Book Title: THE KINDNESS MIRACLE:
A 5-Point Plan To Make Your Marriage Work
Author: Jamilah Samian
Acknowledgements … pg VIII
Introduction … pg IX
Understand Why Kindness Is King:
Choose To Be Kind Though It May Not Be Easy . . . pg 1
Embrace The Stages Of Marriage With Kindness:
Use Your Wit & Wisdom . . . pg 21
Mind The Early Years With Kindness:
Top Up Your Love Bank Often . . . pg 39
Get Better At Resolving Conflict With Kindness:
Rise Above The Hurt . . . pg 95
Create Lasting Synergy With Kindness:
Build Shared Goals . . . pg 155
To The Single Reader:
Pause Before You Say “I Do” . . . pg 209
100 Deliberate Acts of Kindness That Will Up Your Love Bank Account If Done Regularly . . . pg 221
Afterword – A Man’s Perspective on Kindness . . . pg 230
When I first began working on this book, I was keen to find out the secret of happily-married couples whose love and fondness for one another have stood the test of time. I read numerous research papers and interviewed a number of men and women, and was soon overwhelmed by what I found.
Some studies and personal experiences supported each other while some contradicted one another. As expected, expert opinions varied from one person to the next. It dawned upon me that this was by far the most difficult subject I had chosen to work on.
One day, after much introspection, I realised what I was looking for was something basic. Surely, beneath the piles of research and expert viewpoints, there had to be some fundamental similarities that people in happy and successful marriages actually share? Equally important, can a man and woman still stay in love after years of being married?
I struck gold one day when, sifting through another pile of research, I stumbled upon evidence which categorically proved that there are a good number of married couples whose physical and emotional attraction for each other hadn’t fizzled out despite decades of being together.
To my pleasant surprise, I also discovered studies which showed kindness as one of the strongest predictors in a marriage. It wouldn’t be far-fetched to assume that couples who have remained physically and emotionally attracted to each other throughout their years together simply chose to be kind to one another.
Hence the focus of this book, which is about arming yourself with kindness to keep love alive and well in your marriage. The kinder you and your spouse are to each other, the more likely you will have a happy and successful marriage. The opposite is also true; take away the kindness, and the less happy your marriage will be. Kindness does appear to have a direct and real impact on one’s marriage. What a simple yet profound truth!
At first glance, kindness, as a concept, seems simple enough to understand. Lending a listening ear to a troubled friend, offering someone a drink, getting a meal for a sick person – these acts of kindness are acts you have done or seen some time, somewhere. In a troubled marriage, though, such acts may feel like a chore or worse, a burden.
If studies that proved kindness to be a key factor towards growing a successful marriage were to be believed, we humankind as a group could do better. The number of failed marriages surrounding us is too high to think otherwise.
If we were to agree that kindness is such a simple thing and a key factor to grow a successful marriage, why are so many marriages failing? Is it that difficult to be kind to the person you are committed to spend the rest of your life with?
I believe nobody in his/her right mind would tie the knot with the intention of being unkind to the person he or she is marrying. Rather, lack of kindness is more a matter of not realising when we are being less than kind, especially when powerful emotions get the better of us and hinder us from responding in a kind way.
Being kind is not always an easy option, although in our calmer moments, we may admit it is the smarter and right thing to do.
This book spells out how you can use kindness to your advantage in order to win the heart and mind of the most important person in your life. It outlines certain colours of kindness that are crucial to your current and future marital success and happiness. It offers detailed real life examples, followed by insights and suggestions for a better, kinder alternative.
The Marriage Questionnaire I created and used for my research is in the appendix section of this book.
Last but not least, for the benefit of readers who are yet-to-be married and are actively looking for a spouse, I have included a bonus chapter right at the end entitled “Pause Before You Say ‘I Do’.” Here you will find some key ideas that can help you clarify your thoughts in finding your bestest best friend a.k.a. spouse. All the best and happy reading!
~ Jamilah Samian
Understand Why Kindness Is King:
Choose To Be Kind Though It May Not Be Easy
Does Kindness Always Work?
Let us start with some crucial questions: Can kindness be the magic pill to each and every unhappy marriage? Can kindness cure all heartaches in troubled marriages? Does kindness always work?
To be honest, the answer is “No”.
Jane’s story below illustrates a real life example where kindness may not be a long-term solution to a marital problem. As you shall see, Jane was looking at the bigger picture and that is what is sometimes needed, although, it is not always a recipe for success.
My new husband and I were on our way for a holiday when I looked at his passport and realised he had gone to Vietnam a few weeks prior, without my knowledge. We had a “confrontation” in the plane itself and it came out that he had gone there to meet a girl.
He said nothing happened. No way for me to know the truth.
But basically, by the time we arrived in Maldives, I was feeling angry and betrayed.
But there came a point within a few hours when I realised we were in this beautiful country, we were stuck here together for the next few days whether I liked it or not, and I could do either of two things – sulk, or try to forgive him, have a good time and rebuild our relationship.
I chose the latter.
In the end, the marriage broke down anyway, but it wasn’t for my lack of trying.
There are situations where kindness may not make sense, especially when one spouse is plain irresponsible. These include drug addiction, alcoholism, an abusive marriage, failure to provide the basic needs, or infidelity early on in the marriage, as Jane’s story has shown.
This book doesn’t promise solutions to every problem. Marriage can be tricky. It is possible that the situation you are facing right now that makes your marriage unhappy may be beyond the scope of this book. Having said that, for many of us, I believe that if at least one spouse were to be a little kinder, the marriage is more likely to survive and thrive in the long run.
In [Almost] Any Relationship, Kindness Is King
“Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”
– Mark Twain
Suppose at this moment in time, you feel like your marriage has lost its spark. You no longer feel attracted to your spouse, there’s nothing to look forward to in your marriage and even worse, you might even feel that the marriage itself is a stumbling block to your happiness.
What do you do? Should you hang on? Or should you call it quits? This book asks you to give your marriage one more chance by considering the kindness cure.
The penchant for kindness cuts across generations, creed and colour. You might have noticed it yourself. Family or friend, man or woman of all ages and stages adore kindness.
Look at any successful relationship between man and woman where both parties are truly contented, and chances are, kindness has a big part to play.
Take away kindness and the relationship is likely to wither eventually. Kindness is the secret to conquering a human heart – man or woman, family or friend.
The Kindness Miracle
“Constant kindness can accomplish a lot. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.”
– Albert Schweitzer
How true! Every kind act you choose to do opens the doors of goodwill and trust.
If things fail to work between you and her, you can’t change her. But you can change you, yes YOU. The way you talk, how you express your thoughts. Ask yourself: How can I say this in a way to inspire her to see and do things better?
A beautiful relationship is about winning hearts, not arguments. It’s about outdoing one another in kindness. It’s more of “What’s in it for us?”, less of “What’s in it for me?” It’s more of “What can I do for you?”, less of “What can you do for me?”
Let us together unearth specific and practical ways on how you can choose to be kind to your spouse for the sake of growing a happy and successful marriage.
Let us take a moment to spell out key concepts which, when understood, will clarify your thoughts and motivate you to act in kind ways which might not have been obvious to you before.
Ultimately, kindness is a choice that you make every day.
What if you’re not married yet? I have written a bonus chapter at the end of the book, which spells out some things you need to consider before jumping headlong into marriage. Meantime, keep reading! Too many marriages fail because people have little idea how consistent kindness can make a real difference in the long run.
As pointed out earlier in this book, kindness may be the strongest predictor to the long-term success of a marriage.
The things that make a married man or woman green with envy are not only the branded items they see others wear, or the exquisite holidays their neighbours can afford.
Rather, it’s more of hearing about the little acts of kindness that other married people do for their spouses. To start with, consider these quick tips to win your spouse over with your kindness:
- Be sensitive. It might mean not to watch a YouTube video. Help her clean up after dinner instead. It might mean not to ignore the piling laundry. Throw it into the wash so you and her could have half-an-hour of down time together.
- Watch your tongue. It might mean self-restraint, keeping your lips sealed. Resist the urge to dig out a past she would rather forget. It might mean not to blurt out “It’s your fault” when he made an error. Or not to vent out your anger when you are really upset. Wait for an opportune time when both of you can sit and talk to each other.
- Share the praise and share the blame. The first part is easy. Who doesn’t want to be recognised for a job well done? The second part is tricky. It goes against your pride and ego. The next time something goes wrong, accept your share of the blame. Your relationship might just take a leap. Try it. You’ll see. More on this later.
You and your spouse are God’s gifts to one another. God gives us what we need, not what we want. You and your spouse share a precious history that no one else is privy to. Regardless of the state of your relationship today, your marriage has brought you together.
Where Does Love Fit In?
“To love is nothing. To be loved is something. To love and be loved is everything.”
Let me make a confession. I am a diehard fan of love. As in, man and woman fall in love with each other, exchange marriage vows and live happily ever after.
The research I did to write this book only strengthened my belief that you can still be deeply in love with your spouse no matter how long you have been married.
I don’t mean the kind of love that revolves around convenience: you-do-some-work-and-I-do-some; we share the workload as roommates do.
I’m talking about the kind of love where you look forward to see and talk to each other every day.
Perhaps you, too, are having a rough ride in your marriage. It could be that you have been married for some years to the person you thought was your only soul-mate.
Once upon a time, before marriage and in the early days of marriage, you had so much to tell each other. Yet, for some reason you don’t quite understand, you have somehow drifted apart and love is no longer in the air. If this is true of you, I sincerely hope this book will draw you and your spouse together to recapture the love you have lost.
The Kindness Miracle offers 100 deliberate acts of kindness that will up your love bank account if done regularly. These include simpler actions like:
- Get up and offer to help when you see her walking out the door with her hands full
- Compliment him sincerely on his looks
- Place a bottle of water at her side of the car before you two travel
- Hang a fresh towel in the bathroom when the one he’s using is soiled
- Tell her one good thing her parents did
- Forgive him every night before you fall asleep
- Write a note of appreciation and put it on his side of the bed
- Give her thirty minutes of your undivided attention
- Say “Your father / mother is my hero” in front of your children
Higher levels of kindness listed in The Kindness Miracle include:
- If he says something unpleasant about your parents or family, choose not to do the same about his parents / family
- Step out of the room in the heat of an argument. Recall an act of kindness she did for you
- If a child of yours did something remarkable, attribute it to your spouse or his side of the family
- Tell his parents / family one smart thing he did as he listens
- When you feel upset with her, imagine there is an honoured guest in the house and behave accordingly
- After an argument, be the first to apologize even if you think it wasn’t your fault
- Stop counting who’s right and who’s wrong
- Remove the words “It’s your fault” or “I told you so” completely from your vocabulary
- Do it his way although you think yours is superior
- Focus on doing things together rather than who does it better
- Drink / Eat from the same mug / plate
- Respect his personal space. It doesn’t have to be organised the way you want
- Do not entertain the urge to speak to your spouse in a condescending manner when you are angry
- Stop reminding him of a mistake he made
- Don’t brag about your success at work, especially if you are earning more
- Celebrate your spouse’s success as though it’s your own
- Include her in your decision-making
- Accompany her to the clinic when she’s ill without mentioning the important meeting you had to reschedule with your client
- Ask him to tell you about his favourite childhood experience
- Donate books, clothes or other items to her favourite charity
- Don’t belittle him when he’s not able to do tasks typically related to his gender. For example, not all men know how to change car tyres
- Take the time to explain things that she is unclear of
- Honour your couple secrets. Don’t tell them to your friends or family
- Smile. As the saying goes, “A smile is a curve that sets things straight”
- Hug. What’s a marriage without at least a hug a day?
Growing Your Marital Love Bank
Falling in love is a mystery. But growing love isn’t. The magic of love can and does stay forever if you know what to do to grow it with kindness. Growing love is much like growing a tree. Just as water, earth and sunlight make a plant blossom, kind words and actions make your marriage strong and successful.
The Kindness Miracle is about love in a marriage: how to find it, how to grow it, how to keep it. The biggest challenge in a marriage is how to keep falling in love with the same person everyday. You do not have to be perfect to be loved and happily married. But you do need to understand the language of kindness to enjoy the kind of marriage you deserve to have.
√ Why kindness is king for both men and women
√ Strategies to survive the different stages of marriage
√ Blind spots that might derail your marriage
√ Ways to win your in-laws over
√ Simple acts of kindness to top up your love bank
√ How to bridge the introvert-extrovert gap
√ Secrets to get better at resolving conflict
√ Importance of emotional closure
√ Tips to tackle familiarity, boredom, ego and pride
√ A man’s perspective on kindness
“The thing I like the most about this book is that it focuses on what is in our own control. Kindness is in our control. So be kind. Very positive, implementable and powerful message.” ~ Mirza Yawar Baig, Founder of Yawar Baig & Associates
“Jamilah Samian offers a lot of wisdom, practical advice and real-life scenarios, making this a valuable book, not just for couples facing problems; but more importantly for those thinking of getting married and those just married.” ~ Brigitte Rozario, Author and Journalist
“I got your book today Alhamdulillah. Mashaallah, even the beginning is really heartwarming! I hope this book will help me and a lot of other people to improve our marriage. Also, thanks for the signature” ~ Alia Hosni