Fighting Temptation Choosing Fidelity Over Fitnah in Your Marriage
Just as Allah’s Messenger ﷺ mentioned that fitnah (tribulation) purifies the believer like a forge-fire purifies gold, there is perhaps no relationship that can purify a person better than marriage.
That is because even though marriage’s purpose is to be a source of peace and tranquility for men and women together, it also holds an inescapable element of fitnah. No marriage can go without conflict. But if we are mature, we ought to be able to understand how marital conflict is not in and of itself a bad thing, since it is an inevitable part of the relationship. Rather, this should make us recognize that, necessarily, conflict in marriage can be the means to a better end for couples, and for husbands and wives as individuals. There are four main marital conflicts that every couple must face.
Hal Runkel, author of Screamfree Marriage, has coined these as “The Fires of Marriage.” Runkel asserts that if we enter these conflicts with the proper mindset, we have an amazing opportunity to share our true self with our spouse and become closer to him or her.
We show our true self through a process called “Authentic Self-Representation,” which really means that when we feel there is a problem, we are honest an open with our spouse about it, sans the emotional games or outbursts. Being calm and connected with our spouse is what makes this task difficult for many people because one must begin the conversation with the intention of resolving issues in a calm way. You must also be ready to hear whatever your spouse has to say in turn, while keeping your commitment to staying as calm and constructive as possible. Remaining calm is the first and most crucial step in this process.
How the conversation will unfold depends more on how we say something than what we actually say. We can always retract our statements or reword them, but once a husband or wife starts yelling or becomes passive-aggressive, the conversation will take a turn that it usually cannot recover from. Sometimes a conflict can be resolved in a single conversation. Other times it cannot be resolved at all and both partners will have to learn to cope with their differences, which is itself a kind of resolution. But definitely, if a couple can have a constructive, calm conversation about their problems, they will be closer after it’s done. They will have reaffirmed their love and respect for one another, just by having that calm, connected conversation.
They are indirectly saying that they prioritize the wellbeing of their relationship over their desire to be “right.” It’s as if they’re saying to one another: “I know we don’t see eye to eye on this, and even though I wish we did, I want you to know that my love and commitment to you is unchanged. Actually, it feels deeper knowing we can move forward together no matter what challenges we face.” Listening to what your spouse has to say in a calm way, without needing to retaliate, also shows that you’re mature enough to acknowledge that not everything you believe is right. You use your conversations with your spouse as an opportunity for personal growth rather than feeling invalidated by them.