Story of Arsalan and Ayla (and maybe yours too)
Arsalan was very frustrated with Ayla. She complained frequently about not getting enough attention from him. Arsalan had managed to pay the rent on time for the whole year, despite a pay cut due to the Covid-19 economic crisis. He even took her on a road trip to North Pakistan. What else did she want?
Ayla, on the other hand, complained that she did so much for Arsalan, such as housework, looking after the kids, cooking, and managing all the outdoor errands. All he did was go to work and still he had no time for her.
But didn’t his work pay for their rent and the road trip? Arsalan contested.
But what good was it, if she never saw him? And when he did come home, he was either busy on his work calls or so battered that he never wanted to listen.
What was missing here? The true understanding of how men and women keep score of what they do for each other.
How Do Men and Women Keep Score?
When a man does something big, such as pay the house rent and take the family on a vacation, he gives himself a good thirty points each, because these are major achievements. He naturally focuses on striking one or two large gifts, annually. Next, he assumes that now he does not need to do any of the small stuff expected by his wife daily, because their score is even. His two major achievements are equal to her two hundred small ones, maybe.
Dr. John Gray explains: “A man rarely intends to take more and give less. He has a sense of fairness. Yet, men are notorious for giving less in relationships. Women should remember that men are not automatically motivated to do little things. They give less not because they do not love a woman, but because they believe they have already given their share. Women, on the other hand, give freely and assume men will, too. That is why most men after work come home to just sit back and relax and do nothing because they assume that their entire day’s work scored them big and it is their time to receive now. However, they will give, if you ask them without resentment and with love, trust, and encouragement.”
Women score differently. For them, each gift of love has equal value. Whether a man buys her a rose or a car, he will score one point each. For women, minor things are just as important as major things. A woman may be gratified with a man’s energy, effort, and attention instead of a comfortable lifestyle, where she hardly gets to see her man.
A woman gives as much as she can and only notices that she has received less when she is empty and spent. She needs many expressions of love in a relationship to feel loved. Imagine a fuel tank that needs to be filled over and over again. She needs a man to do lots of little things to reassure her that she is special. That is how a man can also feel powerful and effective. In return, she gives a man what he needs: love, trust, acceptance, appreciation, admiration, approval, and encouragement.
When men do little things for women, they must thank them with a smile to encourage them to continue being their knight in shining armour. Men hate to be taken for granted and stop giving if they are unappreciated or ignored. They can even give penalty points to a woman if they feel unloved.
Following are some suggestions for men and women to understand what pleases the opposite gender. Insha’Allah, this will alleviate some of the frustration and disappointments.
What Pleases a Woman
(for Men to Know and Choose From the Given List)
- Upon returning home, find her first and hug her.
- Ask her specific questions, such as: “How did your appointment with the doctor go?”
- Resist solving her problems. Instead, just listen and empathize.
- Give her twenty minutes of undisturbed time, which means no hidden glances at your cell phone, no flipping TV channels, and no talking to someone else.
- Bring her flowers as a surprise or on special occasions.
- Plan a date ahead of time, rather than asking Friday night where she wants to go.
- Compliment her on how she looks.
- Validate her feelings when she is upset.
- Offer to help her when she is tired.
- Schedule extra time when travelling, so she does not have to rush.
- When you are going to be late, call her to let her know.
- When she asks for support, say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ without blaming her for asking you at the wrong time.
- Whenever her feelings have been hurt, give her empathy and apologize.
- Whenever you need to be on your own, let her know that you will be back or that you need to think about stuff alone.
- When you have sorted out stuff, be back and talk to her respectfully about what was bothering you.
- Offer to wash the dishes, if she washes them every day.
- If she appears overworked, offer to do something to relieve her and then do it.
- When stepping out, ask her if she needs you to pick up something from the store and remember to bring it back.
- Let her know when you are planning to take a nap or leave.
- Call her from work to ask how she is or to share any exciting news that you may have.
- A couple of times during the day, do tell her that you love her.
- Make the bed.
- Take her side, when she is upset with someone.
- Offer to give her a back, neck, or foot massage.
- Be affectionate with her by simply cuddling her sometimes.
- Be patient, when she is sharing something. Do not look at your watch.
- Do not flick the remote control to other channels, when you are watching TV together.
- In public, pay more attention to her than to others.
- Make her feel more important than the children. Let the children see her getting your attention first and foremost.
- Buy her little gifts, such as a bottle of perfume or a box of chocolates.
What Pleases a Man
(for Women to Know and Choose From the Given List)
- When he makes a mistake, do not say: “I told you so” or offer advice.
- If he disappoints you, do not punish him in any way (words or behaviour).
- When he gets lost while driving, do not make a big deal out of it.
- If he gets lost while driving, remind him that it was destiny, and Allah (swt) must have kept some hidden Khair in it.
- When he forgets to pick up something, just say: “It is okay. Would you do it next time you are out?”
- When he forgets to pick up something again, tell him with trusting patience: “It is okay. Will you still get it?”
- When you have hurt him and you realize it, apologize to him and give him the love he needs.
- When you ask for his support and he refuses to give it, trust him that he would if he could, without assuming evil about him, and give him the benefit of doubt with no ill feelings.
- When you ask for his support and he refuses again, do not refer to the earlier refusal. Trust him again that he has some limitation, which he is unable to overcome.
- When he feels the need to be by himself, do not make him feel guilty.
- When he returns from his cave (spending time by himself), do not punish or reject him.
- When he apologizes for a mistake, receive it with love and forgiveness.
- When he asks you to do something and you cannot do it, respectfully decline him without giving a long explanation or list of reasons.
- When he asks you to do something, say ‘yes’ in a happy mood and do it.
- When he wants to make up after a fight by doing little things, let him and become loving and receiving again.
- Receive him happily, when he comes home.
- If you feel sad and angry, go to a room to fix your feelings privately and return with a better disposition.
- On special occasions, overlook his mistakes that would have upset you otherwise.
- When he wants to be intimate, receive him with love and happiness.
- When he forgets his car keys, wallet, or anything else, do not taunt him or look at him to insinuate how irresponsible he is.
- When you go out with him, be tactful and graceful when expressing something you do not like.
- When he is parking the car or driving, do not advise him until he asks.
- When he is taking you somewhere, thank him once you have reached.
- When you have to express your negative feelings, never sound blaming or disdainful.
- Never ridicule him in public.
These are just some ways for naturally forgiving and appreciating each other with mindfulness. The reality of love is sacrifice, placing our partner before us. It is also important not to depend emotionally on our partner so much that we turn desperate and needy. Rather, we should find ways to make ourselves content and happy, when he or she is not available to fulfill our needs. Let’s empower ourselves for a more peaceful and loving home, Insha’Allah!