Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
Question: Assalam aleykum,
I am heartbroken about my wife’s troubled past. While we were engaged, I found out that she had many boyfriends in college. She doesn’t know how shattered I am about her past. Why did Allah do this to me?
I love her, yet she irritates me. She doesn’t communicate enough with me especially when I’m angry with her, and she prefers watching TV over studying Islam.
What can I do? Leave her in hands of Allah but ignore or consistently call her and remind her?
Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us. Please forgive me for the delay.
It sounds like you were under a lot of family pressure to get married to your wife. That being said, you chose to marry her, and now you are living with the consequences. Please take responsibility for your contribution to your difficulty, and choose to behave with maturity.
I see a few options for you:
1) Learn better ways to communicate with your wife and commit to improving your marriage.
2) Seek out a marriage counsellor to help you and your wife sort out your differences.
3) Do nothing differently, and risk destroying your marriage.
There is great wisdom behind why Allah commands us to hide our sins. It is only natural for you to feel devastated about your wife’s past. Please make space for your feelings of deep pain and grief. Work on ways to process and release these strong feelings – and not on your wife.
“…except the one who repents and believes and does good deeds, then Allah will replace the evils of such people by good deeds, and Allah is Most-Forgiving, Very-Merciful.” [Qur’an, 25:70]
Your wife’s past sin is over. I pray that she has made a complete repentance. It is not difficult for Allah to transform her bad deeds into good ones.
You sound frustrated with your wife. You want her to be more religious. You want her to treat your parents better. You wished she had been more chaste in the past.
Because you did not engage in sinful pre-marital behaviour, you feel entitled to a wife who did the same. This is a mistake. Every time your wife does something that irritates you, your feelings of entitlement kick in. You risk holding her in contempt, criticising her, feeling stonewalled, and becoming defensive when she is unhappy with you. These are all ingredients for divorce.
Prayer of Guidance
Please perform the Prayer of Guidance about how to move forward. Be honest with yourself. If you are unwilling and/or unable to put in the hard work to make your marriage work, then it is better for you to let your wife go.
Love is not enough for your marriage to survive, let alone thrive. A successful marriage requires daily work, sacrifice, forgiveness, and tremendous maturity. Please refer to this: Masters of Love.
I encourage you and your wife to give your marriage a chance. The key here is your ability to decide that she is worth the work.
The reality of being creation is this – we do not question the choices of our Creator. We strive to do the best we can, with what He gives us. I cannot tell you why Allah allowed your marriage to happen, but I can tell you that you can either make this better or worse. If you choose to, you can transform yourself into a kinder, more generous, more forgiving version of yourself. If you do not choose this higher path, then you will sink to the lower path of being consumed by resentment and anger.
You cannot nag or force your wife to be the model wife you feel that you deserve. Please do not expect your wife to be a version of your mother. Comparing her to your mother will only make things worse.
Look at it this way. What do you long for from your wife? Love and acceptance? It is likely that she feels the same way. Can you accept and embrace her as she is? You yourself are far from perfect, and you too have sinned. Your sins are simply different to hers. Humble yourself with that knowledge.
I pray that Allah grants you wisdom, forgiveness, and the courage to heal your marriage.
[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.