Divorce as a Legal and a Psychological Process

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Divorce is both a legal and a psychological process. The legitimate procedure is significant however the psychological procedure and how it is played by the couple generally decides the tone and the idea of the separation. If the divorce begins gravely then it will end severely. And if it begins gently then there is good possibility that it will end in a genial and valuable way. The key to it is understanding the emotional positions of the couples toward the start, when one of the partner states first that he/she needs a divorce.

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Divorce is allowed in Islam as a last option between the couples if it is not possible to maintain their marriage anymore. From an Islamic point of view, divorce is the legitimate way out of an abusive or unsatisfactory marriage for both men and women. Sheikh Muhammad Ibn al- Uthaymin stated: ‘Allah hates divorce, but he does not forbid it to his slaves, to make things simple for them’.

There are various factors being referred to as the reasons for divorce among Muslim communities, including: clashes with in-laws, extramarital affairs, incompatibility, unrealistic expectations, abuse of any form and so on.

Dr. John Gottman has provided us with four essential indicators of separation. He has named these four fundamental indicators, the ‘Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse’ and they are criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling.

The therapeutic interventions that can help a Muslim couple searching for the quickest method to resolve their marital issues can be as follows as being a family therapist:

First and foremost thing to do is to manage counter-transference. It is important for the therapist to be psychologically healthy and to have knowledge into their own practices before beginning to survey couples. This will help the therapist form distorting the therapeutic relationship. Having a solid plan of action and conceptualization of the couple will help provide guidance and focus when the couple begins to get distracted during the session. Maintaining empathy for the couple can be an essential part of managing countertransference.

During the first sessions it is essential to know the couples history of the relationship, nature of the problems, cultural background or family-of-origin information and values. If the couple is encountering a crisis, then the therapist may provide immediate crisis intervention to help stabilize the situation. While couples are presenting their individual problems don’t judge them, hear with empathy and understanding.

As a therapist it is important to make sure that the couples talk about their issues within the sight of one another. Just by the expression of couples being depressed or angry and not speaking it out will create more confusion in the therapist and among the couples also. So it’s necessary to say the couples to express their problems directly instead of expressing it through their actions or emotions. In order to find a resolution, couples should straightforwardly communicate what’s bothering them in a firm and honest manner. When the issue is out in the open, a real plan of action can be put into place. So when the couples listen to each other’s thoughts and feeling in the presence of each other they will understand each other better and will come know where the relationship is going wrong.

During the therapy if the couple are accusing each other for their problem then advise them in a gentle manner not to accuse each other. Accusing on each other for a problem that both the partner are experiencing will never lead to a viable solution. Rather, the one who is been accused will feel assaulted, forcing them to respond to accuse. To avoid this pattern, it’s smarter to say the couples to utilize “I feel” while describing their problems rather than using “He or She does this or that”. This methodology will lead to a better communication that honors the feelings of each partner without putting them down.

Healthy communication between partners is the bridge to any successful relationship. Advice and guide the couples to listen the opposite partner and respond because if a person wants to receive understanding from the opposite person then he or she has to understand the opposite person first. And the same applies for kindness, if a person wants himself or herself to be treated kindly then he or she has to be kind to others. Listening and responding skills is important between couples. One must really pay attention to the issues or feelings that their opposite partner is sharing. This form of listening can be followed up with questions to make sure that the opposite partner is understanding and listening to what is being said.

Advice the couples to stay liberal with each other. Couples who are seen to be liberal throughout their issues are more likely to find peaceful resolutions that serve the interests of both parties. Advice couples to see their partner in their partner’s point of view rather than in their point of view and to stop judging their partners because as humans we all tend to make mistakes.

As a therapist, it’s our duty to teach skills to couples. And if necessary assign couples with therapeutic “homework” because working on homework’s encourages the couple learn to apply and practice the skills they have learned at therapy during their everyday interactions with each other.

Therapist should help solve the problem between couples by guiding them. Guide the couples on resolving their problems rather than discussing what has previously happened. Uncomfortable feelings can be soothed with just a little understanding. Most of the couples don’t look for solutions at first, they look first for just a bit of understanding and support between their spouse and then for solution.

Disagreements are not always necessary. As humans, we have to be humble, as we are all human we make mistakes. So advice the couples to forgive and hide each other’s faults. And advice couples to be patient with one other. Advice the couples to try to learn more about their spouse.

Advice the couples to take time for each to know each other, engage in self -care, pray together and for each other.

The hope focused couples approach is useful in dealing with couples who do not have faith in their partner, or themselves to create a more healthy relationship. Hope Focused Couples approach can help in instilling hope in the couple.

During marriage, counseling can help couples learn to understand themselves and each other better, and they also learn emotional regulation, healthy communication skills and ways to mediate conflict. Couples can learn relationship skills such as communicating honestly, listening intently and working through conflict.  

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