Too much fighting and strife in our marriage
I am American who reverted to Islam 6 years ago and married a Moroccan brother 4 years ago. We have a child together and I am desperately trying to save our marriage. We fight all the time and when he gets angry he says terrible things, like asking Allah to curse me and that I am from the shaitan. He does this in front of our 2 yr old son and I am terrified of what impact it will have on his life.
I am not a perfect Muslimah or wife. I made terrible mistakes early in the marriage and hurt my husband deeply, and he has done things that have hurt me terribly as well. I have begged for forgiveness and he says he forgives me but brings it back up in our next fight.
I am still struggling with some of the fundamentals of the faith, even after six years, such as praying Fajr on time. I have been truly trying and am getting better, but when I falter my husband gets so angry and we fight.
We do not have an Imam in our small community to go to. His family is in Morocco and my family is not Muslim, so we have no family members to mediate our relationship. I have begged him to let us talk to an elder in the community, but he refuses because he doesn't want people knowing our business.
I don't know what to do or if there is a fatwah or hadith that can give guidance in this situation. Please give me guidance as to what I should do.
Jazak Allah Khair,
Sister Noorah's Answer:
Bismillahi Rahmani Rahim
Dear Sister, Salaam Alaikum wa Rahmatullah
Marriage is always a challenge, and when the husband and wife do not have good communication skills and do not know the correct way to resolve disputes, this makes even "everyday" arguments ongoing battles in war that cannot be won.
The first thing to realize is that you cannot change your husband. You only have the power to change yourself. If you say "we" fight, then you have to take yourself out of the equation and simply refuse to fight. Yes, it is easier said than done, but if you wish to stop this escalation you have to develop the strength to do this.
You should begin a program of self-improvement. You must continue to strive to grow as a Muslimah, because you are an independent person and you will be responsible for your own sins on the Day of Judgment. Regarding the discipline of prayer, you must find a way to wake up to pray the Fajr, for it is the first prayer and sets the tone for the whole day. Develop good sleep habits - turn off the TV in the evening and read Qur'an or beneficial Islamic books. Visit good Islamic websites and listen to lectures in English. Read authentic hadiths the tell of the rewards for praying on time, and the punishment for missing a prayer. Go to bed at a reasonable hour. Don't drink caffeine or eat heavily in the evening. Set your alarm, and get a clock with two alarms if you must. Set the clock across the room so you have to get up to turn it off. Make sure you have a nice place to pray and prayer clothes that are easy to get into. Trust me, if you overcome this obstacle, you will learn that you DO have the strength to help your marriage succeed.
In regards to your duties as a wife, you must be very patient and not allow yourself to become angry if your husband is harsh or critical. Allah is your Judge, not your husband, and Allah is Most Merciful and will forgive your mistakes. Do not respond to a harsh word, and do not walk around the house with an angry or resentful manner. This will require a LOT of effort on your part and probably some good acting skills. There is a phrase "fake it til you make it". You will have to "fake" being serene at first, but just acting in a serene manner will help you to really accomplish a state of peace. If you refuse to rise to the bait of a thoughtless comment, then there will be no chance for the situation to escalate.
In regards to physical intimacy, I have to honestly say this is one area where many women fail to realize their duties and their power. If your husband desires intimacy with you, then you should go to him in a loving and kind manner, even if you are not "in the mood" or feeling particularly loving towards him at the moment. He will be happy and you will benefit from his more relaxed state. But it has to be done in a kind manner, and not as if you were performing a chore. Once again, acting skills may have to come into play, but you are doing it out of respect for him and love so you should bear this in mind even when you'd rather be sitting on the sofa watching a TV show.
In your daily life, busy yourself in remembrance of Allah. Network with other Muslim ladies in your community. Swap babysitting with other moms to save money on childcare, and take yourself out for a cup of coffee and a good book. The more content you are as a person, the better wife and companion for your husband you will be. Also, continually make du'a for Allah to help your husband be less angry and for him to become patient with you. Try to understand the stresses he is under in regards to money and being so far away from family. Think about what attracted you to him and what his good qualities are. Write them down if you have to. Give that note to your husband as a sweet surprise.
You have so much power to change the dynamic of your marriage, and if you do it in a positive manner, seeking to please Allah, then inshAllah He will return the mercy that existed between you and your husband. You owe it to yourself and your son to really buckle down and make a concerted, long-term effort to be the best Muslim and best wife you can be.
Please note that I am not saying that the situation is "all your fault". I am NOT giving your husband a "pass". But since he is not writing in to us and you are, I am trying to help YOU from your point of view. You can work on you, and no matter what your husband does, you will be a better and stronger person and a better Muslimah for it. InshAllah, at some point your husband will wake up and realize he has work to do as well.
Fi Aman Allah,
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