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In Islam: Managing Marital Relationships: PART - 4

Now to look at how to create a successful and healthy relationship with your husband. Many of us assume that men think and communicate just as we do. Frankly, that mindset's setting you up for failure, right from the get-go. Men don't think like us AT ALL. They DEFINITELY don't communicate like we do. In fact, I think it's fair to say that they don't share our world view at all.

Their focus is different ...
Their priorities are different ...
Their impressions are different ...
EVERYTHING's different!

Simple fact: Men and Women Are Completely Different. Now, let's be realistic for a moment. I know that sometimes we can get irritated with men, as a whole, for the same reasons. Sometimes it seems like there is only one man in the world! On a bad day, it's easy to lump them all together under the same mental category. If you are going to connect successfully with your husbands, you need to accept the nuances and characteristics that make them men, and CELEBRATE them rather than SUPPRESS them.

Be happy and positive, smile more. There's a certain amount of pressure
on women to be Superwomen. You know: someone who has The Vocation, The Looks, The Relationship, The Social Life, and - eventually - The Child(ren). How is one person meant to juggle all those things at once, without sacrificing their sanity and personality? This is the other end of being weepy and totally dependent. Don’t try to be over confident and independent all the time. Let your husband know you need him and depend on him. It makes him feel useful.

Communication is a two-way street - it's about helping the OTHER party understand you, as well as understanding yourself! Once you're in a relationship, how do you keep from falling prey to those traps that await all love-blind couples (such as arguing, nagging,
getting into a rut, dealing with each other's quirky habits, and feeling suffocated)?

Get the tools to CREATE, MAINTAIN, and ENJOY long-term relationships with
another human being. A healthy relationship is one in which neither party holds the other RESPONSIBLE for their happiness. Somehow they just FEEL happier when they're with the other person. For a relationship to work, there has to be a mutual understanding that this is what makes a relationship into a healthy one.

A healthy relationship is one in which being together is as natural and easy as being with an old friend. There's no need to talk about "exclusivity" or "commitment," because being with him, and only him, feels completely effortless, safe, and right.
In short, a healthy relationship has a lot of good things going for it, for both you and your husband.
If you've never experienced a healthy relationship before, you might be taking a LOT of bad behaviours for granted. If you've never experienced a good relationship first-hand, how do you know which behaviours are bad and which behaviours are normal? By setting up a relationship CORRECTLY, right from the very beginning, you can ensure that none of those things will be given the chance to take
root in your relationship and end up compromising you or your happiness.

A man can't HELP being a man. He's programmed to be competitive, to want to lead, to have direction and purpose, to prize spatial ability and LOGIC over emotion and communication, and to try to succeed at all costs. Similarly, you can't help being a woman. You seek to create social harmony and prioritize PEOPLE and RELATIONSHIPS over competitiveness and the desire to succeed. The difficult part is in ACKNOWLEDGING and CELEBRATING each others' differences, while still managing to maintain successful communication and acceptance.

Men tend to feel most loved when you support them through physical actions. For example, when you show him you love him by making his life easier for him. This could be through things like cooking him dinner when you know he's been working hard and has had a long day ... turning your house into a home ... organizing the smaller details of his life ... and helping him to relax when he's not out conquering the world.

Part of supporting your husband is recognizing that his needs are different from yours. Let's take the most commonly griped-about difference to start off with: the fact that he
probably needs more SPACE than you do. When you come across a difference in behaviour like this, you need to take an emotional step back and remember that a need for space is NOT tantamount to a need for DISTANCE from you. It doesn't mean that he doesn't love you, and it doesn't mean that he doesn't want to share with
you. It simply means he needs space and time to process his day before he is ready to participate in the relationship again.

This is likely to be a challenge for you - but letting your partner BE HIMSELF, without giving him grief, is all part of being in a healthy relationship. The way in which men approach issues may come across as abrasive or confrontational to many women, but in man-speak, it's only natural. example Phone calls, for women, are usually about reaching out to one another and sharing experiences, emotions, and each other's stories. For men, a telephone is a tool for exchanging facts. A conversation takes place; the necessary information is communicated. Then they hang up. Often, a phone conversation between two males is almost businesslike in its directness - no words are wasted.

As you become accustomed to one another and your relationship grows, your
feelings for one another will change. The physical aspect will undergo a change and will gradually be replaced by a feeling of deep, honest affection and CONNECTEDNESS. Contrary to popular belief about long-term relationships, it's not INTIMACY that reduces the frequency and pleasure of a physical relationship- far from it! It's a LACK of intimacy. Once you are intimate your need for each other will increase.

A good relationship is all about teamwork. And teamwork is about building on strengths. Your feminine energy will provide an essential counterbalance to the masculine energy brought to it by your husband. When you can trust a man to do this, it's an
incredibly liberating feeling. You're free to truly be yourself, without fear of criticism or
judgment. Similarly, when a man feels like HE can trust YOU to do the same for him, he feels free to express his genuine nature. He doesn't need to worry about what you might think. He doesn't have to censor his thoughts, or fear your rejection. A man who feels safe and secure in his relationship doesn't have to hold anything back.

If you present yourself as a supportive, joyous, and loving presence to a man, then you will bring out the best in him. He won't have to feel possessive or controlling of you, because he trusts you. You'll both be able to express yourselves honestly without fear of emotional recrimination. THAT is the true definition of a healthy relationship - and it all boils down to HONESTY and COMMUNICATION.

Don't set aside your own wants and needs for the sake of the relationship. You have to
recognize your own right - and NEED - to have your desires met, too. If something is important to you, ARTICULATE it. A man would rather trust in your strength to disagree with him and have opinions and values of your own, than have his own way all the time and be forever unchallenged. Don't let him make all the decisions for you. Accept the responsibility of making decisions for both of you as a couple where necessary. Take the reins every so often and prove that you're capable of offering DIRECTION and PURPOSE when needed.

One sign of an unhealthy relationship is when the balance of power is unequal. If one person is used to getting their way more often than not, the relationship turns into a battleground. Resentments grow. Bitterness flourishes. The aim of a relationship is to SUPPORT your partner, and receive support from them in return. The moment that that support turns into competition, you're no longer partners - you're COMPETITORS.

Couples who agree on EVERYTHING are NOT a healthy couple. They're just suppressing what they honestly feel. If you use the "agreement = acceptance = winning" and "disagreement = rejection = losing" mode of thinking, there'll be too much at stake
for you to even ALLOW your partner to think differently from you. Every time your partner disagrees with you, it'll feel like a rejection of your beliefs and
what you stand for.

Committing yourself to GROWING YOUR RELATIONSHIP also implies that you understand the importance of putting EFFORT into your relationship. You are in a relationship because being together is more fun than being alone. Healthy, happy relationships not only help us to enjoy our lives more; they also actually help
to keep us healthy! It's a medical fact that happier people have stronger immune systems, and are less prone to disease, than unhappy people.

May Allah grant us the best of relations with our spouse. Ameen. 

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