Everlasting Marriage part 4

In the last post I spoke about what helps you to make a connection with your spouse. Now I will go through what destroys a relationship.

So when I discussed what makes a connection, a marriage expert John Gottman, through many studies and experience discovered that each relationship has to have a certain percentage of turning towards behaviour. In other words 80% of the time the spouses reaction needs to be to take the hand. Otherwise the relationship will fail.

He discussed in his book four things that destroy a relationship. They are so toxic in a relationship that he called them the four horseman. They are: Critisism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling.

1. Critisism is when you attack the person rather than the behaviour. So, for example, instead of saying you felt hurt by an action, you say that your spouse is selfish.

2. Contempt is when you talk to them with superiority, like you’re mocking the person. As if you are better than them.

3. Defensiveness is attacking the person rather then taking responsibility. If your spouse tells you they feel hurt, instead of saying sorry, you say that they did something first and that’s why you said what you said.

4. Stonewalling is when you just shut down and disengage.

Constantly doing these things will eventually cut your connection with your spouse. If we want to say something to our spouse we should focus on how we felt. So instead of saying you’re selfish, say I felt hurt when you didn’t consider me. This will be more productive in trying to resolve the issue and less likely to escalate into a fight.

Marriage is supposed to be a refuge where you both can feel safe and find tranquility.

One of the best things you can do to help strengthen your marriage is to build a strong relationship with Allah.

This is the last post in this series. I hope you will find these notes I made beneficial inshaAllah.

Advertisements

Everlasting Marriage part 3

So previously I discussed how Ustadha Yasmin Mogahed spoke about love and how we each love differently. She then spoke about the next part of the ayah which says that not only should there be love between spouses but also mercy.

She defined mercy as; Even when you are angry or upset with your spouse you still don’t want them to be harmed. She described how a couple sitting on a bench facing away from each other, clearly angry, yet as it was raining the husband still held the umbrella over his wife to stop her from getting wet. That, she said, was mercy.

The death of a relationship is when there is no mercy left in it.

Passion, love, intimacy, all of these things go up and down in a relationship but the mercy needs to be consistent. So even if you’re not feeling loving towards your spouse your mercy should still remain.

As a side note; she also mentioned that there are some cases where divorce is necessary and we should not stigmatise people who are getting divorced or are divorced. We should however ensure that we separate on good terms and not spend all that time attacking each other. If no one was supposed to get divorced then it would have been made haram.

In trying to build that love and mercy, your spouse will try to make a connection. They will offer you their hand by trying to make a conversation, for example. There are 3 ways in which you can respond. You can take the hand, you can hit the hand away or you can ignore the hand.

Taking the hand will be the best response, it is what will build that love and mercy. When you take the hand you need to give them your attention, you should face them and you give them respect and importance. It is important for your spouse to know that you love them. You do that by the way you react to what they say or do. Even if they start a conversation about something that doesn’t interest you, you shouldn’t dismiss what they said. It’s all about building the bond regardless of what the actual  conversation is about.

The Prophet (saw) would publicly declare his love for his wife.

Another way to respond would be to hit the hand away. Your response is, who cares. You disrespect and belittle what they say. You act like you don’t have time to listen to them.

The third way to respond would be to ignore the hand. You show no interest, have no reaction to what they said. Your body language shows that what they said is not important.

Both these two ways of responding will create distance between you and your spouse and it can cause problems in your relationship.

Sister Yasmin Mogahed discussed the four things that destroy a relationship. In the next post I will go through them.

Everlasting Marriage part 1

Recently I attended a seminar run by Ustadha Yasmin Mogahed called Everlasting Marriage. I wanted to share some of the things I learnt with you all.

And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquility in them; and He placed between you love and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.
Quran (30:21)

Before she explained this ayah to us, one which we all probably know, she spoke to us about signs. We often confuse the signs Allah sends us with our destination. But the purpose of the sign is to direct us to our destination. A sign is only a means to the end. It is not our destination. We need to be aware of this as we live so we don’t confuse a sign with our destination. Our destination is Jannah. It is not a job, or home, or marriage.

As we discussed this ayah we not only talked about what this ayah is telling us but how we can practically implement these into our lives.

Allah created us to live in sukoon with each other. Our home is meant to be a place of serenity and tranquility. Inside the home it is supposed to be sukoon, it is meant to be a shelter, a refuge from the storm outside. Yet for many of us it the opposite. The storm is inside the home so people go outside to seek serenity. We need to make our refuge inside the home.

The ayah speaks about love (muwadda), in Arabic there are many words which mean love yet Allah chose to use this specific word for love. This is because muwadda means an expressed love. This is a love that you not only say but actively show by the things that you do. It is not a love where all you do is say I love you. It is a love that you show in the things that you do. This shows it is important for a spouse to show their love, it isn’t enough to just say I love you and not show it in any way.

However it is important to note that not everyone expresses love in the same way. The way in which we feel loved, so how we wish to receive it, is often the way in which we express love. However our spouse may not feel loved in the same way as us so it can lead to a miscommunication.

We learnt that there are 5 love languages. So there are 5 different ways in which we can feel loved and express it. It is important to know the way in which we feel loved and the way in which our spouse feels loved so that we can express our love in the way that our spouse understands.

In the next post I will discuss the love languages in more detail inshaAllah.

The Blessing of Sleep 

Sleep. Something that many people take for granted. I mean it comes naturally to us. We get tired and we go to sleep. Right? 

But what about us who lay there every night wishing they could just fall asleep? Tossing and turning all night. There are people, like me, who just don’t know what a good night sleep is anymore. We don’t wake up refreshed and ready to take on the days tasks. We struggle to get up, dragging ourselves and every morning is a battle. I have chronic back pain resulting from a prolapse disc, which is getting worse over time. I haven’t had a good night sleep in years. I don’t even remember what it feels like anymore. I sleep for 3-4hours a night if I’m lucky and even that is disturbed. It’s because lying down is painful for me. It takes me hours to fall asleep and I can’t lie in one position for more than an hour. So I wake up every hour because I’m in pain and have to change position. Now I’m not saying this because I want people to feel sorry for me but I want you to appreciate this blessing of sleep. Trust me when I say that a good night sleep is so important to how we function in the day.
Ibn Uthaymin rahimullah said sleep is a blessing of Allah because it renews energy and heals fatigue 
We can tell the difference between the days when we’ve had a good night sleep and when we haven’t. There are books and classes out there telling us how to make the most of our sleep so we can be more productive and make the most of our day. 
And it is He who has made the night for you as clothing and sleep (a means for) rest and has made the day a resurrection. Quran (25:4)
Even Allah has stated in the Quran that the night is for resting so we can spend the day doing our work. 
We should thank Allah for giving us this blessing,without it we wouldn’t be able to function. We wouldn’t be able to study, work, exercise and all the other countless things we do. Most importantly we wouldn’t be able to worship Allah and that is what we’ve been created for. Allah could have created us to do nothing but stand day and night in his worship but he didn’t he allowed us rest. We should thank Allah every day that we were given a good night sleep to be able to fulfill our purpose. Even our sleep can become a good deed if we sleep with the intention to rest so we can worship Him better. 
Don’t take sleep for granted, take it from someone who is unable to have a good night sleep. It truly is a blessing.

Ramadan Reflection – Allah never forgets

And never is your Lord forgetful. Quran (19:64)

Seriously this ayah is as pleasing as it is terrifying.

It simultaneously tells me that all the injustices done to me, Allah knows. But it also tells me that all injustices done by me, He also knows. It tells me that even if no one on this earth sees or remembers the good that I’ve done, Allah does. But it also tells me that even if no one sees or remembers the sins I’ve committed, Allah does.

This ayah is so powerful. Its such a strong reminder that we will never be left without our justice being given or rewarded for the good that we’ve done. But we will also be held accountable for the injustices we did and the sins we committed.

It reminds us to strive to be the best we can be and seek forgiveness daily. It reminds us that no matter how much we hurt, Allah will be there for us.

So we can seek solace in this knowledge that if we’ve been oppressed, slandered, beaten, or abused; Allah will never allow it to go unnoticed and He will give us our justice. Whether its in this life or the next.

But this ayah should also make us want to make amends and seek forgiveness from those we’ve oppressed, slandered or abused. We should not be too proud to say we’re sorry. We should turn to Allah and repent and then strive to become better people. Don’t leave it until it’s too late.

Know that even if your efforts aren’t appreciated by people it doesn’t go unnoticed by Allah.

And know that even if you think you have gotten away with it in this life, you won’t in the next.

Allah never forgets anything that we have done, the good and the bad.

Ramadan Reflection

Last night after iftar I literally passed out from my migraine. To wake up an hour later thinking I need to clear up the kitchen, only to find that my husband has cleared everything so that I can rest. He stayed home instead of going taraweeh and prayed at home so he could look after me as I had double vision (aren’t migraines amazing!).
It was at this moment I truly understood what true love is. I understood the ayah that speak about marriage and the husband wife relationship on a whole new level.
It isn’t about the fancy gifts we give each other or the holidays we go on or the restaurants we go to. It’s about being there for each other when we are at our weakest. It’s about caring for each other when we need them most. It’s supporting each other when we feel like nothing will get better.
Today I truly understood what the ayah means when Allah says they will be the coolness of our eyes. When Allah says that we are garments for one another. That we should live in tranquility with one another. That He has put love and mercy between our hearts.
Because at that moment I felt the peace and tranquility when I looked at him. I saw how he cared for me. How he covered me and looked after me. I saw that it was his love and mercy for me that he did all this for me. I truly felt that coolness when I looked at him. And I realised that the most important moments of our marriage are times like this. At this moment I truly felt thankful for the amazing husband I was given. Alhamdulillah.
And through this I felt closer to Allah. I felt a connection with Allah. That I was able to truly be thankful to Him for my husband. And then I realised that this is why Allah tells us that these are signs for those who reflect. Because our marriage and especially these moments in our marriage are signs to lead us to Him.

“She might as well take off her hijab”

I often hear people say “she might as well take off her hijab” she made a mistake and so now people think shes no longer worthy of wearing a hijab. Because she isn’t perfect. But Allah does not expect perfection from us. He wants us to strive for excellence. But excellence isn’t perfection. No human being is perfect and we weren’t designed to be perfect.

And we fail to see that one of the most emphasized attributes of Allah is that he is the most forgiving. Why would we seek His forgiveness, His mercy, why would we turn to Him if we were perfect?

By telling her that she should take it off you’re saying that she wasn’t perfect, she wasn’t an angel so she might as well stop trying. Allah is not all or none.

By having this expectation we are actually aiding the shaytan. We say that she should stop trying because she isn’t perfect and thats exactly what the shaytan wants us to do.

Expecting perfection from someone who cannot be perfect can lead to despair and hopelessness. Then people will stop striving. This is the danger that expecting perfection can have.

So lets stop telling girls who wear hijab that they should take it off after every mistake they make because we are not perfect ourselves. And remember that the prophet (saw) told us that every human being will sin but that the best of us will be those who repent. So we know that we will all make mistakes but that it doesn’t stop us from being a good Muslim as long as turn to Him and repent.

So whether she wears a hijab or not she will make mistakes, she will fall but don’t tell her to give up instead help her to stand up after her fall.