Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad
I got married recently and I realized just a few weeks before that the girl is not beautiful but I still went ahead because I did not want to hurt her. She has a back full of spots, which could be inherited by my future children. She also seems to be a very slow learner and I can’t connect with her intellectually. She doesn’t have an interest in reading as I do.
As a result, I don’t have love or appreciation for her and I feel like divorcing her every time we argue. She is a modest, religious girl who prays on time, which is the only reason that I am holding on. I also do not want to hurt her because she loves me immensely. But I am not happy and I can’t think of having a family with her right now. I have even tried individual marital counseling.
Is it ok for me to divorce her and seek a more compatible partner?
Thank you for your question. I am sorry that you feel so trapped by your wife and unhappy, but you are holding one for reasons of religion, I suspect that you will end up being very happy with her.
My first thought is that you try to improve the issues. Can you ask her to take some classes, and to learn some skills that will make her more interesting to you? Can you ask her to take a part-time job so that she gets some real-world experience and can relate to you better? Can you ask her to start reading articles here and there, and eventually work up to books? Befriend like-minded couples that would influence her in the right way and encourage her to learn. You may even ask her to get a degree. If she loves you this much, she will certainly do whatever you ask. Individual therapy is good, but you will get double the results if you include her as well.
Finally, this decision of staying or going is one that only you can make. It is permissible for you to leave. Pray istikhara, consult family and friends, or a local imam. Keep in mind that there is no guarantee that you will find someone better. You might even end up with someone worse such as an educated, beautiful girl with a spotless back, who doesn’t care about religion. How might she raise your children? Or what if you end up single for many years?
Alternative Not Guaranteed
When you do make this decision, bear this prophetic hadith in mind: “Nothing is of more benefit to the believer after taqwa of Allah than a righteous wife whom, if he commands her she obeys him, if he looks at her he is pleased if he swears an oath concerning her she fulfills it, and when he is away from her she is sincere towards him with regard to herself and his wealth.” [Ibn Majah]
Please consider taking a course on successful marriage:
Marriage in Islam: Practical Guidance for Successful Marriage
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 aqidah, 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.