A simple way to keep your marriage fresh and strong

What makes love last? Is it possible to keep a relationship strong and vibrant over the long term or are we destined to live out our days in boredom and annoyance after the honeymoon is over? 

That is a million-dollar question and researchers have been asking the same question for a very long time. 
The beginning of a romantic relationship is often marked by high levels of passion, joy, attraction, excitement, and novelty. We find everything very exciting. 
With time, however, these feelings and experiences become less intense, rendering the relationship a great deal less exciting. 
This does not only happen in marriage and relationships but in all aspects of our lives. 
Let us take the example of travel: 
When we travel by air for the very first time, we are impressed if they give us earphones and a drink. It feels luxurious to sit in our seat with the stewardess coming around to check if we need anything and if our seat belts are tied. 

After the...

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Discipline versus punishment – what is the difference?

Parents often use the words ‘discipline’ and ‘punishment’ interchangeably when they are trying to correct undesirable behaviour in children. The two terms, however, mean very different things and they have different outcomes for children and their parents. 

Punishment: Essentially, punishment is about controlling children’s behaviour through power, control and fear. “I better not catch you doing that again!” is a common thing we tell children when we are threatening punishment. 

Punishments can be: 

Physical: such as spanking, putting a child in a time out or withholding something like food or the internet 
Emotional: such as calling a child names (stupid, lazy . .), making them feel small or withholding love and affection from them. 
Punitive: not being able to go somewhere or play with friends. 

While punishments do seem to work in the short term to stop undesirable behaviour in children, they are problematic in...

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The myths and realities of sexual abuse of children.

Sexual abuse. Just the words evoke disgust and revulsion in us. “It cannot possibly happen in Muslim communities”, we tell ourselves. “Certainly not in our community”. 

Sad as this reality is, sexual abuse of children can exist in all communities, including ours. According to stats of the American Psychological Association (APA), “Children of all ages, races, ethnicities, cultures, and economic backgrounds are vulnerable to sexual abuse. Child sexual abuse occurs in rural, urban, and suburban areas, affects both boys and girls, and occurs in all kinds of neighborhoods and communities, in countries around the world.“ 

It is a difficult reality to grasp and an even more difficult subject to talk about. The problem is that experts agree that people who prey on children thrive in an atmosphere of secrecy and denial. Sexual predators have confidence that parents in a community such as ours will not consider this to be a risk and therefore...

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What your smartphone is doing to your relationships

Few things in life can bring us as much joy in life as having fulfilling and close relationships with those who matter most to us – our families. Feeling connected to, being loved and supported by those whom we love has been called akin to experiencing heaven on earth. Maintaining family relationships is not only an integral part of our Deen, it is also a key to having a positive experience in this world. While essential for worldly and ultimate happiness, maintaining a strong family is less than easy in modern society. 

Families everywhere are feeling the stress of conflicting needs and schedules of dual working parents, the shortage of time and the pressures of living in an environment that often contradicts the values they try to nurture at home. Ours is also the first generation to experience the reality of mobile technologies that are always switched on. 

The Internet has expanded our horizons like never before and opened up a world of...

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5 Ways Moms can encourage Dad to be more involved in parenting

While mothers have always been celebrated as being vital in the upbringing of children, popular culture and even science, until recently, has mostly ignored the crucial role that father’s play in the healthy development and success of children. Attachment literature, therapists and parenting experts alike have focused on the child’s relationship with the mother, maintaining that it is this relationship that predicts whether a child will be emotionally and mentally healthy and well adjusted in life. While this is true, it does not mean that the role of the father is any less important. Thankfully, research has recently begun to recognize the different but equally important role that fathers play in their family. 

Fathers foster emotional intelligence and confidence in children 

According to the American report “Fathers and Their Impact on Children’s Well-Being“: “Even from birth, children who have an involved father are more...

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Keeping love alive a moment at a time

blogs couples love marriage Feb 19, 2016

One of the things that sets newly weds apart from couples who have been married for a while is how they respond to a “bid for connection” from their partner. Dr. John Gottman, the renowned marriage expert explains that a bid for connection is any small or big gesture made by one spouse to get the attention or affection of the other. 

Bids for connection are small everyday occurrences like calling your spouse just to check in during the day, commenting on something you read or heard, asking for an opinion or making an affectionate gesture. 

Spouses make these bids for connection many many times throughout the day. Bids can be in the form of questions or everyday comments such as “how do I look”, “did you see that?”, “what did you think of the show”, “it is cold today”. They can also be in the form of a gesture, a touch or simply looking at the other for a response. 

In the beginning, it is...

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You have a right to be angry

blogs emotions motivation Nov 05, 2015

Atiya started as soon as she sat down: “Here is what they did to me. And this and this and this”, she said as she recounted a long list of perceived injustices that her supervisory team at work had inflicted upon her. “Don’t you think my anger is justified? Don’t I have the right to be angry?” 


It is tempting to convince ourselves in situations like these that anyone in our shoes would react the same way. That we are doing what any ‘normal’ human being would do, that is be angry. 

Do you have a right and a justification to be angry when someone crosses a boundary or does you harm? 

You have a right to be angry. Of course you do! 

This is naturally how our brain thinks when we are upset. It is almost as if there was a lawyer inside our head making a case for our anger and against the person whom we are angry with. The lawyer inside our head is highly skilled. She picks and chooses her facts very...

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A Letter to My Daughter on Graduation Day

My Dearest Daughter 

As I see you standing tall in your hat and gown, my heart is bursting with pride. I watch you confident in your step and radiant in your smile. As you step onto the threshold of life outside “the bubble” (as you call it), I silently pray that you have many many reasons to flash that beautiful smile. You have worked hard and your achievements are well deserved. The pride I feel today, however, is the result of who you are as a person and not simply at what you have achieved. I am humbled and inspired by the poised young woman I see before me, wanting to contribute to making this world better, with a heart that is motivated by love and a sense of justice that leads her to take action towards the establishment of a better future for this planet. 

The degree that will hang on the wall will open many doors for you, I hope. It will, I pray, be the start of much success and achievement. People will likely commend you for the...

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Why I am not making any resolutions for 2015

2015 blogs resolutions Jan 01, 2015

l requires us to do something, to take action. 

In the above example, if I say, “Be more patient”, it is not clear what action I need to take. However, if I write “Practice speaking in a soft voice”, it is a clear action that I can take and practice. 

Realistic: When we are enthusiastic and inspired to make change, we sometimes become unrealistic in what we can achieve. While it is important to stretch ourselves and move beyond our comfort zone, it is also essential that we are realistic about what we are currently capable of. 

For example, if we have a challenge waking up for fajr salaat, it may be unrealistic to vow to start praying tahajjud every night from now on. 

Although there are many ways to make changes, the easiest and most sustainable one is to make small but significant changes on an ongoing basis. Since these changes are sustainable, there is a greater chance that they will ‘stick’. 


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Why don’t you get it?

Do you sometimes feel that you and the person you are talking to are speaking different languages? You want to get your message across an you think you are being clear but it seems to be getting lost in translation. Does it seem that the person you are talking to appears to be getting a completely different message than the one you intended? In relationships, it is very common to have this experience of the “broken telephone” type of communication where you say and what the other hears is rather different from each other. 

The message that you have in your head and want to communicate is the “intention’ of the message and the message that is actually received by the person you are talking to is the “impact ” of the message. 

When the impact of your communication is different from the intention, it is likely that there arefilterswhich are distorting your message before it is received by the other. 

Howard J. Markman,...

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