How To Get Your husband To Work For You!
It seems Ahmad could never do anything right. When ‘Aaishah asked him to fold the laundry, Ahmad was eager to help out. But rather than praise Ahmad’s contribution, ‘Aaishah criticized his methods: “Why must you bring the clean clothes all the way across the house and dump them on the couch?” she asked.
Ahmad turned on the television. “So I can watch something while I fold clothes,” he said.
‘Aaishah folded her arms and fumed. “I would have been done by now.”
It started with the laundry, but it ended with Ahmad and ‘Aaishah’s breakup.
‘Aaishah had no idea that her statement, uttered in frustration after a long wait in line at the bank and a flat tire that day, could be so detrimental to their relationship.
Ahmad loved ‘Aaishah with all his heart, but when ‘Aaishah criticized his method of folding laundry, she inadvertently called him a failure.
After the laundry incident,Ahmad shied away from helping ‘Aaishah with the chores, which led her to the false conclusion that he was lazy.
She began to search for occasions to prove her theory true, complaining about underwear in the bathroom or an empty glass in the living room.
Finally, Ahmad was convinced that he would never be good enough for ‘Aaishah. Rather than suffer further blows to his self-esteem, he ended the relationship.
Every day women perform great feats of strength, juggling the roles of employee, wife, caretaker and lover.
At times these roles stretch out of balance, leaving us overwhelmed and discouraged.
We need to talk to someone, so we bring our problems home to our sanctuary, certain that we can speak our minds without censure.
We use our partners as sounding boards, and sometimes targets, under the assumption that, in the name of love, they’ll understand and accept our grievances with the stoicism of a warrior.
But it is when we arrive home after a bad day and we fail to discuss what’s eating at us that criticism rears its ugly head.
For instance: Uthmaan is attempting to fix the kitchen faucet, and Maryam, angry because she bounced a check this afternoon, is tired of watching him fumble with unfamiliar tools.
Maryam really does believe that Uthmaan can fix the faucet, but her earlier failure with the checkbook gnaws at her patience. She loses her temper and says, “I’ll call my brother. He can fix it.”
Justifiably, Uthmaan is hurt. Maryam’s admonition means to him that:
a) She doesn’t believe that Uthmaan is capable of solving the problem.
b) She trusts her brother more than Uthmaan.
c) She is not willing to work with Uthmaan to solve their problems together.
How did Uthmaan deduce all of this from Maryam’s statement? Men think internally, according to Richard D. Rapp, licensed family therapist in Las Vegas, Nevada.
To solve a problem logically, without the aid of others, gives a man his sense of accomplishment, his form of validation.
This sense of accomplishment is imperative to a man’s self-esteem, and when it is doubted, his reason for existence is doubted as well.
Women, on the other hand, are vocal beings. We process information orally, voicing our thoughts out loud in an effort to be heard and thus validated.
Not only does validation cleanse the psyche, but it substantiates us within our relationships.
Knowing how men and women think differently, we may better understand why women feel compelled to speak their minds, and face the consequences incurred by blurting out incomplete thoughts.
‘Aaishah and Maryam fell into the criticism trap, for the real issue at hand was not that Ahmad and Uthmaan were incompetent, but rather that the women refrained from sorting out their earlier issues.
‘Aaishah could have handled the laundry situation with Ahmad much differently. When Ahmad dumped the laundry on the sofa, ‘Aaishah became frustrated.
Yet, rather than chastising Ahmad, ‘Aaishah could have said, “Honey, I’ve had a very trying day. Do you mind if we talk for a few minutes before you watch TV?”
Then she could have told him about the bank and the flat tire, and how it drained her of patience that day.
Or another solution: If ‘Aaishah was just too frustrated to speak, she could have taken herself out of the situation altogether.
Sometimes a walk upstairs and back down is enough. With further internal thought, she would have deduced that Ahmad’s contribution, no matter how odd, still freed up her time to do something else.
And Maryam, rather than making the broken faucet a negative focal point, could have encouraged Uthmaan further by voicing her appreciation for his contribution, whether or not he fixed the faucet.
By using positive reinforcement, ‘Aaishah and Maryam would be rewarding their partners’ good behavior (helping out around the house) with pleasurable consequences (praise).
Subsequently, Ahmad and Uthmaan would be more motivated in the future, in hopes of receiving further appreciation for their efforts.
For those of us who may doubt the ethics of positive reinforcement, or view it as “game-playing,” think of this: do we not seek praise from employers, parents and lovers?
Everyone craves positive attention, praise and appreciation. Rather than dismissing positive reinforcement as a game, view it as the ultimate symbol of your respect in a healthy relationship.
Once you’ve mastered positive reinforcement, you may want to pay attention to which thoughts you speak aloud, and the effects they have on your partner. Here are some tips on ways to avoid the criticism trap:
* Avoid using all-inclusive statements such as “should”, “always,” and “never.”
Women use these words as forms of emphasis, whereas men tend to take them literally. If you use statements like, “You never take me out alone anymore,” he will lose himself attempting to search for an exception.
* Think your thoughts through fully before you state your mind. This is very different from repressing your feelings. Start a journal where you can think things through on paper, and often you will solve internal problems on your own without issuing criticism.
* When discussing issues, don’t get sidetracked. If you are discussing whose turn it is to clean the kitchen, don’t dig up yesterday’s unfinished discussion of finances.
* Don’t be the teacher unless asked. There is more than one way to skin a cat.
No doubt that if ‘Aaishah had known she could cause such damage to Ahmad’s self-esteem, she would have tackled the issue differently.
After all, we have chosen our partners for their differences as well as their similarities, and sometimes we forget that their love is a gift.
Although from a psychological standpoint men are of a different ilk, their feelings and emotions run just as deeply as ours do.
If Ahmad can watch TV and fold clothes, then stand back and smile that he can do two boring things at once! Then take that time to do something that you want to do, and thank Allaah that you have one less load of laundry to fold.