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Parents Behavior in the Home

By: Abdul Adheem al-Muhtadi al-Bahrani

My father is always angry with us at home, but he is very good with others elsewhere. How do you explain this duality?
Question: My father is always angry with us at home, but he is very good with others elsewhere. How do you explain this duality?
The answer: This feature stems from his dissatisfaction with himself and his marital life. This means that he had hoped for something in his life but he was disappointed, whether with himself or with his family. This matter causes a great pressure on his heart, mentality, and nerves. Whenever he remembers his ambition, his nerves become tense and he becomes upset, and because he is so, he becomes angry at anything even if it is trivial. Therefore, he pours his anger on the ones closest to him because he knows that they will not leave him, whereas others would turn away from him if he were angry with them. He pours his anger on those in the house lest he lose his friends outside the house.
Man, in his nature, likes good morals; therefore, by his good manners with others, he tries to cover his failure, which continues to sting him. Anyway, whatever the reason is, I recommend you to be patient with him, bear his behavior, and treat him with respect because he is psychologically sick and a sick one needs a lot of care. If it is possible, you should try to help him in achieving his ambition, if it is lawful, and then he will become calm and you will all be at ease.

My mother has behaviors which lead to quarrels in her marriage that affect the whole family. What can we do?
Question: My mother always acts opposite to my father’s wishes. She always likes to change the decoration of the house, the furniture, and the like. In fact, she likes to change the house itself, the car, and so on. This matter has become a cause of daily quarrels between my father and mother. We have been victims of these clamors. We are tired of this state. Would you please show us a solution to this problem? We will be grateful!
The answer: It is necessary, before showing our practical suggestions, to emphasize that solving some problems is done by adapting oneself to them until time puts ends to them. It is important for a person to protect himself from being affected by the harms of a problem until it disappears. This is the patience that Islam has recommended and for which Allah has promised a reward.
As for the solutions to such a problem, they are of two kinds: the first kind is directed to the cause of the problem (that is your father and mother here) and the other is directed to those affected by the problem in the house (that is you and those with you).
As for the first kind, we would like to say to parents that a joint life requires carrying out the desires of the partner, if it has no harm. And even if it is a harmful desire, it should be compared with the harms of selfishness and insistence of one’s opinion, and then the less harmful of the two is preferred. On the other hand, the one who wants to change, or not to change, the decoration has to show his/her motives and convince the other partner as long as the matter concerns him/her too. This one has to declare the advantages of his/her idea and the disadvantages if it is not carried out, while keeping in mind that these advantages or disadvantages concern all of the members of the family.
This method of concern for the beliefs of others produces mutual respect between them, strengthens family relations, and increases their closeness and love to each other. This leads to an increase in the level of success in study and work, and consequently it brings happiness.
As for the second kind, I recommend you to discuss the matter with your mother instead of resisting her or ignoring her desires. Try to discuss with her the disadvantages of continuous changes (of decorations and furniture), which can cause fatigue and illness.
Moreover, you have to keep her interested in some thing else in order to not do what will disturb the members of the family. Also you have to convince your father to permit some required changes from time to time, as long as they are without excess or waste.

How can my wife and I get past our poor match and our quarrels for the sake of our children?
Question: Between my wife and me there are several differences in intellect, physique, and wealth. These things often cause disagreements and quarrels between us. Sometimes, these quarrels break out before our children. We are well aware that these disagreements and quarrels have bad effects on the children’s mentality and education, but our violent anger is uncontrollable. How can we get rid of this state and live tranquilly to build the future of our children?
The answer: There is no doubt that religious beliefs, cultures, arts, traditions, and good habits have good effects on the manner of the relationship between spouses, their views on life, and their way of making use of the abilities they have. However, reason and wisdom lead us to the knowledge that these differences between spouses do not mandate disagreements and quarrels. In fact, a reasonable person should deal with these natural differences wisely. He should look at them from these five viewpoints:
First, these differences complement each other. The existence around us is composed of different elements, but they all complement each other in the best way. Spouses should not let their natural differences destroy the bridges of love and understanding between them.
Second, spouses should try their best to change the cultures and habits that Islam does not accept. How many habits and ideas have families planted into their children who grow up with them without pondering on whether they are right or wrong, and how many habits have the social milieu (school, friends, the media, etc.) planted into children while these habits and ideas are far removed from the pure Islamic culture. Therefore, spouses should change the ideas and bad habits that trouble them.
Third, to make the mutual understanding between spouses easy and to decrease disagreements between them, each of them should give the other side the right to show his\her opinion freely without suppressing or interrupting him\her before completing his\her speech and clarifying his\her opinion.
Fourth, we should know that the differences between people in general, and between spouses in particular, are trials that people are tried with. Instead of thinking of running away from these differences or sinking into melancholy and psychological distresses, we should know how to deal with this divine decree, which is inevitable. It is a trial for man in this life, and Allah will accordingly determine for him the reward and Paradise or the punishment and Hell. Therefore, let man think deeply of where he wants to be!
Fifth, life is too short to comprehend problems and troubles that are trivial. Hence, a reasonable person should overlook problems and live his life, which he does not know when it shall end, happily with good fame and honor.
The Prophet (S) has asked husbands to forgive their wives’ mistakes even if they are seventy in one day. Once a man asked the Prophet (S) about a wife’s right on her husband and the Prophet (S) said, ‘He covers her body with clothes, satisfies her stomach with food, and forgives her if she commits mistakes.’ The man asked, ‘How many times does he forgive her?’ The Prophet (S) said, ‘seventy times a day.[162]’
Notes:
[162] Makarim al-Akhlaq, p.216

My husband’s family treats me badly because of my humble origins, even in front of guests and my husband does not defend me; what can I do?
Question: My husband is a rich, young man and because I am not from a rich family, the mother and the sisters of my husband gibe at me at every occasion and even before the guests sometimes. Would you please tell me what to do with this problem, which has begun to deprive me of my happiness with my husband, who does not defend me before them?
The answer: Material poverty is not a defect; rather the defect lies in lack of morals. You are actually rich while they are the real poor ones. Your faith, good morals, and patience will make you defeat your problem and these are the strongest weapons in defeating unjust situations against yourself.
Dear sister, try to be a strong wife who seizes her success from the depths of her suffering to enjoy real happiness! Even if your husband does not defend you, it does not mean that he agrees with his family’s being unjust towards you. He may not know the proper way of defending or he may think that his defending you shall complicate the problem further; therefore, he is trying to keep the stability of the family. Waiting for a suitable time of defending and in a wise way will be better.
Thus, you would be better off appreciating the situation of your husband and being more patient. Be sure that the right side will win at the end of any crisis. Beware of pride when one day you shall feel your success, because pride then shall make you as blamable as those who gibe you today!
Besides that, you should try to be more humble and kind towards them, and especially to the ones who gibe you, so that they may feel ashamed and regretful when they are alone with their consciences and when they find your good morals and kindness in return for their bad doings. Do not hesitate, whenever the opportunity comes to you, to say good sayings with smiles to those who do you wrong that they may be more reasonable and stop their injustice towards you!

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