How Can I Deal with a Wife Who Makes No Effort to Look Nice for Me?

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad

Question

Is it a sin if a wife does not groom herself? My wife gained weight, wears ugly outfits due to the weight, does not do her hair, neglects her body, and doesn’t dress modestly outside, and I am not attracted to her. It has been over a decade, and she has not changed. She does not feel she is sinning, so she puts zero effort. She only puts on lipstick because it takes 3 seconds.

I told her that her behavior made me lose interest in her, but she didn’t care. She loves me, but she thinks beauty means nothing, but as a man, it means something to me. However, if she does not have to groom and does not sin Islamically, this may go on forever. What can I do or tell her?

Answer

Thank you for your question. I empathize with your frustration on this issue, and I pray that you both apply what the other party desires to strengthen the marriage.

Sin

In Islam, what she does is sinful according to some scholars and disliked according to others (see links below). Either way, it is contrary to the sunna of Islam and is not befitting a believer on many levels.

Please her marital obligations here

What Are My Obligations in Obeying My Husband in the Shafi’i School?
Is It Sinful to Disobey One’s Husband?

Appearance

Many chapters in the books of fiqh deal with smelling nice, dressing cleanly, removing hair from the body, trimming nails, and of course, the obligation of dressing modestly outside in a hijab is no mystery. These acts of personal hygiene are known as “khisal al fitra,” qualities of natural disposition, as a believer can’t sustain cleanliness without these.

Communication

I fear that there is a communication gap between you and your wife. I feel she may be overworked, exhausted, and frazzled with the kids, and she has no help. At the same time, you might be overworked and tired when you come home, offer no sympathy to her, and therefore receive none, and on goes the cycle of not caring about the other’s feelings. I encourage you to rediscover the spark in your marriage and remind yourselves that the very purpose of marriage is not being fulfilled well in your household – to make each other chaste to worship Allah fully -the point of our very existence.

Please see these links and use the resources:

Course Suggestions

Marriage in Islam: Practical Guidance for Successful Marriage
Making Love Last: Prophetic Principles for a Successful Marriage

Answer Suggestions

How to Deal with My Wife’s Lack of Personal Hygiene?
Prayer of Need (Salat al-Haja)
Love, Marriage, and Relationships in Islam: All Your Questions Answered

Book Suggestions

Chapman, G: Five Love Languages Revised Edition
The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work
Handbook of a Healthy Muslim Marriage

Article Suggestions

What Makes A Marriage Work – Shaykh Hamza Yusuf

May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.

[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqida, fiqh, tajweed, tafsir, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.