“Great marriages do not happen by luck or by accident. They are a result of a consistent investment of time, thoughtfulness, forgiveness, affection, prayers, mutual respect and a rock-solid commitment between a husband and a wife”. (DaveWillis.org)
Marriages start out as a huge celebration with family and friends. Each couple is full of hopes and dreams for their future life together. But the road to a happy marriage is far from easy.
Arguments are an inevitable and normal part of any marriage. No matter how much you and your spouse love each other, disagreements will arise, but they should not lead to a fight or conflict. Having the occasional argument does not necessarily mean anything is wrong with your marriage, but the way you and your spouse handle your disagreements plays a big role in whether you will stay together for the long haul or not.
The Conciliation and Arbitration Board has over time identified some of the root causes of conflicts in marriages. The following are some of the causes of marital conflicts:
- In-laws: In-laws wield powerful influence, when it comes to a marriage. Their inputs and involvement in the lives of married couples, if not handled properly, could affect marital relationships. Arriving at an understanding on the level of in-laws’ involvement in your life would help ensure a smooth and lasting relationship both with your in-laws and spouse.
- Unmet Expectations: Frustration and resentment sets in when a partner’s expectations are not met by his/her spouse. Whenever possible, it helps for the couple to understand each other’s expectations and consider how these can be met. Compromises are essential to maintain marital relationships.
- Habits: Some irritating habits can put off a spouse. It could be a source of arguments and disagreements, especially if the spouse concerned does not make an effort to improve or commit to making a change.
- Money: The lack or abundance of it can be a cause of problems in a marriage. Understanding between the couple and living within the financial means of the family are vital to the success of any marriage.
- Friends: External influence is an easy way for conflicts to arise. Couples should be watchful to safeguard against socially harmful friendships that could damage their relationships and unnecessarily give rise to extra-marital affairs.
Good communication is the foundation of a strong marriage. Many marriages can be saved if spouses improve the ways they communicate with each other. It is often the simplest bad habits that get couples into trouble. Once a marriage gets on a rough track, negativity grows. The following communication guidelines may help spouses maintain their relationships: –
- Couples can solve problems by talking with each other honestly, fairly, and finding ways to avoid unnecessary conflicts.
- Talk with your spouse when both of you are well-rested and able to focus. Do not try to solve problems when one or both of you are distracted, tired, or hungry.
- Staying calm by sitting down to talk, instead of pacing around the room is helpful. Making eye contact with your spouse shows your spouse that you are listening to him/her and care what he/she has to say. It also helps one feel more connected to each other.
- Telling your spouse what is bothering you, speaking calmly and avoiding rambling helps to figure out what the underlying problem is.
- Throwing accusations at your spouse will make him/her feel defensive, and your argument could turn into a full-blown conflict. Instead, tell him/her how you feel and what you think. It is also a good idea to avoid using words such as “always” and “never” as these could easily inflame the situation.
- Keeping an open mind as you listen to your spouse and paying attention to his/her body language, as well as his/her words will help you understand what he/she is saying by mirroring his/her statements. Work with your spouse to find a solution you are both happy with.
- Raising voice, calling your spouse names, being sarcastic, or acting nasty will put a stop to any productive discussion you might have had. If you feel your temper is rising, call a time-out and regain your composure before continuing the conversation.
- Arguing does not normally lead to solutions. However, discussing one thing at a time, not dragging unrelated issues or old grudges into the conversation can lead to solutions. Leave the past where it belongs – behind you. If you have already forgiven your spouse for something, do not raise it up again as ammunition for your current argument.
- Appreciate your spouse. Focus on your spouse’s good traits – both big and small. Give your spouse a sincere compliment every now and then. Thank him/her.No one is perfect. Your spouse will make mistakes. Do not hold your spouse’s slip-ups against him/her.
- Do not let months or years of marriage make you lose sight of the reasons you married your spouse. Make a habit of having fun together and doing activities you both like. Spending quality time together keeps the “spark” in relations.
- Staying away from people who try to control your marriage, not listening to friends or family members who offer you unsound advice or try to influence you for the worse, can avoid conflict in your marriage.
“In the enriching of marriage, the BIG things are the LITTLE things. There must be constant APPRECIATION for each other and THOUGHTFUL demonstration of GRATITUDE. A couple must ENCOURAGE and help each other grow. MARRIAGE is a JOINT QUEST for the good, the beautiful and the divine” (James E Faust).
Members of the Jamat who wish to have more information are encouraged to refer to the following websites that have been used as references in preparing this article: –
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact any CAB member. Our contact information has been placed on all Jamatkhana notice boards.