The hardest work for a socially anxious person is dealing with people. It is the most stressful task to deal with. This explains why people with these issues tend to put off social interactions, or doing anything involving social contact.
Humans by their nature are social animals. They naturally have an affinity for interacting and socializing. And this is not an exception for socially anxious people. But because of the bad experiences in the past, they have found that the stress and anxiety associated with socializing far outweighs the urge to socialize, and as a result, there is a preference to avoid social settings. The ironic thing is that usually, all that was desired in the first place was to feel accepted and respected by their peers and friends. They wanted it so badly, that when they weren’t receiving it, they would try to do what it took to “earn” the respect and acceptance from their social circle.
A coping mechanism for dealing with social anxiety, at least for myself, has been alone time. Like coming from a hard day’s work, you need a time to relax and be away from work. So similarly, you need a place alone, that is free of people, who can potentially criticize you, make fun of you, or simply be upset at you, or not like you and/or some of your characteristics. You need a break from these threats.
So what then is the experience of marriage for a socially anxious person? Basically, there is no longer an real opportunity to have the break away from people. There is someone there, all the time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. After having a stressful day at work, dealing with people and the threat of disapproval, you come home to the pressure to figure out what to say to your spouse, to keep from having an “awkward” situation, or preventing them from feeling negatively about you or the marriage. It is the same whether they are angry outwardly, or internally angry and remain silent. Silence is almost worse at times. When all you want is just not to be bothered, there is that other person, either there with you, or away from you. If they are in another room, then you know they may be upset that you’re being distant, and not so interested in interacting. And when you’re in the room, and there is silence, you feel that they are not happy with something, and you still feel pressured to talk to “break the ice.” Simply put, there is no break from this social pressure, even in the comfort of your own home. Sometimes you dread even going home to deal with more social obligation, and you would rather go someplace else to avoid it.
This type of pressure dealing with your spouse of course is not the intent of marriage. Your spouse was created to be the comfort of your life, the “coolness of your eyes,” and your favorite garment.
هن لباس لكم و أنتم لباس لهن
“They are garments for you, and you are garments for them.” -Surah 2 – Quran
That is why there is even a supplication that asks Allah to make your spouses and children a source of comfort for you.
ربنا هبلنا من أزواجنا و ذرياتنا قرة أعين
“Our Lord, give us in our spouses and children, a soothing comfort” Surah 25 – Quran
“Where is that coolness of the eyes and soothing comfort in my spouse?” they wonder??……….
It will be nice to hear your thoughts on this post.