Winning an argument does not solve your problems in marriage, it often creates resentment.
By Nabi Raza Abidi
Do you want to be right or do you want to have a relationship? Being “right” in a marriage is different than solving your problems. Often enough, winning an argument in a marriage comes at the cost of instilling resentment in the one who lost the argument thereby deteriorating the relationship further. It also doesn’t stop the argument because the fundamental problem between the spouses is reiterated through time, meaning that once one argument is done, another one starts where a never ending supply of tensions throughout the years are brought forth again and again.
You will notice that once you solve a major problem in your relationship, a whole host or set of arguments will stop and you will no longer need to be right anymore. The way you solve a problem is not through comparison or moral judgments, but through negotiation and compromise both of which require empathetic listening. Cultivating empathy and seeing things from your spouse’s perspective is VERY difficult, but one method I’ve seen work is trying to listen and frame your spouses needs or wants in your own words. You would be surprised at how it has its way of making you understand the other perspective. You may not get there fully, but it is highly likely that you will come out understanding and sympathizing with your spouse a little bit better than you did before. This is the first step of in showing mercy to your spouse and repairing years of damage that both sides have wrought.
Nabi Raza Abidi
Resident Imam of the SABA Islamic Center
San Jose, California