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Do you really want to ruin your relationship?

Over the past few weeks we have been sharing ways you can unknowingly ruin your relationship. Some of the posts were difficult to read and I really appreciate you hanging in there and continuing despite the discomfort you may have felt. The fact that you are still reading is a sign of your commitment not to ruin your relationship.

As you read the various posts, what did you notice?

I really hope that you sometimes caught yourself in the act of doing things that would ruin your relationship. (And we all do some of these things some of the time, by the way) I hope that you became more aware of your attitudes and behaviours that could damage your marriage if left unchecked. I pray that you paused for a moment at times, and asked yourself: Do I really want to ruin a perfectly good relationship?

If, on the other hand, while reading the emails you only reconfirmed how your spouse is ruining the relationship – you get absolutely no points for that! You actually did not need these...

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Be passive-aggressive (How to ruin a perfectly good relationship)

When something bothers or upsets you, under no circumstance tell your spouse what it is honestly or directly. Instead, express your anger indirectly in other ways, leaving them feeling like the two of you are in the middle of a fight but not quite sure what they did wrong to cause it.

Some great ways to show passive-aggression are:
- Go somewhere you don't want to go but drag your feet while going there, be late, make sure you are not pleasant company. Let everyone see that you are not happy to be there
- Say things like "I'm not mad", "Fine, whatever." "Yes dear" while seething on the inside
- Deliberately procrastinate. Rather than tell your spouse that you cannot agree to their request, delay completing their request until they get very frustrated, thereby punishing them for making the request.

Such behaviour will ensure that it is not possible to resolve the issue or reach closure. Make sure that your anger is always underneath the surface, simmering, causing resentment and leaking...

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Save your best self for the outside world (How to ruin a perfectly good relationship)

Be socially charming, attentive to others in public and even flirtatious. Put on your best clothes and your best attitude when you go out. Be the life of the party and use humour and wit to entertain everybody.

But turn into a completely different person as soon as you are alone with your spouse.

In private be silent, critical, mean or aggressive. Never get the joke. Don't bother with personal grooming or charm.

This will ensure the speedy demise of your relationship because your spouse will soon recognize that you are capable of being nice, attentive and charming – just not to them.

If you wanted to save your relationship on the other hand, try this instead:

Adopt the stranger standard.

Be AT LEAST as good to your spouse as you are to others.

AT LEAST as good. At least as good to your spouse as you are to others if you want to have a stable relationship.

To have a healthy and loving relationship, you need to give your best self to those that matter most.

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Bad mouth marriage (How to ruin a perfectly good relationship)

When talking about your spouse, your relationship or marriage in general, be sure to moan and groan. Talk about the sacrifices you are making, how you have lost your freedom and how marriage is such hard work.

Discourage others from committing and settling down. Say things like:
Enjoy life while you can.
Marriage is the start of your prison sentence. Enjoy your freedom while you can.
You are stuck now - ha ha.

When you attend a wedding – instead of celebrating the couple and their commitment - feel sorry of them and show it in your words and actions. (Is it not weird that the humour at weddings focuses on demeaning the institution which it is meant to be celebrating? And then we wonder why the state of our unions is in so much trouble!)

Make and laugh at jokes about marriage, husbands, wives, in-laws.

Why is this a good way to ruin a relationship?

Because a good relationship starts in your mind and how you think about the concept itself.

When you are immersed in anti-marriage...

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Continue reaching out to loved ones

Maintaining Family Relationships

The month of Ramadan finds many of us trying to reach out to family, by an invitation for iftar or sending food and gifts. As the nights of Qadr approach, we are reminded about making amends with those members of our family whom we have issues with.

Through prayer and supplication, our hearts become soft, through closeness to Him, we begin to recognize the big picture and may be more amenable to forgive and overlook the small grievances that we may have been holding.

While reflecting on the Quran, we are reminded to pardon people, to manage our anger, to repel evil with good and to maintain relationships with our blood relations. We begin to recognize, once again, that He is happy with us if are human connections are in order. We are reminded that the path to Him begins with loving His creation.

Baby steps:

Regularly reach out to long forgotten family members through a phone call, email or text.


Consider inviting family to share meals with you, even...

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Continue calling on Him through Dua

 Dua
One of the most special things about Ramadan are the moments of connection to Him through Dua or supplication. The process of turning to Him and asking from Him enriches us beyond measure and gives us spiritual strength.

Whereas sharia applies to our outward actions and its job is to regulate human action in order to create the basis of social justice, Dua is the training the heart to love the Creator, to experience His love and to understand that the more you love Him, and have a personal relationship with Him, the more you understand that the laws of sharia are to help you reach your full potential.

The Duas that we have been reciting during this month all emphasize the personal quality of Allah's relationship with us and His all-encompassing love. Dua is therefore a vital practice to cultivate spirituality and nurture our connection to Him.

Baby steps:

Look through a compilation of Dua such as the Sahifa Sajjadiya or the Duas of Imam Ali (as). Pick one that calls to you....

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Continue the practice of giving

Giving generously

Many of us plan our yearly giving, Sadaqa, Khums and Zakat, during the month of Ramadan. We actively seek out those that are needy and reach out to them with giving in cash and in kind. We experience the deep sense of gratitude, humility and sense of satisfaction that comes from reaching out and helping fellow human beings. It reminds us of the human connection that we share, of our responsibility to the whole and of the necessity of enabling the flow of wealth rather than the hoarding of it.

Throughout the Quran, the acting of giving Zakat (literally means to purify wealth through giving) comes hand in hand with establishing prayer. Allah swt constantly reminds us that our relationship to Him through prayer is complemented by our relationship to humanity through giving.

Baby steps:

Be aware of need all around you. When the urge to giving strikes, do not second guess it or talk yourself out of it. Take action to meet the need in whatever way you can.
Remind...

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Continue reflecting on the message

Reading the Quran

This is the second habit that we developed during the month of Ramadan – a daily practice of recitation and reflection on the message.

To succeed in any area of life, the first step is knowledge about the rules that govern that area. We do not expect to excel at academics or in the workplace without reading the texts that govern the particular field. Similarly, we cannot expect to succeed in this world, get to know the system of cause and effect, to know ourselves or figure out how to achieve ultimate success in the hereafter without looking at the manual gifted to us by the Creator of the system.

Although we may have spent much time in recitation during the month of Ramadan, an ongoing relationship with the Quran necessitates understanding, contemplation and action. Only with understanding and reflection can we use the wisdom in of the Book to improve our life here and beyond.

Baby steps:

Read and reflect on one ayat of the Quran every day. Once again, it is...

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Maintaining our newly formed good habits

As we celebrate Eid and get back to our normal routines, let us reflect on the spiritual gains that we have made this month and reflect on some tiny steps that we can take to maintain the spirit of Ramadan alive so that the spiritual gains that we have achieved are not lost. So that we may start next Ramadan inshallah at a slightly higher plane of spirituality than we did this year.

This week inshallah we will talk about some of the actions that we took during this month and habits that we formed which helped us nurture our spiritual bond to Him. We will explore some small and simple ways that we can continue these practices in order to keep the spirit of Ramadan alive for ourselves.

1. Establishing Salaat

Ramadan is a time when we most conscious of Salaat and its' timings, especially the fajr and maghrib prayer.

Regular and timely prayer is the most basic and vital way to maintain our connection to Him. Salaat is designed by the Almighty to be an intentional and consistent...

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As we say goodbye . . .

The days of Ramadan have been long and the nights much too short. We started with some trepidation about how we would manage with the heat and the thirst. Alhamdulliah, with Allah's grace and strength, the month has flown by much too fast.

As we approach the final few days of the Blessed Month, we may be feeling a mix of emotions: a tinge of sadness at the ending of the month of Blessings, Mercy and Forgiveness, a feeling of accomplishment at what we have managed to do or perhaps a feeling that we did not do as much as we would have liked. We may be looking forward to getting back to our normal routine and to our morning cup of tea.

Regardless of this array of emotions towards the ending of this month, many of us felt an increasing level of spirituality and we may be wondering of how to make the awesome feeling of closeness to Him and spirituality stay with us a little longer.

For many of us, this is the only time in the year when we change the focus of our attention from worldly...

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