My Wife Had an Affair. We Have a Young Daughter. What Do I Do?
Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
My wife had an affair with her co-worker, but she refuses to quit her job. When I check her phone location, she is not where she says she will be. Ours was a love marriage – she was Christian before she embraced Islam. We have a young daughter, whom I love very much. What do I do about my wife and daughter?
I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us.
“O you who have believed, avoid much [negative] assumption. Indeed, some assumption is sin. And do not spy or backbite each other. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his brother when dead? You would detest it. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is Accepting of repentance and Merciful.” [Quran, 49:12]
I am so sorry to hear that your wife has betrayed your trust, and continues to do so. You cannot control what she does, but you can control what you do. Please bear in mind that it is impermissible for you to spy on her.
I cannot imagine how frustrating that must be for you, so consider this – is your current strategy working? Is cross-examining her and finding out that she is lying bringing you both closer, or further apart? What can you do differently, to break this futile pattern?
Please sit down and have an honest discussion with your wife. Does she want to stay married to you? If she does, then what can you both do to rekindle your affection and increase trust and forgiveness?
If she does not, then it is better for you to end your marriage, then drag this out. If she is undecided, then encourage her to perform The Prayer of Guidance up til 7 times about what to do next. Please exhaust every option to save your marriage, but bear in mind that you cannot force her to stay and remain faithful to you.
I encourage you to see a counsellor on your own, to help you decide whether or not you want to stay in your marriage.
If your wife is willing to work on your marriage, then it would be beneficial for both of you to go to couples’ counselling.
Please read these articles:
7 ways to become a better forgiver
Recovering from infidelity
5 ways to prevent infidelity
Please look after yourself during this stressful time. Are you sleeping well? Eating a balanced diet? Exercising? What is your prayer like? Are you making dua?
These acts of self-care are all acts of worship, given the right intention. When your spouse betrays your trust, it is easy to place complete focus on them, at the expense of your own emotional and physical well-being. Be mindful of this, and bring attention back to yourself, and your relationship with Allah.
It is heartbreaking when children like your daughter are caught in between unhappy parents. As you are her father, then you must decide how to navigate this troubling situation. I urge you to perform the Prayer of Need and beg Allah to give you the strength to be present for your daughter during these troubled times. Children know when their parents are upset.
If your wife no longer wants to stay married to you, then both of you must decide how to break this devastating news to your daughter. Reassure her of your love for her, and that strive to cultivate a routine in which she is able to still spend time with both you and your wife.
From a religious perspective, it is important for you to nurture her Islam through word and deed, and the best testimony of your character is how you treat your family, especially under times of stress. Be mindful of dealing with your stress in a constructive and healthy way, so that you do not end up losing your temper with your daughter.
If your wife wants to stay married to you, then strive to build happier memories as a family. It is possible to build an even stronger marriage after an affair, but it will take tremendous strength of character from both you and your wife.
I pray that Allah grants you clarity and courage.
Love, Marriage and Relationships in Islam: All Your Questions Answered
A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah
[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil
Checked and 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.