Your spouse will never be able to hear what you’re not saying. Make it a duty to communicate your feelings and check on theirs.
By Nabi Raza Abidi
One of the most destructive beliefs that often leads to divorce is the belief that your spouse can read your mind. What is also destructive is the belief that appearances are always truthful. So what am I talking about here?
A very large number of divorces that are handled in Islamic centers are usually met with disbelief by one of the partners because he or she was not aware of the built up dissatisfaction and resentment of the other. In these cases, the dissatisfied partner does not show his/her built up resentment for a very longtime. The issue at hand here is the following fact: not even happily married couples can really hear what the other person is NOT saying.
Not communicating frequently often leads to a breakup. Why does this happen?
In our experience, individuals are concerned about the other’s reaction. They’re not sure how they themselves will be critiqued or how the situation might get more tense. But the problem here is that fear and denials are not strategies to improve a marriage. At one point all of your resentments will come out whether you like it or not. A lot of the divorces in our centers are not the result of big mistakes, they are an accumulation of years of built up anger. In other words, like the famous Chinese inspired saying goes, divorce is a “death by a thousand cuts.”
It is better to make things unpleasant now than later. You can be pretty much guaranteed that things will be more unpleasant later if you hide or bottle things up. It is better to discover the real problem now before the marriage is buried. In order to avoid discomfort or cause irritation in the spouse, we end up creating a bigger issue that can never be fixed. Of course, I’m not talking about cases in which poverty, abuse and children are intertwined, these are matters to be discussed in a separate setting as they are more complex.
So what’s the takeaway here? You never go on for months not checking your phone, bank account or email or even checking yourself in the mirror. Make it a duty to check on your relationship as well as that is more important. If you want your marriage to last, check up on your relationship regularly and make sure to communicate your feelings in a respectful and non-accusing way. Ignorance will never be bliss for too long.
Nabi Raza Abidi
Resident Imam of the SABA Islamic Center
San Jose, California