I met someone who makes me happier than my husband does
Question: I am a Muslim woman, married for over 23 years, and have two grown-up children. It was an arranged marriage, and we have always had a difference of opinion on important matters in our lives – though I was never allowed to give my opinion while he made all the decisions. Our bond was never strong, nor was he interested in building one. The last 8 years have been very stressful for me. We have not had a relationship as a married couple for over 14 years. We live like strangers under the same roof because we barely talk. I am the current breadwinner, and the house is mine. Recently, I met someone, and for the first time, I feel mentally happy as a person. What does Islam say about nikah and divorce? I have had a hysterectomy, so I cannot bear any more children. Given the long ‘separation’ between my husband and me – is my nikah to him valid? I am not sure he will divorce me because of maintaining reputation. Can I have a second nikah?
Thank you for your question. I am sorry that you have had a less than optimal marriage and that your rights are not fulfilled. I pray that you can find a solution that is halal and beneficial for both of you. It sounds likes you have fallen in love and wish to leave your husband for this man. There are many things to consider before you do such a thing.
Work on your marriage
Your marriage to him is still valid even though you have not been intimate in over a decade. Have you tried communicating with him about how you feel? Is it not worth it to liven up your marriage and commit to that? Consider counseling, a weekly date night, engaging him in conversation, dressing up for him, or even taking a vacation together. Communication is always key. Consider taking this marriage course to learn more about how to improve your marriage:
If you feel like you have tried everything and have prayed istikhara, you should follow that. Pray the Prayer of Need in the last third of the night and pray tahajjud. Ask Allah to guide you to what is best for your faith and best for your family.
Marriage takes many years to forge and solidify, and breaking it apart won’t be easy. Consider that you will battle with your husband over the house, and the kids will be conflicted about where to live or how often to visit each of you.
Also, you have absolutely no guarantee that this man will marry you after you leave your husband. How heartbroken would you be if he left you even after you divorced your husband for him? I encourage you to keep your distance from this man because you don’t want to fall into adultery or cheating. Although it seems, outwardly, you would be happier with this other man, the pain of divorce is not usually worth it, and the other man might not measure up to what you expected.
I pray that you do what is best for you and your family, objectively and wisely, and not just succumb to your whims and desires. May Allah guide you to what is best for your worldly and religious affairs.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria, for two years, where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, Tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Master’s in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan, where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.