Every cook, no matter how accomplished and proficient, will inevitably, at some point, find themselves facing a culinary disaster. Even the best baker will make a mistake, and confusing icing sugar for baking powder will undoubtedly lead to an unforgettable flop.

However, an adept cook and baker knows that even an outstanding flop can often be salvaged in some way or another. Too much salt in the food? – add potatoes. Too spicy? – add some yoghurt. Gravy too thin? – add some maizena. Similarly, a flopped cake can easily be transformed into a trifle with the aid of some custard and jelly.

In essence, if one knows the right ingredients, one can salvage a bad situation and find some way to turn the inedible into something at least moderately appetizing.

In the very same way, husbands and wives, through the course of their marriages, will face challenges and will find themselves in situations of conflict. Mistakes happen, and an inconsiderate remark or a stinging retort may be witnessed now and again. One spouse may, at times, disappoint the other, leading to hurt feelings.

In these situations, the key to ensure that the situation does not escalate into an irrecoverable disaster is to not lose focus of the bigger picture by conveniently becoming blinded to the abundant goodness that we enjoy from them all the time. Certainly, the spouse may have hurt us or disappointed us at this moment. But, in most cases, the goodness and kindness that we enjoy from them the majority of the time far outweighs the few grievances that may pop up from time to time.

The husband should not lose sight of his wife’s kindness and the different types of goodness that he receives from her all the time. He must not become blinded to her goodness due to one or two occasional mistakes. He should consider that his wife is firstly the barrier between him and the fire of Jahannam. Due to her, his heart is content and has no inclination to haraam (i.e. she assists him to remain chaste from zina). Secondly, she is his treasurer when he leaves the home and she safeguards his wealth. The third goodness which he enjoys from her is that she does his laundry and washes his clothing. The fourth is that she is the mother for his children, raising them, attending to them and giving them the correct upbringing. The fifth is that she cooks and bakes for him.

Similarly, the wife should not forget her husband’s kindness and goodness. The clothing on her back, the food on her table, the roof over her head are just the bare minimum – there are many other favours and luxuries that she continues to enjoy and receive from her husband.

In the blessed hadeeth, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) warned the Ummah that one of the main causes for women being condemned to Jahannam will be the ingratitude which they will show to their husbands. Describing these ungrateful wives, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, “Even if you show her kindness for your entire life, when she thereafter sees something (i.e. some conduct) from you which she does not like, she will say, ‘I never ever saw any good from you!’” (Saheeh Bukhaari #29)

In other words, such is the extent of this woman’s ingratitude, that due to just one minor gripe, she immediately forgets a lifetime of goodness and kindness which she received from her husband, and this becomes the reason for her being condemned to Jahannam.

Therefore, when a difficult situation arises, let us not forget the goodness in our spouse. Adopting this mindset will not only save us from falling into the sin of ingratitude, it will help to salvage an unpalatable situation and will safeguard our marriages from failing.

May Allah Ta‘ala bless us and our progenies with happy, successful marriages, aameen.