Archive for January, 2010

The Language of Men: Understanding Your Husband’s Needs

Posted in Advice for Wives, Communication, Marriage Counselling on January 26, 2010 by Shaz

Question

As salamu ‘alaykum

What do you think should be as a wife if a husband always criticize the wife from the way she eat, dress, talk, most of the time putting her down and the husband feels superior though she already did what he wants, but it is still not enough for him and still got criticize.

Answer by Dr Karima K Burns(Naturopathic Doctor, Herbalist – Waldorf School of Thought )

This situation can happen with husbands and with wives and can sometimes indicate an abusive relationship, however, usually it indicates a mutually dissatisfying situation for both spouses. You have not indicated you are being abused in this enquiry, provided details about yourself or examples of specific situations so I will approach the situation using the second scenario. Additionally, since you have written to me (and not your husband) I am going to approach the question with a solution that you can try yourself.

If you were seeing a counselor together or your husband had asked this question I would have a slightly different answer. However, there is one rule in relationships that has stood true across all time – you can only guarantee change if you work on your own problems. There is never any guarantee with others, as their actions and feelings are beyond your control.

Because of this it would be useless for me to provide you with information about what your husband could do. I am providing information about what you can do, and how you can understand the situation more clearly. Not because you are at fault or the only person at fault, but because, since you have asked for help, I want to give YOU the tools to regain control of your happiness in this marriage.

In the second scenario I mentioned above, the marriage has become unbearable for both spouses and the focus has turned to criticism instead of love and understanding. You may perceive that only your husband is being critical. However, your e-mail indicates that you are also critical of him. In your e-mail you are stating that your husband “puts down his wife” ,that he “feels superior”, that he is “not satisfied with what he has” and that he “criticizes his wife.”

These are four very negative statements about your husband. He most likely can sense that you feel these negative feelings towards him (and perhaps more?). Even if you don’t express these feelings he can feel this in two ways. If you do express negative feelings he will feel this in three ways:

1. If you express sadness, negative feelings, dissatisfaction, anger, etc…he will feel you are not happy with him. He wants to be able to make you happy. Knowing you are unhappy will make him very unhappy.

2. If you feel these feelings about him and do not verbalize them they will come out in non-verbal ways and he will sense them.

3. A man’s sense of worth in a marriage is often tied to his feeling of self-worth as a husband and father. A man, to be happy in a marriage, needs to feel he is a good husband and father and that he is taking good care of his family. If you are not letting him know or feel he is successful then he will be unhappy and be more likely to reflect this back to you.

This is different from what makes a woman happy in a marriage. Women are often happiest when their husband and children show that they love her. Women also want to feel they are able to make their families happy. However, most prominently, they thrive on feelings of love in the relationship. Although men also need love, men thrive more on accomplishment in the relationship.

When your husband feels successful and able to make you happy he will be more and more encouraged to continue this behavior. This may seem impossible. You may be thinking, “How can I let him know he makes me happy when he isn’t making me happy?”

To accomplish this you need to turn your focus from the negative and be able to reflect back to him, for some time, only the positive aspects of what he is doing for you as a husband. Forget, for a time, the things he is doing “wrong” and focus on and communicate to him the things he is doing “right”.

Does he support you financially? Is he handsome? Does he thank you for the meals you cook? Is he kind to his family? What good qualities does he have that you are thankful for? Why did you first love him? Why did you first marry him? Does he still have some of these qualities? Let him know about these things daily.

It may take some time for you to see some change. It depends on how long you have been married, how long this negative situation has been going on, and how dedicated and sincere you are in trying to change it.

If you can give this some effort and be patient, and give him some time to trust you again and really hear you, he will start to feel safe again in the relationship and will feel free to stop criticizing you and start complimenting you and enjoying your company.

Initially he may not trust what you are saying, or he may be so used to hearing critical things he may not understand what you are saying or really hear you at first. So please be patient and continue. Only the most severe of situations can withstand the force of so much positive energy. If you are able to infuse this relationship with as much positive energy as possible – in as many ways as you can think of – he will be unable to resist the “new mood” of the house and will naturally fall into the new patterns you have created. It may take a little time (1-3 months) but it will happen Insha-Allah.

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What to Do After Saying “I Do”

Posted in Advice for Wives on January 23, 2010 by Shaz

Understanding Men And Women

Posted in Communication, Marriage Coaching, Marriage Counselling, Tips for a Happy Marriage on January 21, 2010 by Shaz

By Karima K Burns

This is a commonly misunderstood topic between men and women. Men usually state that women complain too much and women usually state that men don’t care about their feelings. However, neither is completely true. Many men do care about their wife’s feelings. However, perhaps not in the same way their wife cares about theirs.

In the world of the female, a woman cares for many people in her household on an emotional level. She is often the one to tuck the children into bed, offer hugs, food for nourishment and general caring and emotional support. Because of this, women often feel it is important to listen to the emotional needs of their family so they can continue this support.

In the male realm, men are also concerned about the needs and feelings of the woman, however, usually in a different way. Men are most likely to judge their wife’s happiness on her physical comfort level rather than her emotional comfort level. This does not mean that he does not care. This simply means that he may not understand how important the emotional level is for her.

If the wife needs emotional support she will often need to ask for it directly. If a wife waits for a husband to understand her emotional need to be close to him when she is upset, she may wait “forever”. However, if she is able to say, “I had a very hard day today could you give me a hug and hold me for a little bit?” then this helps translate her need back into the physical and tangible world that the man is better able to understand. He can easily understand what she wants, can offer than to her and feel he is a success in offering that.

This is also very important for men.

Women usually console people in the family or offer emotional support because they feel this is their duty and it comes naturally to them. In some ways a woman cannot avoid doing this as she is naturally inclined to. She does not feel the need to be successful. However, she does sometimes feel the need to be appreciated.

Men, on the other hand, are not seeking appreciation, as much as they want to feel successful. When a man provides emotional support to a woman he often does not feel successful. Most women will not find the male version of emotional support adequate and will tell the man he is “doing it wrong” or “doesn’t understand her needs” or “said the wrong thing”. This creates insecurity in the men. They want to be successful and to feel they have helped their wife and made her happy. If the man is constantly told he is doing it “wrong” in the emotional realm, he will quite often retreat back into the physical realm where things are easier for him to understand, measure, and deal with.

To help any man be more able to meet the emotional needs of his wife one needs to:

1. Be direct about those needs. He does not have to approach you or “read your mind” or “know your needs” to prove he cares or that he loves you. It is an act of love to perceive someone is in need and to assist them, yes. However, it is also an act of love when someone requests help and you say “yes, I will help you”. So if you have to ask your husband for help, don’t feel badly. When he says, “yes” this is a sign of his love. It is not a sign of anything negative if he does not perceive your needs.

2. Accept what he offers. A man will rarely be able to offer the level of emotional support a woman can. Realize this and accept what he has to offer for what it is. It may not “sound right” or be exactly what you need but if you take it for its intention rather than artistic quality then you may find a real “gem in the rough”. You also need to take the man’s personality into account. Is he usually silent? Then being silent during your time of need is not a lack of caring, it is a normal state for him. He may only be able to say one or two sentences.

3. Encourage him and show him he has succeeded. This will encourage him to continue supporting your emotional needs either in that moment or in the future. Make sure he knows you appreciate what he did. Did he listen? Did he give you a hug? Did he help cook dinner? Did he offer a phrase (however clumsy) in an effort to help you feel better? Be sure to acknowledge what he has offered.

4. Remember that men like to “solve problems”. If you share an emotional need he may try to help you by suggesting solutions. Often, what you want is just to be listened to. Men have a hard time understanding this. They want to solve the problem and make you happy. You can try asking him “just to listen” (although the temptation to solve is too big for most men) or you can simply decide not to share all the details and just skip directly to what you need to help you feel better. Would help around the house be good? Would a hug help? Would chatting in general help? Would going for a walk together help?

If men and women can better understand how the other one sees the world, less resentment will exist and more efforts towards understanding and love can happen.