Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
Question: Assalam aleykum,
I married a good man, but due to our emotional distance, we have not been intimate for a year. We have separated, but he wants me back. What do I do?
Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us.
I encourage you to enrol in and complete Marriage in Islam: Practical Guidance for Successful Marriages. Please reflect on the sanctity of your marriage, and do your best to save it. You describe your husband as being a good man: he is on the same spiritual page as you, loves you, is generous to you, and helps out at home. Individually, each quality is a blessing, let alone collectively.
I encourage you to perform the Prayer of Guidance up til 7 times before making any final decisions. Watch what Allah unfolds for you. If your heart softens towards your husband, then consider that a sign to stay in your marriage. If your heart reminds closed off despite your best efforts, then that is a sign for you to leave.
I encourage you to view your marriage through the lens of a growth mindset, and not a fixed mindset.
We live in a global culture that is fixated on Hollywood ideas of romance. There is this pervasive myth that love is something that needs to happen instantaneously. The reality is that love can and does grow after marriage, but it takes effort, patience, and continual dua.
Please refer to these invaluable resources:
If your husband is motivated enough, then he can learn to be a better listener and communicator. Perhaps this skill comes easily to you, but it sounds like he struggles with it. It sounds like he is keen to have you return home, but the question is – are you?
Placing the blame entirely on him or on you does not help. Both of you are contributing to your marital unhappiness, and both of you need to work together to help your marriage thrive.
You can choose to lower your expectations, and accept the good in him. He can choose to try harder to listen to you, and express himself better. Guide him along, in the spirit of having sincere concern for him.
Emotional intimacy can grow in a marriage, but only if you give yourself and your husband permission to try.
Wives do need emotional connection before feeling ready for marital intimacy. Husbands, on the other hand, feel connected through marital intimacy. If both husband and wife are unwilling to compromise, then the end result is a stalemate, and nobody benefits.
Perhaps there is a part of you that feels that Mr Right is out there, somewhere. Perhaps you imagine that when you find him, everything
Dear sister, I encourage you to look at Mr Right In Front Of You – your husband.
Show up in your marriage. Be present. Make a serious commitment. Aim to be of service to your him, for the sake of Allah and allow yourself to be pleasantly surprised.
It was narrated from ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar that the Messenger of Allah said: “The most hated of permissible things to Allah is divorce.” [Sunan Ibn Majah]
Please see divorce as an absolute last option for you. Unfortunately, there is a terrible double standard that exists in our community. Divorced men are looked upon more favourably than divorced women. Single mothers are at the very bottom of the marital barrel, when they are the most selfless women who can make incredible wives.
That being said, some people need to go through divorce to appreciate the good in their spouses. Marriage and divorce are halal. If you truly exhaust all options and cannot see your marriage working, then it is better for you to let him go, and make dua that Allah grants you both better spouses.
I pray that Allah grants you the wisdom to choose that which pleases Him.
[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil
Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers in Malaysia and online through SeekersHub Global. She graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales, was a volunteer hospital chaplain for 5 years and has completed a Diploma of Counselling from the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors. She lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with her husband, daughter, and mother-in-law.