Family Relationships: Communication, Compromise and Compassion, Emdad Khan
Marriage and family is an Islamic institute for human to live in a peaceful and healthy environment with love and mercy as Allah swt states,
وَمِنۡ ءَايَـٰتِهِۦۤ أَنۡ خَلَقَ لَكُم مِّنۡ أَنفُسِكُمۡ أَزۡوَٲجً۬ا لِّتَسۡكُنُوٓاْ إِلَيۡهَا وَجَعَلَ بَيۡنَڪُم مَّوَدَّةً۬ وَرَحۡمَةًۚ إِنَّ فِى ذَٲلِكَ لَأَيَـٰتٍ۬ لِّقَوۡمٍ۬ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ (30.21
And among His Signs is this, that He created for you wives from among yourselves, that you may find repose in them, and He has put between you love and mercy. Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who reflect. (30.21)
Abu Hurairah said, “I heard, the Prophet), PBUH, say, ‘The best among you in Islam are those with the best manners, so long as they develop a sense of understanding.”
May God help us to be of the best in manners for our families, friends and all people around us.
We haven been actively involved in the community over 20 years and have seen many of the
family relations are broken on lack of communication or misunderstanding on trivial issues.
Any types of relationships are developed based on one to one relationship on explicit communication, mutual respect, compassion and compromises.
Once, we were reviewing a book on divorce and marriage break down, the author observed in analysing seven cases, each case showed lack of proper communication and poor assumptions.
As human being, each one of us make some mistakes, still we expect mutual respect, compassion and forgiveness when something goes wrong. In any relationships, each one has some ideas and objectives, we expect other side to listen and take some of the ideas. For progress and success, we suggest each one to do compromises and adopt give and take attitudes.
To be successful as a family, we need open, positive and explicit lines of communication — where everyone feels heard and respected.
To strengthen our relations, we need to increase our listening skills. Give our full attention, stop what we are doing, focus on what the person is telling us and politely give feedback what the other person is saying. We should be aware of the non-verbal/ body messages, we send and use from each other to understand emotion, psychology and environment.
We should use everyday some time together to talk and share a laugh, say during evening family dinner. Have one-on-one chats with each family member, even for five minutes before going to bed. To create helpful and joyful environment, we suggest doing some fun things together as a family, a soccer game or a family board game or gardening, fishing, movies, etc. Family need to make decisions together about what to do for special events like birthdays. So, each one will fell respected and valued, and this strengthens our relations.
Each family member should have clear expectations, limits and boundaries. We need to be open to talking about difficult things – like admitting mistakes –feelings, anger, joy, frustration, fear and anxiety, conflicts. We should be ready for spontaneous and difficult conversations with spouse and teenagers, topics like, sex, drugs, alcohol, school bullying, harassment, academic difficulties, money and other topics that families can find difficult to talk about.
Here comes the question of compromise and compassion. All families have conflicts and challenges – a normal behaviour of development of human relationships. But cooperating families work through disagreement by focusing on the problems and its solution, not fixing the blame. Everyone should be listening and thinking calmly, considering options, respecting other’s opinions, finding constructive solutions, and working towards compromises with give and take attitudes.
Healthy and strong families settle disputes /conflicts by making concessions and move away from our original position or objectives. At the end, compromise is more courageous and rewarding, then siting at one end of an issue.
Here also, we show compassion and go a bit extra, out of our way to help physical, mental or emotional pains of others. We also show mercy, especially, when one makes mistakes and be forgiving, consider it as a blessing and a new opportunity to renew and refresh relations. Remember, God is merciful, He forgives us all the time. At the end, we will be a happy and peaceful family.
Compassion and forgiveness:
وَجَزَٲٓؤُاْ سَيِّئَةٍ۬ سَيِّئَةٌ۬ مِّثۡلُهَاۖ فَمَنۡ عَفَا وَأَصۡلَحَ فَأَجۡرُهُ ۥ عَلَى ٱللَّهِۚ إِنَّهُ ۥ لَا يُحِبُّ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ (٤٠)
The recompense for an evil is an evil like thereof, but whoever forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is with Allâh. Verily, He likes not the Zâlimûn (oppressors, polytheists, and wrong doers). (42.40)
وَلَمَن صَبَرَ وَغَفَرَ إِنَّ ذَٲلِكَ لَمِنۡ عَزۡمِ ٱلۡأُمُورِ (٤٣)
And verily, whosoever shows patience and forgives that would truly be courageous the things recommended by Allâh. (42.43)
Adam and Hawa: take ownership, no blame game, fix issues, seek forgiveness,
قَالَا رَبَّنَا ظَلَمۡنَآ أَنفُسَنَا وَإِن لَّمۡ تَغۡفِرۡ لَنَا وَتَرۡحَمۡنَا لَنَكُونَنَّ مِنَ ٱلۡخَـٰسِرِينَ (٢٣)
They said: “Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves. If You forgive us not, and have not upon us Your Mercy, we shall certainly be of the losers.” (7:23)