Tag Archives: relationship

10 Ways to Shower Your Spouse with Appreciation

By Taha Ghayyur

Whether you are married for just a month or for a decade, you often take your spouse for granted. Courtesy, gratitude, and care for each other wears off. The same person whom, once upon a time, you would thank for little things, now feels unappreciated by you for all that they do for you everyday.

Why is it that today if some “stranger” offers you a drink or holds the door for you, you jump to thank them even before their act of kindness is completed, and yet, you show no gratitude to your husband or wife’s hard work all day long?

What we fail to realize is that expressing gratitude benefits both partners in the relationship—the recipient and the giver. When you give appreciation, you often receive even more in return.

One researcher found on days when spouses felt more gratitude toward their partner, they felt more attached to him or her and more pleased even the following day. Recipients of gratitude also increased their satisfaction on days when it was expressed.

Researchers refer to gratitude as a booster shot for romantic relationships. Moreover, each unit of improvement in expressed appreciation decreased by half the odds of the couple breaking up in six months, based on Scientific American’s December 2009 article, “The Happy Couple: Secrets to a Long Marriage.”

Thank you to your spouseEvery day is filled with wonderful opportunities to tell the special person in your life, how grateful you are for this relationship. Here are some simple ways to shower your husband or wife with well-deserved appreciation everyday:

  1. Thank your spouse because they care, not because it’s their job. When your spouse helps with a chore, whether it’s doing dishes, taking out garbage, feeding the baby, or doing groceries, don’t think it’s their job. Moreover, don’t take their work for granted just because you do your share of chores also. Appreciate the care and thoughtfulness that your husband or wife invests in this day-to-day grunt work.
  2. Tell them why you appreciate their act of kindness. Your spouse would be delighted to know why you are grateful. Moreover, specifying what makes you thankful shows you are sincere in your appreciation. Say: “Thank you for cleaning the snow. It gave me some time to relax!” or “It was nice of you to take kids to play outside as I was able to work on my assignment in peace.”
  3. Be creative in expressing thanks. Learn and use different phrases everytime. If you keep using “Thank you” all the time, it looses its charm and meaning after a while. Try more personalized phrases: “I appreciate it”, “I love it when you….”, “I am grateful for…”, “May God bless you!”, “Jazakallahu Khayran”, “What would I do without your help”, “I will pray to Allah for you…”…etc.
  4. Appreciate the time and thoughtfulness, not only the results. Even when your partner goofs up and is unable to deliver up to your expectations, thank them for their effort and time. If your spouse forgets to buy an item from the long list of groceries, or if he or she burns the dinner, don’t make them feel all their work was wasted. “It’s not a big deal, honey. Thank you for your effort.”
  5. Look for positives to appreciate even in negative circumstances. How often you get upset when your husband or wife tells you: “Honey, I have to work extra hours next weekend to meet a project deadline,” or “I am running late tonight,” or “My mom is feeling ill and she will need my help this week.” Instead of whining, thank them for calling you and informing about the situation. This way, your spouse will do their best to reciprocate and make up for the inconvenience.
  6. Write and leave surprise “Thank You” notes. You would be surprised, how powerful these little acts of gratitude can be in making your husband or wife feel special. These can make their day. You can hide a note somewhere for your partner to discover, or send a quick text message on your way to work, or shoot a heartfelt email, to simply say “Thank You!”
  7. Thank you to your spouse Let them know how important they are to your success. Count your blessings and accomplishments in life, and inform your husband or wife about the impact they have in your success. Whether it’s your career, academic pursuits, parenting, community work, or spiritual growth, appreciate how your spouse contributes to the achievement of your goals.
  8. Praise and thank them in private and public. Many a times a husband or wife feels appreciated at home, but feel they are worthless when they step out in public domain. Some couples don’t think there is a need to thank their special ones in public. On the other extreme, some spouses only thank each other in public to show people how well-mannered they are, while they are abusive at home. When your gratitude is consistent and sincere in all spheres of your married life, you will see the positive impact of it in your relationship.
  9. Go out of your way when they need help. The true test of a grateful attitude is when you take initiative to make someone feel special and serve them when they need your care the most. If your wife or husband feels down or drained one day, be more thoughtful. Offer to do the chores rather than waiting to be asked. Let them take a nap, give them a message, or given them a break from children.
  10. Use the time-tested method to thank. Say thank you with a gift. Doesn’t have to be fancy. Flowers, or a box of chocolates, or a dinner out at a restaurant, or a custom engraved stationery, or a gift certificate to a spa.

Leave a comment

Filed under Family, Personal Development

Building Bridges of Trust with Your Loved One

By Taha Ghayyur

So you are a newly-wed couple and wondering how do I earn by loved one’s trust?

Or you may be married for a while now and lately you feel your spouse has been getting paranoid and questioning everything you do.

Building, earning, and keeping trust, which is known as Amana in Arabic, is a daunting task that requires a life-long effort.

Building trust is like building a bridge. It requires multiple skills and steps: intention, determination,strategy, architecture, engineering, and gathering supplies. It involves labour and at times risks. Bridge building is not a one time task. It needs constant care and maintenance.

Why Trust Matters?

Building Bridges of Trust with Your Loved OneYou may be wondering, what’s the big deal about trust? Isn’t it something that comes naturally with love? Not necessarily.

“To be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved.” – George MacDonald

It’s crucial to understand the role of trust in a relationship, especially in a Muslim marriage.

Trust is:

  • the basis of your Islamic marriage contract
  • what glues the hearts and souls of two different, sometimes seemingly incompatible, people together
  • what helps you understand your life-partner’s needs, preferences and annoyances
  • what keeps you and your spouse going when the storms of stress, arguments, financial distress, anxiety and external interferences hit your relationship
  • what Allah asks us to have in Him for final results, after doing our effort (Tawakkul)
  • what Allah told us to fulfill: “Fulfill your promises that you will be questioned about them.” (16:24)
  • something if broken, makes Allah displeased. Ali bin Abu Talib once said: “Breaking promises makes others unhappy as also Allah will be unhappy.”

Not surprisingly, truthfulness (Sidq) and trust (Amana) were the primary qualities that attracted Khadija, may Allah be pleased with her, to the Prophet, peace upon him. The entire relationship of the first two Muslims in Makkah was founded on these remarkable qualities.

10 Ways to Build Bridges of Trust

Good news is, with a consistent sincere effort and an honest character, you can build and maintain bridges of trust and understanding with your spouse.

1- Never Lie to Your Spouse: Make sure to establish a truthful character in the sight of your spouse and children from the outset of your relationship. Have zero tolerance for lies, big or small, in your family. If you take “small lies” lightly, it may make your wife or husband think, if you can lie about something insignificant, what else would you be lying about? From small things to where you are going or what you ate today for lunch, to big things like your education, or immigration status, or family history, all require honest disclosure in order to nurture trust.

2- Never Deceive Others: While you may not be lying to your spouse, you may think it’s OK to lie to outsiders. For instance, calling in sick at work for some other reason; telling your spouse or children to lie to someone calling, “No, Mr. xyz is not home”; playing tricks on your business partner; or deceiving to your customers. When your loved ones witness your dishonest behaivour with outsiders, how can you expect them to trust you? A believer can never have one face in one setting and another somewhere else. This is what Prophet, peace be upon him, warned us about:

“Whoever has (the following) four characters will be a hypocrite, and whoever has one of the following four characteristics will have one characteristic of hypocrisy until he gives it up. These are: (1) Whenever he talks, he tells a lie; (2) whenever he makes a promise, he breaks it; (3) whenever he makes a covenant he proves treacherous; (4) and whenever he quarrels, he behaves impudently in an evil insulting manner.” (Bukhari)

3- Be Proactive in Keeping Your Spouse Informed: Small things such as letting your spouse know what your plans are for the day, who you intend to meet and why, and what your school, work or travel schedule will be like, will help strengthen their trust in you.

4- Hear Out Your Partner: If your husband or wife feels insecure about or suspicious of some activity of yours, listen to what they say and the feelings behind their inquiries. Don’t interrupt or judge them. Let them finish before you speak up. Sometimes understanding their concerns is more important than lengthy explanations.

Keep in mind this advice from an anonymous person: “Without trust, words become the hollow sound of a wooden gong. With trust, words become life itself.”

5- Avoid Things that Make Your Spouse Feel Insecure: If there are settings that make your spouse uncomfortable or if there are certain activities that make them anxious and insecure, regardless of their reasoning, it’s a good practice to avoid these as much as possible. Of course, any action, environment, or company that displeases Allah and is against Prophetic teachings should be avoided to begin with. Make sure you are aware of the Islamic limits on gender interaction and social engagements, whether in person or in the virtual world of text-messaging, phone conversations, or chatting on Facebook.

Pray Together, Eat together, and Sleep together:6- Be There When Your Spouse Needs You: Whether it’s a grocery item your spouse asked you to pick up on your way home, or you are requested to babysit children at home while he or she attends a meeting or a class, make sure you fulfill their request in the best possible manner. And it goes without saying, being there with your physical, verbal, emotional or financial support, in times of illness, pregnancy, loss of loved ones, or financial crisis, is the real test of your love and trust.

7- Be as Transparent as Possible: Don’t make your husband or wife guess or wonder what you’re up to. Don’t make them feel guilty for asking questions or having doubts. Be clear about your financial situation. Let them know about any illness or emotional limitations, or criminal records, before your marriage. If you have developed a reputation of honesty in all spheres of life, you shouldn’t have problem.

8- Spend Quality Time with Your Spouse: Building trust requires making time for the one whose trust you are trying to earn. Giving them your undivided attention and love helps them develop a true bond of trust and understanding. Doing things or going out with them, even to places you may not find exciting, is vital to earning their appreciation and trust.

9- Pray Together, Eat together, and Sleep together: This may sound very obvious, but setting your schedule in a way that you both are available to do these things together, is very spiritually and emotionally reinforcing. A relationship that is based on a strong spiritual and moral foundation can only bear love, trust, and respect as its fruits. Keep in mind, families where spouses don’t find time to eat together, sleep at the same time, and pray together often, are usually subject to miscommunication, insecurity, mistrust, boredom, lack of feelings of love, mercy, and joy.

10- Remember Allah’s Trust in You: God is watching you at all times. A constant reminder of death and your accountability to God, will always keep you in check. You would be careful to not to break your husband’s or wife’s trust, whether by watching something you shouldn’t be watching, or engaging in extra-marital relationships, or not fulfilling a promise or your spouse’s needs, because you know you will be ultimately breaking Allah’s trust. Your wife or husband and children are trusts from God. Either you take care of this trust, or God forbid, loose it.

Leave a comment

Filed under Family, Personal Development