Overlook Her Mistakes
- :Sheikh Ibrahim Amini
Adopted from the book : "Principles of Marriage" by : "Sheikh Ibrahim Amini"
Other than the Infallible ones (whom Allah has vowed to keep away from sins), no human being is perfect and all of us make many mistakes. Of course this is true for both men and women. In the case of women, she may make mistakes by being impolite to her husband, do something against his wish, be harsh to him, or inflict an economic loss on him by being careless, etc.
Of course it is true that a couple should keep each other satisfied and should seriously avoid annoying each other; however, it rarely happens that one or both parties do not deviate from this line.
Some men think that they should be strict about their wives' mistakes as they believe this to be the way to prevent the repetition of the same mistake again.
However, experience often shows exactly the reverse to be the case. A woman, whose husband is strict with her, may be able to cope with his strictness for a while, but would eventually decide to react against it as a result of frustration. She gradually gets used to his attitude until she becomes indifferent towards it.
A husband who would not practise forgiveness with regard to his wife's mistakes, is practically encouraging her to become impudent and disobedient. He might wish to continue this attitude where he will surely have many rows with his wife. They both would have to live in a state of bitterness for the rest of their lives.
Or he might choose to leave his wife alone and not concern himself with her as much. In this case his wife, who feels she has won a fight, becomes indifferent to her husband's will and wishes. It might reach a point that even when she commits major mistakes deliberately, he keeps silent. Their marriage then loses its warmth and they might resort to divorce.
Remember that a divorce is harmful to both parties because starting a new life is not so easy. Happiness cannot be guaranteed after divorce. Therefore, strictness is not always useful and often results in undesired events which one can read about in the media. The best way is to remain moderate and to act logically. Forgive all the trivial and non-deliberate mistakes of your wife. There is no need to shout at someone for a mistake which has happened erroneously. Of course, one can always advise others in order to help them not to repeat their mistakes.
People make many mistakes out of ignorance, so it is better to advise them patiently to correct their incorrect deeds or opinions.
Therefore, your wife cannot be forced into correcting her mistakes, but instead you should explain her mistake and its harmful effects logically so that she could choose herself not to repeat that action again. Thus not only your mutual respect remains as before, but it would also prevent the repetition of the same mistakes.
It is wise for a man to logically stop his wife from making mistakes, but if she persistently makes errors, then again he should forgive and overlook them. It is wrong for him to set about punishing her or trying to prove her guilt in order to make her apologetic. This is because women are stubborn by nature, and improper strictness makes them react more severely than before. This might be followed by unpleasant or even horrific events, such as divorce or murder.
Islam has recognized this sensitive point where men have been made responsible for their women. "Imam Ali (AS) stated: 'Cope with women under all circumstances and speak to them well; (and by doing so) it may make their actions correct'." 178 "Imam Sajjad (AS) stated: 'It is a right of (your) wife that you treat her kindly, because she is under your surety, and you should feed and dress her, and forgive her ignorant deeds'." 179
"Imam Sadiq (AS)was asked: 'What rights a woman has on her husband, for which, if he acted accordingly, would be regarded as a good-doer?' The Imam replied: 'He must provide her with food and clothes and he should forgive her mistakes committed unknowingly'." 180
"Imam Sadiq (AS) also stated: 'Whoever punishes those who are subordinate to him, should not expect to be honoured or to attain high ranks'." 181 One of the causes of rows among men and women is because men mothers-in-law butt into their family affairs.
A mother, before marrying her daughter off to a man, imagines her son-in-law to be perfect and approves for her daughter one who could make her happy. She would respect him and would treat him kindly in the hope of being able to correct his trivial faults at a later stage.
Sometimes she finds her son-in-law conforms to her expectation, and sometimes he does not. In the latter case, she intends to shape him until he can be accepted by her and for this she uses every possible means such as her own and others' experiences, and starts to plan her approach. She sometimes pretends to be sympathetic and sometimes strict. She might act as a guide and a supervisor, or might complain. However, the best option is to achieve her goal by influencing her daughter by making her not conform to her husband.
She uses her daughter and thus orders her to act differently at various times. Consequently, the man finds his wife to be critical of him one day and begging him to do something the next day.
An inexperienced woman would think that her mother would be sympathetic to her marriage and would conform to her advice! Thus if her husband still does not conform to his mother- in-law's ideal man, rows may break out between the couple which could result in divorce and even murder. That is why most men are not on good terms with their mothers-in-law. They blame them for their wives' disobedience and believe that their mothers put words in their daughters' mouths. It would not be a bad idea if one learns about complaints of a few sons-in-law.
"Mr. M. Javad writes: 'My mother-in-law is a demon, a dragon, a two-headed serpent. May God save the wolves from her. She has made my life so bitter that I am going crazy and feel like running away to the mountains and deserts... It is not only me who is fed up with this situation. This is a general case and I think ninety-five percent of men are affected by them and the other five percent probably do not have a mother-in-law'. Mr. F. Muhammad writes: 'My mother-in-law is always butting into my life.
She causes our annoyance for no good reason. She is always speaking defamatory words about my family. Whenever I buy anything for my wife, she (the mother-in-law) starts picking up fault with it. She criticizes its colour, or model and tries to prove it worthless to my wife.'Mr. K Parviz writes: 'My mother-in-law has treated me in such a way that I have almost divorced my wife three times. She stings like a scorpion. She teaches my wife to be rude to me, to leave the housework, or to expect the impossible from me. Whenever she comes to us, our house turns into hell. I truly hate the sight of her'." 182
Most men try to counter their mothers-in-law's influences on their wives by restricting their relationship with them. They stop their wives from going to their parents' houses. In brief, men do not get along with their mothers-in- law and show their dislike for them by all possible means.
However, this approach, although usual, is not logical and wise. This is because a mother daughter relationship is very strong and is a natural bond which cannot be broken easily.
How can a man expect his wife to abandon her parents who have spent years trying to bring her up? This expectation is not practical and even if it happens, it would not be permanent, as any unnatural act is temporary. Besides if a woman feels that her husband is against her parents, she might take up a similar stance with regard to his family. She may become disobedient, disrespectful, etc.
Moreover, this attitude of the man gives an excuse to his mother-in-law to interfere more severely in their marriage. In brief this approach could have a negative result and might lead to divorce. Anyway why should a man, who can benefit from associating with his in-laws, resort to such measures which could harm him and his family? "Indian police authorities reported that in the year 1971, the main reason for a total of 146 cases of suicide in New Delhi was due to an unfavorable relationship between men and their mothers-in-law." 183
"A man, who was frustrated with his mother-in-law because of her obtrusions, threw her out of a taxi." 184 "A man broke his mother-in-law's skull with a hammer. His brother-in-law then became furious with him and after wounding him with a knife, escaped." 185
"Mr..., who was angry with his mother-in-law, poured the contents of a hot stew over her head. She screamed and fainted on the floor. She was taken to hospital and after recovery said her daughter had informed her husband that she wanted a divorce and could not live with him any longer." 186 "A man who was fed up with his mother-in-law committed suicide." 187 Here it is perhaps worth mentioning two points:
(a) Obviously a mother-in-law, not only is not an enemy to her son-in-law, but it is natural for her to like him as is evident at the beginning of a marriage. Besides she finds herself close to him because of the interest that she has in her daughter's happiness. Therefore, when a mother-in-law interferes in her daughter's life, it cannot be meant to be anything but with good intentions.
She means to be sympathetic, but sometimes out of ignorance, she takes the wrong steps or makes harmful suggestions. Thus one should not be too critical of such women.
(b) A mother and child relationship is a natural bond which cannot be easily broken, and whoever makes efforts in this direction. would surely fail. Such effort is contrary to the laws of nature and cannot be justified in any way.
Just as a man is interested in his parents, so is a woman. Consequently it is best to have a kind of relationship with one's in-laws that is beneficial to both parties. This is only possible if one exercises respect and kindness. A man can, through wisdom, respect, obedience, etc have a good relationship with his mother-and father-in-law. He should show his love for their daughter. He should not criticize her in front of them. He should seek advice and spiritual help from them. In the event of their suggesting or doing something wrong. he should kindly and logically point out to them that they are not right. He should not speak harshly to them.
A married man should regard a good relationship with his in-laws, as his duty and a secret to a successful marriage. As a result many family problems are prevented while many more can be resolved.
In brief, it is not always the mother-in-law who is guilty but men should be wise enough to be friend them. There are many men who enjoy a good relationship with their mothers-in-law.
"Mr Manuchehr writes: 'My mother-in-law is an angel or even better. I love her more than my own mother, because she is kind and understanding. She always helps us with our problems. Her existence is a guarantee of my family's happiness and prosperity." 188
Even if a man has a mother-in-law who is stubborn, ignorant and impossible to reconcile with, he should not treat her harshly. This kind of women may make one's life difficult, but it is always better to react softly towards their improper behaviour. This is because, by treating them kindly, one could minimize the danger to one's marriage.
Meanwhile, the man should get closer to his wife and should make her trust him. He must discuss her mother's wrong deeds with her, and logically prove to her, their undesirable consequences.
If a man is able to create a deep understanding with his wife, then many problems, including the one with his mother- in-law would be solved. So do not forget good manners, be wise and treat your family kindly in order to have a successful marriage.
"Imam Ali (AS) stated: 'Developing friendship is half of wisdom'."' 189 "Imam 'Ali (AS) also stated: 'Associating with people and treating them with good manners would prevent one from committing bad deeds and mischievous acts'." 190 "Imam Ali (AS) stated: 'Associate with each other and do good. Keep away from sulking and separation'."' 191
Share this article