By Haleh Banani, M.A. Clinical Psychology
Every man dreams of having a woman who can please him on many different levels. One that fulfills his desires, stimulates him intellectually and soars with him to new spiritual heights. A unique woman that will not only be a source of comfort, but also a source of strength.
It is very easy to dream and have expectations of your spouse but what do YOU have to do in order to attract a woman with these qualities and keep her giving at that level?
Generally, men are quite puzzled by women. They are not sure what to do or say to please the women in their lives. Whatever they do seems to get them in trouble. Since most men have this confusion, they simply stop trying.
This lack of effort from men creates frustration and discontentment. Most women feel extremely dissatisfied in their marriages. Within my practice as a marriage therapist, I have heard from dozens of women who have a long list of complaints about their husbands. These complaints lead to deep rooted unhappiness and many times divorce.
Top 5 complaints of women about their husbands
2. Financial issues
4. Lack of compassion
5. Too strict/too jealous
Almost every couple I have ever done marriage counseling with has complained about problems in communication. Most of the time women complain that their husband does not share his feelings, he shuts off, he doesn’t listen and he doesn’t know how to ask for what he wants in a diplomatic way.
Lack of communication or miscommunication is the bulk of the problem in most marriages. If people don’t know how to get their message across, how to listen or how to resolve conflicts they will face perpetual problems in their lives. Here are some suggestions in effective communication skills:
1. Make I statements…. never start the sentence with YOU. Say: “I feel neglected when you don’t prepare dinner” rather than saying, “You never prepare dinner.”
2. Always keep your voice down and refrain from name calling.
3. Seek first to understand then to be understood. Tough one, but very effective!
4. Share your thoughts and feelings with your spouse to make her feel a part of your world. Don’t shut her out or else she will feel extremely insecure and suspicious.
5. Don’t give one word answers – try to elaborate and fulfill her need to know. She shows you she cares by asking many questions.
6. Listen attentively – that means no checking emails while she talks and no watching T.V. Simply look in her eyes, listen and acknowledge her. Women loved to be looked at!
7. Give your wife compliments on everything you like about her – she needs constant reassurance on her beauty, on your love for her, on her cooking. Say it again and again with a smile. It will never get old!
8. Validate her feelings – say things to make her feel understood. Tell her you understand that she is sad, that she has a right to feel hurt or neglected. The worst thing you could ever do is tell a woman she is wrong to feel a certain way.
9. Ask for things with gentleness and kindness without being harsh or demanding. If a woman feels like she is being told what to do and how to do it – she will resist. If she is asked kindly and made to feel special she will rush to do it to in order to fulfill her need to please others.
10. Never compare her to anyone to get her to change. This is detrimental to the relationship, brings about hostility and a feeling of inadequacy. If you want her to improve in any given area compliment what she is already doing right.
Each person is brought up with different views and experiences with money. Some are brought up in affluent families that spend frivolously while others come from more modest backgrounds that are trained to save. When individuals with such striking differences unite there is bound to be tension and arguments. That is why money is one of the biggest reasons people fight and even get a divorce. Here are some suggestions for peacefully dealing with money issues.
1. Learn about each other’s view of money. Become acquainted with their experience with money in order to better understand each other.
2. Discuss openly issues or concerns you have about your financial situations.
3. Avoid getting into debt at all cost. If you can’t afford it – just don’t buy it. Simple as that.
4. Set a budget together and try your best to stick to it. If you slip, and go over the budget, quickly get back on track.
5. Increase your knowledge about resolving financial problems by reading books, attending seminars or listening to CDs.
6. Be honest and never hide or deceive your partner about financial issues because it could really damage the trust.
7. Try to compromise and come up with a win/win solution when you disagree.
8. Agree to disagree.
9. Consider the pros and cons of having a two house income or even having a part time job that can help alleviate the financial burden.
10. Save….Save….Save! You never know what the future holds so always be prepared.
The area of a couple’s life which offers the most potential for embarrassment, hurt, and rejection is sex. The majority of couples I have done therapy with have had issues in this area of their life. It is such an essential part of the marriage and yet very few couples ever talk about it. The goal of sex is to be closer, to have more fun, to feel satisfied, and to feel valued and accepted in this very tender area of your marriage. “Your wives are a tilth unto you; so go to your tilth when or how you will.” [Qur’an 2:223] Here are some suggestions to having a more satisfying sex life.
1. Fulfill your wife emotionally so that she can be receptive to you. Women shut off sexually if they don’t feel loved, appreciated or desired.
2. Set the mood…light candles, make dinner, give a massage, get flowers or anything that makes her feel special and loved.
3. Prolong foreplay. Make sure she is ready.
4. Take your time and don’t rush her.
5. Share your likes and dislikes in a gentle, positive way making her feel safe. Instead of saying you never do such and such say: I loved it when you…..or I would love it if you would….
6. Never criticize or make fun when getting intimate.
7. Always accentuate the positive – make your suggestions in a way that you are making a good thing even better. Even if you are dissatisfied don’t let her feel it.
8. When receiving your partner’s request, try not to see it as criticism. Have the attitude of a professional chef that is not insulted if a customer doesn’t crave a particular meal, but makes accommodations that will satisfy the customer’s palate.
9. Make her feel attractive and desired. The more you give her compliments, the more confident she will feel which will help her to relax and enjoy.
10. Make sure you try to fulfill her first in order to create a strong, positive association to intimacy.
Lack of Compassion
Men have different ways of expressing their feelings and emotions. Some express their love and concern for the family by simply working hard and providing the very best. They feel that the time they spend at work is an emotional deposit because they are putting so much effort so that their family can be comfortable. Unfortunately, this form of expression of love is generally not sufficient for most women. Women expect the men in their lives to connect with them on an emotional level, provide support and have fun together. “The best of you are those who are the best to their wives.” (at-Tirmidhi)
Here are some suggestions in showing compassion so that you can connect with your wife on an emotional level.
1. Tell your wife you love her daily – don’t make it just a once a year event.
2. Never enter or leave the house without a proper greeting. Let her feel that you are happy to see her and that you will miss her when you leave.
3. Make daily deposits in your emotional bank account with your wife by being understanding, forgiving, cooperative and by using words of endearment.
4. Call your wife or send sweet messages during the day. “…And live with them in kindness…”(Nisaa 4:19)
5. Eat at least one meal a day together and spend time sharing what you have done.
6. Give lots of compliments.
7. If she is feeling sad or angry, show her love and compassion by hugging her. If she says she doesn’t want to talk about it, she doesn’t mean it… you just have to insist sweetly.
8. Learn to apologize. Even if you were not wrong apologize for making her feel bad. Win her heart not the argument! Amazing what two little words (I’m sorry) can do.
9. Get her gifts and flowers so she feels that you thought of her. It doesn’t have to be something expensive – just a gesture that you were thinking of her. “And do good. Truly, Allah loves the good-doers.” (Baqara 2:195)
10. Be supportive and helpful with the kids. Offer to take care of the kids while she does something (anything) for herself. If she has the chance to recharge she will be a much better wife and a nicer mom!
Too Strict or Too Jealous
It is understandable that a man feels responsible for his wife and wants to make sure that she does not exceed beyond the boundaries that Allah has established. “Everyone of you is a guardian and responsible for those in his charge; the man, in his home, is a guardian and responsible for his household.” (Bukhari and Muslim). It takes diplomacy and gentleness to set guidelines without coming across as too strict and unreasonable. It is always a little flattering when a husband becomes jealous, but when it becomes excessive it is unhealthy and a source of stress for women. There needs to be mutual trust and respect in order to live in harmony and peace. Here are some suggestions for maintaining boundaries without being too strict or too jealous.
1. Be a spouse to your wife not a father. Don’t treat her like a little girl with a long list of rules. If you treat her like a child she will act like one.
2. Give her space to make decisions – if you hold her too tight she will feel suffocated.
3. Respect her and treat her like a partner not an employee.
4. Trust her – don’t interrogate her for every little thing. Gently ask questions.
5. Be reasonable in setting boundaries – if you are too strict she will either resent you or not abide by them when you are not around.
6. Don’t assume anything – check your assumptions and verify before accusing her of anything.
7. Be kind and understanding so that your wife will happily try to please you. Don’t be a harsh dictator that needs to be overthrown.
8. If she dresses or acts inappropriately just talk to her, educate her and help her to understand. Make her feel that you are concerned about her. Never be forceful.
9. Try to make excuses when she falls short.
10. Be playful with your spouse if you feel some jealousy. Make her feel how much you are attracted to her, how appealing she is to you that you simply don’t want to share her. This will flatter her and make it more likely that she will be more careful.
When you become more sensitive to the needs of your wife and you put effort in supporting her and connecting with her you will reap the rewards of having a more content wife. A happier wife means a happier home which means more peace and tranquility for you. By becoming more aware of these common complaints and implementing the suggestions you will definitely score big with the woman in your life!