written by Princess R. Lakshman
Self-isolation is not about the world ending. It is about you stopping so that the world can heal. If you haven’t yet isolated yourself, now is the time to seriously consider it. And for those who are in self-isolation, use this time to reflect on your life’s priorities – health, relationships, vocation, and spiritual growth. This time, of less doing and more being, is a gift of healing.
The past few weeks have seen an increase in hostility between married couples due to this isolation. There is an immense need to pause and reflect on one’s intentions. Despite the hundreds of religious texts, practices, self-help books and podcasts that teach us ways to demonstrate love, compassion, care, and kindness, marital problems continue to soar. What exactly are we failing to understand about human connection and soulful companionship?
From my experience as a relationships counsellor, I feel that the main issue is that we use words without practising the essence of those words. For example, we use words like love, kindness, compassion, empathy, and so on, but we don’t really understand how to translate these words into action.
Take the following example:
The wife is taking a nap while the husband decides to surprise her and clean the pantry as he is bored during the lockdown. However, when the wife wakes up she finds that the pantry is not arranged in the same way as before. She tells him off, abuses him.
Another example is that the husband is spending all his time on the phone instead of helping with household chores.
And yet another example is that both the husband and wife are constantly trying to find fault with one another through incessant arguments, bickering and nagging.
These examples show what love doesn’t look like, what compassion doesn’t look like, what respect doesn’t look like and what kindness doesn’t look like.
So, what does love, compassion, kindness and respect look like? How does one translate these words into action?
It is in your tone. It is in your gaze. It is in your touch. It is in your ability to hold space while you listen to your spouse’s words without judgment or reaction. It is in your expression of gratitude, first and foremost, for everything your spouse is doing for you. It is in your choice of words – are you accusing or seeking clarification? Are you name-calling? Are you blaming? Are you using respectful words, kind words and speaking them in a kind, respectful tone?
Love, kindness, compassion – these are just empty words unless you translate them into deeds that are in harmony with the essence of these words.
These are challenging times, no doubt. We don’t need to make it any worse with our ugly thoughts, words, and deeds. The world needs us all to pause and heal a disease which is far greater than the Covid-19. It is the disease of unkindness.
One Simple Strategy
Have at least one hour every day with your spouse where you are not on any gadgets – no phones, tablets, laptop, smartwatch or TV – nothing that you are wired to. Just try to be in each other’s company without depending on any external forms of connection. Try to soulfully connect with each other. Hold space for an organic conversation to happen and flow with that. Hold space for your spouse to speak while you listen, without interrupting even once. Make this a daily tea time or coffee time or juice or smoothie time, whatever you both prefer. Learn to once again be with each other and learn to enjoy being with each other.
ALLAH (swt) bless your marriage and keep you safe and healthy. Remember, marriage is all about daily efforts of kindness, compassion, patience and respect.
Always remember, you are not your experiences. You are the FORCE that overcomes them.
For more inspiration, check out the YouTube Channel for Muslimah Mind Matters
Photo by Jack Sparrow, sourced from Canva