What is the best solution when a married couple faces marital problems and conflicts? Contrary to popular practice, divorce or threatening a spouse with divorce is not the right solution.

The best solution is patience, endurance and realizing that it is natural for differences to arise between married people. It is also necessary for each spouse to bear with his/ her partner and to overlook some of the words and acts that may be displeasing. After all, one does not always know where one’s best interest lies; you may like to do something that turns out to be bad for you. Besides, there are times when you do something that you do not like to do but it turns out to be good for you.  Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {And live with them in kindness. For if you dislike them — perhaps you dislike a thing and Allah Makes therein much good.} [Quran 4:19]
When the couple’s disagreement worsens, the ties between them start weakening. Then, the wife becomes disobedient, arrogant and negligent of her duties and her husband’s rights. She may also deny her husband’s virtues. The remedy for this attitude in Islam is stated explicitly and it does not include divorce.  Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance — [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them. But if they obey you [once more], seek no means against them.}[Quran 4:34]
When dealing with the wife’s arrogance, first, the husband should advise her, admonish her, and remind of the husband’s rights over her and of the punishment of Allah The Almighty. All this should be done tactfully and patiently, while adopting the approach of encouraging at times and dissuading at other times.
Forsaking the wife in bed is a punishment for her arrogance and disobedience. It is worthy noting that Allah The Almighty Says,  “forsake them in the bed” not out of it. This means that the husband should not let anyone notice that he is upset with his wife. The purpose of this punishment is to solve the problem and not to humiliate the woman or violate the privacy of their marriage relationship.
If the problem is not solved, stricter measures may be the answer. Some people are not affected by gentle advising and they grow more arrogant when they are treated kindly. When such people are treated strictly, they become calm and quiet.
Every sensible man realizes that if temporary sternness could bring back discipline,  and prevent the family from breaking up, it would be better than divorce and separation. This is a positive form of discipline, yet it is not meant to be applied for the sake of revenge or humiliation. It is a means to put matters right  and to reform the married couple’s situation.
If the wife fears her husband’s contempt or evasion, she should apply the following verse: Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {And if a woman fears from her husband contempt or evasion, there is no sin upon them if they make terms of settlement between them — and settlement is best.} [Quran 4:128] The solution is by making settlement but not by divorce or separation. Settlement may be giving up some of the financial or personal rights in order to retain the marriage relationship.
Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {And settlement is best.} [Quran 4:128] Indeed, settlement is better than disagreement, aversion, arrogance and divorce.
This is a quick review and a brief reminder of one of the aspects of the religion of Allah The Almighty and how to apply its rulings. How far do we apply it? Why do people disregard the role of the two arbitrators in attempting to settle a marital conflict? Is it because they abstain from reforming themselves or is it that they wish to separate families and children?
In most cases, we see ignorance, injustice, lack of consciousness of Allah The Almighty, desertion of many of His rulings, and tampering with His prescribed punishments.
It was narrated by Ibn Maajah, Ibn Hibbaan and others that the Prophet, said: “Why are some of you tampering with the prescribed punishments of Allah while I am still living among you?”
Last resort for solving conflicts:
When all the possible means of treatment prove ineffective and it becomes impossible to maintain marital ties, as the aims and wisdom of marriage stipulated by Allah The Almighty are not achieved, Sharee‘ah (Islamic legislation) has made a way out for this problem. However, many Muslims are ignorant of the method of divorce legislated by the Sharee‘ah legislated and they continually repeat the words of divorce without considering the limits that are set by Allah The Almighty and His Sharee‘ah.
Divorce is prohibited when it occurs during the woman’s menstrual period, or during a period of purity in which an incident of intercourse takes place. A three-fold divorce, which is when the husband says that he divorces his wife all three times in one time, is also prohibited. These three kinds of divorce are prohibited and the person who does this bears a sin but the divorce is effected, according to the soundest opinions of scholars.
The Sunni divorce that Muslims should understand is the divorce for one time that occurs during a period of purity in which no incident of intercourse takes place or divorce during pregnancy. Divorce that takes place during such a period is a remedy, as it takes place after the husband has taken his time to think. While waiting for the time of purity where no intercourse took place, a husband thinks carefully and he may change his mind. His heart may be awakened and perhaps Allah The Almighty will decree for them a different matter.
The period of ‘Iddah (waiting period) is either counted by the month, the number of times when menstruation took place, or if it is to last until the pregnant divorcee has delivered her baby — is a chance for family reunion that may return love and affection.
Muslims are often ignorant of the fact that the divorcee should stay in her husband’s home without going out if her divorce was still revocable. Allah The Almighty Says that these are the wives’ houses, in order to confirm their right to stay in them. Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {Do not turn them out of their houses,} [Quran 65:1] Staying at the house of the husband gives him a chance to revoke the divorce and paves the way for arousing the feeling of love and the memories of their mutual life. In this case, the woman would seem far as she is divorced, but she would be close to the husband’s sight.
This ruling aims at calming the storm and encouraging responsible reconsideration of the situation and deliberation of  the affairs of the household and the children.  Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {O Prophet, when you [Muslims] divorce women, divorce them for [the commencement of] their waiting period and keep count of the waiting period, and fear Allah, your Lord. Do not turn them out of their [husbands’] houses, nor should they [themselves] leave [during that period] unless they are committing a clear immorality. And those are the limits [set by] Allah. And whoever transgresses the limits of Allah has certainly wronged himself. You know not; perhaps Allah will bring about after that a [different] matter.}[Quran 65:1]


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