Yesterday afternoon I was sitting on a park bench eating a sandwich for lunch when an elderly couple pulled their car up under a nearby oak tree. They rolled down the windows and turned up some funky jazz music on the car stereo. Then the man got out of the car, walked around to the passenger side, opened the door for the woman, took her hand and helped her out of her seat, guided her about ten feet away from the car, and they slow danced to a song under the oak tree.
It was such a beautiful moment to witness.
This morning when I opened my laptop to write, the elderly couple immediately came to mind, and I spent a few minutes daydreaming about them, wondering how long they had been together and what their best relationship advice would be. And just as I caught my mind wandering even farther off, a new email from a reader named Cory popped up. The subject of the email was a question: “Any good, old-fashioned advice for a struggling relationship?”
The synchronicity of my daydreaming and Cory’s question made me smile.
So in honor of that beautiful elderly couple, and in service of Cory’s present relationship situation, here are eleven old fashioned habits we need to bring back into our relationships:
Put down the smart phone, close the laptop and enjoy each other’s company, face to face, the old fashioned way.
There are few joys in life that equal a good conversation, a genuine laugh, a long walk, a friendly dance, or a big hug shared by two people who care about each other. Sometimes the most ordinary things can be made extraordinary just by doing them with the right people. So choose to be around these people, and choose to make the most of your time together.
Don’t wait to make big plans. Make your time together the plan. Communicate openly on a regular basis. Get together in the flesh as often as possible. Not because it’s convenient to do so, but because you know each other are worth the extra effort.
One of the best feelings in the world is knowing your presence and absence both mean something to someone. And the only way to let your loved ones know this, is to show them when you’re with them.
In your relationships and interactions with others, nothing you can give is more appreciated than your sincere, focused attention – your full presence. Being with someone, listening without a clock and without anticipation of the next event is the ultimate compliment. It is indeed the most valued gesture you can make to another human being.
Your friends and family are too beautiful to ignore. So give them the gift of YOU – your time, undivided attention and kindness. That’s better than any other gift, it won’t break or get lost, and will always be remembered. (Read A Return to Love).
No matter how sure you are of someone’s appreciation and admiration, it’s always nice to be reminded of it. So if you appreciate someone today, tell them. Just because they are reliable and there when you need them, doesn’t mean you should fail to give thanks and appreciation on a regular basis. To value someone too lightly is to risk missing the depth of their goodness before they’re gone.
Sadly, it is often only when we are tragically reminded of how short life is – that today could easily be our last with someone we love – that we start to appreciate every day we have together as if it were. Let this lesson sink in now. Don’t wait until it’s too late to tell the people you love how much you appreciate them.
There is no soul mate or best friend out there who will solve all your problems. There is no love at first sight that lasts without work and commitment. But there are, however, people out there worth fighting for. Not because they’re perfect, but because they’re imperfect in all the ways that are right for you. You compliment each other’s flaws in a way that allows your souls to unite and operate more efficiently as one.
You will know when you meet one of these people, when through them you meet the very best in yourself.
When you get to really know someone, most of their prominent physical characteristics vanish in your mind. You begin to dwell in their energy, recognize their scent, and appreciate their wit. You see only the essence of the person, not the shell.
That’s why you can’t fall in love with physical beauty. You can lust after it, be infatuated by it, or want to own it. You can love it with your eyes and your body for a little while, but not your heart in the long-term. Thus, when you really connect with a person’s inner self, most physical imperfections become irrelevant.
Too many prefer gentle lies to hard truths. But make no mistake, in the end it’s better to be hurt by the truth than comforted by a lie. Relationships based on lies always die young.
Lying is a cumulative process too. So be careful. What starts as a small, seemingly innocent lie (possibly even with the intention of not hurting anyone) quickly spirals into an mounting false reality where the biggest factor preventing you from sharing the truth is the unwanted reputation of being known as a liar. We lie to one another, but even more so we lie to ourselves most often to protect our “oh so fragile” ego. We may even be inclined to lie to ourselves while reading this, not wanting to admit how often we have eluded the truth. (Read The Four Agreements).
Take personal responsibility for your wrong doings. If you know your actions or words have hurt someone you care about, immediately admit your faults and face the reality of your actions. An apology is the super glue of lasting relationships.
And make sure your apology is sincere too. Say it and mean it. Don’t bother apologizing if you’re just going to continue doing the things you said sorry for. Never ruin an apology with an excuse. Excuses are NOT apologies.
This may seem obvious, but these days it’s worth mentioning: NEVER post negatively about a loved one on social media. Fourteen-year-old school kids post negatively about their boyfriends, girlfriends and friends on social media. It’s a catty way to get attention and vent, when the emotionally healthy response is to talk your grievances over with them directly when the time is right.
Don’t fall into the trap of getting others on your side, because healthy relationships only have one side.
Furthermore, relationships don’t always make sense, especially from the outside. So don’t let outsiders run your relationships for you. If you’re having a relationship issue with someone, work it out with THEM and no one else. (Angel and I discuss this in detail in the “Relationships” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
Elevate your inner game. A negative attitude is way below your horizon.
Our way of thinking creates good or bad outcomes. It makes a big difference in your life and the lives around you when you stay positive. So be fanatically positive and militantly optimistic. If something is not to your liking, change your liking and carry on with smile. Always turn a negative situation into a positive lesson and move forward.
Encourage the best possible results with your thoughts and words. And teach this philosophy to those around you too.
Be committed. Commitment means staying devoted and keeping your promises, long after the time and mood you made the promises in has left you. Doing so is vital to your relationships and long-term success in every imaginable walk of life.
So don’t just say it, show it. Don’t just promise it, prove it. Better yet, over-deliver on all your promises. Supply far more than what’s required. As Anne Frank once said, “No one has ever become poor by giving.” Whenever you can, go out of your way and do something nice and unexpected for the people in your life, especially those who are in no position to repay you anytime soon.
Stand by those you care about in their darkest moments, not because you want to stand in the dark, but because you don’t want them to either. Brave the shadows alongside them until they’re able to find the light. On the flipside, stand by these same people on their sunniest days, not because you want to scorch your skin, but because you’re not afraid to let them shine bright.
In other words, be loyal. Remaining faithful in your relationships is never an option, but a priority. Loyalty means the world to the people who love you. When someone believes in you enough to lift you up, try not to let them down. You can’t promise to be there for someone for the rest of their life, but you can sincerely be there for them for the rest of yours.
Get married, free, on muzmatch.
My name is Halima and I'm from Gauteng, South Africa and my husband (Arshad) is from Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa; we are both South African Indians.
He liked my profile on muzmatch on the 8th of April 2018 and on the 9th we started chatting and Alhamdulillah, today we are husband and wife.
About a month before I joined muzmatch I remember speaking to my mother in the kitchen as we cooked supper and she had full confidence that I'd be getting married soon.
I told her that I felt that maybe I'm just not meant to get married and be happy, taking into consideration that I personally felt like one could never find a decent man whose intention is to make Nikah in this day and age.
My Moulana had recommended that I join Nikah/Muslim match-making groups and muzmatch populated amongst my searches, so I downloaded the app and registered. After a while I had lost hope so I deleted the app from my phone but did not deactivate my profile.
It was a Monday morning, I had woken up to get ready for work,
I checked my phone and I had an email notification from muzmatch which read "Arshad likes you".
I was quite surprised; I looked at his profile and his biography was quite captivating but it seemed so surreal - this was too good to be true.
I used the link in his bio to view his Facebook profile, we had a mutual friend which was my cousin that also resides in Kwa-Zulu Natal, so I felt a bit more assured that this is definitely real considering that I had started to think that this could potentially be a catfish.
We started chatting that very morning and there was an instant click. It felt like we were long lost friends because of how well we understood each other and could complete each others sentences. We had the same interests and the same intention; we could speak for hours on end without running out of things to say.
We had realized that we are most definitely soulmates.
Within 2 weeks he called my parents to ask for my hand in marriage. In July 2018 (21st), I booked a flight to visit him and his mum for the day and after spending time together we knew that this was the right decision and that Allah SWT had created us for each other.
We then saw each other once again in August 2018 (25th - A surprise for my 21st birthday planned by him and my mum); and again in November 2018 when he flew up to attend my younger sister's wedding with his mum, younger sister and brother-in-law.
Slowly the long distance had become difficult, our younger sisters were both already married and settled and we started wondering when would we actually get married. In February this year he decided to relocate to Gauteng and found a temporary job.
His dad visited my parents and they decided to set a Nikah date, Alhamdulillah once the date was set everything fell into place by the will of Allah. He found a job as a PC Engineering lecturer and we were able to find our own place with our parents help and support.
Today I am happily married, living my dream with my husband and I have wonderful in-laws that love me as much as they love Arshad.
The most important quality I wanted in a husband was someone that could take my family as his own and Alhamdulillah I found that in Arshad.
We are now a huge happy family Alhamdulillah.
Jazak'Allah muzmatch! Arshad has found me due to the creation of this wonderful app (He always says that he found me, not the other way around).
I would advise everyone to put their trust and faith in Allah SWT, never give up hope that Allah SWT will send the one who is meant for you when the time is right - for Allah is the greatest of planners. May all the other individuals find their spouses through this app as well Insha'Allah.
Halima & Arshad
My name is Yasmeen and I found my husband, Taymoor, on muzmatch on the last day of last ramadan. We were both divorced.
The first time we talked on muzmatch was in June and we got married one month later in August 2018. I always wanted to send our story to inspire others who are searching for a good husband and wife.
We are both Egyptians, from Cairo, we even work & live very near to each others in New Cairo city. I am a digital marketing manager and Taymoor is an IT manager. I am 37 years old and he is 40.
I have a daughter who is 12 years old, and I was searching for a real Muslim man who would be a good husband and father. Finally I found Taymoor, who is a good man and a good Muslim, he is very kind.
I am telling my friends that I found someone who really looks like me from the inside. He was divorced and also has a kid, who is 5 years old. When we first chatted on muzmatch we spoke for over 6 hours, he was surprised much we got on, he even thought that this was a prank!
I couldn't believe that I finally found the man I was looking for. The first time we met, was after Eid al futr, in the House of Cocoa, as Taymoor knew that I loved chocolate. We talked about ourselves for over six hours, I did not want to leave and neither did he.
After we met I told my family and friends, and he did too. He and his family visited us and we got married in only two months, I never imagined that I would find my soulmate and marry him that fast.
I always wanted to find a man to trust and love, after being a single mom for years, I found out that my dream man was hard to find, but alhamdullah I found him on your app.
Alhamdullah, we are very happy together, my daughter lives with us and his son visits us on the weekends. You cannot imagine how much I am now recommending muzmatch to all my friends.
It didn't even take me long to find my husband. I used the app for almost one month or less.
I am so happy alhamdullah now that I married a real muslim I always wanted.
Get married, free, on muzmatch.
My name is Sara and I just wanted to thank muzmatch and let you know that I finally got engaged on 24th December 2018 and found my Fiance - Ghazunfar on the App.
We are really happy Alhamdulilah and just wanted to thank you for creating a platform for Muslims to find a suitable match for marriage!
I believe it's a real blessing because initially we matched but we didn't talk as he hadn't read my messages and was not appearing online. After around 4 weeks, I unmatched however after some weeks I logged in and I came across his profile again. After some giving it some thought I decided to rematch and give it a try again.
The next day he replied to me and the is history. Its been a almost a year since we matched on Muzmatch and we have set the Nikkah date which will be 1st March 2019 in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.
Our families are very happy and we are looking forward to entering into the blessed union of marriage Insha'Allah. We just wanted to say keep up the good work, may Allah bless you and request that you keep us in prayers.
One last thing to everyone using the muzmatch App - please do not give up, there is someone out there for us all!
Get married, free, on muzmatch.