‘Commitment, communication are keys to a happy marriage’

National 2 minutes, 12 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

MONEY problems and lack of financial planning are usually the cause for marital disputes, with some leading to divorce, said marriage counselor from the Islamic Da’wah Centre (PDI). 

In an interview with The Brunei Times, Ustaz Hj Abd Aziz Hj Abd Kahar, who is also the Acting Assistant Director of PDI said most couples that seek marriage counseling and guidance from PDI are usually ones with poor family planning and are lacking in financial knowledge.

According to the Economic Planning and Development Department (JPKE) statistics, divorce cases in 2014 rose by 50 cases bringing the total to 552 from 2013’s total of 502 cases.

Although the figures show only a slight increase in cases, the prevalence of divorce is ‘still there’, said Ustaz Hj Abd Aziz.

“Commitment and healthy communication are keys to maintaining a happy marriage, especially when it comes to financial matters. Married couples must have ‘financial harmony’ in their relationships, he said.

“Couples must set guidelines and boundaries for their financial decisions. Understanding the value that each partner places on money, and respecting that both partners will have equal rights and responsibilities with control of the finances, will strengthen the marriage bonds too,” the marriage counselor advised.

He said couples must realise the great importance of financial planning in their relationships and learn to define guidelines for money management.

“Marriage cannot solely survive on love. It needs other elements like Islamic education, consistence in ibadah and sometimes, a bit of romance won’t hurt too,” he said.

 “This is probably a very ‘Western’ concept and one that some people may have difficulty fulfilling, but in Islam, it is important to be open and honest about one’s feelings, shower each other with love, try to do everything together with your spouse,” the ustaz added.

 He gave a general account of what happens in marriage counseling in PDI.

 First, he said the marriage counselor talks to the husband and wife together, as well as individually.

Ustaz Hj Abd Aziz notes that the person who usually seeks counseling amongst couples in marital disputes is the wife.

 “In some cases, we will usually invite a third family member. Usually an in-law to share their point of view because they would usually know more on what goes in the household,” he said.

The marriage counselor said amongst common marital complaints received by PDI include irreconcilable differences, extramarital affairs, as well as neglect of responsibilities and providing nafkah (sustenance).

He urged couples to attend workshops on finance and relationships, adding that people who are looking to get married should attend the pre-marriage courses as some couples tend to skip the compulsory programme.

The Brunei Times