My Husband, My Friend, My World
As women, we desire to have a deep emotional bond with our spouses. 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’s the number one tip to improve your marriage: BE HIS FRIEND.
The most important aspect of a marriage is friendship. When there is friendship, any obstacle can be overcome. In the Qurʾān, Allāh 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 and how they showered the Prophet 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.
Read also in the ‘Win His Heart’ series: Get More Intimate More Often, Dignify, Honor and Respect Your Man, Never Take Him For Granted, Fight Monotony with All Your Might and You’re Still My Handsome Prince
Haleh Banani is a cognitive behavioral therapist with a Master degree in Clinical Psychology from University of Houston. She has over 15 years experience in diagnosing mental and emotional disorders and administrating programs of treatment. She was the first female to host a program for Al-Fajr TV called “With Haleh” which combines the principles of psychology and Islam to help people reach their full potential and overcome their challenges. Haleh is an internationally published writer and mother of three.