Posted on April 5th, 2012

The following are highlights from Dr. Enas Elshiwick’s Wise Wives lecture on March 28th, based on her professional career as a licensed psychologist and licensed marriage and family therapist and the book “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work” by Dr. John Gottman.

During the meeting she discussed the concepts and findings behind the famed “Love Lab,” which is the research done at Gottman’s Relationship Research Institute near the University of Washington in Seattle. Gottman and his team have been studying how couples argue and resolve conflict and have followed hundreds of couples over time to see if their marriages last.

Using a scientific approach, they have found four negative factors that can predict divorce, see our previous blog entry, and seven positive principles that predict marital success. They claim that they can predict with 91% accuracy whether a couple will thrive or fail after watching and listening to them for just five minutes!

In this entry we will discuss Gottman’s seven principles that will reinforce the positive aspects of a relationship and help marriages endure during the rough moments:

1. Enhance Your Love Maps
Gottman defines a love map as the place in your brain where you store information about your spouse. This is crucial in really knowing your partner, their dreams, hopes, interests, and maintaining their interest throughout the relationship.

Elshiwick says, you must really know each other. Learn all about each other’s likes, dislikes, wishes, hopes, dreams, goals, fears, insecurities, participate in their interests, etc. Emotionally intelligent couples are familiar with the details of each other’s world. They remember the major events in each other’s history and keep up to date as the facts and feelings of their partner’s world changes.

2. Nurture Your Fondness and Admiration
This means laying down a positive view about your spouse, respecting and appreciating their differences.  Focus on each other’s positive qualities, positive feelings for each other, and the good times you have shared with each other. It involves feeling that your partner is still worthy of honor and respect in spite of their flaws. Gottman found that 94% of the time when couples put a positive spin on their marriage’s history, they are likely to have a happy future.

3. Turn Toward Each Other Instead of Away
Acknowledging your partner's small moments in life and orienting yourself towards them will maintain that necessary connection that is vital for the relationship.  Interact frequently; tell each other about your day, your thoughts, and your experiences.

Romance is fueled not by candlelight dinners, but by interacting with your partner in numerous little ways. When a partner makes a bid for your attention, affection, humor or support, turning toward your partner is the basis of emotional connection. The real secret is to turn to turn toward each other in little ways every day.

4. Let Your Partner Influence You
It is important to maintain your own identity in a relationship, but it is equally important to yield to your partner and give in. If both partners allow one another this influence, then they will learn to respect one another on a deeper level. In other words share your power.  Maintain your identity and individualism, but be open-minded towards your partner’s opinion and be open to allow them to influence you.

Gottman advises couples, specifically guys, to be more open in letting their partner influence them.  Basically don’t be stubborn, close-minded, and a dictator in the relationship. When this occurs on both ends, the two of you can get through virtually any problem. The happiest marriages were those where the husband was able to convey honor and respect for their wife and did not resist sharing power and decision-making. These husbands actively search for common ground instead of insisting on getting their way. Gottman found women were more likely to let their husbands influence them by taking their opinions and feelings into account.

5. Solve Your Solvable Problems
It is important to compromise on issues that can be resolved, which Gottman believes can be accomplished by these five steps: 1. Soften your startup, 2. learn to make and receive repair attempts, 3. soothe yourself and each other, 4. compromise, and 5. be tolerant of each other’s faults.

Also, communicate respectfully, make statements that start with “I” instead of “You.”, criticize behavior without criticizing your partner, take a break when you’re getting too upset, and, complain but don’t blame, compromise, describe what is happening, don’t evaluate or judge, Be clear, polite and appreciative, don’t store things up.

Elshiwick says, find a compromise for problems that can be resolved and if you need to you can even agree on a set of problems that are unsolvable.  More about that next.

6. Overcome Gridlock
Major issues that cannot be resolved because both partners’ views are so fundamentally different involves understanding of the other person and deep communication. The goal is to at least get to a position that allows the other person to empathize with the partner's view, even if a compromise cannot be reached, understand your partner’s underlying feelings which are preventing resolution of the conflict. 

For permanent issues such as differences in religion, learn to empathize and understand where your partner’s view – agree to disagree.

Ending gridlock doesn’t mean solving the problem, but rather moving from gridlock to dialogue. Some steps are:
- Learn to uncover your partner’s dreams.
- Understand why each of you feels so strongly about the gridlocked issue.
- Soothe each other to avoid flooding.
- End the gridlock by making peace with the issue, accepting the differences between you, talking without hurting each other and compromising.

7. Create Shared Meaning
Create a shared value system that continually connects the two of you through rituals/traditions, shared roles and symbols. share values, attitudes, interests, traditions. Create a shared value system that gets strengthened through family ritual.

In summary, a couple has to actively cultivate an atmosphere of positivism and support while using conflict resolution and repair attempts to keep resentment out of the relationship.

Repair Attempts Include:

Posted on April 2nd, 2012

The following are highlights from Dr. Enas Elshiwick’s Wise Wives lecture on March 28th, based on her professional career as a licensed psychologist and licensed marriage and family therapist and the book “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work” by Dr. John Gottman.

During the meeting she discussed the concepts and findings behind the famed “Love Lab,” which is the research done at Gottman’s Relationship Research Institute near the University of Washington in Seattle. Gottman and his team have been studying how couples argue and resolve conflict and have followed hundreds of couples over time to see if their marriages last.

Using a scientific approach, they have found four negative factors that can predict divorce, see our previous blog entry, and seven positive principles that predict marital success. They claim that they can predict with 91% accuracy whether a couple will thrive or fail after watching and listening to them for just five minutes!

In this entry we will discuss Gottman’s seven principles that will reinforce the positive aspects of a relationship and help marriages endure during the rough moments:

1. Enhance Your Love Maps:
Gottman defines a love map as the place in your brain where you store information about your spouse. This is crucial in really knowing your partner, their dreams, hopes, interests, and maintaining their interest throughout the relationship.

Elshiwick says, you must really know each other. Learn all about each other’s likes, dislikes, wishes, hopes, dreams, goals, fears, insecurities, participate in their interests, etc. Emotionally intelligent couples are familiar with the details of each other’s world. They remember the major events in each other’s history and keep up to date as the facts and feelings of their partner’s world changes.

2. Nurture Your Fondness and Admiration:
This means laying down a positive view about your spouse, respecting and appreciating their differences.  Focus on each other’s positive qualities, positive feelings for each other, and the good times you have shared with each other. It involves feeling that your partner is still worthy of honor and respect in spite of their flaws. Gottman found that 94% of the time when couples put a positive spin on their marriage’s history, they are likely to have a happy future.


3. Turn Toward Each Other Instead of Away:
Acknowledging your partner's small moments in life and orienting yourself towards them will maintain that necessary connection that is vital for the relationship.  Interact frequently; tell each other about your day, your thoughts, and your experiences.

Romance is fueled not by candlelight dinners, but by interacting with your partner in numerous little ways. When a partner makes a bid for your attention, affection, humor or support, turning toward your partner is the basis of emotional connection. The real secret is to turn to turn toward each other in little ways every day.

4. Let Your Partner Influence You:
It is important to maintain your own identity in a relationship, but it is equally important to yield to your partner and give in. If both partners allow one another this influence, then they will learn to respect one another on a deeper level. In other words share your power.  Maintain your identity and individualism, but be open-minded towards your partner’s opinion and be open to allow them to influence you.

Gottman advises couples, specifically guys, to be more open in letting their partner influence them.  Basically don’t be stubborn, close-minded, and a dictator in the relationship. When this occurs on both ends, the two of you can get through virtually any problem. The happiest marriages were those where the husband was able to convey honor and respect for their wife and did not resist sharing power and decision-making. These husbands actively search for common ground instead of insisting on getting their way. Gottman found women were more likely to let their husbands influence them by taking their opinions and feelings into account.

5. Solve Your Solvable Problems:
It is important to compromise on issues that can be resolved, which Gottman believes can be accomplished by these five steps: 1. soften your startup, 2. learn to make and receive repair attempts, 3. soothe yourself and each other, 4. compromise, and 5. be tolerant of each other’s faults.

Also, communicate respectfully, make statements that start with “I” instead of “You.” Criticize behavior without criticizing your partner, take a break when you’re getting too upset, complain but don’t blame, compromise, describe what is happening, don’t evaluate or judge, be clear, polite and appreciative and don’t store things up.

Elshiwick says, find a compromise for problems that can be resolved and if you need to you can even agree on a set of problems that are unsolvable.  More about that next.

6. Overcome Gridlock:
Major issues that cannot be resolved because both partners’ views are so fundamentally different involves understanding of the other person and deep communication. The goal is to at least get to a position that allows the other person to empathize with the partner's view, even if a compromise cannot be reached, understand your partner’s underlying feelings which are preventing resolution of the conflict. 

For permanent issues such as differences in religion, learn to empathize and understand where your partner’s view – agree to disagree.

Ending gridlock doesn’t mean solving the problem, but rather moving from gridlock to dialogue. Some steps are:
  • Learn to uncover your partner’s dreams.
  • Understand why each of you feels so strongly about the gridlocked issue.
  • Soothe each other to avoid flooding.
  • End the gridlock by making peace with the issue, accepting the differences between you, talking without hurting each other and compromising.

Posted on March 30th, 2012

--An email I received from a member with feedback, advice, and a summary of what she’s learned from Wise Wives.

Please read through to the end, she has great insights!

"So an interesting question came up yesterday at the meeting. As soon as it was mentioned, my mind exploded with answers to the question, but I knew that if I didn't organize my thoughts before I stated them, it would all sound like a bunch of rubbish when I opened my mouth. I also figured it would just pass and I'd get over it.

But if you know me, you'll know that if I go to sleep, and wake up still thinking about the same thing, that’s when I know I can't be quiet about it. So I wasn't. I wrote my thoughts down because, well, that’s what I do. Plus I had nowhere else to put them…so I’m throwing them your way.

As many women would agree, Wise Wives is a wonderful program that allows us to interactively learn about what the rules and laws of marriage are in Islam, through many resources made available to us through the website, as well as attending lectures by many well acclaimed doctors and authors specializing in the field of marriage. However in the past couple of meetings I have attended, a few women have voiced an interesting question. Why wise wives, and not wise husbands?

Why is it that us women have to take it upon us to burden ourselves with the responsibility of improving our marriage, or prepare ourselves for a future marriage, while the men do nothing of equal importance? Although I did not speak up at the time, I immediately had an answer as to why we are the ones taking on this challenge. I agree that just like us, men also have a lot to learn about what our Deen has to say about marriage and how it should go, and they too should be brushing up on their knowledge of the topic. However, I also believe that getting them to that point is easier for us women to maneuver rather than waiting for the husbands to do it on their own.

Interestingly, I recalled that in every article or book I have read about how a woman changed her marriage to the better, she always started with herself.  In the beginning, the woman always set out to change her husband, to make him better, turn him into the ideal husband she has always wanted. Somewhere along the way, that same woman would find that a marriage and relationship takes two people, and imperfections don't lie in the husband alone. After all, no one is perfect. And if there are problems in a marriage, usually that means both parties are contributing to those problems. Usually.

So where is the answer? Where do we begin in fixing our problems and bettering our marriages? Well as I continued to read, I found that those same women turned from their husbands, to themselves. Rather than trying to change him, better him, improve him, she began with herself. Changed herself, challenged her own faults, and started taking different approaches in acting and reacting to her husband.

It’s been proven, time and time again by physics, every action has a reaction. Initially, when the wife begins to better herself, as a person and as a wife, the husband in return would better himself, ultimately improving the marriage. So great, one person starts, the other person follows, things get better, right? So then why can't the man start?! ...Fair enough. But there is another answer to that 'why' as well.

Because we, as women, run and control the household. Think about it. We decide where things go around the house, what and when things are clean, what everyone is going to eat every day, and sometimes even how and when we spend our money. In truth, we run the show. And how we act or feel, will always affect everyone else in that household. So we decide if today everyone is going to get up early and have breakfast together and spend the day together, happily, as a family. Or if we are going to sulk around the house all day, being depressed and fighting with everyone. The rest of our family acts as a mirror to us and our emotions. As women, wives, and mothers, we can turn things around in an instant. If your husband is having a bad day, you make him his favorite meal, and he feels better. If your kids are sick, you play their favorite movie and cuddle with them, until they feel better. We have the remote and we control the ins and outs of our household.

So the real question is, where do we begin? We've established that we will be much better at improving our marriage than our husbands will be because of the power and control we ultimately have over our household and relationships. Because is it our job, as women, to nurture, and care for those around us, therefore caring for their well-being, as well as ours, and controlling which direction our relationships go in. We're in the drivers seat when it comes to our relationships. So where do we start?

I say the first step is to let the man, be the man. Meaning that they are providers, protectors, and influencers. So let him be so! Us women can be very influential, without appearing to be. By simply restructuring a sentence or request, there can be a better outcome.  So rather than pushing a decision on your husband, request it. After all, every man’s goal ultimately is to make his wife happy. Every man wants to be your hero, your knight in shining armor.

So when you begin a sentence with "I want..." he immediately wants to meet your needs, and make you happy, and feel like your provider and hero. SO LET HIM!! In Islam, women are meant to be taken care of. In all honestly, our religion spoils women. Our entire lives, we are meant to be provided for and taken care of. And even if we do work, our money is ours to keep, to do with what we please. We burden no financial responsibilities towards the household or otherwise. We are meant to be covered to be protected even from a strangers eyes, and provided with everything we need to live a happy and fulfilling life. The man has a need to fulfill that responsibility. He has to be the big tough guy that carries us when we're too tired to walk. And really, what girl doesn't love to be spoiled? Never has that meant that we give up our individuality or independence. It simply means that everything we do in our life, is for our own leisure and pleasure, rather than a requirement to meet responsibilities.

For example, a few weeks ago my husband and I had a very productive conversation, it is one of those conversations I am most pleased with throughout our marriage. My husband explained to me that if I want to work outside of the home that I may by choice. He told me he would always support me and my work and allow me to do so in order to fulfillingly feel the satisfaction of success. So that I may feel that I have done something useful with my education, and meet goals that I set for myself, and be proud of what I do. However, he said, it will never become a requirement for me to work. He will never ask me to work in order to provide or care for our home, and that that will always be his burden and responsibility. He also said that the only time he would ask me not to work is if he found that my work was getting in the way of other more important things. That’s not to say that if the house isn't clean he's going to tell me to quit my job! This is all of course while being understanding that I am working and helping me around the house.

But if my work was to get in the way of taking care of the kids or fulfilling my Deen’s requirements, such as prayer five times a day, then we would re-discuss my working. He also mentioned that the other circumstance under which he would ask me to leave a job would be if there were some unsolvable problem I am experiencing from it, such as some form of harassment. I thought these ideas to be very fair, and perfectly following the rules and guidelines of our Deen. At the same time, I am not challenging my husband’s needs to be the provider for our home, making it a win win situation.


Men also like to be your go-to person. Not just for opening a jar or fixing your car, but more importantly for advice. It does not make a woman stupid or incapable when she asks her husband for advice. After all, if we trusted them enough to give them ourselves for the rest of our lives, I'm sure we can trust their judgment and opinions on the matters in our lives. It doesn't make us any less of a person, but sometimes women are more emotional, and so it helps to get a more logical perspective on things, which can be your husband’s role. Often times, asking for his advice or opinion on something will turn into a discussion in which you both learn something about each other, allowing you to grow closer as a couple. All because you turned to him in need of something, rather than pushing a final decision on him. Usually pushing a decision on a man will actually cause him to turn away from it, refusing it, whether he actually agrees or not, just because of the way the idea was proposed.

Some more personal advice from me is, praise your husband. Thank him for the things he does, big or small. Show him you appreciate how hard he works, and really get excited when he does something around the house. Brag about him to other people, let him and everyone know you are proud of him. In return, he'll probably start doing the same. Not only will he also thank you for making dinner and cleaning the bedroom, but he'll also want to start doing more of the little things you started noticing because he likes the praise. Its human nature to like to be praised, and has been proven that positive reinforcement is far more affective than negative reinforcement. However be careful not to "baby" him or the way you praise him, that just makes it feel fake, or mothering.

The best thing any person can do in any relationship they have, no matter who it is with, is to put themselves in the other persons shoes. Understanding a certain topic or situation is all about perspective. Each person sees things from their point of view, and when that point of view can't be transferred to the other person, it allows a window of opportunity for a problem or fight to happen.

For example, you as the wife have spent all day cleaning the house and making a special dinner. Everything smells wonderful, and you put something special on, make yourself all pretty and wait for your husband to come home. He on the other hand has just had one of the worst days he can remember. Everything went wrong at work and he is dead tired. He gets home, kicks off his shoes, and crashes on the bed. Naturally, the wife is going to get upset, very upset, and probably not going to wait very long to voice her feelings. And a yelling whining wife is the last thing this husband needs today. And there is your fight. The husband doesn't know all the trouble the wife went through today, and that she has excitedly been waiting for him to get home. At the same time, the wife doesn't know what a terrible day her husband has been having, and how stressed out he feels.

But if we, as the good, humble supporting wife, took just one minute to put ourselves in his shoes, rather than jumping to assumptions that he doesn't care, we'd find that in his situation, we would have done the exact same thing. And rather than making his day even worse by yelling and fighting, we take him his special dinner to bed, and help him relax. It takes a second to decide how your going to react, and that second can and will change the course of the entire remaining week! In return, you'll find that when you too are having a bad day, your husband is more patient and understanding of you.

There are so many stories that can be told and so much advice that can be given on ways to improve a marriage. However no two marriages are alike, because no two couples are alike. Everything from personality to circumstances vary from marriage to marriage, so it is important to customize the ways in which you will better your marriage to fit the personality types and living circumstances you are dealing with.

Take it upon yourself to educate your husband along with you whenever you learn something new about what our Deen says about marriage. It is just as effective if you provide him with the knowledge rather than him doing it on his own. But in the end, a few things remain constant. We as individuals, hold the ability to improve our relaltionships, including having a fulfilling and satisfying marriage, because we are the most influential people in our own lives.

So don't wait for him to start attending a "wise husbands" event and improve your marriage, because we can already have that simply through the reactions they will take from our actions. You may find that after you have done what you need to do, he no longer needs to attend any event to make things better. They are just happening because of the way you began, and he finished.

Ultimately, if you treat your husband like a king, he will treat you like a queen! And a happy wife is a happy life! :-)"

--Mai Hazem, Laguna Hills

The Prophet (pbuh) said: “Any woman who dies, and her husband is pleased with her, will enter Paradise.” Ibn Majah


Posted on March 15th, 2012

–By ALISA BOWMAN, originally published in Family Circle’s February 2012 issue.

Four years ago my marriage was falling apart. Things were so bad that I spent an inordinate amount of time thinking not only about divorce, but whether I had it in me to screw my husband out of our retirement savings, who I would date when I was finally, happily single, and what brand of beer I’d serve at my ex’s funeral.

I no longer obsess over this stuff because things are a lot better now. Yet from time to time, I am tempted. For instance, not long ago I was e-mailing a friend when Mark came into the room, stopped in front of me, cleared his throat in that way I find so utterly annoying, and growled, “You bought Kaarina a doughnut?” My mind raced. Has he told me he’s against our 7-year-old eating doughnuts?
“Yeah, I did,” I replied.

“Well, she asked me to buy her one yesterday and I said no. Then you go and get her one?”
Before I could say another word, Mark stormed off in a huff. I wanted to chase after him, throw something at the back of his head and scream, “How the heck was I supposed to know you didn’t want me to buy Kaarina a doughnut? You give her cheese curls! Cheese curls!” Instead, I stayed put and just stared at the wall. “You can handle this,” I told myself. “Your marriage isn’t doomed. You know what to do. You’ve come a long way.”

And I really have. Let me explain…Our problems began when Mark lost his job several years ago. For a while, he embraced unemployment as if he’d been reunited with an old girlfriend who’d just gotten implants, liposuction and inherited a trust fund. Then he opened a business (which, I might add, wouldn’t become profitable for three years). When Mark wasn’t at work, he was riding his bike or hanging out with buddies. He turned surly and distant. I was either working or being mom to our little girl. When our paths did cross, Mark and I either had nothing to say or got into arguments about how to fold the laundry, exactly what was and wasn’t allowed on the bathroom countertop, who was the better grocery shopper.

But mostly we fought over “me” time. I’d ask him to do something with Kaarina so I could attend a meditation class; he would forget and schedule a bike ride instead. When it was my book club night, he’d suddenly crawl into bed and say he didn’t feel well enough to babysit. I considered couples counseling, but worried that Mark would blow off the appointments. Truth be told, I also worried that the counselor would take his side.

The only thing that scared me more was divorce. If we split up, would I be making the biggest mistake of my life? Hadn’t I married him for a reason? Smart women don’t say “I do” to guys they despise. I must have loved him back then. Maybe I could find a way to love him all over again.

So I set out to turn him into the man I wanted him to be. I read books and trolled the Internet searching for the source of his flaw, the personality defect that prevented him from being a doting husband and father. Problem was, I just couldn’t find it—and for good reason. “A bad marriage always takes two people,” says Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D., author of Emotional Fitness for Couples.

“What’s really happening is an imbalance where one person wants one thing and the other wants something else. Our reptilian brain, however, always tends to blame someone else.” On top of pointing fingers, I foolishly clung to the belief that I was the good and perfect wife. “We don’t like to admit we have faults that contribute to relationship problems because it feels terrible,” says Pat Love, Ed.D., coauthor of Never Be Lonely Again: The Way Out of Emptiness, Isolation and a Life Unfulfilled. “It’s like making an appointment with pain.”

As it happens, my wake-up call was quite humbling. One Saturday I was waiting for Mark to come home from a bicycling event so I could go for a run. He was late. I called. He said he was catching a ride with a friend who wasn’t yet ready to leave. Ten minutes later, I rang again, asking, “Are you guys on your way?” Then I phoned again, except this time when he answered I yelled, “Did you tell your friend that your wife wanted you home?” Then I called him a bunch of names, out loud, in front of our daughter. “What’s wrong with Daddy?” she asked.

That’s when I finally realized I had a problem communicating. And if that was true, it stood to reason I had contributed to our troubles. I faced the facts: I expected him to know and do everything I wanted without me telling him what it was. When he failed, I punished him with silence, sarcasm or rage.

That was the turning point that saved our marriage. I apologized to Mark that day, abandoned my efforts to fix him, and set out to fix myself.

It wasn’t easy. For instance, when I wanted him to cancel a bike race he was planning on, I found myself tongue tied. I worried that I’d say it all wrong and start a wicked fight. In a halting voice, I managed to ask, “C-can we talk about the bike race?”

“What about it?” he said.

“I’d prefer you didn’t go. I’d like us to have some family time.”

“Okay, I’ll stay home.”

I blinked the tears out of my eyes.

Over time I worked on my delivery, and I got better at it. I kept my requests succinct. I used a soft, warm tone. I’d place a palm gently on his thigh. Instead of blaming, I asked for help. Something wonderful happened. Mark began vacuuming more often, took Kaarina to the park on weekends, and thoughtfully closed the bedroom door when I lay down for an afternoon nap. And I, in turn, decided to become the kind of wife I wanted to be. I complimented him, said thanks for the smallest of gestures. I started real, two-way conversations and became the best listener ever.
One night I came home from a business trip. “Can you get me a beer?” Mark asked, a smirk on his face.

“Oooo-kay,” I said.

Opening the fridge, I saw that he’d not only rearranged it while I’d been away, but also scrubbed the crud from every corner. He’d tidied up all of the kitchen cabinets, too. That’s just one of many amazing things this man—who I’d once thought of as a poor excuse for anyone’s husband—began doing for me and our daughter. I’d changed him simply by changing me. “Think of a relationship as a system where all parts are interconnected,” says John Friel, Ph.D., coauthor of The 7 Best Things (Happy) Couples Do. “When one person acts her best self in a romantic relationship, it influences and encourages her partner to do the same.”

I thought about all of this as I stared at the wall after our doughnut dustup. And I remembered something my meditation teacher had told me the week before—“Everyone suffers from pride. It’s human nature to think our wishes, ideas and opinions are more important than those of others. It’s only by abandoning pride that we find lasting happiness.” I took a deep breath and swallowed a big lump of it. I stood up, walked over to Mark and said, “I’m sorry I bought her a doughnut.”

“It’s okay,” he said. “You didn’t know I told her she couldn’t have one.”

Of course I couldn’t have known, but somehow I kept my mouth shut. I hugged him instead.

After all, he’s an imperfect man, one who deserves to be cherished by the imperfect likes of me.


Posted on February 23rd, 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!

Even though Megan Wyatt’s lecture was a series of activities, I think that outlining them here for you can be beneficial. By doing them privately within your home, I think that you can gain an insightful meaning into what respect really means specifically to you.

In the 1st activity she asked us to complete the following sentences by writing them down:

  • Respect is:
  • Respect towards a husband is:
  • Respect is shown by:
  • Respect is:
  • Respect means to never:
  • Respect means to always:
  • Respect is important because:
  • Respect is:
  • A respectful wife will:

She asked us to continuously write our thoughts about each one until she stopped us and moved on to the next one. By doing this the audience was urged to dig deep down to think of answers and discover what respect means to them. Then we were given the opportunity to share our thoughts with the person next to us. Try this out one day either alone or with your girlfriends to discover what it means to you.

In the 2nd activity Megan told us to think of a specific scenario of the last time we were disrespectful to our husband. After giving us a lot of time to ponder this, she asked us to write it down.Then asked for a couple people to share with everyone. The purpose of this was to show the root of why disrespect was shown.

After everyone was done writing, she asked us to write down why it happened, then told us to cross that out and write down a deeper reason, then told us to cross that out and write a third, even deeper reason.

Some discovered that the real reason was because of their own insecurities and some discovered that the intent of their husband’s action was not bad in the first place.

Try this and maybe you’ll discover the real reasons behind your disrespect.

In the 3rd activity, she told us to make three columns, in the first we were asked to list three things that we do for or with our husbands on a regular basis. In the second column we were asked to write three things we do with or for our kids, and in the third column three things we do for our household.

Then we were asked to cross out any activity on those lists that someone else can do instead of you. That includes cleaning, going out, feeding your kids…

Then she said that if this activity was done right, we would discover that the only thing not crossed out would be physical intimacy with your husband. She said that this activity is meant to emphasize the importance of this part of marriage.

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!

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!

Licensed marriage & family therapist Noha Alshugairi was our first speaker. With her straight forward, comprehensive and stimulating manner, she approached the topic head on by asking the audience what “respect” means to them.

The list included:

  • Communicating politely
  • Consideration
  • Open-mindedness
  • Compromise
  • Acknowledging his thoughts and ideas
  • Treating him how you want to be treated and
  • Protecting his property

Agreeing with all these points, she then asked them for specific examples of how someone showed respect to their husband lately.

One woman responded with an example that is important to apply in every marriage. This woman was out with her husband and he said something that bothered her in front of other people. But instead of publicly announcing her disappointment to the whole crowd she waited till they got home and were alone to confront him about it. Noha called this a “private scolding” between husband and wife. She said that this was a very smart thing she did, and that “scolding” should always be done in private, and especially not in front of the children if any.

Another woman responded by saying that she shows respect by being kind to his parents, which Noha said is very important and if you take care of them it is an act of worship on your part.

A third response was, “I respect his income.” Noha smiled and was amazed at how smart the audience was as she wrote that one down, exclaiming that this was also very noteworthy. Reaffirming that a wife should never put her husband down because of how much he makes.

Other great pieces of advice that she emphasized were:

  • “When you get upset at your husband, look at the big picture, weigh the pluses and minuses.”


  • “Don’t compare your husband with other husbands.”


  • When your husband does something to help, “appreciate his efforts, even if he dressed your baby in an ugly outfit.”


  • “You must respect yourself first before you can respect anyone else.”


  • “Respect cannot be forced… there is a big difference between surface respect and deep respect.”


  • Fights usually stem from misunderstandings and “misunderstandings occur when assumptions happen.”


  • When there is a problem “don’t look at external behavior, look at the cause.”


  • Husbands cannot read minds so use “I statements.” No matter how much we would like our husbands to know what we want without us saying it, we have to realize that this is highly unlikely. Instead say “I want…” or “I would really love…” when you would like your husband to do something. “If you use ‘I statements’ a lot they might begin to pick up on what you need before you even say it.”

Read on to Part 2, where Noha teaches us where to focus our energy in order to lead happy lives/marriages.

Posted on January 4th, 2012

Article by Yasmin Mogahed about respect:

And among His signs is that He created for you mates from among yourselves that you may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between you; verily, in that are signs for people who reflect.” (Qur’an, 30:21)

We’ve all read this verse on countless marriage announcements. But how many have actualized it? How many of our marriages really embody that love and mercy described by Allah? What is going wrong when so many of our marriages are ending in divorce?

According to Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, author of Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs, the answer is simple. In his book, Eggerichs explains that extensive research has found that a man’s primary need is for respect, while a woman’s primary need is for love. He describes what he calls the “crazy cycle”—the pattern of argumentation that results when the wife does not show respect and the husband does not show love. He explains how the two reinforce and cause one another. In other words, when a wife feels that her husband is acting unloving, she often reacts with disrespect, which in turn makes the husband act even more unloving.

Eggerichs argues that the solution to the “crazy cycle” is for the wife to show unconditional respect to her husband and for the husband to show unconditional love to his wife. This means that a wife should not say that first her husband must be loving before she will show him respect. By doing so, she will only bring about more unloving behavior. And a husband should not say that first his wife must be respectful before he will show her love. By doing so, he will only bring about more disrespectful behavior. The two must be unconditional.

When I reflected on this concept, I realized that looking at the Qur’an and prophetic wisdom, there are no two concepts more stressed with regards to the marital relationship.

“Take good care of women, for they were created from a bent rib, and the most curved part of it is its top; if you try to straighten it, you will break it, and if you leave it, it will remain arched, so take good care of women.” (Bukhari & Muslim)

He has further stressed: “The most perfect believer in the matter of faith is one who has excellent behavior; and the best among you are those who behave best towards their wives.” (Al-Tirmidhi)

The Prophet ﷺ has also said, “A believing man should not hate a believing woman; if he dislikes one of her characteristics, he will be pleased with another.” (Muslim)

Allah says: “…Live with them in kindness. For if you dislike them – perhaps you dislike a thing and Allah makes therein much good.” (Qur’an, 4:19)

In these jewels of wisdom, men are urged to be kind and loving towards their wives. Moreover, they are urged to overlook their wife’s faults when showing that kindness and love.

On the other hand, when addressing the wife, the focus is different. Why are women not told again and again to be kind and loving towards their husbands? Perhaps it is because unconditional love already comes naturally to women. Few men complain that their wives do not love them. But many complain that their wives do not respect them. And it is this sentiment which is most stressed in the Qur’an and sunnah, with regards to wives.

Respect can be manifest in a number of ways. One of the most important ways to show respect is the respect of one’s wishes. When someone says, “I respect your advice,” they mean “I will follow your advice.” Respecting a leader, means doing what they say. Respecting our parents means not going against their wishes. And respecting one’s husband means respecting his wishes. The Prophet ﷺ has said: “When any woman prays her five, fasts her month, guards her body and obeys her husband, it is said to her: ‘Enter paradise from whichever of its doors you wish.’” [At-Tirmidhi]

Why are we as women told to respect and follow the wishes of our husbands? It is because men are given an extra degree of responsibility. Allah says: “Men are the protectors and maintainers [qawwamun] of women, because Allah has given the one more [strength] than the other, and because they support them from their means . . .” (Qur’an, 4:34)

But won’t this unconditional respect towards one’s husband put us, as women, in a weak, submissive position? Won’t we set ourselves up to be taken advantage of and abused? Quite the contrary. The Quran, the prophetic example, and even contemporary research have proven the exact opposite. The more respect a woman shows her husband, the more love and kindness he will show her. And in fact, the more disrespect she shows, the more harsh and unloving he becomes.

Similarly, a man may question why he should show kindness and love towards even a disrespectful wife. To answer this question, one only needs to look at the example of Omar Ibn ul-Khattab. When a man came to Omar (who was Khalifah at the time) to complain of his wife, he heard Omar’s own wife yelling at him. While the man turned to leave, Omar called him back. The man told Omar that he had come to complain of the same problem that Omar himself had. To this Omar replied that his wife tolerated him, washed his clothes, cleaned his home, made him comfortable, and took care of his children. If she did all of this for him, how could he not tolerate her when she raised her voice?

This story provides a beautiful example for all of us—not only for the men. This story is a priceless illustration of tolerance and patience, which is essential for any successful marriage. Moreover, consider the reward in the hereafter for those who show patience: Allah says, “Only those who are patient shall receive their reward in full without reckoning (or measure).” (Qur’an, 39:10)

Posted on July 18th, 2011

Hosai Mojaddidi went on in her lecture to explain what “high testosterone people,” or a “male brain” prefers. Check out this list:
  • Things
  • Facts, reason, and logic
  • Power / rank / status
  • Competing / achieving
  • Winning
  • Teams
  • Analyzing / figuring out
  • Assertion / aggression
  • Reports / information
  • Intellectual understanding
  • Companionship / doing
  • Teaching / leading
  • Being focused/ specific / "logical"
  • Order / rules / structure
  • Thinking
  • How things work

On the other hand, “low-testosterone people,” or a “female brain,” prefers:
  • People
  • Feelings, senses, and meaning
  • Relationships
  • Harmony / relating
  • Sharing
  • Groups
  • Intuiting / "knowing"
  • Co-operation, mutuality
  • Rapports / bonding
  • Empathizing
  • Love / intimacy
  • Closeness / being
  • Nurturing / growing
  • Being "wide-angle" / organic / holistic
  • Organic, fluid patterns
  • Feeling / experiencing
  • Personal and social impacts

So, obviously men and women are very different. The think differently, therefore their roles in life are different. What do you think the gender roles are in Islam?

Role of Men:
  • Worship Allah
  • Provide for the family
  • Lead the family
  • Social/Political Leadership

Role of Women:
  • Worship Allah
  • Preserve household balance
  • Nurture the family
  • Social Integration

Who was Adam? Why Was he created?
—"And when your Lord said to the angels: I am about to appoint a vicegerent in the earth. They said: Will you place therein such as will cause disorder in it or shed blood? We celebrate your praise and extol your holy names. He answered: I know what you know not." (Quran 2:30)

Who was Hawa? Why was she created?
—Adam opened his eyes and looked into the beautiful face of a woman gazing down at him. Adam was surprised and asked the woman why she had been created. She revealed that she was to ease his loneliness and bring tranquility to him.

Posted on July 5th, 2011

Hosai Mojaddidi goes on in her study to talk about how men and women live in two different worlds when it comes to communication.

She says that most of the couples that she has spoken to have a major breakdown in communication long before other more serious problems present themselves such as:

  • Trust
  • Verbal abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Sexual/Intimacy issues
  • Financial issues, etc.

"When talking about a problem," she says "women want empathy and understanding but men offer solutions."

Therefore a woman’s sense of self is defined through her feelings and the quality of her relationships. While a man’s sense of self is defined through his ability to achieve results.

Women are relationship oriented while men are goal oriented.

Here are some mistakes women and men make in conversations:

  • A woman follows her natural tendency to offer unsolicited advice, but the man sees it as questioning his competence and ability.
  • A man follows his natural tendency to offer solutions, but the woman sees it as invalidating her feelings.
  • Women cope with stress by reaching out and talking while men cope with stress by withdrawing.
  • Women want to feel cherished; men want to feel needed.
  • Women want respect and devotion; men want appreciation and admiration.

Here are some other differences she has outlined:

  • Men live in a world of status; women live in a world of connections.
  • Men see conversations as negotiations for power; women see them as negotiations for closeness.
  • Men want to preserve independence; women want to preserve intimacy.
  • Men seek to win and avoid failure; women seek closeness and avoid isolation.
  • Men avoid taking orders (since that means low status and loss of independence); women are ok with taking orders (if it is perceived as forming a connection).
  • Men seek control; women seek understanding.
  • Men prefer inequality and asymmetry; women prefer equality and symmetry.
  • Men are adversarial (with conflicting goals); women are synergetic (with common goals).












Posted on June 27th, 2011

"Gender differences have played a major role in problems in marriages I’ve helped counsel," says Hosai Mojaddidi, co-founder of Mental Health 4 Muslims. Hosai has worked to gauge the mental health issues of the larger Muslim community firsthand by serving as a private mediator, advisor and mentor to many.

She says that examining gender differences helps us to be more tolerant and forgiving when our spouses don't respond the way we think they should.

With new insights on this topic you have the added wisdom and power to change your approach rather than seek to change your spouse. Here are 5 other reasons studying this topic is so important:

1. We too easily blame our problems on our partners rather than our own approach.
2. Men often complain: she is over-reacting!
3. Women often complain: he doesn’t listen!
4. When we correctly interpret a situation, it is never as bad as we thought.
5. We mistakenly assume that if our partners love us, they will react and behave in certain ways, the ways we react and behave when we love someone.

In part 1, I want to examine the very good points she lectures about concerning the male brain. Check out these questions and answers:

1. Why do men keep their cars spotless but are messy at home?
They view cars (or objects) as an extension of themselves because they’re not in tune with their bodies, whereas women tie their self-image to their bodies.

2. Why do men forget birthdays/anniversaries but remember sports stats?
Dr. Herb Goldberg suggests that men forget important dates like birthdays and anniversaries because they are wired to focus on the external threats and pressures of the world outside of their "safe" relationships.

3. Why do men enjoy violent sports/films when women prefer the arts or chick-flicks?
Testosterone increases aggression; men identify with traditional ideals of masculinity like domination, risk taking, and competition, etc.

4. Why are men unable to multi-task the same way women do?
Biological anthropologist and Rutgers University professor Helen Fisher, Ph.D., notes: "The two brain hemispheres are less well connected in men than in women. This gives men the ability to focus on one thing at a time and be very goal oriented, whereas the female brain is built to assimilate many feelings and things at once."

5. How do men and women handle stress differently?
Last year researchers at the University of Pennsylvania used scans to try to understand how men and women handle stress. Among the findings were: Anxiety activates the "tend and befriend" reaction in women's limbic systems and the "fight or flight" response in men's prefrontal cortexes. Translation: Under pressure, women reach out, while guys go Rambo (or withdraw).

Stay tuned for part 2, where we will discuss her findings on how men and women communicate differently.

Posted on May 23rd, 2011

I wanted to share this excerpt from a booklet I found called: "Winning the Heart of your Husband" By Ibraahim ibn Saaleh al-Mahmud.

Important Questions and Answers:

Q: Who is the most beautiful woman?
A: Beauty is that of the soul, education and moral values. Every woman has a share of beauty, and she should look after it and preserve it. But although the beauty of the body and the face may have a quick effect, it can never reach the level of a spiritual beauty in its splendid, radiance and lasting.

Q: Who is the happiest woman?
A: The happiest woman is she who shows love for human beings. This love has illuminated her soul with beauty, affection and eternal spring, and love and obedience for her Lord.

Q: Who is the most miserable woman?
A: The most miserable woman is the one who abandons her femininity and thinks that freedom is the shortest way to a man's heart, whereas this absolute freedom distorts her image and shakes her position in his heart. The miserable woman is the one who spends money lavishly, worships foreign fashion and loses herself to fame and ostentatiousness.

Q: If a wife loves her husband and then finds out in him some aspects of his character, which do not conform to her temperament and aim in life, what can she do?
A: In this situation, this woman should show her skills in dealing with the problem patiently, especially if she secures his trust and love. Love generates love and it is the best way to solve any problem. A scholar once said: "Love can restrain untamable souls and can also destroy the foundation. So, it is up to us to know how to use and how to understand love." With her beautiful smile showing on her face, a woman can win the heart of her husband and bring happiness to his life. It has a huge effect on him and can achieve much. A happy marriage is not only the husband's but also the wife's responsibility. Many women have managed to reform their husbands by wisdom and love.

Q: What are the symbol and attributes of a believing woman?
A: For a believing woman Islam is her way of life and the Qur'an is her Light. She fears Allah and abstains from the desires and attractions of the world. She knows that Allah has created her to give birth to leaders of the world.

Q: How can a wife make her husband happy?
A: The wife has an important role to play to make her husband happy and protect him from temptations and the lure of the outside world. She has a challenge to overcome. A clever woman is one who can make her husband look only at her and adjust everything to her own benefit. A successful woman is one who knows what her husband likes and attracts him...

Therefore, we should not be surprised to see a man neglecting his beautiful wife and looking at other women, whereas some less beautiful women manage to win their husbands' hearts and affections. A wife is responsible for her marital happiness or misery.

We advice women to look after their appearance and beauty at home. They should not greet their husbands with constant complaints. They should prepare a comfortable home for them by reducing the children's noise, smelling sweet and surprising them with nice food, which they like. In short, a wife should make the house a heaven for her husband.

This is just one short part of this booklet full of great advice.
Click here to download the full thing in pdf.

Posted on April 27th, 2011

Eight great tips to help restore and maintain intimacy in marriage from Idealmuslimah.com:

Islaam gave us detailed instructions that identify rights, responsibilities and characters of both husband and wife to build their relationship on mutual love, respect, and mercy. The following are the most important tips that lead to a successful and happy marriage.

1. Faith: Common faith binds the couple strongly. Since Islaam is a way of life, it becomes an integral part of a Muslim's life. Couples with strong faith will share the same values and the frame of reference and communicate smoothly and effectively. Faith plays an essential role in developing a loving relationship.

Couples who work on strengthening their faith, for example by performing the Prayer, reading Qur’aan, and seeking Islamic knowledge together, become closer. They love and please Allaah through loving and pleasing each other. The commitments couples make to Allaah are excellent facilitators for enhancing their family's spiritual development as well as their commitment to Allaah and His Religion.

2. Forgiving: When the Prophet (may Allaah exalt his mention) said to his Companions (may Allaah be pleased with them), "Do you wish that Allaah should forgive you?" They said, 'Of course, O Prophet of Allaah!' He (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam) responded, 'Then forgive each other.'

One of the main components of a happy marriage is forgiveness. It is a challenge not to blame and to move past an incident when one hurts the other. This can only happen if we are not too proud to ask for forgiveness and we are not too stingy to forgive.

3. Friendship: A relationship based on friendship is more able to withstand outside pressures. We mean the friendship that is based on honor, trust, respect, acceptance and care for each other, in spite of our differences.

4. Feelings: Couples must be very careful not to hurt the feelings of each other and if they inadvertently do, they should apologize as soon as possible. Since one does not know when someone they love will leave this world, is it not better to make amends when we still have time?

5. Openness: Marital relationship is where the partners must feel safe to speak their mind honestly with due consideration to the other's feeling, without compromising their own views. When the communication is not sincere it hinders the development of closeness and deep understanding of each other's inner self.

6. Flattering: Paving compliments and indulging in honest flattery is a very inexpensive way to win your spouse’s heart. Everyone likes to be appreciated and noticed. So being scant with compliments is actually depriving one of being appreciated in return.

7. Unconditional giving: The heart does not put conditions or make stipulations. It gives without expecting anything in return, but such selfless giving is always rewarded tenfold.

8. Fallibility: When couples start to demand the impossible they must remind themselves that only Allaah (the Glorious and Lofty) is Perfect.

Posted on April 17th, 2011

Great, helpful tips in an article by Abhishek Agarwal:

"Blissful marriage does not automatically come because you and your partner love each other. Whilst love is extremely essential in to a blissful marriage, at times love is not just sufficient and you may require to polish your relationship just like most other relationships. Transparency in marriage and proper consideration of your partner's feelings are two emotional features that are the answers to a blissful marriage.

Even more routine stuff like domestic cores and fiscal understanding could factor in to the marriage state. It is very important to recognize that a marriage is a many-sided relationship that requires to be fostered in all of its ability for it to be successful.

1. The willingness to take sacrifices in marriage is a single secret to a blissful marriage. The married partners must be ready to put their spouse happiness ahead of theirs occasionally for the marriage to really work. If both partners are wholly self-seeking and never willing to make sacrifices, then this it will generate bitterness in that marriage. Sometimes the sacrifices might be immense but most regularly it is the little things stuff matter most. Even cooking a meal that you dislike but that you know your partner fancy's will let your partner know that you care about them and are willing to go a mile to please them oftentimes.

2. Whilst making sacrifices is significant in a blissful relationship, it is also imperative to occasionally do stuff that are just meant for yourself. It is good to have lots of similar likes but it is also imperative to have some stuff that you like doing individually. Having separate hobbies is good because it provides you the opportunity to be away from your spouse one time in awhile and gives you an opportunity to appreciate how great you miss your partner when the two of you are apart. It also affords you the opportunity to discover stuff on your own and prevents monotony from building up in the relationship.

3. The other secret to a blissful marriage is to uphold a warm and loving relationship with your partner. Having physical bond with you partner will help you maintain blissful marriage. Don't be surprised that little gestures like hugs and holding hands present to you the chance to re-connect with your partner everyday.

4. Money can be a great source of stress in a marriage so it is wise to try your best and make sure that you don't allow your monetary situation to devastate your cherished marriage. When monetary distress come up in your relationship, it is imperative that you discuss the issue with your partner so that you are both aware of what is taking place and work on creating a budget together. Collaborating on this issues will make it certain that non of the party feels excluded from the decision and policy making process, it will also make sure that and non of the party puts up with the strain of worrying about money issues in private.

5. Equal sharing of domestic chores is another good secret to a blissful marriage. If one partner feels as if they are the ones that are carrying the big chunk of responsibility in the domestic chores, this can lead to bitterness. Sharing of domestic chores not only prevents bitterness but it also provides the couple a good chance to work as a team, this works well towards strengthening their bond. Both partners must take a active role in doing domestic chores and let their spouse know if they are starting to feel overwhelmed.

6. Transparent and candid communication is also obligatory for a blissful marriage. Without open communication in marriage the relationship will most likely be struggle. It is significant therefore to be sincere and straightforward with your spouse and share your worries and concerns and pay attention to what your spouse wants to say and also make a big effort to appreciate their viewpoint. Open communication about marital problems and anxieties is imperative but it is also significant to communicate about your ambitions and even your everyday lives. Most of these kinds of communication between partners bring them much close together and promote a blissful marriage.


7. Still on open communication, it is also imperative that you let your spouse know when they say or do something to hurts you. Your failure to do so will let the dilemma to persist and further aggravate problem in your marriage. If you suppress your emotions then your spouse will be oblivious of what they had done to upset you and are most likely to repeat the same things once again. You could also start to shun your spouse for the reason that you are annoyed and you do not want to initiate an argument. Your spouse may in turn interpret your strange behavior in a different way and be angry by your behavior. Just coming out and informing your spouse the reasons as to why you are displeased can greatly let you escape this preventable host of troubles.

8. Realizing that your partner and you are at all times in total agreement is also significant to a blissful marriage. Whereas you might concur on plenty of things it is impractical to believe that you and your spouse are going to be in sync all the time. It's fine to differ occasionally as much as you value each other's beliefs and feelings and don't think that any one difference will be the end of your marriage.

9. Impulsiveness is also an essential part of a blissful marriage. Letting yourselves to descend in to a routine pattern could lead to monotony but being a spur-of-the-moment at times will put off dullness from creeping in and help maintain the marriage in an interesting lane.

10. Lastly, keep in mind the reasons as to why you are married to your spouse; remember that it is one of the most significant secrets to a blissful marriage. Always appreciating the uniqueness in your partner that attracted you to your partner will always remind you to never forget your love for your spouse. It will also make sure that they are always lovely before your eyes. Many things could change all through your marriage, but the one stuff that will never change is the reason why you fell in love initially.

A blissful marriage is never assured no-matter the intensity of love that exists between the partners. There are plenty of unpredictables that can greatly impact your the happiness and accomplishment of your marriage. It is significant that both parties' appreciate that they must always work on every of the above features if they ever expect to have a happy and successful marriage to stay behind a contented and strong relationship.

Posted on March 28th, 2011

The Prophet (PBUH) said: “This world is nothing but temporary conveniences, and the greatest joy in this world is a righteous woman.”

Islam teaches us to honor and respect our husbands. But how should we know that if we are never taught it from the beginning, from before we get married?

Check out this eloquent piece of advice given by a mother to her daughter before her marriage. It was saved in text form and passed down from generation to generation.

According the book "The Ideal Muslimah" one of the most famous and most beautiful of these texts was recorded by ‘Abd al-Malik ibn ‘Umayr al-Qurashi, who was one of the outstanding scholars of the second century AH. He quotes the words of advice given by Umamah bint al-Harith, one of the most learned women, who was possessed of wisdom and great maturity, to her daughter on the eve of her marriage:

  • "O my daughter, if it were deemed unnecessary to give you this advice because of good manners and noble descent, then it would have been unnecessary for you, because you possess these qualities, but it will serve as a reminder to those who are forgetful, and will help those who are wise.

  • O my daughter, if a woman were able to do without a husband by virtue of her father’s wealth and her need for her father, then you of all people would be most able to do without a husband, but women were created for men just as men were created for them.

  • O my daughter, you are about to leave the home in which you grew up, where you first learned to walk, to go to a place you do not know, to a companion with whom you are unfamiliar. By marrying you he has become a master over you, so be like a servant to him, and he will become like a servant to you.

Take from me ten qualities, which will be a provision and a reminder for you:

  • The first and second of them are: be content in his company, and listen to and obey him, for contentment brings peace of mind, and listening to and obeying one’s husband pleases Allah.

  • The third and fourth of them are: make sure that you smell good and look good; he should not see anything ugly in you, and he should not smell anything but a pleasant smell from you. Kohl is the best kind of beautification to be found, and water is better than the rarest perfume.

  • The fifth and the sixth of them are: prepare his food on time, and keep quiet when he is asleep, for raging hunger is like a burning flame, and disturbing his sleep will make him angry.

  • The seventh and eighth of them are: take care of his servants (or employees) and children, and take care of his wealth, for taking care of his wealth shows that you appreciate him, and taking care of his children and servants shows good management.

  • The ninth and tenth of them are: never disclose any of his secrets, and never disobey any of his orders, for if you disclose any of his secrets you will never feel safe from his possible betrayal, and if you disobey him, his heart will be filled with hatred towards you.

  • Be careful, O my daughter, of showing joy in front of him when he is upset, and do not show sorrow in front of him when he is happy, because the former shows a lack of judgment, whilst the latter will make him unhappy.

  • Show him as much honor and respect as you can, and agree with him as much as you can, so that he will enjoy your companionship and conversation.

  • Know, O my daughter, that you will not achieve what you would like to until you put his pleasure before your own, and his wishes before yours, in whatever you like and dislike. And may Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) choose what is best for you and protect you."

Posted on March 21st, 2011


Found these great tips on Nikah.com, the No.1 Muslim Matrimonial Service Provider. It is an 11 Point Plan for Marital Bliss:

The young and excited bride-and-groom-to-be are ecstatic about the upcoming wedding and marriage and the joy that it will bring.

Three to six months later, reality has set in and both spouses realize that marriage is no easy task, but one that takes a great deal of effort and patience.

The following are tips for both wives and husbands, to help make the task a little less daunting, and to increase the many rewards that are possible in such a marvelous and complex relationship.

1. Enter the Marriage with the Right Intention and Renew this Often

Both spouses should enter the marriage with the pure intention of pleasing Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, in order to receive His grace and blessings. The marriage itself then becomes an act of worship and one for which both spouses will be rewarded. Allah will be pleased with them and this will be the most critical element in ensuring peace, stability and happiness throughout the marital life. It is also important to realize that when an act of worship is continued over a long period of time, it becomes necessary to renew one's intention often to remain on the correct path and to obtain the most benefit.

2. Remember that Your Spouse is also Your Brother or Sister in Islam

Too often Muslims treat other people outside the home with kindness and sincerity, but then behave in a very different manner when it comes to their own spouses. Muslims should always remember that one's spouse is also another brother or sister in Islam and that the rights and duties that apply to the general brotherhood (sisterhood) of Islam, should also form the basis of the marital relationship. Obviously, a spouse has rights beyond these, but there should be a clear understanding of the rights of brotherhood (sisterhood) and adherence to these principles.

3. Do Not Hold Unrealistic Expectations

Before marriage, people often have unrealistic ideas about their spouse-to-be, expecting perfection in all aspects. This rarely, if ever, plays out in reality and can lead to unnecessary problems and concerns. We should recall that Allah, subhanahu wa ta'ala, created humans as imperfect beings, which means that many mistakes will be made throughout a lifetime. By turning the table and expecting imperfection, we will be pleasantly surprised and pleased when our spouse is much more than we ever hoped for. This, in turn, will lead to contentment within the marriage.

4. Emphasize the Best in Your Spouse

Since no one is endowed with all of the best qualities, emphasis should be placed on the positive qualities that a spouse possesses. Encouragement, praise, and gratitude should be expressed on a regular basis, which will strengthen these qualities and be beneficial in developing others. An attempt should be made to overlook or ignore negative characteristics, as the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, said, "A believing man should not have any malice against a believing woman. He may dislike one characteristic in her, but may find another in her which is pleasing." (Muslim)

5. Be Your Mate's Best Friend

Try to think of what a best friend means and be one to your spouse. This may mean sharing interests, experiences, dreams, failures and upsets. It may involve understanding a spouse's likes and dislikes and attempting to please him or her in any way possible. A best friend is also usually someone that can be confided to trusted, and relied upon. A spouse should be the kind of friend that one would want to keep throughout life.

6. Spend Quality Time Together

It is not enough to share meals, chores and small talk together. Spouses should also find time to focus on strengthening the relationship. Often couples get busy with their own separate tasks and forget about working on one of the most important elements in life. Quality time may be anything from having a quiet, profound conversation to going for a nice long nature walk, to sharing a special hobby or project. Both spouses should enjoy the particular option chosen and distractions should be kept to a minimum.

7. Express Feelings Often

This is probably a very "Western" concept and one that some people may have difficulty fulfilling, but it is important to be open and honest about one's feelings, both positive and negative. The lines of communication should always be open and any concerns should be brought to the attention of the other spouse as soon as they arise. The rationale of this is that what begins as a simple concern may grow into a major problem if it is not addressed quickly and properly. The "silent treatment" has never been the remedy for anything.

8. Admit to Mistakes and ask for Forgiveness

Just as we ask Allah to forgive us when we make mistakes, we should also do the same with our spouses. The stronger person is the one who can admit when he or she is wrong, request pardon from the other, and work hard to improve his/her aspects that are in need of change. When a person is unwilling to do this, there will be little growth and development in the marriage.

9. Never Bring up Mistakes of the Past

It can be very hurting for another person to be reminded of past mistakes. In Islam, it is generally not recommended to dwell on the past. One may remember errors that were made so that they are not repeated, but this should not be done excessively. Certainly, as humans, we are not in the position to judge another person. Advice may be given, but not in a harmful manner.

10. Surprise Each Other at Times

This may entail bringing home a small gift or flowers, preparing a special meal, dressing up and beautifying oneself (this is not only for women), or sending a secret note in a lunchbox. A little imagination will go a long way here. The idea is to spice up the marriage and avoid getting into a dull routine that may negatively affect the marriage.

11. Have a Sense of Humour

This particular aspect can go a long way in preventing arguments and brightening the atmosphere of the home. Life is a constant stream of challenges and tests, and to approach it in a light-hearted manner will help to make the journey smoother and more enjoyable. You may also find that your spouse enjoys this characteristic and looks forward to spending time with you because of it.

Quick Tips for Discussions and Disagreements:

- Begin with the intention to resolve the issue. If both spouses have this intention and plan to consult together, it is more likely that there will be a successful resolution.

- Remember that it takes two to quarrel. If only one person chooses not to argue, there will be no argument. Generally, the one who is wrong does most of the talking.

- Both spouses should not be angry at the same time. If one of the spouses becomes upset, it is best if the other tries to remain calm and collected.

- Never yell at each other unless the house is on fire. Of course, house fires do not occur very frequently; yelling should occur at about the same rate.

- Never go to sleep with an argument unsettled. This is one of the worst things that can happen in a marriage and should be avoided as much as possible. This allows hurt feelings and thoughts to linger and generally exacerbates the problem.

- If one spouse needs to win, let it be your mate. Do not focus on winning yourself; this is the main reason that discussions tend to become heated.

Posted on March 7th, 2011


Posted on February 17th, 2011

Came across yet another great source for marital bliss and wanted to share it with you all.

Read this article from The Dabbling Mum by author Laura Doyle about her book "The Surrendered Wife."

"Once while my husband, John, was waiting his turn at the barbershop, a woman was telling the barber exactly how to cut her husband's hair. "Not too short on top," she told him, "And take a little more off the sides." 



When the couple left, the remaining men in the shop sighed with relief. "That was awful," one man commented to no one in particular. John agreed, then said to the barber, "My wife couldn't come today, so you're on your own." 



I'm embarrassed to admit that during the first few years of my marriage I was very much like that woman at the barbershop. I thought I could improve my husband by telling him how to be more ambitious at work, how to be more romantic and especially how to be tidier. But instead of improving anything, I created wall-to-wall hostility at home. My husband resisted my "suggestions" mightily because he didn't want to be controlled. At the time, I didn't realize that I was acting like his mother instead of his wife, killing the intimacy and making us both exhausted. I thought he was lazy and oblivious. I never dreamed that he was reacting to me poorly because my approach was offensive. I told myself I was just trying to help, but things kept getting worse. 



As things deteriorated, we went to couples' counseling and even considered divorce. I thought I had married the wrong man. It turns out I was using an approach that wouldn't inspire intimacy and cooperation from any man. After talking to wives with happy, long-term marriages, I tried a new approach. I called it surrendering, because it boiled down to relinquishing control of my husband in favor of tending to my own happiness. That, in turn, improved the intimacy in a way that seemed magical. 



Something else magical happened, too. The man who wooed me was back. Instead of gluing himself to the T.V., my husband was constantly doing things to delight me-like cleaning the kitchen while I was out with a friend, bringing me flowers for no particular reason and showering me with spontaneous hugs and kisses. If I said I needed help getting dinner ready or wanted to park the car in the garage, he was proactive in chopping vegetables and eliminating things we no longer needed in the garage. He was volunteering to do the things that I had long tried to nag him into doing. Amazing! 



Women often shudder at the title of my book, The Surrendered Wife. But when they read it, they see that it isn't the ghost of a marriage book from the fifties. Nor is it the symbol of a feminism backlash. It isn't about women dumbing down or being rigid either. 

Rather, my book is about recognizing the following:

  • When you control your husband, you demean him, which causes him to doubt himself.
  • When you nag and criticize your husband, you squash intimacy in your marriage.
  • If you want emotional connection with your man, you must give up trying to run his life.
  • Your husband wants to make you happy, but he can't if you tell him what to do and how to do it.

My journey of going from being an overbearing shrew to a respectful wife has taught me that control and intimacy cannot co-exist. When I try to control John I may get to have everything just the way that I want it, but I also end up feeling lonely. When I adopt an attitude of loving trust - whether I feel like it or not - intimacy is sure to follow. In this way, surrendering is about having a relationship that brings out the best in both of us.

I know the title may conjure images of the Stepford Wife rising from the grave avenge the modern woman, but surrender simply means relinquish, and my book is about giving up control of your husband so that you can create an environment in which intimacy will flourish. Not so chilling after all, is it?

What I mean by "surrender" is that I refrain from commenting on things great and small: I don't mumble about John's driving, even if he's crawling along in the stupid lane. I don't complain if he wears a shirt with holes in it, nor do I remind him that we have a mortgage if he's considering leaving his job to start his own company. When I allow him to make his own decisions - and respect them- he has more confidence, and that, I've discovered, is when we have the best emotional connection.

Surrendering doesn't mean that I have stopped thinking for myself or given up my own ambitions. At work, I'm aggressive, tough and bossy. But I also recognize that those are not the ingredients for intimacy.

For romance to return in my marriage, I had to reacquaint myself with being vulnerable, feminine and soft when work was over. This wasn't easy. I'm much more comfortable with control because then I know that everything will go the right way—my way. But when I stopped criticizing, dominating and trying to "help" my husband, I had a revelation: I didn't need to dictate every situation for it to turn out right. Better yet, I experienced the delicious feeling of true intimacy.

If you're like me, you don't really want so much control anyway. I was exhausted and lonely from trying to do everything myself. I didn't want my husband to treat me like his boss. I wanted him to treasure, adore and protect me.

Surrendering is not for everybody. Women whose husbands have an active addiction, are chronically unfaithful or physically abusive should not surrender. Women with passionate, peaceful marriages don't need to fix what isn't broken.

For a woman whose husband doesn't fall into these categories, but suspects she may be at least a little controlling, surrendering—acting with loving trust—is powerful medicine."


Laura Doyle is a speaker, lecturer, seminar leader and author of this book as well as "The Surrendered Single: A Practical Guide to Attracting and Marrying the Man Who's Right for You" (Simon & Schuster 2002), and "Things Will Get as Good as you Can Stand" (Simon & Schuster 2004). She has helped "thousands of women find the intimacy they crave."

Visit her book's website www.SurrenderedWife.com and her radio show website at www.LauraDoyleShow.com. You can contact her at lauramdoyle@gmail.com

Posted on February 11th, 2011

It's almost Valentine's Day. A day in Western culture when couples express their love for each other by going out to dinner, buying gifts, and saying nice words to each other.

It's a nice idea. But what I don't understand is why this culture has to designate a certain day out the year to sort of "force" people to do actions that show their love for their loved ones (sorry, the word love might come up numerous times in this post).

Everyday in the lives of couples should be a day to show your love for one another.

Amr Khaled expresses this idea in his 21st lecture in his series Al Ganah Fe Boyotna (Paradise in our Household).

He says, "Love is not just an inner feeling within people's hearts...Love is doing actions, to get up and move and show your love towards each other…” just like you would on Valentine's Day.

He goes on to say that if love in a marriage fails then the whole household will fall. So he focuses this lecture on bringing love back into a relationship and why it goes away in the first place.

He describes five steps that can lead to the downfall of love in a relationship between a husband and wife.

1 - You start to talk to each other less and less. Before you know it he’ll be at the office for 12 hours without even picking up the phone to check in.

2 - The husband looks for things to do after work so he doesn't have to come home.

3 - Each spouse starts to only see the bad in the other person. “Don’t let the devil get in your head and do this,” he says. “He is an expert at this.” Everyone has faults from the beginning, but at this level you can only see the bad.

4 - No intimacy.

5 - Looking for love outside of the house. Another act of the devil, he says. He makes you think that what you don't have is better than what you already have in your hands.

Can love live long? Can love live for 30, 40 years? “I swear to God it can,” he says. He swears that it can because God said it can.

God states in the Quran, "Wa jaal baynakom mawadatan wa rahma." God puts intimate fellowship and mercy into the hearts of every two people that get married.

Examples of love in the households of the Sahaba (companions of the Prophet (pbuh)):

-- After Khadijah died, the Prophet (pbuh) got approached by a woman who said to him, “You have kids that need looking after, you should get married again.” Because of the strong feelings he had towards his late wife, after she said that he put his head down and cried and said, “Who can replace Khadijah.”

-- Sayida Fatima’s (The Prophet’s (pbuh) daughter) husband described her as “My wife, my life, and my home… Our skin is intertwined together."

-- While an old man was performing Hajj he missed his wife so much that he sent a telegram to his wife saying, “My soul misses your soul.” Nowadays we can send a text message and it’ll reach our spouses in one sec and we don’t, he says.

So why does it go away? Anything that you don't feed/nurture will rust and die. Just like your body, your car or a plant.

During the engagement period of your life and during early marriage you had a “bank account” full of love to take from. But as the years pass that bank account becomes emptier and emptier till there’s none left to withdraw from.

So you have to continuously put love back into that bank account … with a kiss, a hug, a smile, a prayer together, or a nice word. “Love is actions, he repeats, not just an inner feeling. Do things to make your love grow.”

Do actions and get love!

The best thing to give your kids is to show them that you love your spouse, he adds.

He says, "Take your spouse’s hand...Don’t be stingy with your affection...A nice word and a smile can go a long way...Men, don't let her beg you to tell her that the dress she's wearing is nice. Tell her without her asking."

A man once told the Prophet (pbuh) that he admired a certain man passing by in front of them, the Prophet (pbuh) asked him, "Have you told him this?" He said no. So he told him to run to him and tell him immediately.

Get your affection out! Don't keep it in, he says.

At the end of the lecture he said, “I want every spouse to intend to show their love for each other and do actions to fill the love bank.”

Posted on January 31st, 2011

Just came across this book and wanted to share some of its insights.

Posted on January 20th, 2011

Amr Khaled is one of the most influential Islamic speakers in the world. The New York Times Magazine, in reference to Amr Khaled's popularity in Arab countries, described him in its April 30, 2006 issue as "the world's most famous and influential Muslim television preacher." He has recently been chosen as number 13 of the world's most influential people by Time Magazine and the sixth most influential intellectual in the world by Prospect magazine.

His words, television speeches, and Ramadan lecture series are widely watched by people all over the world. His teachings range in all Islamic topics such as politics, manners, Islamic history, changes in society, marriage, family life, etc.

One of his most famed Ramadan lecture series was called "Al Ganah Fe Boyotna" (Paradise in our Household). In this series he talked about how to bring closeness, religiosity, happiness, and understanding back into our households between all members of a family.

In the first episode he says, translated from Arabic, "A lot of people feel that life has become unhappy and unbearable...what kind of world is this? It's all wars, problems, and pain...but God gave us something merciful, he gave us our homes...it has all the happiness you need. It has comfort and safety. Your home should be the one place of happiness in this world until you die and enter heaven."

"God gave you paradise in this world by giving you a home and family and he gave you paradise in the afterlife by giving you heaven," he said.

This series has 30 episodes, but the one I want to talk about today is the very first one. In this episode Amr Khaled outlines five daily guidelines that each family, whether you are still newlyweds with just a husband and wife, or if you have children, or live with extended family, should partake in for a healthier and happier home and ultimately a better life. These guidelines fall under one category: Decide to worship God together.


1. Pray together.
Praying together brings mercy and angels into the home and kicks out any evilness.

Pray at least two Rak3as (one prayer) together each night. "Can you imagine a couple who prayed to God together each night waking up and fighting about a non-ironed shirt in the morning...I don't think so," he said jokingly. He says that just two Rak3as together can bring your hearts closer if you feel distanced from your spouse...it's truly magical.

Incidentally he also says, "If you are a wise wife, and you want to keep your husband by your side, say to him ‘get up, lets pray together.’”

2. Read the Quran together.
Even if it is only one Ayah (sentence) each day. Or do a family Khitma (completion of the Quran) by splitting up the chapters between each person of the family in order to complete it in a specified amount of time. Or if you’re driving in the car together, you can also listen to it. Check out these tips from an article called Your family and the Quran.

3. Do Zikr (remembrance of Allah) together.
Say Tasabeeh (repeating words like Elhamdulillah - Thank God - repeatedly) together even for only a couple minutes, whether you’re in the car or sitting in your living room.

The Prophet (pbuh) said, "A home that does Zikr is a lively one and a home that does not is a dead one." In turn, Amr Khaled says, "Your family will become lively."

4. Say a Duaa (supplication to God) together.
It doesn’t have to be elaborate or in complicated sentences. Just say what you wish for as a family, in any language, doesn't have to be in traditional Arabic. You can make your Duaa after a Gama3 (group) prayer or while sitting together before going to bed.

5. Be charitable together.
For example, in Ramadan feed a fasting Muslim or a family together.


Amr Khaled says that this Dunya (world/earth) was started by a family, by a husband and a wife… Adam and Eve. Not a group of people, not a company, not a single person. Therefore it is the most important entity in this world.

“A marriage is a Mithak Ghaleeth (binding covenant),” he says. Not just a contract. It is a bond stronger than that. That phrase is only used three times in the Quran, one of which is for marriage. This shows the importance of this union in the eyes of God.

Bring your family together and watch this series, it is truly inspiring, and each episode is only 30 minutes. Getting your family together and watching this series is in itself an act of family worship!

Posted on January 10th, 2011

Men like to solve problems and fix things...we all know that. That need is deep rooted in everything they do. A woman should appeal to this type of personality by asking him to help her solve problems. This type of treatment can be very useful when you want to ask your husband to get something done, like let's say a chore around the house.

So instead of commanding your husband to do something, appeal to his intelligence.

For example, author Nancy C. Anderson writes, "Instead of saying 'Clean up your camping stuff, this garage is a mess!' Try, 'I’d like your help with something. Could you figure out a storage system for all the camping supplies?'"

Keep in mind, men love to do things that are appreciated, and hate to do things that are demanded.

Giving excessive instructions, criticizing him, and nagging till it gets done will make him feel more like a slave than a trusted and loved partner. So if you want him to clean the garage, ask once and ask politely, according to Anderson.

Comedian Steve Harvey writes in his book Straight Talk no Chaser: How to Find, Keep, and Understand a Man, "I understand that many women don't quite care to embrace the idea that the burden of getting the union they want rests squarely on their shoulders, but it is what it is. You've been blessed with this tremendous skill set that we men do not possess, and it is those skills that you absolutely, unequivocally have to employ to get what you want. Change your approach, take back your power and hold your chin up while you're working on getting the love you deserve.
You can be part Miss America part Miss Toll House but once you start nagging we're simply not interested. You know what's flashing in our minds, your transformation into a big evil monster. It doesn't matter how tiny or cute you are... You become a six feet tall 450 pound troll head with a Darth Vader voice."

When you want something done by a man he suggests five things in his book: Adjust your tone, let your man get to what needs to be done in his on time, choose your battles, understand what's a priority for men, and whatever you do don't take over the tasks especially, with an attitude.

"What would be most helpful in getting us to this mutual place of understanding is if you simply asked nicely and explained why you need something done not now, but right now," he writes.

John Gray, author of Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus says that, "Men love to prove their worth through the things they do, but they generally wait to be asked, and take a long time to learn to offer their services unsolicited. Women should therefore control their expectations of men being able to anticipate their needs, ask for help without making it sound like a demand because they resent the need to do so, and appreciate the help they receive even though it needed to be requested first."

He goes on to say that women should avoid requesting help from a man in a way that either doesn’t sound like a clear request, or carries implicit criticism that he should have already done it. Questions that begin with the words ‘Could you’ or ‘Can you’ are often interpreted by men as questioning their abilities, and they therefore respond more positively to the same questions if they begin instead with ‘Would you’ or ‘Will you’. The difference may seem small, but it can feel as different as the man saying ‘No I can’t’ or ‘No I won’t’ in response to the request.

Posted on January 4th, 2011

In Islam, men and women are created equal...but definitely not the same! Not only are their rights and responsibilities dissimilar, the ways they feel, think, communicate, and deal with the world are different as well. In the popular book Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus by author John Gray, the notion that men and women are as different as beings from other planets is strongly asserted. Therefore men and women need to recognize and appreciate these differences and stop expecting the other to act the same way they do in order to be able to cope with each other and live side by side.

Some of the most common glitches in marriages can come from the misunderstanding that men and women are the same.

Some of the biggest differences outlined in this book include:

-Deep inside every man is a knight in shining armour seeking a damsel in distress who will love him, and shower him with trust, respect, acceptance, appreciation, admiration, approval, and encouragement AND deep inside every woman is a damsel in distress seeking a knight in shining armour who will love her, and shower her with caring, understanding, devotion, validation, and reassurance.

-Men love to have their abilities recognised and appreciated, and hate to have them scorned or ignored AND women love to have their feelings recognised and appreciated, and hate to have them scorned or ignored.

-Men like to work on their own, and exercise their abilities by solving problems quickly and singlehandedly AND women like to co-operate, and exercise their feelings through interactive communication with one another.

-Men value solutions, and view unsolicited assistance as undermining their effort to solve problems alone AND women value assistance, and view unsolicited solutions as undermining their effort to proceed interactively.

-Men desire that their solutions will be appreciated AND women desire that their assistance will be appreciated.

-When men do communicate, they like to get to the point, and generally only want to listen if they feel the conversation has a point AND women enjoy talking for its own sake, and are happy to listen unconditionally.

-A man's instinct is to look after himself, even if it means sacrificing others AND a woman's instinct is to look after others, even if it means sacrificing herself.

-In a relationship, a man has to learn how to care for his partner rather than sacrificing her needs in favour of his own AND a woman has to learn how to be cared for by her partner rather than sacrificing her own needs in favour of his, so that the needs of both are met.

-In a relationship, a man needs to feel that his attentions are needed AND a woman needs to feel that her needs are attended.

-Men withdraw until they find a solution to a problem, they retreat into their cave AND women simply need their partner to listen to her, constantly reassure her of his love/commitment/monogamy or take a few chores off her back.

-Men feel loved if their efforts at giving are appreciated AND women feel loved according to what they receive.

In her book The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands, Dr. Laura Schlessinger says that today the notion that men and women are inherently different is often challenged. Society tries to make both men and women unisex. But men are happiest being men, and women are happiest being women, with few exceptions. The differences start to manifest themselves very early. In one study a barrier was placed between 1 year-old babies and their mothers. What did the little boys do? They attempted to get around the barrier or knock it down. The little girls? They cried until their mothers picked them up. Men tend to respond to things physically, women verbally.

In fact, the two sexes are just right for each other.

by Angie on January 4th, 2011

"Respect him verbally, intellectually, and physically," says Nancy C. Anderson, an author and speaker who encourages couples to “fall in like” with each other.

Verbally speaking, she wants us to cut back on the complaining and add in compliments.

"If you want to have a peaceful, happy marriage, learn the art of the compliment. Compliments are like magnets and the more you compliment your husband the more he will be attracted to you. Begin to notice when he does it right and verbally encourage him by complimenting him at least once a day. If you are having a hard time thinking of anything to admire, consider these categories: physical traits, mental skills, financial strengths, spiritual growth, or healthy relationships with others (children, parents, or friends).

You may be asking “Hey, why should I compliment him when he NEVER compliments me?” Because, if you want your marriage to grow and bloom, you’ll have to water it with kindness and encouragement.

Then, as he sees your sincere efforts, he will begin to change too. Don’t give up.

If you do need to bring up a difficult issue, place it between two compliments, also known as a 'Compliment Sandwich.' Here’s an example, 'Honey, I know how hard you work for our money and that Sally’s braces will be expensive, but I need your decision before her appointment tomorrow. I hope we can do this for her, but if you want to wait, I trust your judgment. What should I tell the orthodontist?'" Anderson.

A compliment sandwich. Doesn't sound too hard. See if restructuring your sentences when you are bringing up a difficult issue can bring out a different kind of response (..or man) from your spouse.


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