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10 Things to Remember for Those Contemplating Divorce

Before you take any steps towards divorce, be sure that you have given it your absolute 100%, and if it still leads to divorce you have the satisfaction and confidence to say you tried everything and nothing more could have been done.

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Before you take any steps towards divorce, be sure that you have given it your absolute 100%, and if it still leads to divorce you have the satisfaction and confidence to say you tried everything and nothing more could have been done.

[Edit: This article is of the author’s own experiences and opinions, and is an attempt in helping those making a decision on divorce from a safe space come to a conclusion. This is by no means (as the author clearly states) an attempt to advise whether divorce is right or wrong, as every situation is different and some require immediate action.]

The Prophet of Allah (S) has proclaimed: قال رسول الله (ص): «ما أحبّ الله مباحاً کالنکاح، و ما أبغض الله مباحاً کالطلاق.», Allah loves nothing more permissible (halal) than marriage, and Allah hates nothing more permissible (halal) like divorce [1].

We have heard this hadith many a time, but only a few of us would have grasped why divorce is so hated by God, such that it has been said to shake the throne (arsh) of God [2]. 

In this article, drawing from my own experience, I have tried to highlight the key lessons that I feel every Muslim should acknowledge before even contemplating divorce. It is by no means advice as to whether divorce is right or wrong because every situation is different.

1. Do not rely on others to solve your problems

Your marriage is between you and your spouse. And only you two will ever know the full extent and background of the situation, have felt those feelings and experiences, both good and bad, that made your marriage and also led you to this point in life.

Others can advise you, and give their opinion based on the limited lens they are viewing the picture from, but ultimately only you can make the decision that is right for you. God has given you the beauty that is your mind, your brain, and your heart. Don’t forget to use these!

2. Be objective about your spouse and yourself

When divorce is on the table, emotions are high, and anger seems to be at the forefront of your mind – objectivity is often non-existent.

Don’t forget about the good qualities in your spouse, why you married them, and what you have learnt during your married time that you admire about them. And if you do choose divorce, remember these are the very qualities that you will be choosing to leave behind. Equally, don’t ignore the bad qualities about yourself when evaluating the situation to see where it all went wrong. Sometimes all you need is a different perspective to bring you back from that negative state of mind.

3. Never leave room for regrets

In 2015 The Daily Mail reports that a U.K. survey found that as much as 54% of participants experienced second thoughts after getting a divorce and that 42% considered giving the relationship another try [3].

These statistics reflect that the aftermath of ending a relationship can be a complicated and emotional one. And, in most cases, divorce is an irreversible and permanent decision. To live with a lifelong regret can be psychologically traumatic.

So before you take any steps towards divorce, be sure that you have given it your absolute 100%, and if it still leads to divorce you have the satisfaction and confidence to say you tried everything and nothing more could have been done.

4. Divorce has ripple effects

Albeit divorce is between two people and their choice whether or not to live with each other for the rest of their lives, the impact of a divorce is wider than two individuals. Just as marriage brings two families and two communities together, divorce ends up breaking these apart.

Do not underestimate the impact of divorce on society. If divorce is not done for the right reasons, and if it isn’t a necessity, it is a form of corruption for society.

Wider than your spouse, the decision for divorce will mean you are leaving everybody that is linked to them behind too. Their family, friends, social circle. This can be important to consider when you have bonded well with your spouse’s family and friends.

5. During separation, focus and prioritise the marital issues

As simple as this may sound, often we are quick to try and divert our attention away from the issues onto other activities to avoid getting hurt or having to make a decision and let emotions open up.

So before you think of getting stuck into a new activity or course, or plan a trip abroad, or even if it’s delving into unrelated family life events, be clear in not letting yourself get distracted from the main issues, no matter how painful it may be.

This isn’t to say that some breathing space isn’t sometimes necessary to clear your mind and think clearly. This is a good thing, but you need to remember that the more time you spend away from your spouse, the more likely it is that divorce becomes an easier option.

6. Don’t underestimate your life after a divorce

During a separation or a divorce, it is natural that you have the full support and surrounding of family and friends to ensure your mental well-being and to guide you through.

After a divorce, however, you may still have family and friends around you, but it is only you that will have to live with the consequences of the divorce for the rest of your life. It may well be the best decision of your life, but you need to consider that it could also be a bad one.

7. Are the issues real ones?

Take this time to evaluate the issues you have with your spouse. Are they solvable? Or has ego and anger taken control to sway you into making mountains out of molehills? Will these issues still be there in 5-10 years down the line (e.g after children)? Or will they dissipate and become unimportant in the grand scheme of things?

Don’t make life decisions in anger. Is it a matter of fixing something that is broken, rather than giving up and throwing it away?  

8. You are married until divorced

During a separation, or when contemplating divorce, one mustn’t forget that you are still married and are still required to respect one another. Anything that is said or done during a separation is remembered and will have to be lived with if reconciliation occurs. Do not betray the trust of your spouse.

I always think that if there is even an ounce of love present in your heart for your spouse, then the issues can and deserve to be worked on. God will do wonders for the couple who strive to help one another when they need it the most and show compassion and understanding.

9. Don’t fall into sin during or after a divorce

I strongly believe that although divorce is not a haram or even makrooh act, the actions taken by individuals, even families during a separation period or after a divorce can easily fall into being makrooh, or God forbid even haram.

Disrespecting, abusing, betraying trusts, breaking promises, slandering to community members… these are all examples of such acts. So before you leave the marital home, or after a divorce, make sure you stay in control of the situation and make boundaries clear with family members and others involved.

10. Meet your spouse

Even though this may be the last thing you want to do, it is the most important step in trying to resolve the issue, regardless of whether divorce is to happen or not.

Meet your spouse with a positive mindset and willingness to solve the issues. Don’t form mental or physical barriers that make it impossible for your spouse to have an open dialogue with you. If you require a mediator, choose an unbiased and impartial one that can genuinely help both of you come to some sort of conclusion.

I think that every Islamic centre should make it mandatory for the wife and husband to attend at least one session with a good marriage counsellor before any discussions about divorce take place. I believe if this was implemented, divorce rates would dramatically decline.

Insha’Allah God helps all married couples on the journey that is the completion of half their deen. Nobody said it would be easy. Perseverance, compassion and a united front will help a great deal.


Sources

[1] Wasa’il ush-Shi‘ah, vol. 22, p. 7.

[2] Imam al-Sadiq (as) has said: “Marry and do not divorce because surely divorce shakes the very Throne of God [‘Arsh]”. Makarim al-Akhlaq, vol. 1, p. 248.

[3] Gillard J. Do YOU regret getting divorced? Astonishing 50 per cent of people wish they had never ended their marriage. DailyMail.com. August 18, 2014.

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