"I’m Married To A Sex Addict" – 5 Tips on Moving Forward

In this guest column for SeekersHub, Danielle Adams from Lifestar Therapy offers advice to couples dealing with pornography and sex addiction.

Pornography and sexual addiction is a complicated issue, especially if you’re married to someone who is struggling with this fixation. You’ve probably felt shocked, angered, depressed, and resentful over your spouse’s problem. That’s normal. However, there are things you can do to help yourself move past the hurt and into a better place emotionally.
Follow these five tips to learn how you can improve your relationship, move toward forgiveness, and start feeling more love for yourself and your marriage.
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1. Acknowledge the Addiction

When secrets are kept and problems aren’t acknowledged, distrust and fear will develop within a relationship. Before the healing process can begin, you and your spouse both need to recognize and admit that (a) there is an addiction, and (b) that relational distress is one of the many consequences of that addiction.

2. Get Help

Addiction isn’t something your spouse can just “get over.” Seek answers to your questions and get the support you need from a professional marriage therapist, a spiritual leader or trusted friend, and a support group. They can help you more fully understand how and why sex addiction starts, help you through your emotional trauma, and get you and your spouse on the path to recovery.

3. Invest in Yourself

Resist the urge to dwell on the unfortunate circumstances you now find yourself in. Instead, take this time to invest more fully into yourself. Write down some recovery or spiritual goals to work toward, serve others who are in need of help or support, enjoy healthy eating and exercising, and distract yourself with a new, fun hobby.
By focusing on your own goals, you’ll be distracted from your difficult situation and will give yourself some much-needed, much-deserved positive attention. By having more love for yourself, it’ll be easier to have more love for your spouse.

4. Support One Another

One of the most important things you can do to support one another during this trying time is to have full and open communication. Talk non-aggressively about feelings and struggles, trials and triumphs. Listen with an open heart and allow yourself to feel love and empathy.
You may also want to set clear physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual boundaries regarding your spouse’s behaviors and actions that might make you feel uncomfortable. By setting and keeping these boundaries, your spouse will be able to start earning your trust once again and you will have some control over how the situation affects you and your family.

5. Look Forward

There’s no need to continually dwell on the actions and mistakes of the past. It’s an ugly trap that you don’t want to find yourself residing in, keeping you miserable. By looking forward, together, each day will get a little easier. Recommit to rebuild trust, improve communication, and focus on the bright future of your marriage. Some days will be more difficult than others, but with time and patience, healing can be achieved and you will once again feel whole.

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Cover photo by Johan Larsson

The Journey to Allah Begins and Ends with His Messenger – Shaykh Sulayman Van Ael

Shaykh Sulayman Van Ael invites the audience on a crucial reflection on the nature of our relationship with Allah; the Owner, Creator and Sustainer of all that exists. Do you realise that when you woke up today you were returning to your Lord? That every breath and every moment brings you closer to your true destination? You will meet Allah; who is your guide and example? What are your provisions on this journey?

In the 18 years that he has been Muslim, Shaykh Sulayman has been waiting for a Muslim to ask him these very questions ; to ask him how it is between him and Allah, the Owner,Creator and Sustainer of the Worlds. “So when I look for a Muslim, I am looking for someone whose heart attached himself to Allah and detached his heart from the world,” shares Shaykh Sulayman. Who is like this that I can be like? Who is it that I can make my role model? These reflections direct me to the Prophet of God, peace and blessings be upon him.

when you are seeking truth, everyone claims to have answers, but no one has answers like the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of God be upon him. He whose heart is always connected to Allah and whose concern is for the entirety of creation;  Let us ask Our Messenger, peace and blessings of God be upon him, so that our journey is based on guidance, truth and leads to everlasting success .

Reflect on the minute preparations, and research we , as human beings, make in order to travel somewhere, either for business or  vacation. There is much preparation, research and packing that takes place when preparing for a simple flight or journey on this earth.  What about the afterlife?  As believers, we testify in the existence of the Hereafter and the belief in a Day that will be like no other day– with much unknown ahead of us, what have we prepared for it? When I am meeting with a king or a president, I will prepare myself– what have you done to prepare yourself for the journey to the King of all Kings? The journey to Allah?

There are  5 questions that I reflected on, and whose answers provided guidance towards a better relationship with my Lord and for a happier Hereafter. Let us reflect and visit them  so we may benefit together.

 1): What should I do if I do not wish to be hungry on that Day ( a day likened to 50 thousand years)?

Answer: The prophet said those that experience hunger most in this life, will not experience hunger on that Day; this reference was to those who fast Ramadan and the additional fasts. Those that increase in fasting in this world, will not feel the hunger on that Day.

2) What should I do If I do not wish to shiver or shake on That Day?

Let us reflect, do you not think that on that Day that you meet His Angels, that you meet Allah , do you think that you will have no fear?

Answer: The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him,  said that the one who helps his brother until his problem is solved will not shiver or quake on that Day.  Service to others is the gateway to rewards and the pleasure of Allah.

3) What shall I do to be Happy on that Day? (Can you be happy that Day? When the Earth quakes, the sky falls and there is upheaval everywhere?)

Answer : The Messenger of Allah said that the one who can swallow his anger when he has a right to be angry Allah will fill his heart with hope and contentment on the Day of Judgement.

According to Islam, what does it mean to be angry?A common example of this situation are the quarrels between spouses, when one overlooks or swallows his or her anger for the sake of Allah, Allah will grant that individual hope and contentment on that Day. Another example worth noting is when someone does something and you say to them -you always do this!;These are are examples of anger to avoid.

4) Would you like on the Day of Judgement to have a rank that is even loved or desired by the Prophets? 

On the Day of judgement there will be people who are dressed with light, their faces will shine bright and will be sitting on chairs of light and even the prophets would like to be in their state; the prophets will be looking upon them and wondering how they reached this station.

Answer: The Messenger of Allah has informed us these are the people who visit each other for Allah and who give each other gifts for Allah’s sake. So, how do you know that you are visiting someone for Allah? If you continue to  visit, call or give gifts even when the other does not reciprocate; your sincerity shows in your continuity.

5) Would you like to sit next to the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him,  on that Day? How can I achieve this?

Answer: The ones who will be near him on the day of Judgement and be the most beloved to Allah Mighty and Majestic, are those who have good character and those who send abundant blessings upon his beloved, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.

As believers we are blessed to send prayers upon our messenger in our ritual prayers and outside of it, in these interactions there are 2 angels that convey our greetings to the Prophet. How would your like your greetings to be personally conveyed? Your Messenger knows that these greetings are from you– send blessings upon him as if he is with you, as if you are in his blessed presence.

The Journey to Allah begins with the guidance and example of the Messenger and ends with the company and intercession of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him.

We have been blessed with reflecting on the Hereafter, for we believe in it and each moment we move closer to it, and closer to Allah. We have also been blessed with the answers and provisions for this Day and this Meeting. So what is next? After this conversation, after this lecture, how do we treat what has just been conveyed to us?

Everything you just heard or have been conveyed will be placed as a trial for or against us; for this knowledge has been conveyed to us and they are amongst our provisions. Let us rejoice in it , embrace it,  and act upon it so that it may be in our favour and we may reap the rewards.


Cover photo by [email protected] anonymous
We are grateful to Al Mawadda TV for this video.

Resources for the Seekers:

closeness to Allah Archives – SeekersHub Blog
Ten Qualities of Those Seeking Closeness to Allah
Qur’an Reflections: Day Two: Baqara [2.142-252] – Remembrance
The Intercession of the Prophet on the Day of Judgment
The Soul’s Journey after Death and The Day of Judgement
Hope, the Hereafter and Our Salvation, by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani .
The Benefits of Sending Peace & Blessings on Prophet Muhammad
Why do We Send Prayers of Peace & Blessings Upon the Beloved .
Love Of The Prophet And Following His Example
Can You Please Explain the Belief of The “Presence” of the Prophet
Maqam: The Station of the Prophet Muhammad
On Knowing Yourself to Know Go

Catching the Dunya Is Mission Impossible – Imam Zaid Shakir

What’s the problem with having a materialistic, dunya-centered world view? You become instantly poor no matter how much wealth you have.  You graduate from a Camaro to a Masarati to a Rolls-Royce, going through object after object but never being at peace with yourself, says Imam Zaid Shakir.

In this funny and captivating video clip, Imam Zaid Shakir opens our eyes to the flawed views that we have oftentimes grown up with, and encouraged us to look deep within and search for true and lasting happiness.

We are grateful to Nueces Mosque for this recording.

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A Description of the Prophet Muhammad’s ﷺ Bed – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

What did the bedding of the Prophet ﷺ like, and why did he choose it? In this short but inspiring video, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani discusses how the choices of the Most Beloved indicated his ultimate choice: the hereafter.

Why did he choose a mat that didn’t cover his body if he was given the keys to the treasures of the whole earth? What did he choose instead? What were his priorities? 

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Crisis of Islam or Crisis of Humanity? It’s all a cause of concern – Ustadh Amjad Tarsin

Does the modern condition reflect a crisis of Islam or a crisis of Humanity? “For the Muslim its all a cause of concern,” says ustadh Amjad Tarsin. Allah has placed mankind as representatives of the Cosmos; this noble station calls us to responsibility. These experiences call us back to reflect on our relationship with the Owner and Maker of the Worlds.

In one of the talks given in Melbourne as part of the SeekersHub Australia Winter 2016 Tour, “Give Light: Prophetic Action to Heal Ourselves and Our World”,  Ustadh Amjad conducts a timely discussion surrounding the incessant crises affecting our modern experience.
Violence, turbulence, natural disasters and systematic tension and breakdowns…what is going on? Is this a crisis of Islam or a crisis of Humanity? In reality, through a spiritual perspective the concern is one and the same; the state of the world is a reflection of the state of Humanity. The relationship between corruption and the human condition is a reflection of what we have caused with our own hands. Allah has placed mankind as representatives of the Cosmos; this noble station calls us to responsibility. These experiences  call us back to reflect on our relationship with the Owner and Maker of this world.
What is our relationship with Allah? Our modern perspective calls us to agitation and critique of religion; Why are people almost allergic to Faith? We as people connected to faith, what is our response in trying to contribute to healing and rebuilding of communities?

What are we doing in our own lives to show how relevant and beautiful faith can be especially in a modern and caught off society?

The Prophet ﷺ said that faith itself is 70 odd branches, the statement of ultimate reality is the testimony of faith and the lowest branch of faith is removing  something harmful off of the road. As believers we see the small gestures in life as reflections of faith : whether a smile on the face, or picking something off of the street; these reflect acts of faith.

“Our faith is not just reflected on the prayer rug; but reflected in every aspect of our lives,” proclaims Ustadh Amjad.

Truth in Allah will call us back; either He will guide you with Beauty and inspiration, or you will be confronted with tribulations and difficulty in order to move things around and for human beings to redirect themselves to God. Corruption has been reflected in the land and the sea, really so that we may return back to Allah.

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Cover photo by Dave Lo Sapio.

Islamic Meditation: What Is It and Does It Have A Place In Our Lives? Shaykh Muhammad Mendes

Join Shaykh Muhammad Mendes in a rich and deeply profound guide to meditation and reflection in Islam – what he describes as a pathway to God.

Meditation 1: The Etiquette of Reflection

Meditation 2: The Means of Reflection

Meditation 3 : Step-by-Step Guided Meditation

Meditation 4: Reflecting on the Self

Meditation 5: Degrees of the Self & Muraqaba

Resources for seekers:

 

Cover Photo by Joutte Maue Kay. We are grateful to Al Maqasid for the use of these videos.

Dawud Wharnsby on Struggling for Simplicity

In an increasingly materialistic world, more and more people are finding serenity in simplicity–to the point where minimalism and simplicity are huge money makers to corporations, says Dawud Wharnsby.

However, there are billions of people around the world are living simply because they have no other choice.

What reflections do we find in the Quran about minimalism, and how can it help us live a more peaceful and inspiring life?

Watch this short talk by one of the world’s most popular nasheed artists, Br. Dawud Wharnsby.

We are grateful to ISNA Canada for this recording

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What You Need to Know About the Fiqh of Burial, by Imam Tahir Anwar

How much do you know about the fiqh of burial? Do you know what is the first call to make when someone dies? What sort of preparation do you need to make? Is there a religious significance to washing the shroud in Zamzam water? What sort of instructions should you give to your relatives? Is it really true that we must encourage a dying person to recite the testimony of faith? And is organ donation permissible?

In this video, Imam Tahir Anwar discusses what we possibly consider the most difficult subject to think about: death and dying. However, it’s also one of the most important subjects, not to mention a situation that we are all absolutely guaranteed to face, sooner or later.

“Life has no guarantees. A person could pass away at any time.”

 Resources for Seekers

We are thankful to Al-Maqasid for this recording.

I’tikaf: When The Aching Bones of Your Wives May Testify Against You

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I’tikaf is intended to be a blessed time for those who have the opportunity to engage in it so why is it causing so much marital discord between couples who Jazmin Begum-Kennedy is counselling?

Iʿtikāf (Arabic: اعتكاف‎‎, also i’tikaaf or e’tikaaf) is an Islamic practice consisting of a period of staying in a mosque for a certain number of days, devoting oneself to worship during these days and staying away from worldly affairs. The literal meaning of the word suggests sticking and adhering to, or being regular in, something, this ‘something’ often including performing supererogatory (nafl) prayers, reciting the Qur’an, and reading hadith.

Every year, I read wonderful social media updates from brothers preparing to go to i’tikaf followed by others praising them and requesting them to make dua. This ought to be a beautiful thing but unfortunately for the wives left behind, it is often a nightmare.

Few men make enough fanfare or even mention who will

  • pack their things for them,
  • do grocery runs,
  • cook fresh food each day,
  • send the fresh food to the men in i’tikaf each day, twice a day – for iftar and suhoor,
  • take care of the children and the school runs,
  • serve their parents,
  • serve their in-laws
  • take care of her own health, while pregnant or otherwise

All this on often little to no resources.
For these women, engaging in more prayer, Qur’an reading and quiet reflection during the blessed 10 nights of Ramadhan are a remote possiblity.
Don’t get me wrong- I am all for i’tikaf but men need to make provisions for their womenfolk first before they set off. Every year I am left counselling mothers who have been left to take care of young children and demanding inlaws, as well as send freshly cooked food to their menfolk at the mosques. Often, they are not left with much money or resources to barely feed the children and elderly in their care, let alone send food to their men in i’tikaf.

“But My Wife Doesn’t Mind”

I don’t just listen to the women’s side of the story. I have spoken to many men about this. Last year, one brother messaged me saying how the companions of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ  often left for months and years and no one complained. He insisted that his wife didn’t complain either. When I asked him if he had asked her, he did not reply.
We do not live in societies that allow for such privileges. When the companions of the Prophet ﷺ went away, they left their families in a community with extended families and friends. They had maids as well as wet nurses for support.
These days, women have to do school and mosque runs, shopping, take children to appointments, chores for in-laws etc. Everything is done by one person – the mother.
On top of the daily grind of life, there’s the added stress of arrange the delivery of fresh, pipping hot food because she doesn’t want to upset or anger her husband who has gone to get closer to Paradise.

Is This The Path To Paradise?

What blessing is there in striving for Paradise, off the back of another human being?
I acknowledge that being in service to those in worship is a form of worship itself, and may Allah reward all who engage in this to the best of their abilities. However, on the flip side, there is a disturbing element of injustice and oppression.
Just before I wrote this, I was consoling a mother who is experiencing a very difficult pregnancy and has a toddler to attend to. She can barely keep her head up due to the sickness and exhaustion. Her beloved husband set off for iti’kaf leaving her with strict instructions on making sure his two meals are delivered at the right temperature.
I try not to aggravate situations like this. I try to hold my tongue, for what it’s worth. I advised this woman to go to her parent’s home so she can get some much needed respite. She is drained. She is carrying life in her womb. It is her God-given right to be nurtured during this fragile time and her God-given right to request her husband stay home and make himself useful. I told her to print this profound hadith and hang it in her home so all can see what our beloved Prophet ﷺ had to say:

The best of you are those who are best to their wives.

SubhanAllah, it is time to reflect on why we do things and how our actions, even if it’s to do something good can be so damaging for our hereafter. I was reminded by a fellow mother, Sumayyah Omar on Muslim Mamas that the Prophet ﷺ said,

“The most beloved people to Allah are those who are most beneficial to the people. The most beloved deed to Allah is to make a Muslim happy, or to remove one of his troubles, or to forgive his debt, or to feed his hunger. That I walk with a brother regarding a need is more beloved to me than that I seclude myself in this mosque in Medina for a month. Whoever swallows his anger, then Allah will conceal his faults. Whoever suppresses his rage, even though he could fulfill his anger if he wished, then Allah will secure his heart on the Day of Resurrection. Whoever walks with his brother regarding a need until he secures it for him, then Allah the Exalted will make his footing firm across the bridge on the day when the footings are shaken.”

Scholars and Imams, Insist On A Checklist

Wouldn’t it be great if the imams in all our mosques would read this hadith out during Friday sermons in Ramadan? And then advise the men to follow basic protocols before packing their bags? Moni Akhtar, another mother from Muslim Mamas made a great suggestion: the masjid should give out a form of prerequisites before men are accepted into i’tikaf:

  • Have you asked your wife if she can cope without you?
  • Have you left her with provisions?
  • Have you paid for a cleaner to come and help?

Guidance and prompting from the ulema is sorely needed to raise greater awareness.
I would love to leave on a good note but instead I am forced to leave a warning. Your women and those in your care may not utter a word  now but their aching bones will testify against you on the Day of Judgement. May Allah have mercy upon us all, ameen.

Photo credit: Juliana Cunha

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Jazmin Begum Kennedy (JBK) is a ‘Qualified Housewife.’ By day she is a mother, wife and teacher; by night she wages war against oppressors and writes books. She is an experienced teacher of primary and secondary education, an acclaimed professional artist (JBK Arts) and published author of Mercy Like the Raindrops, Blessed Bees, No School Today and the upcoming novel, Fifteen. Jazmin is an online counsellor specialising in domestic abuse, rape and child abuse. She also physically helps victims of domestic violence flee their abusive marriages. She is the co-founder of the Nisa Foundation, working as a women’s aid worker for victims of domestic violence. JBK currently homeschools her three children, whilst managing a network for Home Educators in the Greater Manchester area of the United Kingdom.

Long Days of Fasting? Shaykh Faraz Rabbani on The Prophetic Urge

If these long days of fasting are tiring you out, this talk is for you. Shaykh Faraz Rabbani provides inspiration by discussing the Prophetic urge towards fasting and other good deeds.

He explains how the Prophet and his companions were eager to avail themselves of the Divine assistance alongside commands to engage in these sometimes strenuous acts.

We are grateful to the World Islamic Mission for this recording. Photo by Moyan Brenn.

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