They are clothing for you and you are clothing for them. Quran (2:187)
This ayah teaches us so much about the relationship between husband and wife. It shows that we are equal partners in our marriage. That just as the husband is a “clothing” for the wife, the wife is also a “clothing” for the husband. Your clothes cover you and this analogy shows how the husband and wife should be with each other. They should be covering and protecting each other from external threats or dangers from ruining their relationship.
Clothes keep our body private and confidential from everyone. Any and all of our flaws on our body, our clothes covers and doesn’t allow others to see. In the same way our spouse should cover all and any flaws we may have, keeping everything private and confidential. Our spouse knows us intimately so they will know flaws that no one else will see. They will see all of our weaknesses and fears. Marriage obligates that each of them completely screen and obscure each of these faults and weaknesses.
We should also remember that just like our clothes don’t fit completely perfectly our spouses aren’t a “perfect” fit. They are however our best fit. They are the one who is right for us even if they aren’t perfect. We will not be perfect for them either. Keeping this in mind helps us when they make a mistake. We can overlook it easier just like when we make a mistake we would want them to overlook it.
So with all this in mind what do we do when we have an issue with our spouse? What if they did something that hurt us? Sometimes we want to hurt them back to make them feel how we feel. Sometimes we express our hurt with our spouse to others. We in our anger tell others our spouses weaknesses and flaws. This is one of the worst things that you can do to your spouse. If your spouse made a mistake it should never be discussed with others. Keep matters between the husband and wife private. I personally find it irritating to hear people telling others about how “awful” their spouse is.
Dont share your marital problems with the world. Not everyone around you is trying to build your marriage. Not everyone that smiles at you is happy for you. Family and friemds are usually too close to you to give impartial advice, they will always sympathise with your unbalanced side of the story and tell us what we want to hear, not what we need to hear. First try to work out a solution with your spouse through open and honest communication. Tell your spouse how you feel first before you tell anyone. It is wrong to rush too quickly to tell your friend and family problems that you haven’t even discussed with your spouse. If you fail to reach a solution seek a trusted preferably muslim marriage councellor, imam or a neutral couple who will give unbiased advice.
One of the problems we have is when our spouse makes a mistake we find it easier to talk to others about it than our spouse. So it spirals out of control. It gets worse than it actually is because everyone else has their input into a matter which should only be between a husband and wife. The people we generally talk to are people we know, family, friends or colleagues. These people are biased towards us and may not give neutral advice. They may take our side without hearing the full story and make us feel as though we are right even if we may not be. This will create distance between you and your spouse. Also not everyone we speak to will have our best interest at heart. There’s people who enjoy hearing when others are having a problem with their spouse. It gives them something to gossip about and some people like that you are having problems for many reasons. They may be jealous of your marriage for example. So we need to be careful who we speak to.
The best thing to do when you have a problem with your spouse is to calm down and then speak to them directly. Speak calmly and with an open mind to see their side of the story too. If you start to get angry take a break from discussing it until you calm down. Never allow your ego to get in the way of resolving an argument. You may feel as though you haven’t done anything wrong but you can still initiate the discussion. Discuss it at a time that is best for both of you when you’re not distracted or busy. Discuss how the problem can be resolved, put a plan in place. And always, always apologise to your spouse if you made a mistake. Even if you feel it is a “small” issue, it may be something big to them. If something happens that despite both of you trying to resolve it, it still causes issues in your marriage then speak to an Islamic marriage counsellor as they are trained to deal with this and help you resolve it. If you are unable to speak to a counsellor then speak to someone with experience in marriage who will be unbiased and trustworthy. And of course pray and make dua to Allah at all times for you to have a happy and successful marriage.
Be VERY careful where you get marriage advice. If someone doesn’t love marriage, love God, love you AND love your spouse, they will not consistently give you healthy advice.
As a side note I am speaking about those issues that happen normally as a result of two different people living together. Everyday arguments and fights. If there is abuse going on in any form, whether it’s physical, emotional, psychological etc. Then speak to a trustworthy person straight away. You do not need to suffer in silence despite what culture dictates. In Islam we are told not to tolerate oppression.