Often when there is trouble brewing in our relationships, we look outward. We blame our spouse for what’s going wrong and magnify their faults. We forget that we are not perfect and something we may be doing is causing our spouse to react towards us in a negative manner.
Self awareness allows for introspect. It helps us be truthful and honest with ourselves and if resolution is our goal, it forces us to make efforts to change some of our bad habits.
I asked my husband Sa’id in our 5th to 6th year of marriage when things had reached rock bottom and divorce was looking like the only option to list all the habits I have that are not flattering. To tell me all the things I am doing that are affecting the relationship in a negative way. I also asked him to tell me the things he likes about me so that I can build on them.
Fortunately for me, he asked me to do the same. This was a huge turning point in our relationship because we had brought things out into the open and were ready for change, starting with ourselves.
I asked myself several questions:
Would I want to be married to someone like me?
Am I a pleasure to be around?
Do I uplift his spirit?
Do I support and encourage him and his dreams?
Am I there for him during the good and the rough times?
Do I have the qualities that I am hoping he has?
Am I a good person?
Is my character good?
Do I make an effort to look attractive for him?
Would I look forward to coming home to someone like me?
Am I committed for him and the relationship?
Sadly, I was lacking in so many areas. I had a lot of work to do. We both made an effort to work on our shortcomings. My focus was to build myself and make myself attractive and to look good, both inside and out.
I wanted my character and qualities to be so good that when he is not home, he would be longing to come home to me.
It’s still a work in progress but Alhmadulillah, 26 years later, we find our greatest pleasure is derived from coming home to each other not from going out.
We continue to work on ourselves, we continue to build ourselves.
The thing is, when both parties are committed, both parties see the other making a conscious effort to improve and grow and invest in the relationship, it makes it easier to make excuses for ones spouse when they slip or make mistakes.
May Allah continue to strengthen the bond between you and your spouse. May He grant you the courage to look in the mirror and also ask for feedback so you see your short comings and work on them ruthlessly.
About Maryam Lemu
Maryam Lemu has a career spanning over 3 decades, she is an
international speaker and an adept seminar and workshop
facilitator. She is currently the Head of Administration and
Resource Management at New Horizons College Minna, Nigeria, a
faith based school. She is also one of the Directors of ProStart
Consultants, a capacity building consultancy firm based in Nigeria.
Mrs. Lemu has travelled around the world delivering seminars on a
wide range of topics including team building, leadership and
personal development. She is passionate about human
development and character building and helps her audience identify
a sense of purpose and direction in life and the positive impact it
exerts on both work and personal life. Also, she delivers engaging
public talks on Muslim Identity, Living a life of purpose, marital and
pre-marital topics and particularly enjoys relationship coaching and
She is a known face with regular television appearances in Nigeria. She
is the host of the popular Islamic talk show Sisterly on Alif TV, and
Ramadan shows on several networks. She also produces YouTube
video series and has a large social media following, as well.
Mrs. Lemu has a broad range of expertise including Public Speaking,
Mentoring and Coaching, Leadership, Management, Communication
and Negotiation to name a few. She also provides consultancy to
Islamic schools based on her strong commitment to character
development, social responsibility and values-driven leadership.