Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
Question: Assalam aleykum,
My wife and I have been married for a month. She interacts too freely with her male cousins, brothers-in-law, and uncles, and doesn’t like it when I say it’s wrong for her to chat with them on the phone. She says that I am suppressing and torturing her. She wants a separation because I’m oppressing her. 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.
It sounds like your wife has had a very different upbringing to you, and has different expectations.
The early years of marriage require a lot of adjustment, patience, and forgiveness. You have only been married for a month. Please give yourself, your wife, and your marriage time.
To save your marriage, I suggest that you stop all attempts at controlling her behaviour. Focus on building happier memories with her. What is her love language?
Please note that your wife’s paternal and maternal uncles are mahram to her. Refer to Who is Mahram.
However, her cousins and brothers-in-law are not mahram to her, and it would be praiseworthy for her to exercise dignified restraint with them. However, please do not expect overnight changes. Reflect on your own difficulties. Would your wife nagging you to change make you feel better or worse?
I encourage you to have a better understand of what seclusion is. Please see: What Is the Meaning of Khalwa (Seclusion) with the opposite Gender?
Ask yourself – why did you marry your wife? Which of her qualities drew her to you? I encourage you to enrol in and complete this course: Marriage in Islam: Practical Guidance for Successful Marriages.
I recommend Scream-Free Marriage as a resource for you and your wife. The premise of this book is that looking after your own needs is the best thing you can do for your marriage.
Narrated Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him): Allah’s Apostle (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Treat women nicely, for a women is created from a rib, and the most curved portion of the rib is its upper portion, so, if you should try to straighten it, it will break, but if you leave it as it is, it will remain crooked. So treat women nicely.” [Bukhari]
Support her relationship with Allah, so that any changes she makes are motivated by her own desire to draw closer to Him. Exercise daily patience.
I encourage you to look inwards, instead of outwards. What are your own shortcomings? How can you better worship Allah? How do you want to improve your relationship with the Creator, as well as creation?
Rather than preoccupy yourself with her flaws, preoccupy yourself with your own. It is far easier to find fault with those around us, instead of admitting that our own selves require much work.
When you see your wife do/say something that upsets you, I encourage you to take a deep breath, exhale, and make a conscious effort to pause. Do not be reactive, and start making demands and ultimatums. Practice emotional regulation and self-soothing. She is not responsible for your emotions. You are.
It was narrated from Ibn ‘Abbas that the Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace) said: “The best of you is the one who is best to his wife, and I am the best of you to my wives.” [Sunan Ibn Majah]
The test of good character in marriage happens when you are both faced with conflict. Conflict is inevitable, and provides plentiful opportunities for growth and closeness, when handled well.
I pray that Allah grants you a marriage that helps you and your wife grow into the best versions of yourselves.
[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 SeekersGuidance 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.