Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad
My in-laws take me for granted. Firstly, they emotionally blackmailed us into living with them after the wedding. I respect my in-laws and I take care of them more than my husband. My mother-in-law controls my husband in everything. She lingers in front of the TV all day to trespass on our privacy. She inquires, watches and listens to every word we say.
She keeps me engaged in chores so I can’t get spare time with my husband. My husband and I started fighting because we feel so manipulated and suppressed. I tried to talk to him about my state but he does not listen to anything against his mother.
Now he is distant from me and calls me ungrateful and complaining. I feel that I am losing self-esteem and self-respect. Should parents not stop manipulating their sons after they get married?
Dear sister, thank you for your question. Truly, what you are going through is difficult. There is no question that beginning to live with in-laws as a newlywed has its challenges. Adjusting to a new husband has its own, too.
Can You Move Out?
Is it possible to move out? You say that he wanted to live separately at first, so maybe this is an option now.
Very often, new couples live with their in-laws in the beginning, to get a firm financial footing, and eventually move out. Maybe you can discuss it with your husband, without complaining about your mother-in-law.
Islamically, you do have a right to your own home: A Wife’s Right to Housing Separate From Her In-Laws. However, requesting your own home delicately and kindly is the key. Make the point that he needs it more than you.
Put everything aside and renew your intentions with your Lord. Pray five times a day on time, pay zakat on time, make up any prayers or fasts that you missed. Cover correctly when you go outside, eat only halal and read some Quran everyday.
Learn your personally obligatory knowledge and take a class on marriage: On-Demand – Keys to Successful Muslim Marriages: Practical lessons that explain the Prophetic Spirit of Marriage. The blessing of following Islam correctly will lead to a beautiful life, by the grace of Allah.
If your husband is being manipulated, you better not tell him directly. He will get angry and not listen. Only focus on you and him. Tell him that you love him and want to spend more time with him. Don’t complain about anyone for at least a year.
Make plans to go out with him ahead of time, for the weekend, so it’s not last minute. Go out at least once a week with him on a “date night” and be pleasing to him in all manners, in the way you look and smell, and communicate, with words and body. It concerns me when you say that you look after your in-laws more than your husband, be sure not to neglect him.
Try to be the best wife. It was said, “O Messenger of Allah, what type of wife is best? He said, may Allah bless him and give him peace, ‘The one who makes (her husband) happy when he looks at her, and she obeys him if he instructs her to do something, and she does not do anything with regard to herself or his wealth in a manner of which he does not approve.’” [Ahmad]
Now, as for her, try to give yourself privacy because she gives you none. Spend some time in your room everyday with the door locked until she gets used to it. She will accept it. Come out with a smile and be refreshed.
When your husband gets home, don’t allow her to keep you busy. Tell her well in advance that you will be sitting with him after dinner and you can finish the extra chores before he comes or the next day. See this link for plenty of advice on living with in-laws: Contented In-Laws.
Your good character with her, despite all the issues, will entail a great reward in sha Allah, and your husband will notice. Always remain kind, polite and helpful, but within balance.
Never take on more chores than you can handle and don’t forget about your self-care. Exercise every day, eat healthy, take your supplements, get fresh air, take a class on your religion, and spend time with religious friends. I promise that by the grace of Allah, it will get easier.
I felt this dua might help you, please memorize it if you can and recite in the early hours of tahajjud.
The Prophet, may Allah bless him and give him peace, used to supplicate Allah, “My Lord, help me and do not give help against me; grant me victory, and do not grant victory over me; plan on my behalf and do not plan against me; guide me, and make my right guidance easy for me; grant me victory over those who act wrongfully towards me; O Allah, make me grateful to Thee, mindful of Thee, full of fear towards Thee, devoted to Thy obedience, humble before Thee, or penitent. My Lord, accept my repentance, wash away my sin, answer my supplication, clearly establish my evidence, guide my heart, make true my tongue and draw out malice in my breast.” [Abu Dawud]
رَبِّ أَعِنِّي وَلاَ تُعِنْ عَلَىَّ وَانْصُرْنِي وَلاَ تَنْصُرْ عَلَىَّ وَامْكُرْ لِي وَلاَ تَمْكُرْ عَلَىَّ وَاهْدِنِي وَيَسِّرْ هُدَاىَ إِلَىَّ وَانْصُرْنِي عَلَى مَنْ بَغَى عَلَىَّ اللَّهُمَّ اجْعَلْنِي لَكَ شَاكِرًا لَكَ ذَاكِرًا لَكَ رَاهِبًا لَكَ مِطْوَاعًا إِلَيْكَ مُخْبِتًا أَوْ مُنِيبًا رَبِّ تَقَبَّلْ تَوْبَتِي وَاغْسِلْ حَوْبَتِي وَأَجِبْ دَعْوَتِي وَثَبِّتْ حُجَّتِي وَاهْدِ قَلْبِي وَسَدِّدْ لِسَانِي وَاسْلُلْ سَخِيمَةَ قَلْبِي
May Allah give you and your husband the best in both worlds and bless you with loving, pious children. Please see the links below for excellent articles on the topic.
[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.