Divorce is permissible in Islam. However, it is a sensitive issue that requires careful consideration and adherence to Islamic principles. It should be considered as a last resort when spouses find it impossible to live in harmony.
If you have this question in mind- “Is marriage counseling required before divorce?”, we have your answer. Since marriage is a highly recommended act in Islam, it is our duty to protect it to the best of our abilities. Therefore, one can consider going to counseling before making such a major decision.
Is Marriage Counseling Required Before Divorce?
Before deciding on the dissolution of marriage, Islamic teachings recommend seeking counseling. With the guidance of a professional counselor, couples can get an opportunity to reflect and heal the relationship. There are several benefits spouses can get through counseling:
1. Overcoming Loneliness and Dilemma
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When spouses plan on dissolving their marriage, they encounter loneliness. They may feel there is no one by their side to give them guidance. Often they are in a dilemma of whether divorcing their partner would be the right decision.
Seeking the advice of a counselor helps them receive support while overcoming loneliness and dilemmas.
2. Being Able to Realize One’s Own Faults
During a dispute between a couple, it can be difficult to identify one’s own mistakes. Spouses blame one another while defending their egos, which causes the situation to intensify. They will never declare their mistakes, and the argument can have an impact on the people around them.
If a third party such as friends or family of a spouse gets involved in the situation, they are likely to talk in support of that spouse. As a result, the other spouse either might become more furious or agree with their words.
However, a neutral third party, such as an Imam or a counselor will listen to both sides and make the spouse realize their faults.
3. Exploring Each Other’s Feelings
When spouses have an argument, they are unable to view each other’s perspectives. They refuse to know each other’s feelings, which leads them to make irrational decisions.
However, taking the matter to a mediator or counselor will enable them to express their own feelings as well as know how the other feels. Only that way will they be able to come out of the argument.
4. Talking About Complex Issues
If a couple is having an argument over a complex issue, it can be difficult to resolve it by themselves. They may not want to involve their close ones as they would find it uncomfortable to give detailed information or they fear being judged. Also, they might even worry about their information being leaked.
On the other hand, visiting a good counselor means they are in a safe environment where their opinions will be listened to neutrally and kept confidential from outsiders. The professional will help the couple solve complex matters.
5. Improving Communication
In any relationship, whether business or marriage, communication is key. A person having an excellent communication skills has a higher chance of achieving success. In a marital relationship, spouses need to communicate well enough for their needs, wishes, and emotions to be heard.
Since communication is a learned skill, visiting a counselor can help a spouse improve their communication skill with their partner.
6. Getting an Islamic Perspective on the Situation
Spouses planning to file a divorce might be unaware of how their situation is viewed from an Islamic perspective. It happens because of anger towards each other.
Turning to an Imam or a Muslim counselor can help them view the situation from an Islamic perspective and act according to the laws.
7. Giving a Better Life to Children
If parents argue in the presence of children, it can lead to mental health issues that affect their lifestyle as they grow up.
By seeking help from a counselor, couples can learn how to communicate peacefully with each other. Since children usually learn the most from their parents, they will be able to learn how to communicate appropriately. Doing so will not only help them grow as a healthy adult but also benefit them in any relationship.
8. Saving Money
Seeking help from a counselor will cost you. But, that cost will be way lower than filing for a divorce. If you and your spouse can get the conflict resolved through counseling and change your minds, you can save for a rainy day.
Valid Reasons for Divorce in Islam
A wife seeking a divorce without a valid reason is prohibited in Islam. According to the Prophet (PBUH),
“If a woman asks her husband for a divorce, for no reason, then the smell of Paradise is forbidden for her”.
Therefore there must be valid reasons for divorce. Some of the reasons are as follows:
1. Abusive Spouse
No individual will be willing to suffer physical, mental, or emotional abuse in their marriage. When a spouse displays this kind of unacceptable behavior and is unwilling to seek counseling, the other spouse has the right to file a divorce. The Prophet (PBUH) said:
“The best of you are those who are the best to their wives, and I am the best of you to my wives.”
2. Failure to Fulfill Objectives and Purposes
Another valid reason is the failure of spouses to fulfill the objectives and purposes for which marriage took place. Examples are irreconcilable differences between partners, inability to live in a comfortable environment, and inability to produce offspring.
Infidelity is a serious issue that involves trust. If a spouse commits infidelity in any form, such as financial or physical, there is a loss of trust in the other partner. Once trust is gone, it can be challenging for the spouse to restore their relationship, and so they may resort to divorce.
4. Failure of the Husband to Provide Necessities
In a marriage, both the husband and the wife are required to carry out their responsibilities. The major responsibility of the husband is to provide for the wife and their children. They are known as the maintainers of the family. If he fails to provide the basic necessities, such as food and shelter, then the wife has the right to divorce.
5. Absence of Love
The love between two individuals fosters a healthy relationship and a blissful marital life. If two partners aren’t in love with each other, they can find it difficult to live in harmony. As a result, unpleasant behavior toward either spouse may arise, triggering the necessity of a divorce.
6. Failure of the Wife to Obey the Husband
According to Islam, the husband has greater rights over his wife than her rights over him. Since the husband is a protector and maintainer of his wife, he has the right to command, direct, and take care of her. However, if the wife fails to obey her husband, then it can be a valid reason for divorce.
Some examples of obeyance are-
- Making herself available to her partner (unless she is sick or there are other valid reasons) whenever he calls her for intimacy.
- Not permitting anyone in the house whom her husband dislikes
- Not stepping out of the house without her husband’s permission
- Ensuring she maintains cleanliness and remains attractive to her husband
7. Use of Haram Substances
Consumption of haram substances, such as alcohol and tobacco by either spouse can greatly affect their marital relationship. The other partner should do their best to discourage consumption. If the spouse fails to refuse the practice, it can be considered a good reason for divorce.
What States Require Marriage Counseling Before Divorce?
The majority of states in the US don’t have laws that require the judge to order marriage counseling.
Only two states, Alaska and New Jersey require spouses to attend counseling sessions before filing for a divorce. In Alaska, couples are required to attend at least three counseling sessions while New Jersey requires a single counseling session.
1. Is Marriage Counseling Required Before a Divorce in Oklahoma?
Oklahoma doesn’t require marriage counseling before a divorce. Despite that, it is always a good idea to seek assistance in order to save your marriage.
2. Do You Have to Go to Counseling Before Getting Divorced?
Although most states don’t mandate counseling before divorce, Islam recommends saving marriage to the best of our abilities. If it’s not possible to mediate a conflict between partners, they should go to counseling before filing for a divorce.
A good counselor should be able to help couples by addressing the issue and offering possible solutions. There are plenty of benefits in counseling which are discussed earlier.
3. What is Marriage Counseling in Islam?
Marriage counseling is the act of providing advice and guidance to couples for their mutual benefit. It is carried out in a safe environment where couples aren’t judged. The trained professional helps to improve communication between spouses and develop practical solutions to save the marriage. A Muslim counselor offers advice based on an Islamic perspective.
So, is marriage counseling required before divorce? Hopefully, you have found your answer by now.
If you are in a heated argument with your spouse, we recommend you attend counseling sessions to restore the relationship. Even if the laws of a state or a country don’t mandate counseling, you should still seek it.
A friendly reminder- Divorce should be considered as a last resort because Islam discourages the practice.