Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
Question: Assalam alaykum,
I live with my husband and family. They are only kind to me when my husband is home. I am pregnant, and this stress is affecting my emotional health. My husband tells me to keep quiet and have patience.
What do I do?
Answer: Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh,
I pray this finds you well. Please forgive me for the delay.
Your obligation is to protect your own health, and the health of your unborn child.
Please read this article, and share it with your husband: A Wife’s Right to Housing Seperate From Her In-Laws.
I see two options.
1) Move out.
2) Find ways to assert yourself and learn better ways to cope with your living situation.
If moving out is not an option you and your husband can explore right now, then you must find ways to cope better with your current living situation.
Please refer to The Contented In-Laws website. This is an incredible resource for you to read, reflect upon, and implement.
Please pay special attention to:
Please perform The Prayer of Need in the last third of night as often as you can. Beg Allah to give you the strength, patience and courage to rise to this test.
Please read Ayat al-Kursi after every obligaotry prayer for protection. Try to stay in wudu as much as you can, also for strength and protection. Read and listen to Qur’an daily, and make dua for your baby, your husband, his family, and yours.
When in-laws treat you badly, it is often because they think it’s fine to do so, and part of you allows it to happen. Empower yourself. Speak your truth. You matter to Allah.
Please see a culturally-sensitive counselor and talk to her about what you are facing. If you cannot find one, then look for a life coach online. Please learn how to stand up for yourself. This does not mean being rude, but it does mean speaking your truth firmly and respectfully.
It sounds like you and your husband are the youngest in your family. Unfortunately, it is common for the elder siblings in a family to bully the younger ones.
One of the ways of coping is accepting that change is not likely to come from them. Change needs to come from you and your husband. It will be difficult at first, for you and your husband to speak up, but it will get better with practice, insha Allah.
If speaking directly to your husband about this only aggravates him, then drop the topic for now. Lead by example. Treat your husband and his family with good character. This does not mean being a doormat, but it does mean speaking your truth firmly and calmly.
Do you whatever you need to do to keep you and your baby healthy and well. Do you have close friends you can visit? What helps you feel better? What hobbies do you have?
Please remember to guard your tongue when you do spend time with close friends.
You are permitted to divulge details of your difficulties to your counselor, as she is bound by laws of confidentiality and will not repeat what you say. Please read this for more information: Discussing Intimate Details in Therapy Sessions.
I pray that Allah grants you ease in all of your affairs, grants you a tranquil home, and blesses you with an easy pregnancy and birth. May your child be among the foremost of the righteous.
[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.