By Bela Khan
It’s Family Z Now!
When a man coming from family A marries a woman from family B they start something new— family Z. Family Z is neither A nor B— it’s a new family with its own unique set of values, principles, and rules.
If the two pioneers of this family (husband and wife) sit down and decide on their values (yes, they can take all the goodies from their individual families A and B), they’ll save themselves a lot of trouble and much needless bickering.
Referring back to families A and B can be a great source of friction for the couple. For example:
“My family always held dinner parties.”
“My family cooked meals twice a day.”
As a couple you can avoid rifts by developing and agreeing on your own set of values.
This is the way family Z should be thinking:
“My family used to sleep very late but we’ll make sure our family goes to bed early.”
“My family used to spend thousands of dollars on shopping, but our family will opt for the middle path.”
Sounds cool, doesn’t it? Below are a few things to keep in mind while tackling marital differences.
Compassion or Competition?
Let’s be openhearted and realistic enough to accept this reality first: No couple on earth can always live in compassionate harmony. Differences are bound to surface. We need to graciously acknowledge these differences, in both word and deed.
Take a look at this common scenario: The husband is a very passion-driven and career-obsessed man. The wife happens to be a visionary woman, but once the knot is tied, she’s limited to taking care of the laundry, dishes, cooking, and kids 24/7. The husband is not concerned in the least that many of his wife’s innate talents and desires are being stifled.
What should his response be? He can either choose to ignore all the sacrifices the lady is making and declare, in a callously nonchalant manner, “So what? Every woman on earth does this; she’s not doing anything new or unique.”
Or he can place himself in his wife’s shoes; how would it feel if someone deprived him of all the dreams he’d cherished for decades, locking him up in a cage with his life confined to cooking and cleaning?
If the husband could truly empathize with his wife he would definitely try to lessen her household burden (by pitching in to help, hiring a maid, or simply decreasing his demands and lowering the bar) and try to give her adequate time and space to live out her passions.
The same is true for the reverse scenario: Consider the wife who’s well-established in her business and generating revenue from seemingly everywhere while the husband has just lost his job. Will the wife chide him now and label him a “loser,” or will she empathize, giving him a helping hand and reassuring support?
You’re made to find tranquility with and compassion for each other. Competition is for strangers.
And among His signs is this that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquility and He has put between you love and mercy.” [Quran, 30:21]
You Won’t See Eye to Eye on Every Subject
No matter how strong your compatibility is, no matter how perfect a fit you are for each other, differences of opinion are inevitable. Couples will have disagreements, fights, and heated discussions. Let’s face it— this is part of being human.
Nonetheless there are things you can do to save your home from becoming a battleground every other day:
- Stick to issues that concern you in the present. He might have embarrassed you in front of your sister-in-law 10 years ago, but today isn’t the time to discuss it. If you keep bringing up past issues you’ll never be able to resolve the issues at hand.— you’ll only drift farther apart.
- You might feel that your spouse never pays heed to your instructions and that he or she is always complaining about your mom, but using words like “never” and “always” to highlight the other’s mistakes is lethal.
- Remember, you lose the right to be respected the moment you stop respecting. At the end of the day, both of you are intertwined in a divinely ordained relationship. Name-calling, blaming, and pointing fingers only suit hooligans.
- Win-win solutions always help. Don’t try to have everything in your basket— you’ll only stumble and fall. Mutually beneficial solutions are always helpful in the long run.
And tell My servants to say that which is best. Indeed, Satan induces [dissension] among them. Indeed Satan is ever, to mankind, a clear enemy. [Quran, 17:53]
- Define the values of your family and vow to never go against them, come what may.
- If you haven’t done it lately, steal some moments for compassionate communication, confession, and reunification.
- Come to common terms on at least five issues you haven’t settled yet. Writing them out always helps.
- Brainstorm and share some of your tips with us below in the comments section!
Bela Khan is a writer, speaker, and Muslim Women Empowerment coach. She is the founder and CEO of Muslim Women Empowerment. She helps visionary and mission-driven women to come out of their own conditioning and move past their obstacles to create a ripple of positive difference in the world with their Allah-given talents and gifts. She can be reached at muslimwomenempowerment@gmail.