Islamic marriage advice and family advice

My husband resents and rejects my knowledge

man not listening %photo

"He does not listen or respect my knowledge in anything"

Dear Islamic Answers,

Please do not reveal my name or my email as my husband knows that I consult this site.

Before marriage and during the courting period, my husband treated me with respect and admiration for my wealth of knowledge and life experience which he did not have. An example of this is that when he was trying to start a business (I am a manager of a business) he would take my advice, consult me and appreciate and value my input.

Since marriage, however, it has become very clear to me that my husband bitterly resents what knowledge I have, and rejects it even when I am 100% correct and he is wrong. If I tell him something he will disregard it - but if some random stranger tells him the same information months later - he will come and recount to me as if it is brand new information set to save his life or his venture.

I a frustrated - because I am far wealthier in knowledge in many many affairs, whilst my husband does not seek knowledge - instead relying on a few idiots who give him bad information regarding his enquiries. When I tell him that his friends have misguided him, and I give him the correct account / information / facts - again, he disregards it.

I am speaking of large scale religious matters, as well as of smaller matters lik how to use the internet, or how to write a contract, how to use the dishwasher.

Moreover, not only does he let himself be misguided by "intelligent" men who actually rarely know what they are talking about and often send him up the garden path - but he actively resents and disregards what I say to the extent where I just cannot bear it.

I have tried keeping quiet - which gets frustrating because when you see someone struggling for information... how can you not help them get to their answer? I have tried reasoning with him in a passive way and suggesting the answers to him so that he does not feel that I am telling him all of the time - no. That doesnt work.

As my husband, he wants to have the right to make decisions etc etc - but how can I be happy about this when those decisions are bad, ill informed and faulty?

I am trying hard to "love what is" but I just cannot, cannot do it. I just keep thinking that we shall have children one day and all decisions will be a fight between me and what I can back up with experience, knowledge and fact versus him with his complete lack of knowledge, lack of desire to find knowledge and reliance on people who have no expertise in the fields in which they are advising him.

- Frustrated Wife


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6 Responses »

  1. asalamu alaikum,

    hey how are you? after readin i can understand your position. some men are like that, they find it embarssing when women beat them in the field of knowledge etc i also think he also tryin to show his friends that he is smart and capable of doin things which in reality he is far from it. and i know this cos alot of my friends are like that, they wont consult there wife with knowledge but instead they will go to un-educated fools.

    i know a friend who cant even open is house front door he needs his wife to help cos hes got no common sense never mind knowledge, so on comparison your husband is doin far better off then the guys i now.

    i think you should just let him be let him do what he thinks is best. reason is if any thing happens in the future he cant blame you and most of all learn from his mistake.

    ma salama

  2. Bismillahi Rahmani Rahim

    Salaam Alaikum wa Rahmatullah

    This is a very serious situation and speaks of a lack of respect in your marriage. I have seen this happen before. Prior to marriage, the man makes a great show of respect for you and consults you, but after marriage, you devolve into a sort of "chief cook and bottle washer" whose opinion no longer matters because, well, you're just a wife. It is incredibly frustrating and will lead you to feel less respect for him because of his attitude.

    It sounds like it has only been during your day-to-day living together of married life that he has realized you have more knowledge than he does in certain areas. It quite likely has been a blow to his ego and he is suffering from feelings of inferiority, which causes him to ignore you and seek outside advice. Recognize this and inshAllah you can have a bit more patience with him.

    When you have a situation, before you offer advice, think if it is important enough that you should intervene. Obviously, if he is praying five raka'ats for zhur or something obvious like that, you should gently correct him. But if it is not something that is fundamental to his practice of Islam, then perhaps you should just leave it be, at least for now. Even if he is trying to learn something "academically" and not because he's ignoring an Islamic duty, refrain from educating him.

    If he is about to do something haraam that affects you, like getting involved in ribaa debt to buy an investment property (I use this example because I've seen lots of brothers doing it, astaghfirullah), tell him in no uncertain terms that he is doing something that Allah hates and you will not be part of it. If he persists, then you must bring knowledgeable scholars from your community to talk to him if he won't listen to you directly. If he is still obstinate, then you will have to decide if it is worth staying with a husband who does not respect you and who does not fear Allah in regards to the halaal and the haraam. Make sure that if you are working that you keep your money separate from his, so if / when he loses money in a business deal, bills will still get paid, at least any you take responsibility for. If his decisions affect you, like he loses money so you can't pay the rent and get kicked out of your apartment, you have to have your own nest egg so you won't be in financial ruin. I don't know if you are working, but you were before marriage, so you certainly have the ability to be successful financially on your own.

    Now, before you have children, is the time to put all your cards on the table. Tell him exactly what you have told us. Make him promise to sit down and listen. Write down your "speech" beforehand so you can talk in an unemotional manner. Cite specific instances of when he has refused your counsel only to do something incorrect. Tell him that you are more than just a cook, cleaner, and bed partner, and that he needs to listen to you when you have knowledge that he does not possess. In your mind, you need to consider all the positive points that made you decide to marry him. What are his strong points? What are YOUR weak points, and how do you balance each other out? Think long and hard about your marriage and your relationship, and be prepared to spend some time on this effort. You don't say how long you have been married, but you should invest several months to a year in really trying to be serene and not advise him, even when he flounders, and in helping him learn to respect himself and not be intimidated by you. You will have to walk a tightrope and bite your tongue a lot, but at the end you will know you have made your best effort to be a good wife and a good counselor. If he ultimately cannot respect you, then the responsibility for any damage to your marriage is on his shoulders and you can have a clear conscience if you decide to move on.

    Just pray to Allah to make YOU humble and remove any iota of arrogance or superiority from your attitude and actions. You cannot change anyone but yourself, and at the end of this, at least you will be a better person and inshAllah you can drag him along with you :). Don't dumb yourself down, but sometimes silence really is golden. May Allah bless you and help you to strengthen your marriage, Ameen.

    Fi Aman Allah,

    Noorah,
    Editor, IslamicAnswers.com

  3. Salaam, and thank you brother and sister for the kind advice.
    You are right. I am trying to keep my mouth shut - but you know what happens when you do that? You seperate yourself from him. You seperate yourself from the moment: you are telling yourself to not take action. (sigh) INshallah, I will get used to it.

    But then...why do I have to get used to it? Is this what the years of self improvement and self teaching, and studying and learning and building a business and building a life has come to: trying to stay silent?
    In my home? In my space? In my bed? In my kitchen?
    "Stay silent" huh? Thats the conclusion to a lifes work. Thats the message I have come all of this way to learn - that the solution to my problems is to "be silent"?

    Ok. Ok. I accept. I have to accept. THe fate I worked all my life to avoid has befallen me: the silent wife.

    I never wanted to be there. But I guess this is the part where I say "elhamdulilah! I still have legs!".

    And it matters not that this man does not improve himself. It matters not that he misled me, and pretended to appreciate me.

    I must stay silent.

    Elhamdulilah. JazakAllah Hairen for your advice. Inshallah, I shall return in a few years time with good news.

    • Salaam sister who Mashallah has gained alot of Islamic knowledge and will of course be aware of husband and wife rights and importance of sharing and caring Islamic knowledge aswell as practising in everyday life and not just when the need arises.

      Sister your words remind me of myself in certain ways and i admire your eagerness to strive with your knowledge with your husband beside you.

      I know you are in a very frustrating and upsetting situation and you may even feel betrayed by his ignorance at times.
      All the hard work and sacrifice and hope of good will,suddenly pushed aside beyond your best intrest at heart.
      Allah knows whats in your heart ,you intend good and have a nice mind,i am also going through something along these lines and understand your dilema,my heart felt for you when you said you didnt gain knowledge to keep silent and what you didnt wish for fallen on you,they are my words too at this moment in time.

      The main thing is that somehow do not let your husband stray from Religion by straying away from you,because i am sure you are his teacher and well wisher,no one apart from Allah will be as dedicated as you are to your husband although he is being unfair and distant.
      I do not where you live or what background you are from,i am saying thios because i do not want you to feel alone, i am aknowledging you with love and care for you and your situation,you are someones daughter and someones wife,just like myself and i am married too i live in the uk.

  4. Bismillahi Rahmani Rahim

    Salaam alaikum wa Rahmatullah

    My sister, I am not telling you to quietly accept your fate, close your mouth, and be the "good little wifey wifey". Nothing is further from my intent. I am asking you to make what might be a last-ditch effort to save your marriage. Go through the steps I suggested. Tell him exactly what you feel. Then work on yourself. If you invest three, or six, or nine months in this effort, and he makes a breakthrough and begins to appreciate you, imagine the joy you will feel at being able to reconnect with him. But if, at the end of your honest effort, you realize that things are not changing, then you have the right to divorce him and seek a) time to yourself to rebuild your life alone in a healthy way and b)inshAllah at the right time a man who is your intellectual equal and who will not be intimidated by you. I could be really tough and say "throw the bum out, don't give him another chance", but to do this would be an injustice because I have to counsel you to make one more effort. If you read this and think "I've been making an effort for two years to no effect", then it might be you think the further investment in time is of no use and you are better served by cutting your losses immediately. That is between you and Allah and He knows your heart, your effort, and your desire for a well-matched spouse.

    No, you do NOT have to "get used to it", not for some endless forever. You invest the time YOU feel is right, and then you take the steps you need to take to make sure your Imaan and mental health are intact. I do understand. You are a Muslim, an educated woman, a businesswoman - to try to throw that away would to be untrue to yourself and that is not a good long-term proposition.

    I wish you all the best.

    Fi Aman Allah,

    Noorah

  5. Sister Noorah, Salaam, you are right - I know. Please forgive me for being so ungrateful and rude. I have moments of deep remorse and anger, and then moments of peace and calm which come at me like a see saw.
    An example of this is that when we were courting, my husband explained how he was fluent in Arabic, could read, and write and would teach me one day. Turns out he knows "hello, how are you" and thats it. And I applying for a feelance writing position, a really good one which I have the abilities for and moreover the love for, and he is giving me advice for my application such as "you dont need to write skills on your CV", and he suggests I turn the font colour from black to blue - Yan'i, he is giving me bad advice on purpose. And when I pick up the Quran he says "lets go out!" - and really the issue is not that I am reading the Quran at all, for upon marriage he was much stricter in the deen than I was (at least he made a show of that, knowing it was what I was looking for) -but now, it is like - it doesnt matter what I do, if I do it more than him he seeks to stop me, if I have success he seeks to bring me down and if some good befalls me, he envies it. We used to play chess, but we dont play anymore because I beat him. We used to play pool - but not anymore because I beat him. We went horseriding and cannot go again, because I picked it up quicker. We tried shooting and I outshot him - and you know what I have done? I have started to lose on purpose just so that we can have some enjoyment in our lives, and then I have to contend with his boasting "ha ha, I win I win" when he does not realise that I am playing with my eyes closed - entertaining a child so that I can enjoy some freedoms whilst he rejoices at having beaten me at something. I am losing respect for him everyday - that he cannot see that we are not competitors, but partners - I lose respect for him that he does not seek challege, and shies away from challenge and would rather avoid playing anything at all rather than lose. I lose respect for him, because he tells me to change the font colour on my application to blue and I lose respect for him, when we are watching the news - and I seek to discuss the true meaning of Jihaad, the true meaning of Islam, the true meaning of surrender - he will fart at me and then laugh because he would rather do this than have an adult conversation and he would rather fart at me whilst I am in deep contemplation than actually say: "teach me about that" or "lets read about that". He recites the same surah every day mashaAllah, thats good - but does he seek to learn another? Does he seek to perfect it? No, he burps his way through, forgets the words, repeats the same lines again and again - and cannot tell me the translation and meaning of this one sura he has repeated every day for the last 10 years. It did not occur to him to learn the meaning.

    But Ah, anyway - I get carried away with myself and my complaints. Really I just needed it off my chest - and I have used this as my platform to do so.

    He has good points too. He doesnt smoke for example, he does not drink, he does not drink or gamble or womanise or swear. He cooks, he is learning to clean mashaAllah, and I have learned much I didn't know before in the subject of football, the FA cup, the nations Cup and all of the other football cups, glasses and plates you can imagine dear Sister! lol.

    Thank you Sister Noorah - your advice is wise, and sage and the same, actually, as my grandmothers, and similar to my mothers - that truly makes you a sister ;0)

    GOd bless you and grant you happiness,
    The Anon Writer

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