I’m sure we’ve all heard the clichés about the importance of good communication in marriage. From a personal perspective, I’ve known about it for a long time, but I never really understood the meaning of the word “communication”.
Communication means talking... so as long as we talk to each other, everything should be ok?
Not quite. Just recently I had an interesting experience whilst talking to my husband on the phone. It made me understand “communication” in a completely different manner. I thought I would share the story with you.
Everyone in the world has their own and unique reaction to frustration, anger and emotional pain. Some people like to talk about it immediately with someone that they can turn to, some people thrash it out with the person who caused the pain, others avoid discussing it with anyone, and some people want to be left alone with their pain and feelings because they like to dwell on it for a while in silence, without further communication.
When you get into a conflict with your spouse, both parties are bound to have their own reaction to negative emotions. I personally am the type who, when hurt, likes to be left alone with the pain. My husband on the other hand, likes to thrash it out immediately and solve it with me. It gets interesting when I start telling him to leave me alone, and he is insistent on fixing the problem a.s.a.p!
Initially I resented him for wanting to discuss things immediately whilst my brain had shut down and refused to negotiate or discuss. It was only later that I realised that he was only trying to help me. In my frustration I don’t see beyond my feelings and my desire to be left alone. By doing that, I don’t realise that there can be many negative repercussions of my behaviour, and that maybe my way, isn’t the best way to communicate in a marriage.
If I am left alone to dwell in my pain, I end up festering feelings of resentment, anger, disappointment and start making my own assumptions about things that may not be correct. I also create a wall between myself and my husband, and I shut him out. I go into “cold-war” mode and give him the silent treatment without realising it; because in my mind I’m busy dwelling on what happened. I always repeat the incident in my head and it causes the situation to worsen.
Luckily for me, my husband realised this aspect of my character a while ago, and told me that, although he thinks that I’m an amazing person, he feels that I need to improve my communication skills (which I agreed with). Ever since then, he’s been working on slowly bringing me out of my shell, and he makes me discuss my feelings, which I previously hated to do.
When I start to tell him that I don’t want to talk right now, he insists on discussing what I’m feeling, why I am angry, what my issues are and he moves towards solving the problem immediately. Initially, I HATE IT. Slowly however, I start to talk and discuss my feelings and in about 5 minutes, we have managed to sort out our misunderstandings, clear the air and resolve the issue. Then I look back and I wonder, wow, what just happened?
And I realise: what I hated, was actually good for me and all he wanted to do was help. That’s when I think to myself, Alhamdulillah for having a husband who cares about me and wants to help me improve myself; I always make a silent dua in my heart thanking Allah (swt) for blessing me with a righteous and caring husband, who understands me more than I understand myself.
May Allah (swt) bless our marriage, and the marriages of all the Muslimeen in this beautiful Ummah, and may He, Most High, reunite us with our spouses in Jannatul Firdaus. Ameen.