29. Conference Insights Part 2: Circle of Influence

Posted on February 13th, 2012

On February 5th 2012, Wise Wives held its first multi-speaker event at the Islamic Center of Irvine called the “Respect Conference” that highlighted the importance of respect in a husband/wife relationship.

We were lucky to have three wonderful speakers that gave us so much useful and inspirational knowledge from their personal and professional lives that I’d like to share here.

Two of whose lectures, Noha Alshugairi and Megan Wyatt, I will be summarizing in a blog series because they were interactive lectures and the third, Yasmin Mogahed, will be uploaded as a video. Enjoy!

Noha Alshugairi went on to teach us about the “Circle of Influence.” She drew two circles: one large one and a smaller one inside of it. She explained that there is a large circle of “concerns” in a person’s life (or marriage) and there is a smaller circle within it of “influence.” And that each person should direct their energy wisely by focusing on what they can actually change in their lives (the smaller circle of influence). Don’t dwell on the larger circle because you cannot control everything!

This applies to your marriage because if you realize that there is no use in trying to control everything, you will realize that the only things worth judging are the things that directly affect you. Otherwise it is a waste of energy.

She says that you will be much happier and relaxed and your marriage would be much easier if “you let go of judgments that have nothing to do with you.” In other words, don’t judge your husband if he is doing something you dislike but that will have no effect on you. These judgments would fall into the larger circle and not into the smaller one.

To emphasize this important point she gave a, what some might call, extreme example saying that even if your husband does not pray, don’t judge him. According to Noha’s example, while this is an important factor to consider while choosing a husband initially, if your husband decides to stop praying it is inevitably between him and God, and that it has nothing to do with you. So while it is ok for the wife to politely advise him, pray for him, set a good example, etc, is it not ok for her to judge/criticize him.

This is opposed to if your husband, for example, drinks alcohol. While both not praying and drinking alcohol are both Haram (against Islamic behavior), one directly affects you and one does not; because if your husband drinks, he can become harmful to you and your family.

Though many scholars have different opinions about the validity of the example of prayer, which is a very delicate matter, it is important to take the meaning of the example rather than the factuality of it. In other words, take it as the most extreme act a husband can do that a wife would dislike. So let’s say your husband decorates his office with clowns, or doesn’t clean out his car, or has a messy wallet…if it does not affect you, let it go!

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