Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat- Psychological studies in Saudi Arabia show that 80% of families refrain from expressing their emotions, especially that of love. When couples fight, both resort to silence before reaching an agreement. The only issue on which both parties agree to is that they will both be stubborn on the matter. Although the initial problem may be simple, dialogue and compromise disappears causing domestic problems that grow out of proportion, consequently making the solution more difficult to reach and impossible in some cases.
Psychologist, Walid Al-Zahrani, says, "Most Patients suffer from family problems. Inside their fenced homes, the spirit of understanding and control is completely lacking. Problems remain unsettled and they are not tackled until they can no longer be ignored."
Al-Zahrani believes that the problem lies in the family. Most husbands grow up without a role model. Their parents would handle their problems with this same silence, therefore children are raised without learning how to apologize or express their love in words. Many believe that buying presents is the only way of expressing love or an apology. Zahrani says that presents are meaningless for most women, as they do not portray the message that one wishes to put across.
He further adds, "Men suffer from this weak ability to express their emotions more than women. When given the opportunity, a woman is ready to respond and express her emotions." He continues, "A change in life style needs to take place in order for the youth to recognize and understand the concept of love, unlike their parents. This social culture has to be changed through the media and public outlets." He further stressed the role of the family in helping their children to understand emotions.
Like Zahrani, Amal Abdul Baqi, an expert of psychology and education at the Ministry of Education argues that, "the absence of the expression of love goes back to the traditions of Saudi society and is completely independent of religion. Using the words "I love you" is interpreted negatively and misunderstood by many people. Everybody labels them as dangerous words and so others refrain from using such important words that can have a great influence on people around us. Instead, these words are substituted for silence and purchasing presents."
Expanding on the topic, Amal explains, "In many parts of the Holy Quran, Islam calls for love and affectionate relations between a husband and wife for all members of society. The tradition of the prophet narrates endless stories about the importance and necessity of love." She says, "We should change the attitude of the whole of society by strengthening the concept of love. We must start using this word when expressing gratitude, regret or happiness. Such frequent reference would encourage intimacy between members of the family; consequently it would become a habit for the whole society."
Asserting that the feeling of love amongst children is vital to their emotional development, Amal says, "Unless the words and actions of parents reflect those of love, the emotional development of children will be seriously hindered. If children are not shown love, then they will not express such a feeling to their wives or children when they grow up. She suggests, "Organizing some training courses for mothers and fathers that would guide them on how and when to express love," and says, "the current role that society plays in such a task is not sufficient."