How to Resolve the Crisis of a Joint Family?

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad

Question

I have been married for nine years and have three kids. I am the only son, and I had a tough time convincing my wife to let my parents live with us. What hurts me is that she keeps blaming my mother and my sister for living a life of their choice, and she cannot live independently. Secondly, she is aggressive in public, raises her voice at me, and insults my parents. She also brings up old fights and shouts at me. I feel sad when she talks against my family.

I swear upon Allah have never tried to corner her and always maintained calm. If my children misbehave, she blames my parents. Now my wife lives on the first floor, and my parents live on the ground floor with a shared kitchen. My wife has started using abusive language and is saying she is done with us and will take the kids away. Please guide.

Answer

I empathize with your difficult situation. Truly your wife and parents have rights over you, and you need to find a good balance. The only way to find a solution is to discuss it practically.

Communicate

Talk to your parents about your wife’s unhappiness and ask them if they can think of any reasonable solutions. Assure them that you will always help them financially or with a support worker if you can’t live with them.

Also, talk to your wife about how to approach taking care of your parents while keeping them close. Don’t let her walk all over you, but ask her to be kind and to pretend if they were her parents, how would she feel? If she cannot have a conversation with you without shouting, ask her to write down her thoughts or involve a third party in the discussion.

Living Separately

You may have to give your wife what she is asking because it is her right. You can arrange a flat for her and one for your parents, as long as it’s affordable. Try not to fall into debt over this. Look at these articles:
A Wife’s Right to Housing Seperate From Her In-Laws
Should I Leave My Parents to Allow My Wife to Have Her Own House?

Working on the Marriage

It seems to me that you also need to work on your marriage. Sometimes, women get upset when a man doesn’t show them enough love, hug them, or communicate enough. Try to sit down with her and explain that you never want her to take the kids away, that you love her, and want both of you to be happy. You need her to exercise some patience with you. Take a class together on marriage in Islam. Take her out once a week. Get her small gifts at least once a month. Get food catered so she can get a break from cooking. She will notice in sha Allah and change.

Turn to Allah

Anytime one has family issues, one of the best weapons is to assess one’s relationship with Allah Most High. Is He first on your list? Are you praying five times a day, paying zakat on time? Have you learned your personally obligatory knowledge? Are you only eating halal? Do you stay away from (riba) interest? Take a course on Seekers for your halal and haram, and ensure that you are not incurring Allah’s displeasure. May Allah guide us all to help ourselves.

Kindly check these links:
My Wife Broke Ties With My Parents. What Do I Do?
Intervening in My Friend’s Marital Problems

[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqida, fiqh, tajweed, tafsir, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.