Answered by Ustadha Shireen Ahmed
Question: Assalam alaykum,
My husband never attempted to understand the pain and difficulty I was going through after leaving my family and my lifestyle behind. He claims he is too stressed to spend time with me and he spends this time playing games. Whenever I try to speak to him about this we end up arguing. I always try to please him but our relationship has gone very stale.
How can I save my marriage?
Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,
I pray this message reaches you in the best of health and iman.
I wanted to recommend a great book to you called “The Relationship Cure” by Dr. John Gottman. In that book he talks about how to turn around a marriage that has taken a turn for the worse, and practical steps you can take to improve the relationship.
I really admire as to how no matter what, you kept trying and trying to do things for your husband and overlook how his stress level was affecting your relationship. You just need to remember that we live this life seeking the pleasure of Allah Most High in absolutely everything we do, so even though your husband may not be responding in the best of ways, this may be a means of your works having even greater value with Allah Most High – because despite his emotional state you continue to strive to be a good wife and create an uplifting environment to come home to. If you do these things for your husband, then his lack of response or appreciation will wear you down over time, however when you are striving for the sake of Allah Most High, then your patience/ tolerance level increases manifold levels. Then you are able to continue to see your husband as someone who needs your support and kindness, rather than seeing him in a negative light.
You may want to consider encouraging your husband to pursue studies & ultimately a career in a field that he enjoys more and is more passionate about. Secondly, he is not required to pay for the home renovations for his parents. Rather he is just supposed to make sure they are comfortable and have money for their food etc. This way he is taking too much of an unnecessary load upon himself. If they have their own savings then they can provide for themselves, he is not required to support them financially.
Consider it a fun challenge to try and cheer him up and turn his mood around. I would keep giving him compliments, even if he gives none in return or only returns insults. Remember with every kind word you give him it is worth many times its value in reward with Allah Most High. And if he speaks badly of you and you remain patient and upon good character, you receive reward and your sins can be forgiven, so you are still “the winner” so to speak.
In marriage one often sees the worst points about one’s spouse, but one needs to be able to overlook those and focus more on one’s own shortcomings so that one can be committed to constant improvement. We can never really control another person no matter how much advice we give, but we can control ourselves and commit to upholding the best of character like how our beloved Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم did.
Men often don’t want to sit down and discuss how “we can make things better” or discuss out a certain problem they are having – because this oftentimes makes the situation much worse as people feel hurt more by being directly confronted. Rather one needs to think with wisdom as to how they can direct a person to change without saying a word. This requires a great deal of thought and almost coaching the other person through baby steps towards the end goal of the behaviour you want to see from them.
So just keep smiling and upholding good character and doing kind gestures for him and other people, and remember Allah Most High is seeing everything you are doing, and your recording angels are recording. Also I would recommend you do stuff for yourself that you enjoy or make you happy, such as buying fresh flowers for the house, or periodically spending good time with your own friends etc.
Masha Allah you sound like a great person, very patient, and very caring towards others. Remember Allah Most High sometimes send us these blessed kinds of reminders in this world that nothing should be more beloved to us than Allah & His Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم. So be grateful for this opportunity to see past this current state of affairs, to the One who truly deserves your love.
The upshot of this is hang in there, keep going, keep a high intention, and Allah Most High Himself with alleviate your condition in the best of ways. May Allah Most High bless you and your family and grant you tranquility in this world and the Next, ameen. Barak Allahu feeki!
If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to email me anytime insha Allah.
[Ustadha] Shireen Ahmed (Umm Umar)
Ustadha Shireen Ahmed (Umm Umar) inspires her students as a living example example of what is possible when one is committed to gaining sacred knowledge. Teacher, student, activist, mother, wife — Umm Umar shows that it is possible to balance worldly responsibilities with the pursuit of knowledge.
Umm Umar was born and raised in Canada, where she graduated from the University of Toronto with a B.A. in Psychology and Sociology. During her university studies, she was actively involved in MSA work at the local and national levels. After graduation, she set out to formally pursue sacred knowledge, studying Arabic at the University of Damascus and Islamic studies at Jamia Abi Nour and taking private classes in Qur’anic recitation, Prophetic traditions, Islamic Law (Hanafi) and the Prophetic biography.