Choosing Phone Over Family


Reconnecting With Family

Question: My husband neglects me & the kids. He chats on social media all day long, even in the toilet, at the dinner table, and ignores us. He lies and says it’s work but it’s not. Often, all I get from him is a greeting. I constantly tell him to stop. I applied for a fasakh but he lied to the counselor. I feel lonely. When I discuss it with him, he ignores me. He doesn’t want a divorce but he doesn’t want to make time for me either. I don’t have any other adults to talk to but him.

Answer:

Assalamu alaykum,

I am so sorry that you are going through this hardship and I empathize with your pain. Some people don’t handle the use of the internet well and it destroys their time and relationships. I pray that your husband comes to understand your needs and learns how to balance his obligations with his personal entertainment.

Faskh or khul`

My understanding is that a Faskh can only be accomplished by an Islamic Court of Law after proving that your husband hasn’t supported you financially. Rather, in your case, a woman can apply for khul`, which is a release for payment. One would pay the husband a mutually agreed upon sum for him to release her from the marriage with his consent.
https://seekersguidance.org/answers/hanafi-fiqh/can-women-stipulate-marriage-contract-right-initiate-divorce/

Communicating the problem

I recommend that you try fixing this marriage before walking away. There are many things that you can do, but I am afraid that telling him to stop isn’t one of them. You will have to take steps of having an honest, non-confrontational discussion about it, making technology-free zones in the house, turning up the intimacy, and making sure that you spend less time on the phone yourself.

I know a woman who had the same problem with her husband at the dinner table, so one evening, she overdid the salt in his dinner. He was shocked and asked her what happened to the food, and she said that she did it so he would speak to her at the table. After that day, he always spoke to her at dinnertime. Here are some ideas for you:

-Try inviting others for dinner, anybody, just so that he turns away from his phone and is forced to socialize.
-Try bringing up an interesting topic to him, such as sports, politics, or something else he likes.
-Try asking him to take you all out for dinner because you are tired and don’t want to cook.
-Try having him read stories to your children or take them to the park, appealing to him that they need to spend more time with him.
-Try getting him to help with their homework, or to buy certain things for them that they need for school.
-Try communicating with him through text message yourself, for this can often get a man’s attention.
-Last but not least, explain to him that the children need his love and attention and a male role model, or they will just grow up and ignore their families too. This is contrary to any decent way of living, let alone the Prophetic way.

Resources

Please read these books and article and see which one strikes a chord with you, that you can act upon:
https://www.amazon.ca/Fascinating-Womanhood-Bestseller-Strengthen-Marriage/dp/055329220X
https://www.5lovelanguages.com/
https://www.amazon.ca/dp/0743204441/ref=rdr_ext_tmb
https://www.aconsciousrethink.com/8063/phone-addiction-ruining-relationship/

Please see these articles for excellent advice about internet addictions:
https://seekersguidance.org/answers/general-counsel/how-can-i-reconnect-to-my-husband-who-is-addicted-to-his-phone/
https://www.huffpost.com/entry/log-off-live-life_b_1220542?fbclid=IwAR1p1-ItMHGFNwo6_7eZxAIGT9mXqL9Kxm4gdVXmKSveYlUhKIX4RvEo7xU

Please see this article for advice on addiction in general:
https://seekersguidance.org/answers/general-counsel/advice-to-a-young-man-with-ocd-and-struggling-with-pornography-and-other-major-sins/

May Allah make it easy for you to move forward in a positive and loving marriage and help your husband realize that he is wronging himself and others. May Allah make it easy for all of you to change and grow together.

[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, tafseer, 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 recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.