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How to eliminate domestic violence

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Added 9th December 2019 01:15 PM

You will not be a religious “activist” if all your activity is going to be outside the home

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You will not be a religious “activist” if all your activity is going to be outside the home

By Sheikh Muhammad Ali Waiswa

The New Vision last Friday, November 29, 2019, published two articles on pages 16 and 18 about fighting domestic violence. UN Women launched a campaign to end violence against women and girls. This campaign commenced on November 25 and will conclude on Tuesday, December 10.

However, how far are we willing to provide ourselves, spouses and children, with quality time to stay connected and enjoy each other?

• No time for family bonding activities in our tight schedule and fast-paced lifestyle. That is one of the most common complaints we hear from couples everywhere. Is this a legitimate complaint? Is it a sign of deeper problems? Is there a way to address this type of complaint before it goes out of control? How can you stay connected to a busy spouse?

• Whenever a spouse declines an invitation to spend an evening with his/her partner in order to catch up on work or to meet with friends, hard feelings are often created. As a defence mechanism, they might fight back and try to take their rights of companionship.

In these fights, they may feel even more humiliated since, as they perceive it they have to beg for spending time together. After struggling for some time without improvement they might resort to developing their own world, activities and circles of outside people away from their families. Their relationship deteriorates greatly.

Yes, they won’t fight anymore, but simply because they don’t care. When a couple stops being a source of satisfying emotional needs for each other, they reach an apathetic state that might lead to a much bigger scale of problems and even divorce. Everyone, whether man or woman, is an individual before being a member of a family.

It is unrealistic to expect that your partner will give up his or her identity as an individual after the wedding day. No one can share everything with another person. Couples should develop realistic expectations regarding the availability of their partners and give each other some space and time to act as an individual whether with friends or alone.

• After accepting the fact that both of you are independent identities, setting a time for family activities is a great idea. If you wait until both of you have some free time, you will probably never have this privilege. You must give this time a high priority in your schedule.

Here are some helpful tips to establish the habit of spending some quality family time.

1. Expanding the areas of your mutual interest:

• Develop an interest in the issues that your partner is excited about.

You can accomplish this by seeking knowledge about your partner’s profession and hobbies. You don’t have to pursue another degree or have the same career, some reading and serious discussion can create enough interest.

2. Choosing the right moment to address this issue:

• Find the right time to discuss your feelings if you think your partner is not giving your relationship enough time and attention.

Don’t try to overlook this problem or ignore it, because resentment will build up and it will only get worse with time.

3. Making family time happy and joyful:

• People naturally do activities that are associated with happiness and joy. Try to make the little time that you spend together high-quality time. Look you are best physically and psychologically by taking enough rest ahead of time, putting on nice clothes, and meeting your partner with a nice smile. Most importantly, make sure to minimize criticism, judgments and blame. Family members should be rewarded for spending time together by getting self-assurance, support and compliments.

4. Putting aside complaints:

• Avoid discussing problems or complaints. Schedule a family meeting to discuss these issues away from the family time that is supposed to be for pleasure and relaxation.

5. Enriching Religious knowledge from Holy Texts:

• Have a daily study circle within the family. Keep it simple (10 minutes). Each day, one family member could read a hadeeth or a verse or two from the Quran or the Bible and explain it in their own words.

6. Reevaluating your daily schedule:

• If you cannot allocate some time for the family because you work hard to meet your family’s financial needs, ask yourself what brings happiness? Review together with your needs and cut down on your spending. You will do yourself and your family a favour when you cut down from the time you spend making money and invest more in family activities. If you are too exhausted to spend some quality time with your spouse because of household chores and taking care of the kids, consider seeking outside help.

What are the benefits of quality family time?

Quality family time is an essential need that some of us tend to overlook.

Often we underestimate its impact on our marital and family relationships. The fruits that we will harvest by giving quality-family-time priority can be numerous. Here are some:

✓ Achieving the Religious objectives of marriage: Spending good time with the family promotes harmony, intimacy and reduces stress, which will help to achieve the main religious objective of marriage, which is to enable us to dwell in peace and tranquillity.

✓ Bringing personal happiness: a study in a recent issue of the journal of personality and Social Psychology, published by the American Psychological Association concludes the money is at the bottom of a list of would-be psychological needs that bring happiness and fulfilment.

Quality family time will improve our sense of personal happiness through satisfying our psychological and emotional needs of love and being loved, also through receiving support and self-validation.

✓ Protecting families: it is unfortunate but true that many Muslim/Christian “activists” who have spent much of their time and effort in religious services and promoting its causes had to see their own children and spouse drift away from the religious lifestyles. To busy ourselves with anything no matter how good to the extent that we lose our families and those we are responsible for is simply wrong.

The religious instruction about such an issue is very clear, “O you who believed, protect yourselves and your families from a fire whose fuel is people and stones, over which are {appointed} angel, hash and sever; they do not disobey Allah in what He commands them but do what they are commanded.” {66:6}.

✓ Strengthening our beliefs: In this case, couples are not at the same level of commitment to religious practice. Family time can assist in bringing closer to Allah.

The Quran says: “The believing men and believing women are allies of one another. They enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and establish prayers and give charity and obey Allah and His Messenger. Those – Allah will have mercy upon them. Indeed, Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.” {9:71}.

✓ Giving religious callings to your family through example: The best way of attracting is not wards, it is actions and attitudes that can display religious knowledge in what no spoken word can say.

You will not be a religious “activist” if all your activity is going to be outside the home. Only when people are around you see faith make a meaningful impact on your daily life, they may try to do the same.

Think about it. We cannot do that unless we can maintain a humble role model in our homes first.

The writer is the 2nd Deputy Mufti of Uganda Muslim Supreme Council, the Imam of Makerere University Business School and a national population champion and executive board member of the Inter-Religious Council

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