When the Better Half Returns Home (Part 2)

better halfOur last issue offered tips to the lady of the house in working smarter and resolving domestic conflicts. This time, we will take a paradigm shift and throw light on how the men of the house can contribute to strengthening marital relationships and avoid trivial conflicts by demonstrating more of generosity and loving kindness towards their better halves.

Tips for Man of the House

  1. On returning from work, before you step into your home turf, take a deep breath and relax your body. Thank Allah (swt) for another incredibly exhausting but successful day to get over. Count the many blessings sitting on your platter, such as your health, home, family, job, and life itself that we generally take for granted.
  2. Switch off your working man mode. Never let office troubles to tag along home, because they will neither let your mind relax nor enable you to enjoy your family life. Initially the task may seem insurmountable, however, with practice and effort you will learn to control your thoughts. Most certainly you would never want your wife to keep calling you at work for leaking taps and blocked drains, since that is not the place or time to discuss it. Similarly, it is unfair to steal family’s quality time for work worries.
  3. Greet your wife and family with a genuine smile. You do not have to drag your feet and carry a frowning face or a gruff gesture to validate, how you had to rough it up at work. As someone wisely said that the most beautiful attire you can wear is a smile, and it is not even expensive!
  4. Sit down, take a glass of cool water and remove your shoes. If you have kids, ask them to get your slippers or put away your shoes or briefcase for you.
  5. Take a minute to look at each and every family member to notice some positive difference either in their appearance or mannerisms. It may give you an opportunity to make their day by uttering a compliment. Bovee states – the small courtesies sweeten life, the greater ennoble it. At times a good sense of humour also unwinds stress and lifts low moods.
  6. If you have old parents living with you, give exclusive fifteen minutes to half an hour to them, depending upon your arrival time. You may request for a snack or tea with them, while they chat with you or even share their concerns. They will love the priority and significance you give them and shower their blessings on you.
  7. Spend quality time with your kids to enhance bonding. You may offer Isha prayers together. If time permits, play a game, listen to their stories at school or simply ask them questions about their day. If they are ready to hit the bed, help them change or brush their teeth. You may read a book to them or simply share an interesting incident with them. This is also a suitable time to narrate a Prophet’s story, revise Duas and Surahs or simply teach your kids to thank Allah (swt) for His blessings He bestowed upon the family during the day.
  8. You may take some time to relax yourself by simply doing what you like. Take a shower, change clothes, take dinner, watch television, read the newspaper, chat on the phone or simply lie down peacefully.
  9. But wait! Before you go out like a light, make time for a heart to heart with your sweetheart! Who? Your wife, of course! Ask her, how her day was, and what stormy seas she had to sail through to keep the peace and quiet of your life intact. A man once shared with Richard Carlson (Psychologist) that for every 5% he improved his listening skills, his marriage improved by a whopping 50%.
  10. Motivation and acknowledgment are the key words for the crossword puzzle of most marriages. While you may have attended workshops and seminars teaching you to reward and recognize your team and peers on the job, make no mistake that everybody operates on the same pattern. It is sad that we are quick to recognize and compliment complete strangers, but unconsciously and at times deliberately choose to ignore our loved ones, who deserve our appreciation the most. Dishing out genuine praise is one of the intangibles of life. There is no way to quantify exactly how much good it does. But it can improve any relationship enormously.

The fact is that you live only once. Is it really worth making yourself miserable all your life? Never! Don’t let miseries get in your way of living to the fullest, because it won’t happen again. You will live only once! So be wise and embrace life with gratitude. All the best and happy living!

When The Better Half Returns Home – Part 1

better half

After having a wretched day at home or outside, the first tempting thought that comes to a fatigued wife’s mind is to dump the despair on husband dear. If she can resist calling him at work, she impatiently waits for the day to end. Her eyes stay on the clock ticking ever slowly. There opens the door and she takes a deep breath ready for the kill. As soon as she sights her husband, she swiftly moves forward and pours the entire molten lava boiling within her on top of her spouse!

The husband already looks battered after toiling through the day. If he is the silent crusader, he will listen to his wife with occasional nods not daring to stop her tirade. He will silently pray to God for her tape to run out soon so he can rest his ears and relax his mind. If conversely he is the confrontational type, he will give her a piece of his mind to shut her mouth. That will be the end of all conversations for the day. The wife will end up with a swollen face and hurt feelings. The husband will end up with a quiet and peaceful evening to himself.

One cannot help but wonder how those women on television look so pretty when their husband comes home. The house is spick and span, the children are neat and tidy, even the pet looks ecstatic and well-kept. Don’t they have worries like unaccommodating in-laws, uncontrollable children, unmanageable servants, unending house chores, unannounced guests or uncountable bills to settle? Probably not on their planet but on earth, life is certainly not trouble free. So, is there a better way to handle these small matters amicably?

Following are some tips to help you revisit your daily schedule and relieve unnecessary stress from building up. It will certainly not do your work for you but facilitate a different approach to go easy on yourself.

Tips For Lady Of The House

  • Wrap up all your house chores at least an hour prior to your husband’s usual arrival time. Remember, even if you were granted 48 hours instead of 24 in a day, there will still be something left out screaming for your attention. A simple make over can work wonders and lifts up your mood. Besides, husbands also hate to come home to a worn out wife who gives them sore eyes. Even if they don’t comment they will certainly notice the effort and feel pleased with you. Besides that you will even earn a bonus reward from Allah for dressing up for your husband, Insha’Allah!
  • Goethe wisely pointed out that ‘He is happiest, be he king or peasant who finds peace in his home.’ When your husband arrives, greet him with genuine enthusiasm. Thank Allah for your family’s safety and good health. It may be tempting to throw your heartfelt miseries point blank at your husband but hold on to them patiently. The point is, sharing your troubles now would not earn you any benefit. Firstly, he may be tired and not in the best frame of mind to offer you sympathy or solutions. Secondly, all your efforts may never be appreciated and the cause may be defeated. Present your case at the best time so it earns the attention it deserves. As Benjamin Franklin put it, ‘He that can have patience can have what he wishes.’
  • Frances Brooke observed that worries are like a horse. They keep you going but don’t get you anywhere. Put your worries on the back burner and your mind in the present time. You may allow your husband some time and space with the kids or his parents if they happen to live with you, since both are hardest to convince to wait around. Meanwhile prepare him a snack or tea if he wishes so. You can get on with preparing the dinner or take care of remaining house chores. Or you may simply join them in their fun and play or discussion.
  • Some times there are genuine urgencies that cannot wait. This may include a doctor’s habitual appointment, something the kids want for school on a short notice, grocery shopping, visiting a sick relative or some other important social commitments that do not fit into your family schedule. As long as it does not become a routine, you may request your husband to help you take care of it, even if it means sacrificing his peace and comfort at home. Once in a while he should not mind it.
  • As per routine, ask your husband how his day had been. Work these days has become a market place of stress. Many times men bring it home bottled up inside of them. As humans have an instinctual need to be heard, just listening about their challenging tasks and reassuring them towards the positive lightens their burden.
  • Once you have allowed him his breathing space, gently open your can of worms. Here what needs to be checked is your tone and choice of words. The trick to be able to persuade any man is with love and tenderness. The minute a wife tries to wear the pants in a relationship, it’s like you have stepped on a cat’s tail. Men hate it when their egos are bruised. Michelet rightly states that, ‘Women are perfectly well aware that the more they seem to obey the more they rule.’ Handle your spouse like a fragile glass. Once you have won him over, not only he will be able to see your point of view but support it too.
  • Lastly and most importantly, each night before you call it a day focus on the positive aspects of your life in comparison to others around. There are always countless examples among us who make us realize how lucky we are to have what we have got. The key word to peace and contentment is appreciation. Learn to appreciate virtues of your better half and remember them for Allah has mercifully given great set of qualities to all of us in spite of our shortcomings. Make no mistake that happiness is hardly a set of circumstances. It is more of a state of mind. If you postpone being happy on the basis of ideal circumstances, you will never find it guaranteed. So start living now. You will enjoy the present for it is the best gift you can have!