Our hearts are such a mysterious yet wondrous part of our existence. They not only perform the most vital function of our lives but they also command our feelings, emotions and desires.
Without nurturing and attending to the needs of our hearts, we will always fail to find the balance in our lives that we are seeking. Our cups will continue to remain only part full and stress will surely creep in.
Our hearts demand loving and meaningful connections with other humans. But sadly, as mothers, often our relationships with our children and spouses become burdensome and ritual; mere responsibilities and to-dos.
Be the change you want to see in others and fill your cup with love and gratitude:
1. Make a gratitude list
Write out the things you’re particularly grateful for, at the start or end of your day (or at any time you feel it would serve you.) This will help you to focus on what you have and allows you to feel content and happy with those blessings. This is filling your cup with gratitude.
Read more about gratitude here.
2. Cuddle up with your children and a book
Many of us stop doing this as our children grow older, but a read-aloud story, snuggled up together, is always a hit with any age child. It fills their emotional cup and yours too.
If your child is not used to this, or resists/shows little interest, don’t be disheartened. It may be that you need to build some emotional connection with you child first. Continue with your other children if you have any or try again another day.
3. Spend time with a good friend
Laughing and talking with someone you feel comfortable with, helps release stress and reduce anxiety. But don’t gossip or vent heedlessly, as falling into sin will be counterproductive (i.e. you’ll be reducing the barakah in your life.)
If you feel lonely and don’t have any good friends, I really encourage you to try going to a coffee morning at a local masjid. If shyness is your barrier, take a deep abdominal breath, and commit to self-help. Remember, feeling nervous is the flipside of excitement.
4. Serve your parents
When you visit your parents or serve and help them in any way, do it with the intention of showing love and gratitude to them and to Allah. This paradigm shift transforms what often becomes a burden or chore, into an activity which serves you too and helps to fill your cup.
5. Nurture Your Marriage
Aah, finally the hot topic of marriage.
Well I’m here to say it loud and clear – marital intimacy is probably the most important part of fulfilling the needs of your heart.
Let’s face it, you didn’t get married to do house chores all day. You didn’t spend your engagement dreaming of days on end of crying children, relentless piles of laundry and endless grocery lists. You didn’t imagine your husband would come home exhausted from work, distracting himself with a screen of some kind until you put food before him.
Where did your dreams go sis?
Yes, I get it, when children come on the scene, life does get tougher. I have four myself. But isn’t it true that when the going gets tough, the tough get going? And you are tough – you’re raising little humans, feeding, teaching, clothing, cleaning and caring for them all the time.
But when did marriage, or even your own life, just become looking after your children?
Build your soul mate
If feeling resentful of your husband for not sharing in your struggles, is preventing intimacy between you, then recognise that your heart is suffering and crying out for attention.
Every married couple experiences disconnection and difficulties. But if your husband is not oppressing or abusing you, then you always have the opportunity to build a soul mate in him (because yes, they don’t just fall out of heaven!)
Stop for a moment and try to see that even though things aren’t as you wish right now, they don’t have to continue like this. You need to ride the waves, even the rough and high ones, keeping your sight firmly on the goal.
There is no perfection, there is only progress.
If you want to build the relationship you dreamed of back in your engagement days, you’re going to have to stop blaming him for not meeting your expectations. Blaming has never, in the history of time, made anyone co-operative, (yes, not even if they were most definitely guilty!) But rather, dear sis, think of your relationship as a cycle. Start with yourself, think about your husband’s needs and then start fulfilling them. In turn, feeling cared for and happy, he will fulfill your needs too (dont hold any expectations, be grateful for every small act of service), therefore continuing the cycle of your relationship.
Sis, you must start attending to your heart’s need for romantic love. Don’t hesitate to begin re-building your marital intimacy. Try these ideas:
- a simple smile while catching his eye,
- slipping your hand into his when you get a chance
- seeing him off at the door before work.
- a warm hug and kiss on his return home
- cuddles on the sofa before bed
- stroking his head gently after a long day
These easy and effortless acts of service, nurture affection, love and mercy between you.
It may be difficult at first, but as with our children, force yourself to do it by keeping the end in mind. Take control of your relationship puts you in the driving seat. Starting the reciprocative cycle of love, gratitude and service.
Will he ignore your efforts? Honestly sis, he might not repay them straight away (though that is likely too), but if you continue with a pure intention, believing and trusting that Allah will take care of you, inshaAllah, soon enough, he will also do the same, or more for you.
Be the change you want to see by using your feminine intuition and intellect coupled with a vigorous trust in Allah, to do so.
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