5 ways to navigate your parents’ rocky marriage

Rocky marriages can be strewn with boulders and trenches for the husband and wife involved, but they can be especially trying for their children. My parents, may Allah bless and have mercy upon them both, had a marriage that involved a series of disputes that I was too young to understand. Despite a number of counseling sessions with our local imam and interventions with family and friends, the weight of many years of emotional wounds took their toll and their marriage gradually dissolved, ending in divorce. There is no denying that divorce is a disagreeable ordeal and there is a sensible reason why in Islam it is accepted as only a final choice, after all other avenues of reconciliation and counseling between a couple have been exhausted. This serves to protect the family unit as a whole, and initiate the rippling effects of a permanent separation only if it is absolutely necessary.

Navigating your parents’ long rough marriage, temporary separation, or divorce can be troublesome and confusing, but you can train yourself to rise above all the turmoil and find tranquility. Looking back as an adult, I can say with assurance that the five points below really helped me and can do the same for you, whether you are a young individual who is currently experiencing your parent’s rocky marriage, living with divorced parents, or even parents who have remarried.

1. Trust in Allah’s Will

Surrender everything to Allah’s will, increase your tawakkul (reliance on Him) and you will never be discontent. We must put our trust in what has been written for us. Make du`a’ (supplication) to Allah to grant you and your parents only what is best in this life and the next and help you to overcome your difficulties.

2. Always Treat Both Your Parents with Immense Love and Respect

There are times that you may find yourself swayed towards siding with one of them, especially if you feel one of them has been wronged. Remember though that your relationship with your parents was ordained by Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (Exalted is He) and that you have to try your best to treat them both with respect and love. In the long run, instilling this will benefit your relationship with each parent and give you a sense of great inner peace. Allah (swt) says in the Quran in surah Al ‘Isra,

And lower to them the wing of humility out of mercy and say, “My Lord, have mercy upon them as they brought me up [when I was] small” (Qur’an 17:24)

3. Seek Support & Be Yourself

Speaking about your situation to a third party can be beneficial, and a meaningful talk with a trusted friend can go a long way. If you feel your situation is especially difficult, seek professional help. Along with this, try to keep your own personal goals in sight so that you are not bogged down by your parents’ situation exclusively. Strive to pursue goals in life that will bring both you and your parents great happiness.

4. Be Grateful

Take time to thank Allah (swt) for all the good things in your life frequently. Thank Him (swt) for placing your parents in your life if you have both (so many people do not have this blessing and would do anything for a little more time with their parents), for a home, for food and water, and a comfortable way of life.

5. Change Your Perspective

Strive to change your perspective when it comes to your parents’ marriage. If they are separated or divorced and you have two different homes then tell yourself that ‘Two homes only means twice the love,’ etc.  A positive outlook can paint everything with a fresh coat of brilliance. One thing’s for sure: there are a number of diverse family types and so many different challenges that one may face. Do not feel burdened, overwhelmed, or helpless regardless of the situation and know that Allah (swt) can guide you out of rocky terrain to smooth rolling pastures.

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