Monday, April 9, 2012

Let's Talk (Part 3 of 3)

A mental connection between two people has a lot to do with understanding one another. It is not only a case of understanding what one says, but also being able to read their actions and read beyond the mere words spoken. One of the greatest obstacles known to humankind is the battle of the genders. To this day, men and women struggle to understand each other. That is in part due to the fact that men and women are wired differently and they simply refuse to accept that fact. Allow me to refer back to Mark Gungor here with one of my personal favorites (quite lengthy but well worth it!):

I do hate to generalize like this but safe to say, two brains of any gender rarely work the same way anyway. After coming to terms with the simple fact that our brains don’t all function the same way, you’re still not completely out of the dark. Understanding how the opposite sex thinks is one thing, understanding how the person before you thinks is what really matters here. Knowing how they think, what they like/dislike is a huge part of the relationship in my eyes. It shows that you know who they are…as they are. It shows that you made the effort to know what matters to them. It does say a lot because it truly does require effort to pick up on certain things that could be quite subtle.

Let me give two examples to illustrate how this could translate into a relationship. This time I won’t tell you a story, I’m gonna give you a rare first-hand experience here!

The first example is about one simple word. I have my own theory about the world’s biggest lie; the word ‘fine’. I believe no one has ever told the truth when using that word. I don’t mean the ‘damn she fine’ kind of context (I guess fine art doesn’t apply here either, although that could be debatable). I suppose I can safely say it is every other context.

‘How are you, how are your exams going?’……….’Fine’……….LIE
‘Sweetie, you’re sobbing hysterically, are you okay?’……….’I’m fi-i-i-ine’……….LIE
‘We haven't got Pepsi, is Coke ok?’……….’No, it’s ok, Coke is fine’……….LIE
‘We’re not going to be here for your birthday’……….’Yeah that’s fine’……….LIE
‘Sir you just fell and landed face first onto the concrete, are you okay?!’……….’Yeah, ignore the blood, I’m fine’……….LIE!!!

I know these are all petty examples, but honestly look back at all the times you or anyone else has used that word……….do you see it yet? Regardless, to me personally, the word is a lie. So if someone asks me how I’m doing and I reply with ‘fine’ although I’m the furthest thing from it, I am lying. And vice versa, if someone is clearly not fine and they are trying to convince me that they are, I don’t buy it! This is something I’ve only recently noticed I believe in so strongly (and have been avoiding the use of the word as to not blow my own cover!). I’ve always reacted that way to the word or treated it as a lie but I never actually realized that was my automatic response to it every time. When someone actually did pick up on my ‘Fine is a Lie’ theory and for the first time defined it for me, I was actually quite flattered that this person had noticed it. Not only that, this person knew I was not fine at all when I said I was, and was able to be there for me even when my pride wouldn’t allow me to ask (this theory is supposedly an effect of my alleged pride issues, supposedly). That’s what it means to know and understand a person, to be able to reveal the complex layers we hide ourselves in and go beyond just talking.

Another example is ketchup. I hate ketchup. In fact, I think I have a phobia of ketchup. I hate the smell, the texture, the taste, the sound, the movement, how the bottle always has nasty dried up chunks on the rims or in the cover, how it either plops out onto a plate or how it gets squeezed out. If someone asks me to pass the ketchup and I do, I refuse to believe that there has ever been more self control exercised than at that moment. Anyway, I suppose you get the picture. Now I do not doubt that my father loves me, but I am in my 20s, and yes my palette has matured as I’ve grown but the one thing that has never changed is my strong dislike of ketchup. Every time we have any sort of ketchup-friendly meal, he passes me the ketchup bottle or asks to put it on my plate. He sometimes gets me food with ketchup, completely forgetting how the thought of it makes me gag. I have to say, I know he’s my dad but it does hurt a little that my own father doesn’t know or bother to keep tabs on my ketchuphobia. He’s my father so it’s slightly different than in any other case.

This may sound silly but assuming he wasn't my father, yes these details do count in a relationship. If the person you share your life with can't seem to remember that you take your coffee with no sugar after having coffee together on a daily basis for at least a good few years, it can get a little frustrating, insulting even. Knowing how your partner likes their tea, knowing their preference of music, knowing the particular kind of books they like to read if they like to read at all! These things are pretty obvious sometimes so what matters are the not-so-obvious details. Knowing what to do when they are down, knowing how to put a smile on their face, knowing what annoys/upsets them and NOT doing it are vital to make the relationship stronger. Even when they have done or said something to hurt you, knowing when it was said out of anger or when they decide to take their anger out on you and forgiving them for it is huge. These mistakes happen with many people in many situations, not just marriage. We do tend to hurt those closest to us, and it is because we hope they know us well enough to understand where it came from and forgive us for it (this doesn't mean you should allow yourself to abuse those close to you, you won't always be forgiven).

Some marriages in our region happen so quickly that couples don't feel the need to win each other over with such efforts, and once married the goal is supposedly achieved. Men would like to think these things matter to women more than they do men. Nu-uh! It may seem so because women are usually the ones that pay attention to these things so they bake the cake you like or get you tickets to see your favorite team play in whatever sport. They do this expecting the same in return only to be disappointed that he’s so preoccupied with the game tickets to realize they were an anniversary gift. And you would be surprised how simple it is to please a girl in this respect, especially when most of the time all you need to do is just be there for her and God forbid actually listen to what she says. Yes, these things matter. The tiniest effort could make a world of difference! 

I tried to avoid this but I simply couldn't resist, another Mark Gungor video humorously explaining how couples 'keep score' on such things.  It's more or less and extension of the first video, but it shows how just paying a little attention and the simplest gestures every once in a while could help even out the playing field....Enjoy!


  1. Really very well said I loved all 3 parts but this is definitely my favourite, put so many things I always think about into eloquent words mshaAllah keep it up and please tell me there is more to come!

    1. Many thanks for your words of encouragement <3 I do think about these things a lot too and one thing that made me hesitant about doing this was for fear of coming off obsessive and desperate to get hitched, lol! In the end I couldn't help it, I just had to put pen to paper and write it down.

      InshaAllah there will be more to come and I hope it will be to your liking :P