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Pin-pointing the Worst, the Fair and the Best of Couple and In-law Relationships

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It’s gratifying engaging with you on a talk on issues that affect our marital experience, lives, and destinies. Particularly, I feel humbled to share my thoughts on the situations and conditions that characterize the relationship of many couples and their in-laws in our contemporary time.

There are three types of such relationships that prevail today: the worst, the fair and the best relationships. Get along with me as I briefly demystify them in the following lines.

The Worst Type

In this type of relationship, the spouses are having it bad and unpleasant between themselves. There are no mutual understanding, love, and affection. The worst experience is further compounded by the sour and toxic relationship between the husband/wife and his/her in-laws. He/she often sees nothing but monster-in-laws and they, too, feel they’ve unluckily gam with a devil-son/daughter-in-law.

Often, a mere misunderstanding between the couple, even on a trivial issue, would escalate to an altercation and further get heightened to domestic violence. In this circumstance, he/she has no in-laws to call upon to intervene and reconcile or arbitrate. That’s because the in-laws themselves are either a passive part of the problem or the active actors, the dramatic personae, in the squabble.

It’s not unusual seeing the nuptial that was tied in the Name of God ending up being dissolved by such forces of marital commotion.

The Fair Type

This type comes in two opposite dimensions.

In the first dimension, the husband/wife is having a good relationship with his/her mate, but not so with his/her in-laws. Whenever any or all of the in-laws are mad with the husband/wife, he/she always has the defense and support of her/his spouse, who sees her/him to be good and feels either the in-laws are probably not understanding her/him better or they can’t just relate well with a daughter/son-in-law.

The husband/wife would often stand by the mate and present her/his case in a positive light before the in-laws. Usually, when a feudal situation escalates, he/she would protect and back her/his interest, even against the wishes of his/her blood family.

The other dimension under the fair type is a situation where the wife/husband has a good relationship with the in-laws, but not so with her husband/his wife. Whenever any misunderstanding or quarrel or commotion sparks, the in-laws would support her/him and would often wonder how the husband/wife could fail to see the charming beauty and goodness in his wife/her husband.

Whenever the marital situation of the couple gets worse, the respective in-laws could go to any length to protect the interest of their beloved son/daughter-in-law, make his/her spouse realize the missing link, and strive to successfully reconcile between them.

Notably, both the above dimensions are only fair, but not the best, the ideal relationship. 

The Best Type

In this type, not only are the husband and wife in good terms of mutual understanding, love and affection, but each of them also has a cordial relationship with their respective in-laws. All of them live and relate with themselves, by themselves, and for themselves positively, cordially, and amicably.

Whenever a fire of misunderstanding suddenly sparks, they leverage on the strength of their mutual understanding, love, and faith to quench it by objectively, sincerely and honestly addressing the causes and nip them in the bud before the fire blazes wildly and destructively.

In the cool atmosphere of this type of best relationship, the tranquility of heart, peace, harmony and happiness reign. It’s the ideal relationship where each individual lives and experiences the true meaning of marital life and destiny. This best type of relationship translates the divine’s idealistic vision and objectives of marriage and couple-in-law relationship to reality.

The Holy Qur’ān scintillatingly christens these vision and objectives when it declares that the object of marriage is not only to cohabit and procreate (Q. 42:12), but also that each may experience the tranquility of soul and peace of mind (30:22) and also be the delight of the eyes of the other (25:75).

To be able to actualize the above, Allah declares that He has made for man, family by blood and family by marriage – the in-laws (Q. 25:55). Each of the spouses must discharge the responsibilities he/she owes to the respective families. Similarly, He declares the rights and responsibilities of each spouse: ‘And they (the women) have rights similar to those (of men) over them in equity, but men have a rank above them’ (Q. 2:229) – that’s merely the rank of leadership which divine wisdom apportioned to the husbands.

To facilitate the mutual discharge of responsibilities, Allah creates mutual love, mercy and tenderness between the couple (Q. 30:22), and enjoins them to maintain and sustain this divine providence through being God-fearing in all ramifications (Q. 4:2); and, in fact, becoming the leader of the righteous (Q. 25:75). More so, He stipulates that they should be straightforward in speech (Q. 33:71) and mutually consort with themselves in kindness (Q. 4:20).

Look at the present condition of your marriage and the relationship between you and your in-laws. Which of the above types of relationships characterize your marital experience? Do you really feel you’re experiencing the best, the ideal type? If yes, keep the standard up and further improve it still. If no, you’ve really got to resolve to work it out better and amend the cracks in the wall.

For us all, I pray may Allāh bless us with the best of marital experiences, lives and destinies. Āmīn!