Channel: Haleh Banani
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Sr Haleh speaks to us about Healing, Reconciliation And The Muslim Family at the Texas Dawah Convention 2016
Bismillah salatu salam ala rasulillah. It's always heartwarming to be back in my hometown of Houston. So just like a lot here for having me. I want to take you back about 22 years ago, when I was doing my internship at the VA hospital. My supervisor asked me to go into her office, I went in, and I saw her on the phone like this holding the phone up. And on the other end, I heard crying, yelling, screaming, and I'm thinking what's going on? And when she got off the phone, she looked at me and she goes, Well, Hannah, I have the first marriage counseling couple for you. I said, Okay, I was excited. I said, Who is it? Like the lady I just got off the phone with I'm like, Great. Thanks
a lot. Thanks a lot. So we went into the first session. And I'd have the lie wasn't alone, I was with my co therapist. Now he looked the part he had the white beard. He had the glasses, he looked like Sigmund Freud, basically. And I was a 22 year old hijabi. And I went in there, my heart was pounding. These were couples in their 60s. And they had every problem, every problem you can imagine, with 30 years of marriage, and baggage.
And when they started, every time, my co therapist would ask a question, they would start yelling and screaming and crying. And he would ask another question, more crying, more yelling. And I had three thoughts. First was I need etc,
etc. Now, second thought was, what did I choose to do for the rest of my life? And the third thought was, I need to add value, I need to say something I need to have an impact. And towards the end of the session, I turned over to the lady and I said, Why don't you marry your spouse? And she looked at me, she transforms, she became a giggling teenager. And she's like, well, Billy was so sweet. He has to walk me to my class. And then I turned to him. And I said, Why did you marry her? And he's like, Oh, she was the most amazing, most beautiful woman I've ever met. And they're just talking and laughing. And that's when my supervisor came in. She walked in, and she goes, What y'all do? And my,
my co therapist that holla asked the right questions. And you know, many times, we lose sight of the reasons we married our spouse, we only focus on the negative traits that they have, based on a lot of the conflicts that we've experienced. And you know, what researchers say about conflict. They say that it is not the absence of conflict that leads to a good marriage, you know, what it is, it's how conflicts are resolved. So the good news is your marriage is not doomed if you have a lot of fighting in your home. And the other good news is that you can learn the skills to resolve conflict. Okay, and so that's what I hope to do with you in the next 2030 minutes, inshallah.
So, first of all, I'm going to talk to you about the five characteristics that you need to resolve conflicts, okay, there's actually 10 that's in my marriage program, but we only have time for five. The first one is wisdom. I can't underline and highlight this enough having wisdom, wisdom. Let's see what Allah says about this. Okay? Allah says, yo Attila hijk, metta me,
one may tell hijk Metapod o to fi rang Kathy row. One is in
Alba, he gives wisdom to whom He wills, and whoever has been given wisdom has certainly bigger been given much good and none will remember except those of understanding. So if you define hikma it is knowing what to say, how to say it, when to say and to whom to say it to how many people do you know who think about all this when they're communicating? Let me give you an example of a person with no hikma no hikma would be telling your wife You look fat in that dress. Okay, no hikma okay? With hikmah. Is honey Habib, T. You this dress looks more beautiful on you. Okay? So you have to think about the end result because if you share everything that passes through your mind, you're going to
be in big trouble. Okay? So think it through and think of the consequences. Allah also says Audrina, Saudi lira pickable Hekmati while Maui de la Santa wotja
Let's see here, son in Rebecca hawala movie.
Sadie invites the way of your Lord with what wisdom and good instruction and argue with them in a way that is best indeed your Lord is most knowing of who has strayed from his way, and he is the most knowing, and of who is guided. So when you're arguing with your spouse, I want you to be honest with yourself. Do you use that hikma and Maota? Do you use wisdom and good instruction? So the first one we said is wisdom, the first characteristic to have the second characteristic is emotional stability. I can talk about this for two hours. I'm gonna limit it. I'm going to give you a succinct description. emotional stability is basically First of all, let me tell you a little bit about
emotions, right? As women, we are overflowing with emotions, right? Some men are nodding yes, we are overflowing with emotions. Just imagine when two sisters meet after a while, how do they react? Right? How does sisters cheer their their son or daughter on the sidelines of a sporting event, we have emotions that are colorful, but we also have very explosive emotions, right? So being emotionally stable, it's about being
calm and stable, regardless of your circumstances. So it's not based on your circumstances that you lose your cool. Let me give you some examples. For instance, you're driving, you're driving, you're smiling, someone cuts you off. But you still you still remain smiling. Your spouse comes late, he had promised to come at a certain time he comes late. You still keep your cool, your wife is nagging you for the 10th time and you are still keeping it together. Okay? That is when you are emotionally stable, regardless of what you're going through. So what does that mean? That means no highs. No lows means no being a drama queen, okay? And no excuses. We really need to learn how to self
regulate ourselves, we need to know that regardless of what happens, we keep it together. I am a role model for all of us needs to be hotter it allow on her, she was so emotionally stable, and that's why she was emotionally present for her husband for the Prophet salallahu de Sala. We need to pull ourselves together so we can be present for our spouse. And it's about controlling your anger. If we don't control our anger, we will destroy every relationship whether that's with your spouse, whether that's with your kids, your parents, all your friendships and people at the mosque. How many times are people cutting ties with another person just because they were annoyed by that. So we need
to pull it together and learn how to control our anger. Allah says
Allah Dena young una facade rah, rah he Welker, the mean alpha, well Athena,
your head, boil Mastani.
Those who spend in the cause of Allah during ease and hardship, who restrain anger, restrain anger and who pardon the people, and I love loves the doers of good. So we need to have wisdom and we need to have emotional stability. The third characteristic is having respect. We need to know how to respect our spouse, even when we're angry. You know, when you say something disrespectful to your spouse, if you if you say a bad word to them, if you disgrace them, they will never be the same. They will shut down, they will shut down emotionally the shutdown physically. I had a client of mine who said the fatal mistake that she made in her marriage was once in the state of anger, she turned
to her husband and said something unforgivable. It was never the same after that. So we can't just blurt things out. Just because we're in a state of anger. We need to have that self self control, and be respectful to our spouse and find out how your spouse wants to be respected. Because each of you have been brought up in a different household with different rules and different understanding of what respect is. So find out and see if you are acting respectfully, because many times the brothers come in for marriage counseling and their first complaint is why I don't get enough respect. And the wife is like, I cook free. I do all these things. I take care of the kids. I don't
understand why you're saying this. But it's about he'll say your tone of voice.
Voice, the words you use, the way you treat my parents, all of these things are important. So find out how your spouse wants to be respected.
The fourth characteristic is being God conscious, being God conscious knowing that there is a surveillance camera, and that everything you say everything you do is recorded, and you will be asked for it. So sisters, you know, when you go to the masjid and you're all sweet and salaam aleikum, how can I help? I want to ask you, and I want you to be very honest with yourself, do you show that same courtesy to your husband and to your kids at home, and brothers, when you're at work, or you're at the masjid, you're volunteering, and you're all enthusiastic, you're full of smiles and You're charming, do you use that same charm and that same level of enthusiasm with your spouse and
kids? No, behind closed doors is where your true character shines. And so in order to avoid being a hypocrite, in order to avoid all of that, we need to really make our our public persona the one we portray to everyone else. And it's shiny and polished, and so beautiful, the same as our private persona, the way that we are with our families.
The fifth characteristic is empathy. Empathy, we need to empathize we need to be able to understand if you just come in with a closed mind and a closed heart. And you don't even listen to what your spouse is saying. You're not going to be able to solve any problems. So try to empathize put yourself in your spouse's situation, try to feel for them, so you can get to a conclusion. Now, before, before you even start any kind of conflict resolution, you got to start with two things. Okay. Ask yourself two questions. One is what is my goal? Even in fighting, we need goals. Okay. Even in conflict resolution, we need goals we need to see, what do I want to get out of this? What
is the objective? Is it just to have an adrenaline rush? Is it to win a fight? Because if that's your focus, if that's your goal, then you are headed towards destruction. Your goal needs to be I want my wife to understand I want to understand my spouse. Okay. The second question is you you ask yourself is, how do I want to feel after this argument? And how do I want my spouse to feel?
Does anyone ever question that that? Does anyone ever care what their spouse feels at the end of the argument? Or are some people secretly a little bit happy if they've heard their spouse, we have to be really honest with ourselves, sisters, and brothers. And that if we do that, that's the only way that we can overcome all these obstacles that people are facing in their marriage. So starting with the end in mind, ask those two questions, then we're going to get into the three steps of conflict resolution. Step number one, timing is everything. Okay? Don't just approach your spouse when they are stressed out, make sure they're not stressed, they're not hungry. They're not sleepy, they're
not preoccupied. When your wife isn't labored, that's not a good time to tell her that your mom is going to be moving in with you. Okay? That is not a good time. When your spouse walks in through the door, that is not the time to unload and say these your kids are driving me crazy, right? We create negative associations when we're not careful about these things. So make sure that you take 30 minutes your spouse walks in, you take 30 minutes, make sure all those needs are met, when the timing is right, guess what? They're going to be more receptive. I had an experience where
my spouse wanted to discuss my son's 10 year plan at like, 1am I could barely keep my eyes open. So we have to make sure that we pick the right time. Number two is complain. Don't criticize. Okay. complaint is an observation. Criticism is an attack of someone's character. Okay, so let me give you an example of criticism. I'm sure many of you will be familiar with these kinds of criticisms. Let's say you walk home from a long day of work and dishes are piled The house is a mess. And so you say to your spouse or like, what is going on here? Why didn't you clean up? Why didn't you do the dishes? Or you're so lazy? What is wrong with you? Right? That's a criticism. Now what would be an
observation what would be a complaint? Oh my god, I see that. You know, you didn't do the dishes. You didn't clean up. You didn't do this stuff. Is everything okay? Do you need me to help you? It's so it's not an attack, right? So we need to make sure that we're doing less attacks.
Then just making observation, the third step is find ways to defuse the situation. As things as things are just starting to pile up, as you feel the anger simmering and you're feeling all of that in your spouse, do something, do some do not add fuel to that to something that you know, would calm your spouse down. I had one physician that was doing marriage counseling, and he, he had an anger issue, and he admitted it, he's like, I get really angry. But all I need her to do is when I'm in that state of anger, it's just come over and hug me. If she just would do that, and not argue back and forth, I would be all calm. So she started to do that. And guess what, there was no more
explosions. So we need to see what will work with some husbands, they may like to use a little bit of humor, maybe just going over and telling them everything's gonna be calm, everything's gonna be good. And so we need to make those efforts. inshallah. Now, with, with couples, we have three choices, right? When a problem arises, people do one of three things they either avoid, and you know what the avoiding is like, right? Like, I'm not talking to you. There's this silent Cold War, there's tension, sometimes you go to someone's home, and you feel that, and it feels so heavy. And everyone is like, they're breathing loudly, and they're giving each other dirty looks right. So you
can either do that you can avoid, or number two is you attack. So there's this constant fighting and yelling, and sometimes throwing right people getting physical. The third solution, the third way to act is to confide in one another. And that's when you share your feelings. And you're mature, and you act reasonably in order to solve your problem.
And it's so critical to realize, when you are trying to resolve the situation, that validation is not the same as agreeing with the person, right? Sometimes people when they're mad, they're so scared to let down their guards. So it doesn't mean it when you say, Hey, I, I really I understand the fact that you're so upset. And you just say that you validate them, they will be at a totally different state of mind. The second thing is to realize that behind every negative emotion, there is a desire, there is a longing, look for that. So let me give you an example. Let's say a wife is constantly complaining about his about her husband, not coming home on time, being too late. You're
always at the masjid. You never come on time. You're always spending time with the buddies. Anyone you know, who has that issue? Yes, no one hamdulillah.
Alright, so this seems to be a very common issue. I've been doing counseling for quite a while now. And many of the sisters complain about this, that he's never home. He's never spending time with me. And what is the husband? Usually? What's the response to that? I'm working hard. I'm trying to provide I'm doing the best I can, right. And then what happens is that this escalates. But if you look for what is the desire? What do you think the wife is whining from her husband? What do you think?
She wants attention. She wants attention. She wants time. What does that mean? That means there is love for her for him. There are some women who don't have love in their heart for their husbands, they're not longing for them to come home. So the fact that your spouse is asking you and wanting you to come home, that's a blessing. So turn it around. This is called a paradigm shift. Instead of focusing on that problem, think about what is it that they're longing for? Let me give you an example. If a wife, if let's say the husband is mad, this time, the husband is mad, and it's like, you know what, I just all you care about is your family, your work? The kids, I'm not a priority in
your life. And usually the wife will become all defensive, right? And you defend and you're just like, you know, I'm just trying to take care of everybody. But what if she stops and thinks what is he longing for? He is longing to feel special in his in his wife's life. He wants to feel like he's number one. So instead of fighting back instead of being defensive, just look for that look for what it is that your spouse is longing for and give it to them and guess what? It will defuse that anger. And there are three aspects of relationships that you can change. Okay, one, you can increase positivity when you're not fighting. When there's not a fight, take advantage of it. do nice things
give compliments go out together increase that love number to decrease the negative negativity when you are fighting.
So okay, you get into a fight everyone does. It's okay. It's understandable. Like, remember, it's not the absence of conflict, but it's how you resolve the conflict. But in that conflict, no name calling, don't go getting other people involved in the community, calling out your family members, getting it, you know, escalating the issue. I had a situation where the couple they were doing marriage counseling, the man wanted to have time alone, they were in this little apartment. And it was understandable. He wanted privacy. So hence, he didn't use any wisdom. He didn't say, oh, how do you say, I really want to work on the merits? Can I have some privacy? No, he didn't do that. So
what happened is, you need to get out of the house. I am your husband, and I asked you to leave the house. And what does she say? Oh, no way. Right. And so that became a power struggle. Next thing, you know, she's crying, she's leaving the house, she's calling her mom, mom is saying go to a hotel don't go back, they discussed divorce. That could open it avoided and hamdulillah it was avoided and they didn't get a divorce because of that. But this is how when you don't apply wisdom, and you don't have maturity, things will go very quickly will go very sour. And then it's about increasing the positivity. When you're fighting what you have positive when you're fighting, how are you
positive when you're fighting, that's when you use humor, you use a way to kind of calm your spouse down and not allow the tension to escalate. So I pray that Allah gives us all all of those characteristics, all the things that we need the wisdom, the emotional stability, the the what else was there? Do y'all remember?
emotional stability, the respect the God consciousness, and what was the last one? Very good. What was it?
All right, it was empathy, right? And that Allah allows us that through these conflicts, we are able to restore our relationships and know that every time you have mercy on your spouse, every time that you feel like no, I'm right, I'm going to prove myself and you swallow that anger. You are grazing in rank you are ascending. So if you keep that in mind, then you're not going to be petty because honestly, the the characteristics that ruin a marriage is stubbornness. pride when you feel like you're too proud to apologize, too proud to admit that you're wrong, the immaturity I cannot emphasize and maturity enough how people regress when they are in a state of anger. We need to act
older we need to really model the correct behavior. And then just that laziness of like not caring, you just say you know what, I don't care. So May Allah give us all the sincerity help us in this in and to maintain our marriages and make it a source of peace and tranquility Yara says like Allah have Salaam Alaikum