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Archive for December, 2009

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

Umm….wrong!!  Words not only hurt; they can kill and destroy relationships in an instant.

A driving force for people who use hurtful words is their anger.

Anger is an emotion that can turn us into people we are not.  If it takes us over, we are over.

In marriage, anger is one of the hardest emotions to control.  But it isn’t offset by itself.  There are other factors that trigger this emotion in us.  A big challenge for us is our immediate reaction once we are tested.  It is not always easy to stay calm and composed.

Therefore, I’m going to break down for you some proactive measures in having a civilized fight (oxymoron?) with your spouse.  So, let’s get to it.

1. Find the right time:  Don’t save very important matters of discussion for the end of the day.  You are both tired and unlike your complete selves and that can effect your behavior negatively.  Also, dinnertime is for eating and sharing each others’ days, not for arguing.  Instead, if there is a serious issue or concern that needs to be addressed, prepare your spouse about the topic ahead of time.  For example, you can send an email or text during the day saying something like, “Hey, Hon.  I wanted to talk to you about some money matters.  I think we are spending too much.”  Your spouse will come ready and aware of the situation and hopefully with some solutions or at least a plan.

2. Find the right place:  Always discuss serious issues in private and not in front of the kids or other family members.  You don’t want anyone else influencing your thoughts or behavior.  Also, don’t have important conversations over the telephone.  These types of talks need to be face-to-face.

3. Find the right words:  Now this is a tricky one.  If you actually think before you talk, you can prevent a lot of damage from taking place.  You should have an automatic filter in your head that removes all unnecessary comments and complaints before speaking.  I always advise people to not call each other names or curse at their spouse.  Even refrain from using words like “crazy”, “stupid”, “jerk”, “dumb”, “idiot”, etc.  All of these words can be hurtful if said during an argument and with malice.

4. Stay in the present:  Oh mi gosh.  I can’t emphasize this enough!  Please please please don’t bring up things from the past especially when they have NO relevance whatsoever.  Women tend to hold grudges for longer periods of time.  It’s hard to forgive and forget.  Therefore, I recommend to just let it go and don’t bring it up again.  Men usually try to solve a problem and move on.  If you throw the same issues back at them over and over again, it’s going to get you nowhere!

5. Know your limits:  If something is upsetting you, ask yourself how big the issue really is.  How far are you going to take it?  Is it worth ruining your relationship or your marriage?  The best thing I can suggest is just never even let the concept of divorce enter your mind.  It’s not a solution or an escape method.  You committed to completing half of your faith by marrying this individual, so follow through with it!  Learn to control your emotions and thoughts.  It should never go this far unless the spouse is a psychopath or abusive.

6. Take a deep breath:  Seriously, just breath.  Step outside of yourself for a moment.  Take a good look at how you are behaving.  Is this really you?  Screaming and shouting and looking repulsive.  Is this who you want to be?  Of course not, so don’t let yourself get that out of control.  If you feel your emotions are getting the best of you, go make wudu (ablution).  It will calm you down.

7. Don’t go to bed angry:  Yes, I’m highlighting the whole point.  It’s not a cliché.  This rule must be followed at all times in a marriage.  This whole concept of the husband being in the “doghouse” or “sleeping on the couch tonight” is so counterproductive and can become destructive over time.  You should always sleep in the same bed no matter how upset you are at each other.  If apologies or kind words cannot be exchanged due to one’s own stubbornness, then at least don’t storm out of the room or off the bed.  Remain in the same room and share the same bed.  If you must stay mad, then at least make sure to keep some physical contact with your spouse.  You can maybe have your feet touching or even a couple toes.  If you want to turn your backs on each other then you can possibly have your bottoms still touching.  I’m not being silly.  When you’re reminded of each others’ warmth, it will calm your nerves down.  AND, just think.  If you went to sleep mad at your spouse and one of you didn’t wake up in the morning, God forbid, is that how you wanted to say good-bye?

8. Learn to shut up:  Enough said.

9.  Acceptance:  Oh look there it is again!  If we learn to accept each others’ faults and focus on our spouse’s positives, the world would be a much better place.  If your hubby didn’t see the garbage bag is full, it’s not because he is trying to piss you off.  He really just didn’t notice.  And try not to say, “I can’t believe you didn’t take the garbage out yet, you lazy bum!”  Instead try something like, “Hey, Sweetcheeks, I would really appreciate it if you could take the garbage out.  I love you, thanks.”

10. Gratefulness:  I should put this at the top of the list.  This is also your assignment for today.  The next time you are lying awake in your sleeping husband’s arms at night with your head on his chest listening to his heart beat steadily and focusing on his slow rhythmic breaths, remember Allah who has blessed you with this sakoon (peace) and this wonderful man as your companion and protector.  In his arms you are safe and secure alhumdullilah.

Sweet dreams.

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Trust me when I say that you are NOT sleeping with the enemy.

Also, believe me when I say that you are NOT the victim.

You are in a marriage which is a union of 2 individuals.  There has to be an understanding from both sides.  It is not a power struggle nor a good guy and a bad guy game.

Remember that men are simple beings.  They don’t ask much from their women nor expect much besides approval, acceptance, and appreciation.  It my last few blogs I’ve emphasized acceptance and appreciation of your men.  Today I will discuss the importance of approval.

We need to realize that we are designed by Allah very differently.  We shouldn’t expect our hubbies to be our girlfriends.  They are not going to see things the way we do nor deal with situations in the same manner as us.

But, we must value their opinions and how they address certain issues.  Our way is NOT always right, ladies!  If you want his help, don’t criticize or analyze or even observe how he’s helping.  You want him to do the dishes?  Fine, then step out of the kitchen and do something else.  Don’t monitor his every move and tell him all his efforts are wrongly done.  He will not want to help at all then. 

Another example is how to discipline and deal with the kids.  You and the kids shouldn’t gang up on dad.  The parent-child relationship is secondary to the husband-wife relationship.  If that is in tact, then the rest of the household will prosper.  Plus, you will set a better example for your kids when they get married eventually. 

You should see eye-to-eye on matters especially when it comes to the kids.  Yes, you will not agree all the time, but learn to compromise.  Sometimes you can even agree to disagree, my friends.  Let him be the “man” of the house, the ameer (leader) of the family.  By doing that, he will always take you into consideration. 

Today’s assignment is simple. 

Ask your hubby for his advice on something and then go along with what he says.  Tell him you appreciate his opinion and you will do just that.  If you can’t do this then have him do something around the house, don’t watch him do it or check up on him later, and then kindly thank him for his effort.  He might just clean the rest of the house for you or watch the kids for a longer period of time!

Let me know how this one goes.  It’s hard….I know.  Good luck!

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The Ma-an!

It’s snowing outside.  I struggle to get the car up the driveway.

“Frickidy frick!”

I give more gas.  No help.  Ok, reverse, then speed back up the mountain of snow. 

“Yes!  Made it.”

My hubby who I shall refer to as “Baba Longbeard” from now on left for work early, so he didn’t have time to shovel before he left.

How hard could it be?  I wonder.  Since the snow is fresh, it shouldn’t be much effort to shovel it.  Plus, our driveway isn’t that big, so I should be done in no time.

The first few “gather and toss” motions don’t seem too bad.  I continue down the left side of the driveway fairly quickly.  I move then over to the right side.  This side has a lot more snow, because Baba Longbeard’s car was not parked there overnight.

Oh crap.

I’m sweating, my arms are killing me, and my back hurts. 

How does he do this without complaining?  This sucks!  I suddenly realize.

After I finish shoveling the driveway and the sidewalk, thank you very much, I decide to pour some salt on the pavement.  The bag is full and I can’t even lift it.  I’m such a whimp.  Again I wonder how Baba Longbeard does this without any issues. 

Forget it.  Who needs the salt on the driveway anyways?

I come into the house exhausted and cold.  I do not plan on doing that again anytime soon.  Shoveling the snow should remain Baba Longbeard’s job.  I mean he is “The Ma-an!”

In other words, I had an epiphany this morning.  Whenever, Baba Longbeard came in to the house disheveled from shoveling, I haven’t ever properly thanked him or recognized his effort.  I just figured it’s his job, and he is supposed to do it.  I have never even shown my appreciation.  The least I can do is give him some hot drink to warm him up or ask him if he wants some Tylenol! 

Men should be recognized for their masculinity.  There is no shame in that.  There are tasks they are designed to do and we women should feel grateful they don’t make us do it.  I don’t want to be an equal.  I like him taking care of me and doing the “tougher” jobs.  It seems so silly, but it’s true.

You obviously know where I’m heading with this then.

Start letting your man know that he is the “Ma-an.”  A man wants to be seen as a hero in his woman’s eyes.  Even it is something simple like shoveling the snow…wait what the heck am I saying?  Shoveling the snow is not a simple task!!!  😦  Show him that you appreciate his manhood for manly jobs that he does around the house, at work, and outside the home.  Let him know you notice his manliness and that you do need him.  “My hero!”

Cheesy, I know, but do it please. 

A little recognition and appreciation can go a long way.  Hey, who knows?  He might just show you how much he loves you being his woman! 

Stay warm, folks!

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Change is No Good

“He gets you,” my cousin observed about my relationship with my husband.

“Well I would hope so.  If my husband isn’t going to get me, then who is?” I respond with an obvious tone.  “And I get him,” I add.

I can’t emphasize enough to be yourself with your spouse right from the beginning.  There shouldn’t be any surprises.  The person you present to your potential hubby is who you should be after marriage as well.  And that works both ways.

Many a times, what I see is wives trying to change their hubbies.  They originally accept them for who they are with the intention to eventually turn their men into the men they want them to be.  After failed attempts, the wives develop resentment and frustration towards their husbands.

You can’t change anyone.  Just turn the table for a moment and imagine if your husband was trying to change you.  He didn’t like something about you and wanted to change you.  How would that make you feel?

I’m going to note the point of acceptance in marriage once again.  It is a very essential aspect to keep the relationship in tact and let it flourish.  Appreciate each others’ best qualities and stop focusing on what can’t be changed.  This is the person you chose to marry.  If he was not the person you wanted him to be, then why did you marry him?

If he’s a mama’s boy, then let him be.  How can you not respect a man that is good to his mother?  He in turn will be good to his wife.  If a wife tries to distant a man from his mother, that is going to cause friction and serious tension between the couple.  Remember that a man earns his way to jannah by taking care of his mother.  A woman’s path to jannah is by keeping her hubby happy.  So, take care of your mommy-in-law, and you can get two birds with one stone.  😉

If you’re in-law issues are not as simple as I put it, then that needs to be discussed in a future blog.  I’m just giving the example of not trying to change your hubby.

Think about it.  You would rather have a man who forgets to put the cap on the toothpaste or does not know how to toast toast, than one who acts like a jerk to you.  If he is good-natured and treats you right, then stop focusing on petty issues.  Accept him for who he is and show him that you love him just the way he is.

So here’s your assignment for today:

When he comes home, greet him at the door with a hug and a kiss.  Beat the kids to the door and get a quick private smooch session in.  That’s the easy part.  Then lay it on thick…compliment him I mean.  Tell him how much you missed him, how happy you are to see him, how much he means to you, how great he looks, yada yada yada.  You get the picture.  Oh and it doesn’t hurt to be dressed nicely yourself.  🙂

If you feel like complaining about your day or the kids, just hold off.  Let him catch his breath.  The few hours you have together in the evening, make them pleasant.  It’s in your hands.  Remember that it’s not his fault you’re day was tough.  He was out slaying dragons for his family…the same family he can’t live without and looks forward to coming home to.  So welcome him for just being him into a warm home and with open arms.  Oh and have a good night!

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Here we go

Let’s get to it.

He is lying next to you, snoring away in a pool of drool all over the pillow.

You take a good look at this man.

“This is the man I married?” you ask yourself.

Sigh. Yes it is.

This is your knight in shining armor, your dragon slayer, the father of your children.  He is The One!

Wait so why does he look like that?

Ah yes one of the many beauties and necessities of marriage:  acceptance.  We will get into all that sometime in the near future.  For now, let’s just focus on reconnecting.

Ok, let’s rewind here.

You married this man and you’re wondering why you did.  It’s not the fact that he is a sleeping beauty of course, so why did you?

I don’t know.  That’s what you need to remind yourself.

I’m just here to help you keep loving this wonderful human being you have entered the sacred bond of marriage with….to retighten your knot.  I’m going to try to show you that simple things can help you fall in love with your husband over and over again. Hopefully everyday…if not every other day…or at least a few times a week!  I’ll do my best ok?

Alright, so where should I begin?

Let’s just start with the beginning of the day.  Shall we?

When he wakes up in the morning, make sure you are up before him.  See if you can get out of that 3 sizes bigger than you t-shirt and your hello kitty pajama bottoms into something decent and presentable.  Maybe you can even brush your teeth and hair and greet him with a smile.

If he likes what he sees, he might just take you out for breakfast.  Otherwise breakfast in bed anyone?

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