What is the definition of communication? I looked at the below from dictionary.reference.com
1. the act or process of communicating; fact of being communicated.
2. the imparting or interchange of thoughts, opinions, or information by speech, writing, or signs.
3. something imparted, interchanged, or transmitted.
I started thinking – how many of us actually do this? At first glance I am sure most women would say “YES! I communicate to my husband all the time” – and I am sure they do. About the kids. About the laundry. And the holiday. And most importantly……the dinner.
But when was the last time you communicated about intimacy? How many of us have spoken out about what we do and don’t like? How many of us have asked for something new and “different”? And how many of us would be comfortable doing this?
In most societies you can pick up any woman’s magazine and see literally hundreds of articles on communication , getting what you want and need, how to be “the boss”, how to tell if he loves you etc etc. While some of this may be useful, it doesn’t necessarily work in an Islamic environment. For any woman, Muslim or not, the act of telling their partner that they are not enjoying something is a somewhat daunting process as the fear of how he may react runs through your mind – will he be upset/angry/disappointed/demotivated? So what if you come from an environment where you have only ever known your husband intimately, and have no idea how to broach this subject?
Of course, the answer depends on your specific circumstances but to summarize some tips on how to improve your communication I have condensed a few bits of advice on this:
1. Don’t be critical. No one likes to hear that they are wrong, or doing something badly. Carefully phrase your feedback as though its a suggestion, not a complaint.
2. Be gentle and kind. Yes, a very saccharine comment I must admit but most Muslim men want this (in fact, most men want this, but it doesn’t fit our “feminist ideals” to acknowledge this!) They don’t want a bolshy woman coming at them like a dominatrix with a list of techniques that they have downloaded from the internet. This scares them and makes them feel stupid. Take note. If things improve and your communication gets better, you can take it up a notch later on. Many men and women do like to experiment and this will come with time as you get to know your limits in this area.
3. Choose the right time. Not at the dinner table. Not in the car. And definitely not where any children or family can hear you. Chances are, your husband will be as embarrassed as you are. We all know that in most Muslim households, pride plays a big factor, so don’t blast him in front of the next door neighbor, or even the next door neighbors dog. He will not like it.
4. Take it slowly! One small bit of feedback is enough to start of with. Not five years worth of complaints on the lack of intimate satisfaction in your marriage. Chances are, he probably doesn’t even know or realise that your feel this way (and if he does but just doesn’t care, then you’ve got a whole other set of problems!) so take it easy and test the water. Only you know your husband, so see how he responds and take it from there.
5. And lastly, don’t fake it. There is no point. You’re setting yourself up for a lifetime of dissatisfaction and will inevitable fall into the trap of “I’ve been doing this for so long how do I tell him now?”.
Please note this is not just advice for Muslim women! I know women from all works of life who suffer with these issues, particularly from more traditional environments in Asian communities, where the heritage is more culturally ingrained. Whether you are Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Christian or any other religion, you may feel that this plays a huge part in your married life and in your knowledge of these areas. The most valuable advice, in my opinion, in point number 5 from above. Even if you don’t have the confidence to say anything right now, with time you will gain this. But for the meantime, don’t set yourself up for failure.
That’s it for now ladies! This is a huge subject so I will be covering it on a weekly basis and through some exciting new external links which I will keep you updated on. If you have any questions please comment below or contact me via the contact form. As always, feedback will be anonymous
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