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7 Critical Things Couples With Good Communication Do WAY Differently

Communicating properly is HARD. We’re here to help.

In the canon of relationship communication theory, John Gottman is widely considered the expert on why marriages succeed or fail. His research into the predictors of relationship and marital success and failure provides great help when pondering the impact of honesty within a couple’s communication.

Though the conventional wisdom favors honesty above all else, Gottman notes that cruelty and contempt often masquerade as honesty and are reliable predictors about the end of a relationship. So “honesty” isn’t a sufficient goal for improving relationship communication, especially when used as a battle-axe (“You’re fat and stupid.”) versus a lightening rod for greater information (“I’d like to explain how this makes me feel.”).

Honesty can wipe out love, affection and trust incredibly quickly. But nothing encourages brutal honesty like marriage or a long-term relationship.

After years of marriage, your spouse knows your weaknesses and sensitivities better than anyone. This intimate knowledge of habits, fears and foibles is sufficient cause to err on the side of silence when frustrated, but sometimes that is just not humanly possible. Sometimes honesty is the only way to clear the air, grow as a couple, and avoid subterranean resentment.

Here are seven ways to build kinder, gentler honesty in your marriage:

1. They agree that honesty is a priority.

If you cannot agree that you should make an effort to tell the truth to one another, perhaps you have bigger fish to fry than simple honesty. Deciding that you want to have open but kind communication is an incredibly important step in establishing honesty ground rules.

Example: I’d like for us to both feel more comfortable talking about things that are important to us.

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Zakat eligibility of The FYI

The Family & Youth Institute, or The FYI, is a well-known Muslim organization in the United States. It works to promote mental health and wellness by strengthening and empowering individuals, families, and communities through research and education. It has been working for many years to bring Islamic perspectives to understanding and promoting mental health in our communities.

It is dedicated to serving and supporting Muslims – safeguarding our deen, our families, and our future generations. Therefore, the work of The FYI comes in the category of ‘fi sabeelillah’ or the Path of Allah, within the eight categories where Zakat money can be used.

Zakah expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy and for those employed for it and for bringing hearts together [for Islam] and for freeing captives [or slaves] and for those in debt and for the cause of Allah, and for the [stranded] traveler – an obligation [imposed] by Allah, And Allah, is Knowing and Wise.”
(Al-Tawbah 9:60)

According to scholars who widen the meaning of fee sabeelillah to include any activities that promote Islamic growth, The FYI is indeed eligible to receive part of the Zakat funds for its programs and services. I urge Muslims in America to support this organization through their donations, general charity, and through their Zakat. I ask Allah swt to strengthen and guide The FYI to continue its good work in supporting Muslims.

Shaikh Ali Suleiman Ali, PhD

About Shaikh Ali

Sh. Ali Suleiman Ali was born in Ghana where he spent his childhood studying with various Muslim scholars. He then moved to Saudi Arabia and enrolled in the Islamic University of Madina.  He graduated with a degree in both Arabic and Islamic Studies. Dr. Ali went on to complete his Ph.D. in Islamic Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Sh. Ali serves on the Advisory Council of The Family & Youth Institute. He is the Senior Imam and Director of the Muslim Community of Western Suburbs in Canton, Michigan. Additionally, he serves as the Director of Muslim Family Services in Detroit and is a council member of the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA). He is also a member of the North American Imams Federation (NAIF) and the Association of Muslim Jurists of America (AMJA).