After Married, What Next? – Habis Nikah, Ngapain?
4 January 2018
‘Habis Nikah, Ngapain?’ is the go-to book for any newlywed couples or couples that have been married for years. Basically, if you’re married or planning on getting married, you need to read this book.
The author, Daniel Arseneault, put his heart and soul into writing this book. His personalized experiences, along with the many people he interviewed for the content of this book, really hit home and could easily be compared to your own marital issues.
Daniel’s use of analogies really helps in comparing marriage to other ‘real’ tangible things we may not have thought about in our marriage before. The most important thread running through the whole book is about how building or losing the ‘connection’ can make or break your marriage. The book goes into depth about 6 habits every married couple needs to implement in their own life.
Every marriage is different, but all need to based on love and connection. There’s a mutual sharing of one’s own heart and mind and I think Daniel did a great job of writing about habits you can apply to make your marriage work.
Here are some of the tips Daniel offers us in ‘Habis Nikah, Ngapain’.
Note: Most of the examples and references to stats come from Indonesia since this book will be published in Indonesian. Regardless of where the stats are from, the tips are helpful for any married couple anywhere in the world.
‘Habis Nikah, Ngapain?’ Intro
‘I have not failed, I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.’
-Thomas A. Edison
Daniel goes about explaining how he came up with the idea of writing this book, and from my personal interactions with Daniel, I found out that the main reason he chose to write ‘Habis Nikah, Ngapain?’ was to make sure no one ever goes through what he went through in his personal marriage and eventual divorce. His personal stories are touching and eye-opening. Some of the stories you may be able to connect with directly and some may be completely different, but all of these stories are completely true for at least a few of you.
So, even if Daniel were to only help one person save their marriage from death, that would make him extremely happy. He already has accomplished his goal through me. This book has helped me to see the flaws in how I treated my marriage in the past but has improved since I read this book. It has helped me fix and grow my marriage into a beautiful matrimony. You can take my personal experience and application of the methods Daniel suggests throughout this book as actual proof that it works.
Another reason Daniel wrote this book is because of the surprising fact about divorce rates in Indonesia is that 350,000 couples get a divorce every single year according to the Ministry of Religious Affairs. This was a motivating factor in Daniel’s WHY for writing this book. He wants to decrease this statistic drastically by reaching out to people and helping them solve their problems.
In fact, it’s not really about solving marital problems, it’s more about preventing them from happening. But, you may ask how? ‘Habis Nikah, Ngapain?’ shows that losing the ‘connection’ you once had when you first started dating with your spouse is the overall root leading up to divorce.
‘Habis Nikah, Ngapain?’ – Why Do We Get Married?
Yes, that is the major question the first chapter goes through and gives several examples of why people in Indonesia and around the world get married. The reasons vary from being almost past the marriageable age which typically is around 25 max in Indonesia or being pressured by your parents which is an everyday occurrence in Indonesian culture. In fact, arranged marriages are still acceptable in Indonesia, although not always appreciated by the couple being arranged to get married.
Powerful Lesson #1: The main lesson here is to realize there can be an infinite amount reasons for marrying someone, not all are good, but all should have the same result. Love. Whatever the reason for marrying someone you must eventually grow to love them and understand each other’s differences. Make it work by growing together and keeping that connection strong.
Note: There are ‘Practical Exercises’ at the end of each chapter which makes an interactive addition to the book. I highly recommend going through each exercise as you won’t get the full effect of the book if you don’t. Trust me, you won’t regret it.
‘Habis Nikah, Ngapain?’ – The Problem is Not the Problem
The ‘six major problems’ plaguing Indonesia’s marriages today and in fact around the world are discussed in this chapter which leads nicely into the following chapter about that thread I mentioned earlier about ‘connections’ which ties the whole book together. ‘Connections’ are the analogical binding of this book.
The Six Major Problems
I have to forewarn you the six problems could potentially have a whole book written about each. The thought about mentioning these problems in ‘Habis Nikah, Ngapain?‘ are in fact valid to this book and are an introduction to other issues you might want to consider studying about in the future after you read this book.
Money can be the most sensitive subject in almost every marriage. It is an issue especially sensitive for men and in Indonesia, men are the main breadwinners still.
Now, this is a very troubling issue almost in every country in the world when it comes to marriage. Especially in Indonesia. There’s a saying here, ‘Marrying someone is marrying their family’, and I’d say that is completely true.
The issue of parents getting way too involved in things like how you raise your children or the way you decorate your house, or the amount of time you spend outside the house going out to dinner. The list could go on forever. Here are the top few from the book.
Indonesians love to have huge weddings, but on rare occasions, the couple would like to have a small closed wedding with family and close friends. Unfortunately, most Indonesian parents will disagree with that and just go right on past their kid’s preferences and have a huge wedding anyway.
Another example would be living with the parents after getting married. This might sound very strange to a Westerner, yet it is still a common practice here. Little arguments are bound to sprout up while having an ever-watching eye over every single move you make.
Having children is one of the most rewarding aspects of a marriage, but problems can arise when couples don’t agree on everything. ‘Habis Nikah, Ngapain’ covers over the most common issues such as religion, discipline, education, allowance and the list goes on.
This is the stage in a marriage after the ‘honeymoon’ stage. There’s a hormone that our brain secretes during the ‘honeymoon’ stage that makes us feel as if we had butterflies in our stomach. You know that feeling, don’t you?
What usually happens at this stage is perceptions of your spouse’s habits may not seem as charming as when you first got together. Certain things may become annoying or you may feel unappreciated. This can be a difficult time for both spouses but it’s a natural step in the process of marriage you must understand together.
Whether you agree with it or not, sex is a very important bonding in a marriage. This can become an issue with a couple as lives become busy, children or work take up time, and even some people get bored in the bedroom. It’s an issue that Daniel states well and explains ways to overcome sexual difficulties throughout parts of the book.
This, of course, is absolutely devastating to most marriages, but surprisingly a large portion of couples survive through hard work to bring the marriage back alive. Daniel brings a little history to this section which is nice to give you some background on where we come from as a species.
He also briefly talks about the two different types of infidelity, physical and emotional. Emotional Infidelity actually has the worst possible impact on a marriage.
Luckily this issue, along with some of the others, are discussed in later chapters along with a solid solution to help you through any of these problems. I felt like this was the perfect addition to the book and wasn’t too long.
‘Habis Nikah, Ngapain?’ – It’s All About Connection
I’d have to say that the transition into this chapter is perfect because what Daniel does is use some of the same situations taken from the couples’ issues he wrote about in the previous chapter and expands on them in this chapter. So rather than introducing, even more, examples of couples, he keeps it simple which in turn makes it easier to connect and identify the ongoing problems in these couples marriage. Brilliant.
Analogies: Daniel loves to use analogies, some of them work and in my opinion, others don’t, especially when comparing people to animals. Okay, but if you can look past that, the analogies are extremely useful in understanding what this chapter is about, ‘connection’.
I’m going to show you one of the most perfect analogies used in this entire book. There are a lot of them:
‘Using the same analogy, even when you have a good connection, what happens when you have too many things going on at once? Imagine the kids streaming cartoons in the living room while at the same time your oldest is downloading movies in his bedroom and the twins are playing online games. Imagine all that while your mother is in the kitchen, viewing a Youtube video for a new recipe. What do you think will happen when you try to skype your spouse who’s away on a business trip to Singapore?
Basically, if you share your connection with others, it’s likely that it’s going to affect your connection with your spouse, right? Well, it’s the same in real life. Whenever you share your feelings with your friends and your family or start spending more time watching TV, or doing your favourite hobby, or even spending time on your Social Media, you are making it more difficult to stay connected with your spouse, and believe me, connection is at the root of most relationship problems.’
Powerful analogy, right? But just the analogy alone won’t help you to solve your marital problems (if you have any). Luckily, there are solutions given to you in the 6 tips in the following chapters.
Powerful Lesson #2: Out of all the problems in marriage there is one powerful tool that can fix them all and that is ‘connection’. When you fix your connection with your spouse, surely you’ll have the happiest marriage you could ever wish for.
‘Habis Nikah, Ngapain?’ – The Six Habits That Will Keep Your Marriage Alive
To tell you the truth, ‘Habis Nikah, Ngapain’ just got better and better as I got further into the book and I think it will for you too. ‘The Six Habits’ are the core of the book. This is where you will find the answers to your questions. Here’s a brief overview of each habit. As this is a review I won’t go into too much detail. You’ll have to buy the book to get the full value of these useful habits.
Habit 1: Put Aside Your Problems
Sometimes the best way to fix a problem in a marriage when things get going very tough to the brink of divorce you just have to tell yourself and your spouse to set aside your problems and work on building up your connection again. That doesn’t mean forgetting about your problems, it just means to put them on the back burner.
Once you’ve built your connection back up and you actually ‘feel’ the flame again similar to when you first got married is the time to bring those problems from the back burner and resolve them with your spouse.
This habit specifically explains HOW you can go about re-connecting. The answers are in the book.
Habit 2: Learn Your Spouse’s Language
This habit is based on ‘The 5 Love Languages – The Secret to Love That Lasts’ by Gary Chapman (Guest Post by Daniel Arsenault, author of ‘Habis Nikah, Ngapain’). Here they are.
Words of Affirmation: These are the type of people who feel loved when their spouse complements, encourages, or says romantic things to them.
Acts of Service: These are the type of people who feel loved when their spouse takes action in doing things such as taking out the trash or driving the kids to school. Any sort of physical action that shows you’re involved in the marriage.
Quality Time: These are the type of people who feel loved when their spouse gives them their undivided attention. While relaxing the spouses don’t have their phones out, instead, they’re both talking face to face or in each other’s arms. The couple is actually doing things together and limiting other distractions.
Receiving Gifts: These are the type of people who feel loved when their spouse goes out of their way to get something for them as small as a candy bar, as personal as a handmade card, or as expensive as a new car. It’s the thought that counts for these people, not the cost.
Physical Touch: These are the type of people who feel loved when their spouse takes the time to show them that they love them by hugging, kissing, rubbing, or basically any sort of sweet physical touch on a daily basis. It’s the type of touch that comes from the heart.
Powerful Lesson #3: ‘Habis Nikah, Ngapain’ goes into much greater detail about each of these love languages which are all useful tools to know in your marriage. Also by no means does a single person only have one love language. We all have a mixture of these languages, some more than the other.
So next time you’re with your spouse pay attention to the things he or she loves or hates. Match those with some of the different love languages and over time you’ll be able to speak your lover’s love language.
Habit 3: Make Time For Love
This is a pretty awesome in-depth section of the book where it talks about two simple yet complicated things that every married couple needs to make part of their habit. Those two things are ‘Date Time’ and ‘Honeymoon Time’.
Every couple no matter what state of marriage they’re in needs to set aside at least one part of one day during the week for just the two of them. It could be to go have a romantic dinner at a nice restaurant or if you’re on a budget you could go on a picnic in the park. Going to the movies doesn’t count since you can’t really have a conversation. It must be an activity without interruption where you both can talk and have fun at the same time together.
‘Honeymoon Time’ just happens once during the year where you and your spouse go on an overnight trip together. The more time you have the better, but as we all know, our schedules can get very busy, but you must take as much time off together as you can.
The book definitely explains each very well giving reasons why each marriage needs this special time to bond as a couple, team, and partners in life.
Powerful Lesson #4: Pick a day every week where you can just talk and spend quality time with your spouse without being distracted by work or children. Have a real conversation with each other. Go out and have fun. Do the things you used to enjoy when you were still dating.
Also pick a weekend once during the year when you and your spouse can run off together to have intimate time with each other away from everyone and everything that is normal to your everyday life.
Habit 4: Put Love Into Action
The great thing about this book is that it builds each piece of the puzzle together nicely. By the end of the book, you’ll have a full guide of how to live a happy marriage.
You might wonder how successful these habits are. By taking action every single day through talking with each other, spending more than just an hour a day talking with each other in real conversation, and doing helpful things for each other such as taking out the trash or folding the clothes (things that your husband or wife hates are even better), it puts your whole marriage into perspective. It makes you feel ‘connected’. You must be sure your spouse knows you are there to make their life better.
Powerful Lesson #5: Fine-tuning ‘Date Time’ down even more, take action every single day to connect with your spouse. Talk with each other, hug and kiss each other, and plainly show that you love each other not just through your words, but also through your actions.
Habit 5: The Art of Giving
This whole section is an extension of one of the 5 Love Languages mentioned earlier. The section goes into more details about how important choosing the most suitable gift is for your wife or husband. There are a few great examples of real-life scenarios which help you to understand how you can go about giving gifts that truly matter to your spouse.
My only criticism about this part is that since it’s so similar to ‘Receiving Gifts’ it could have just been adapted into that section to make the book a bit snappier. In a way, I felt like I was rereading the same tip.
However, there were strong points that definitely need to stay in the book, so the information you receive from reading this part is not all a waste. Reducing this section into the earlier section could have also made it possible to add a relevant habit that is completely different from giving gifts.
Powerful Lesson #6: Pay close attention to your husband or wife’s specific tastes even if you, yourself, are not interested in the same types of things. For example: If your husband loves books about social media marketing and you decide to surprise him out of the blue by getting him a book about investing in stocks, what do you think his reaction would be? Will he like it?
Most likely not because investing in stocks and social media marketing are completely different. The point here is that you need to pay attention to the details of what your spouse really likes, that way when you try and surprise him or her, you hit the spot.
Habit 6: Involve and Get Involved
Each person has different hobbies and interests and when you first find the love of your life usually most of your interests are the same, and some are not, but when you’re in love, it doesn’t really matter. However, after years of being married, as life gets busier and busier sometimes it’s hard to connect with your spouse that has a completely different hobby. This is probably one of the most important aspects of the entire book since hobbies and interests are a major part of every single person’s life.
The problem comes when hobbies and interests are so different that they get in the way of the marriage and create a barrier between man and wife. This doesn’t mean you must get involved in every single activity your husband or wife does. What it does mean is that you try making the effort to involve your spouse in at least one or two of your hobbies.
For example, I personally love running. My wife doesn’t. For a while, I was running three times a week every single week for at least forty-five minutes each time, sometimes more. That took quite a bit of time away from my quality time with my wife and child.
After reading Daniel’s book, I realized maybe I should share my habit of running with my wife by taking a twenty-minute walk together before I go on my run at least once a week. This has helped tons in building a better connection between my wife and I. We are able have an undistracted quality conversation while walking together under the trees. It’s quite nice. And on top of that, it also helps my wife to stay healthier.
This rule doesn’t only apply to hobbies, it can also apply to making tough decisions in business or around the house. Involving your husband or wife in everything is part of what marriage is. It’s not meant to be a curse either. Two people in a marriage are supposed to be a team and the best teams always make their decisions together.
Powerful Lesson #7: There are two parts to this habit. One is to always involve your spouse in your decision making and respect their opinion even if you don’t agree with it.
Two is to show genuine interest in each other’s hobbies and interests. Try getting involved if you can, it’s appropriate, and as long as you’re not interfering and you’ve already agreed to it. It goes both ways.
‘Habis Nikah, Ngapain?’ – Wrapping It Up in a Nice Box
There’re a few more closing words at the end of ‘Habis Nikah, Ngapain’ that are worth mentioning here. At any time the way you look at life has to do with your own perception of things, and sometimes it’s tough when not everyone sees the same way as you, especially if it’s your own spouse who thinks differently. That’s bound to happen to each and every one of us.
The key here is how we react to the differences that separate us. We choose how we react to things and then the result comes after. It’s your job to control your own actions while responding to your spouse.
The point in the closing of this book is to keep your marriage on track by not giving in to your emotions. To not let your emotions control the way you perceive things. You run your life and you run it with your spouse hand in hand. Just like anything in life, your marriage has a path, it’s both of the spouse’s job to keep it from straying too far off that path.
By using all the tips in ‘Habis Nikah, Ngapain’ you will be able to build your connection with your spouse and keep it for rest of your life.
I can’t tell you enough how much I appreciated this book. It truly has helped me to improve my own marriage through the examples, the analogies Daniel is so good at, and especially the 6 habits.
The awesome thing about this book is that it doesn’t matter whether your marriage is in the dumps or on a high. Whether you just got married or you’ve been married for 28 years. The habits provided will help you either way.
If you know someone who is going through a hard time in their marriage, share this article with them. In fact, share this article with anyone of your friends or family that are married.
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And…Always remember to share what you’ve learned with the people you care most about.