funny, innocent things that you’ve experienced in your life.
Whenever it happened. Just those thoughts will lighten up your mood. Just revel in those thoughts. Take a few moments just to enjoy those memories.
When you’re in that lighter frame of mind, in a light-hearted state of mind, speak to your husband or wife from that place. Because that’s a place of joy.
And Insha’Allah, it will be so different.
You can live in a place of happiness, but it’s a choice. You don’t have to be so serious and imposing on yourself and on everyone else with your expectations.
That just sucks the fun out of life.
Yes, there are rules that we should uphold.
And I don’t mean the law here, just the rules and expectations that we make up.
What’s the point of upholding those things, when they destroy the fabric of the relationship?
Find a middle ground. You don’t have to just give up on everything.
Give up on all your expectations and rules.
It’s really important just to recognise what’s happening, where those emotions are coming from, and secondly, just let go of it and try and have some fun.
By understanding the dynamics of your marriage, taking control of your emotions, and infusing more joy into your relationship, you can work towards saving your marriage and creating a happier, more harmonious family life.
Remember, it’s a choice to focus on what truly matters and let go of the rest.
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