Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
Question: Assalam aleykum,
I sometimes feel neglected by my husband. He is a good man who works hard, but does not reciprocate my acts of love for him. I greet him lovingly when he is home, I shower him with sweet words and compliments, I buy him gifts…
I have brought this topic up twice, and as a result, my husband will make an effort for a few days but this does not last. What should I do?
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 is only natural for you to long for your husband to show you love in a way you can appreciate.
When registration reopens, I encourage both of you to enrol in and complete this course – Marriage in Islam: Practical Guidance for Successful Marriages.
Please listen to this free downloadable lesson set – Getting Married, with Ustadha Shireen Ahmed and Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.
It can be very challenging to learn how to communicate effectively within a marriage. You and your husband are still newly married, so please give yourselves time.
I encourage you and your husband to read these articles and work on implementing them:
Dr. Gottman’s 3 Skills (and 1 Rule!) for Intimate Conversation
Weekend Homework Assignment: Intimate Conversation
Emotionally Intelligent Husbands are Key to a Lasting Marriage
3 Steps to Reconnect When You Feel Disconnected From Your Partner
What is your main love language, and what is your husband’s? I am guessing that because you show him love through words of affirmation, physical touch, gifts – then you would like him to do the same. However, his way of showing love is through acts of service. This is why you are so frustrated by the mismatch.
I encourage you to share the love language website with him, purchase the book, encourage him to read it and express how important it is for you . Bear in mind that you cannot force him to change. All you can do is open the door towards his change. He has to choose to walk through it.
If you struggle to communicate your concerns calmly and effectively to your husband, then I suggest that you both see a qualified and culturally-sensitive marriage counsellor. If your husband becomes very defensive when you bring up the possibility of marriage counselling, please stay calm. His response is a common one.
You do not have control over your husband’s behaviours and feelings. You do, however, have the ability to work on your own.
What, who, and where else can you draw comfort from? What is meaningful in your life? Do you have strong connections to your family and close friends? What is your study of the deen like?
There is a space in your heart that belongs solely to Allah. Your husband, and no human being, can fill that. Reflect on this. Wake up before the entry of Fajr and pour your sorrow out to Allah. Perform the Prayer of Need and beg Allah to nourish your marriage, and to comfort you.
Commit to daily Qur’anic recital. Enrol in a SeekersHub course, explore the podcasts, and commit to a regular listening/study practice. Be of service to your family, and if you can, the wider community. Make your heart and your life full of love, compassion and service, and I pray that your husband will learn from your good character.
[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.