(see bottom half for tips by the same author for Wives with regards to their Husbands)
For the Husbands:
How to Score BIG with Women: a Psychological and Islamic approach for Men
October 25th, 2010
By Haleh Banani, M.A. Clinical Psychology
Every man dreams of having a woman who can please him on many different levels. One that fulfills his desires, stimulates him intellectually and soars with him to new spiritual heights. A unique woman that will not only be a source of comfort, but also a source of strength. It is very easy to dream and have expectations of your spouse but what do YOU have to do in order to attract a woman with these qualities and keep her giving at that level?
Generally, men are quite puzzled by women. They are not sure what to do or say to please the women in their lives. Whatever they do seems to get them in trouble. Since most men have this confusion, they simply stop trying. This lack of effort from men creates frustration and discontentment. Most women feel extremely dissatisfied in their marriage. Within my practice as a marriage therapist, I have heard from dozens of women who have a long list of complaints about their husbands. These complaints lead to deep rooted unhappiness and many times divorce.
Top 5 complaints of women about their husbands
Lack of compassion
Too strict/too jealous
Almost every couple I have ever done marriage counseling with has complained about problems in communication. Most of the time women complain that their husband does not share his feelings, he shuts off, he doesn’t listen and he doesn’t know how to ask for what he wants in a diplomatic way. Lack of communication or miscommunication is the bulk of the problem in most marriages. If people don’t know how to get their message across, how to listen or how to resolve conflicts they will face perpetual problems in their lives. Here are some suggestions in effective communication skills:
Make I statements…. never start the sentence with YOU. Say: “I feel neglected when you don’t prepare dinner” rather than saying, “You never prepare dinner.”
Always keep your voice down and refrain from name calling.
Seek first to understand then to be understood. Tough one, but very effective!
Share your thoughts and feelings with your spouse to make her feel a part of your world. Don’t shut her out or else she will feel extremely insecure and suspicious.
Don’t give one word answers – try to elaborate and fulfill her need to know. She shows you she cares by asking many questions.
Listen attentively – that means no checking emails while she talks and no watching T.V.
Simply look in her eyes, listen and acknowledge her. Women loved to be looked at!
Give your wife compliments on everything you like about her – she needs constant reassurance on her beauty, on your love for her, on her cooking. Say it again and again with a smile. It will never get old!
Validate her feelings – say things to make her feel understood. Tell her you understand that she is sad, that she has a right to feel hurt or neglected. The worst thing you could ever do is tell a woman she is wrong to feel a certain way.
Ask for things with gentleness and kindness without being harsh or demanding. If a woman feels like she is being told what to do and how to do it – she will resist. If she is asked kindly and made to feel special she will rush to do it to in order to fulfill her need to please others.
Never compare her to Anyone to get her to change. This is detrimental to the relationship, brings about hostility and a feeling of inadequacy. If you want her to improve in any given area compliment what she is already doing right.
Each person is brought up with different views and experiences with money. Some are brought up in affluent families that spend frivolously while others come from more modest backgrounds that are trained to save. When individuals with such striking differences unite there is bound to be tension and arguments. That is why money is one of the biggest reasons people fight and even get a divorce. Here are some suggestions for peacefully dealing with money issues.
Learn about each other’s view of money. Become acquainted with their experience with money in order to better understand each other.
Discuss openly issues or concerns you have about your financial situations.
Avoid getting into debt at all cost. If you can’t afford it – just don’t buy it. Simple as that.
Set a budget together and try your best to stick to it. If you slip, and go over the budget, quickly get back on track.
Increase your knowledge about resolving financial problems by reading books, attending seminars or listening to CDs.
Be honest and never hide or deceive your partner about financial issues because it could really damage the trust.
Try to compromise and come up with a win/win solution when you disagree.
Agree to disagree.
Consider the pros and cons of having a two house income or even having a part time job that can help alleviate the financial burden.
Save….Save….Save! You never know what the future holds so always be prepared.
The area of a couple’s life which offers the most potential for embarrassment, hurt, and rejection is sex. The majority of couples I have done therapy with have had issues in this area of their life. It is such an essential part of the marriage and yet very few couples ever talk about it. The goal of sex is to be closer, to have more fun, to feel satisfied, and to feel valued and accepted in this very tender area of your marriage. “Your wives are a tilth unto you; so go to your tilth when or how you will.” [Qur'an 2:223] Here are some suggestions to having a more satisfying sex life.
Fulfill your wife emotionally so that she can be receptive to you. Women shut off sexually if they don’t feel loved, appreciated or desired.
Set the mood…light candles, make dinner, give a massage, get flowers or anything that makes her feel special and loved.
Prolong foreplay. Make sure she is ready.
Take your time and don’t rush her.
Share your likes and dislikes in a gentle, positive way making her feel safe. Instead of saying you never do such and such say: I loved it when you…..or I would love it if you would….
Never criticize or make fun when getting intimate.
Always accentuate the positive – make your suggestions in a way that you are making a good thing even better. Even if you are dissatisfied don’t let her feel it.
When receiving your partner’s request, try not to see it as criticism. Have the attitude of a professional chef that is not insulted if a customer doesn’t crave a particular meal, but makes accommodations that will satisfy the customer’s palate.
Make her feel attractive and desired. The more you give her compliments, the more confident she will feel which will help her to relax and enjoy.
Make sure you try to fulfill her first in order to create a strong, positive association to intimacy.
Lack of Compassion
Men have different ways of expressing their feelings and emotions. Some express their love and concern for the family by simply working hard and providing the very best. They feel that the time they spend at work is an emotional deposit because they are putting so much effort so that their family can be comfortable. Unfortunately, this form of expression of love is generally not sufficient for most women. Women expect the men in their lives to connect with them on an emotional level, provide support and have fun together. The best of you are those who are the best to their wives.” (at-Tirmidhi)
Here are some suggestions in showing compassion so that you can connect with your wife on an emotional level.
Tell your wife you love her daily – don’t make it just a once a year event.
Never enter or leave the house without a proper greeting. Let her feel that you are happy to see her and that you will miss her when you leave.
Make daily deposits in your emotional bank account with your wife by being understanding, forgiving, cooperative and by using words of endearment.
Call your wife or send sweet messages during the day. “…And live with them in kindness…” (Nisaa 4:19)
Eat at least one meal a day together and spend time sharing what you have done.
Give lots of compliments.
If she is feeling sad or angry, show her love and compassion by hugging her. If she says she doesn’t want to talk about it, she doesn’t mean it… you just have to insist sweetly.
Learn to apologize. Even if you were not wrong apologize for making her feel bad. Win her heart not the argument! Amazing what two little words (I’m sorry) can do.
Get her gifts and flowers so she feels that you thought of her. It doesn’t have to be something expensive – just a gesture that you were thinking of her. And do good. Truly, Allah loves the good-doers (Baqara 2:195)
Be supportive and helpful with the kids. Offer to take care of the kids while she does something (anything) for herself. If she has the chance to recharge she will be a much better wife and a nicer mom!
Too Strict or Too Jealous
It is understandable that a man feels responsible for his wife and wants to make sure that she does not exceed beyond the boundaries that Allah has established. “Everyone of you is a guardian and responsible for those in his charge; the man, in his home, is a guardian and responsible for his household (Bukhari and Muslim). It takes diplomacy and gentleness to set guidelines without coming across as too strict and unreasonable. It is always a little flattering when a husband becomes jealous, but when it becomes excessive it is unhealthy and a source of stress for women. There needs to be mutual trust and respect in order to live in harmony and peace. Here are some suggestions for maintaining boundaries without being too strict or too jealous.
Be a spouse to your wife not a father. Don’t treat her like a little girl with a long list of rules. If you treat her like a child she will act like one.
Give her space to make decisions – if you hold her too tight she will feel suffocated.
Respect her and treat her like a partner not an employee.
Trust her – don’t interrogate her for every little thing. Gently ask questions.
Be reasonable in setting boundaries – if you are too strict she will either resent you or not abide by them when you are not around.
Don’t assume anything – check your assumptions and verify before accusing her of anything.
Be kind and understanding so that your wife will happily try to please you. Don’t be a harsh dictator that needs to be overthrown.
If she dresses or acts inappropriately just talk to her, educate her and help her to understand. Make her feel that you are concerned about her. Never be forceful.
Try to make excuses when she falls short.
Be playful with your spouse if you feel some jealousy. Make her feel how much you are attracted to her, how appealing she is to you that you simply don’t want to share her. This will flatter her and make it more likely that she will be more careful.
When you become more sensitive to the needs of your wife and you put effort in supporting her and connecting with her you will reap the rewards of having a more content wife. A happier wife means a happier home which means more peace and tranquility for you. By becoming more aware of these common complaints and implementing the suggestions you will definitely score big with the woman in your life!
For The Wives:
Win His Heart: A Psychological Approach for WOMEN
November 3rd, 2010
Written by: Haleh Banani, MA Clinical Psychology
As women, we desire to have a deep emotional bond with our spouse. We want to be loved and adored. Our inner core is filled with contentment and happiness when we feel understood and appreciated. Making a wish list of traits we want our husband to have is effortless, but bringing out the best in him takes a lot of nurturing.
We need to nourish our spouse daily with love, support and understanding. As a therapist, I have seen numerous men who are disappointed in their marriages. Many are frustrated and confused. Here are some suggestions on improving your marriage.
Men’s Top 6 Requests of Their Wives
Be his friend
Show him respect
Fulfill his physical needs
Make him feel desired
Make him feel appreciated
Be a friend
The most important aspect of a marriage is friendship. When there is friendship, any obstacle can be overcome. In the Quran, Allah refers to a man’s wife as his girlfriend in Surah Abasa 80:36 which reveals the type of relationship we need to have with our spouse.
John Gottman, a psychologist who specializes in marriage stability in the States, did a study on married couples and found the one element which determines whether or not couples stay together is friendship. Look at the beautiful examples of Khadija and Aisha (RA) and how they showered the Prophet (peace and salat upon him) with love, providing him with true companionship. Think about your best friend and how he or she became so special in your life. It probably had a lot to do with the amount of time and effort he or she made to get to know you and spend time with you. When was the last time you and your spouse had quality time together where the focus was just on having fun and sharing? An easy way to get started is:
Set a date night with your spouse and stick to it
Share likes, dislikes, dreams etc.
Your friends are people who accept you and make you feel happy. How accepting are you of your spouse? Are you always trying to change or nag him? These behaviors push a man away and doesn’t create positive associations to you. Try to hold off a bit before plunging into a long list of complaints about the kids and house chores right when he arrives.
In order to create or strengthen friendship in marriage, try doing the following:
Listen, listen, listen to him – I mean really listen without being distracted, without making lists in your mind as he talks and without watching T.V. Remember what he shares with you about his work, about his goals, etc.
Share the highlights of the day & be supportive and understanding,
Find out what his area of interests are, read about them and be prepared to discuss,
Always say please and thank you, no matter how long you have been married,
Eat at least 1 meal a day together,
Be forgiving – overlook his mistakes and flaws and train yourself to remember his positive traits ( everyone has some – you just have to focus on them),
Plan activities together (be it traveling together, playing tennis, walking, eating out, going out for movie nights – anything you both enjoy doing together),
Laugh together – don’t take your relationship so seriously all the time. Couples that can laugh together, stay together,
Have time to cuddle – being in close contact, hugging & caressing melts away the barriers, anger & frustrations. We all feel better after a nice, big hug,
Say nice things to each other – If you spoke to your friend the way you speak to your spouse would they remain your friend? Be honest with the answer,
Always make up before you sleep, and sleep at the same time. Don’t lead separate lives.
The need for men to be respected is so strong that when they are given ample respect, they flourish like a plant that has just been watered. When they are deprived of the respect, they wilt and harbor feelings of sadness and resentment. Many times women put a lot of time and effort in keeping the house clean, taking care of the kids and fulfilling all the “duties”, but because they fall short in showing their husbands respect, the husbands will shut down and not show appreciation for all that she has done. It is critical to be sensitive towards men and their feelings. Even though men may not be as expressive, they can and do get hurt and it is much harder for them to recover from hurt feelings.
Here are some ways to show respect:
Always speak with kindness and politeness, regardless of how long you have been married. Show the same (if not more) graciousness to your husband than you show your guests,
Never shout, call him names or use profanity,
Don’t be sarcastic with sensitive issues – if he has any weaknesses or shortcomings don’t crack a joke about it. Even if he doesn’t get mad, he may feel hurt inside,
Listen to his opinion and honor his requests – you will be rewarded in this world with a happy home and in the akhira insha’Allah,
Don’t have a power struggle with him. When women are demanding and aggressive it makes the men be harsh and rigid. If you show respect for the role that Allah has chosen for him he is more likely to be accommodating,
Show love and respect to his family and be a unifying force. Don’t be known in his family as the person who took him,
Respect his “alone time”, and allow him to unwind,
Ask his opinions and value them.
Fulfill His Physical Needs
Intimacy brings about a whole lot of mixed emotions. Some sisters are not interested at all, some can never get enough and others seem to use it as a way to manipulate their husbands. There really needs to be some frank talk about this subject because I have seen many marriages suffer and fall apart due to problems of intimacy.
Sisters, if you withhold sex from your spouse as either a way to get back at him or to control him, you are making a HUGE MISTAKE. Sex is not meant to be a manipulative tool; rather it is a way to bring a necessary fulfillment to you and your spouse. I have had therapy sessions with numerous men who are addicted to porn because their wives show no interest in them or in sex. Men will feel the urge to fulfill their physical needs and if their wife is never available or interested, then some men will be tempted to either get a second wife or pursue haram (forbidden) avenues. That is why it’s of paramount importance for women to learn how to satisfy their husbands and to be available for them.
Here are some suggestions to improve your intimate relations:
Talk about sex together – the majority of couples have never spoken about it so how can they possibly know what the other person’s likes or dislikes are?
Only encourage with loving words when intimate – never criticize or judge,
Never laugh at your spouse when they are vulnerable and baring it all,
Don’t put pressure on him to perform – a large majority of men have performance anxiety. The more you help him relax, the less stressed he will be, the better he will be able to perform,
Don’t make sex about having a baby – it will happen if it’s meant to be insha’Allah. None of this, “Quick, I’m ovulating” business. The more relaxed you both are, the more enjoyable it will be, which will increase the frequency and the likelihood of getting pregnant,
Ask about each other’s fantasies and as long as they are halal (permissible), then go for it – be accepting and non-judgmental when hearing each other’s fantasies
Your wives are a tilth for you so go to your tilth, Surah Baqara 223. Meaning that you can have sexual relations in any way you want with your spouse as long as it’s halal.
Initiate intimacy – don’t wait for your spouse to make the first move every time. Be proactive!
Be engaging during sex – don’t make him feel like you are doing him a favor,
Never fake your enjoyment or else he will never learn how to please you,
Communicate during intimacy sharing your likes, dislikes and give gentle directions.
Make Him Feel Appreciated
When a man gets married he enjoys being the center of his wife’s life. He loves all the attention, the special meals and having his wife exclusively to himself. Once children appear in the picture, everything changes for the man. Not only is he not center stage – he is not even on stage! He sees his wife completely absorbed with the new baby and as much as he loves and adores the child, he simply doesn’t want to be replaced by him.
There are so many times that men are made to feel neglected. Whether it’s because of the newborn baby, her demanding job or her never ending list of errands and voluntarism, men are being overlooked and pushed aside. Each man is craving his wife’s attention. The woman that knows how to shower her man with attention and appreciation will win his heart. In my practice, working with couples, I have discovered that most people either have no idea how to show appreciation or they mistakenly show it the way they would like to receive it.
So here are some practical and easy ways to show appreciation to your husband:
Greet him with a hug and a kiss when he arrives home. Men have a need to feel important,
Make him feel that you are glad that he is home- this will create a positive association to being home; therefore he will WANT to spend more time at home,
Get off the phone before he arrives,
Make sure the place is presentable,
Have a sumptuous dinner ready,
Verbalize that you appreciate his hard work and all that he provides,
Be happy – nothing shows appreciation like a content smile,
Be understanding when he has to stay late or has to travel,
Listen to him without multitasking – I know it’s hard for us sisters to sit still and just simply listen, but it’s so critical to make a man feel heard,
You can lounge around in your sweats all day long chillin’, but before your hubby gets home take 10 minutes to wear something attractive (depending on what he likes – some prefer jeans and a cute top, others prefer short skirts or dresses – find out what he enjoys) and dab some lipstick and mascara on.
Men are exposed to so many attractive women at work, at school, in the malls, on billboards, magazines and T.V. so in order to strengthen them to lower their gaze they need to have something worthwhile to come home to at night. You don’t have to be a supermodel to look presentable to your husband. Just spend a few minutes to fix your hair and accentuate your best assets. Keep in mind sisters, that many times when husbands come home from a long day at work they may not immediatly notice your effort to dress up for him, so gently draw his attention to your new dress, haircut or makeup and let him know you did it just for him.
Make Him Feel Desired
When was the last time you gave a compliment to your husband? And I’m not referring to compliments on how well he fixed the leaky faucet. I mean a compliment on his looks or personality that will bring on a genuine smile. It seems that the more comfortable we are with someone, the less polite and gracious we become. Does that make any sense? Each person desires attention and wants to feel attractive. The need to feel attractive increases as men age, they require more assurance that they are still desirable and worthwhile. There are two ways to make a man feel attractive: either tell him by giving him a compliment or show him that you are attracted to him. Here are some ways to show your attraction to your husband:
Take the time to look at him – deep in his eyes and have your eyes lock. There usually isn’t enough time to make eye contact and since everyone always has to be careful to lower their gaze in public, here is the chance to stare and be rewarded!
Be generous in giving compliments – it’s amazing how a person will light up with kind words.
Be playful, flirt and make him feel like the most attractive person
Variety is always desirable. We enjoy an array of meals, an assortment of clothes and a selection of entertainment. This yearning for variety can be fulfilled even in marriage.
Here are some simple measures you can take to add a little zest and variety to yourself.
Get different hairstyles and change the shade of your hair color – make sure it is something he will like. Don’t go for shocking – always choose styles and colors that suit you the best. Don’t all of sudden choose jet black if you are blonde for the sake of creating variety – just go a few shades darker or lighter or get highlights.
Have a nice wardrobe for the house. ”What, dress up at home?” YES! You don’t need to be all decked out, but you need to have casual, nice clothes for around the house. Don’t just hang out in sweats, pajamas or tacky clothes at home and look your best when you go out.
Get monthly maintenance at the salon. You know the drill: waxing, bleaching, trimming.
Don’t just wait for a lady’s get-together or wedding to get these things done. Make him feel valued by looking well groomed at home for him.
Invest in nice lingerie – it’s not just for the honeymoon. If you want your honeymoon to last a lifetime have a selection of lingerie that you wear regularly. Select items that he would enjoy. Make sure that it looks flattering on you. Not everything that is seductive will look flattering so choose ones that enhance your best features. The secret is to look hot at home!
Try to create variety by getting intimate in different rooms (make sure you will not be unpleasantly surprised by a little visitor), alter the time of day that you get intimate (it doesn’t always have to be in the evenings) and try to be a little adventurous.
From time to time, go for an overnight stay anywhere without the kids- you will be amazed how a different setting will improve your love life.
As you strive to create a strong bond with your husband by being a true friend, you will become closer and more intimate. This intimacy will lead to a more satisfying and relaxed sexual relationship. With an ego that is showered with compliments, attention and appreciation, men will naturally feel more attractive and desired. As they start feeling debonair, they will be more intrigued by you and your versatility. You will create the variety which will break the monotony and have sparks flying. By investing the necessary time and effort into your marriage, you will be pleasantly rewarded with a more satisfied spouse and you will WIN HIS HEART!
Taken from Muslimmatterrs.org
And Allah Knows Best