Many huge fights, arguments and heart-breaks in relationships are due to little things. Surprisingly, the weapon used to strike is very small and soft and yet it pierces like a dagger. Yes, it is the tongue that is used to utter something cutting and then comes the response and then it continues. Often these big fights having little foundations are the ones that ruin the peace of a household and sometimes even take it toward ultimate destruction.
One of the arguments that is common in many houses is about food. The food is not good, it has too much salt, it has no salt at all, the food is cold, it is late, you don’t even know how to cook etc. The opposing party having little patience as well launches a full fledged attack in defence. And fighting ensues.
Food, however, is just a basic example. We feel it’s an obligation upon us to comment if we see anything negative in our surroundings. Today, it is kind of an accepted fact that if you keep doing everything right, no one will appreciate you but one single mistake will open many mouths. This is negative reinforcement which leads to more negative behaviour. Unfortunately, this is not what Islam teaches us. Islam likes us to maintain a peaceful, positive and encouraging atmosphere in our homes. So that our homes become our safe haven instead of a battlefield.
The question is if you see something negative (but not sinful), say, something not to your liking, what should you do?
Sahih Bukhari, 3563:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet (ﷺ) never criticized any food (presented him), but he would eat it if he liked it; otherwise, he would leave it (without expressing his dislike).
Just don’t comment at that time. Control the desire to lash out. :)
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ did not pinpoint people publicly over their mistakes anyway. It makes one feel humiliated more than it reforms them.
There are other wiser and more polite ways of correcting mistakes than criticizing. Use your skills and discover those instead. Remember that positive reinforcement will take you a long way.
Q. Your spouse cooks your favourite dish for you but makes it too salty by accident. What do you do?
a) Criticize it harshly and push the plate away.
b) Tell them that the taste is ruined but eat it anyway.
c) Don’t say anything about the food but don’t eat either.
d) Tell them tactfully that you appreciate what they did for you however you were planning on ordering/cooking food for them tonight from their favourite place and go and bring food for them/cook for them.