Islamic marriage advice and family advice

Abusive and Unhappy Relationship

Man praying


I have never before asked a question on this site or anywhere else for that matter so this feels really odd and somehow not quite right, but as I don't have any other option I am left with no choice...

I have been married for more than 10 years and Alhmahdulillah have 2 pre-teen boys. My wife and I live with our kids in our own house in a western country.

My wife is the same age as me, works and we have known each other for nearly half our lives. My wife is a particularly strong character. Very stoic, yet shy when it comes to social interactions. I myself am quite a week minded individual, who likes to have friends, but have never quite managed to make any since living in England. Because of this my wife and I have very few friends.

I come from a very traditional typical "lower middle class" sub-continental family, where the husband provides and the wife stays at home and takes care of the house and kids, cooks, gets the house cleaned, etc. I feel like these values are embued into my core and despite all these years living abroad, I have still not changed my "basic mindset". My wife on the other hand has over time gained more independence and confidence. She is not quite the same girl I married all those years ago, and rarely compromises me with on anything!

A fundamental issue that has been the cause of a lot of grief in our marriage is my wife's determination on making me do as much house-work as she does. As I explained above, this didn't come easy. Looking back at it now, it is remarkable how much I have changed and adjusted. Before I got married and lived with my parents I didn't do any house work. Now I clean, take care of the kids, and occasionally help out with some cooking chores. But all that I do is still not enough for my wife. I know she is over-worked, but that is mainly because of her desire to hold a full-time job as well as run a house. I can't cook, and there are a few things that I just don't want to do, like iron clothes (OCD, more on this later...). As it is there is so much to do that by the end of work day, we are both exhausted, and don't sit down for even 5 minutes. In all that she does, she does most of it for our kids, but nothing exclusively for me.

Although she will never admit it, my wife really does value her work over all else. Sitting at home, like when we had kids and she was off on maternity leave makes her resentful and her instinctive (manipulative?) reaction is to create some kind of tension. Being a weak person, I can't handle the stress and then I erupt 🙁 She counters, coldly and effectively, and will take it out on me over days and weeks.

We fight like this and more many times a year; maybe once every few months. This has been our pattern for years now.

As our kids have grown up they've witnessed this pattern first hand. I know its wrong to subject the kids to this, but in the heat of the moment we transgress this limit without care. Our altercations are violent; no word is left out. No relation is left un-slandered. My wife will insult my parents openly including my dead father, my siblings too. In retaliation, I will follow suit.

My wife knows my many weak points; she will insult me, humiliate me, say that she will stop doing anything for me, threaten me that she will teach me a lesson that I will never forget. She will openly tell the kids the kind of man she thinks their father is. I counter and retaliate to a point but when it gets to open insults in front of the kids I stop. Its all very sad really. Writing this down is making me just regret things.

My wife knows of my traditional mindset and will systematically stop doing things she knows will cause me distress. I used to do tit-for-tat, but stopped doing this a long time ago as I know in my heart that I will NEVER win.

I come with faults of my own. As I said before, I am weak-willed. I cannot out-will my other half. I am more talk than action. I am not particularly good at anything, and don't have any hobbies other than my job. I would also say that I am innately a bit selfish; my own problems are of a bigger concern to me than anyone else's' (except for my kids').

Both me and my wife come from "religious" backgrounds, meaning that our parents pray 5 times a day, Fast, pay Zakah, ... but both our fathers are/were really strong characters who didn't treat their spouses very well. I think we have learned certain behaviours and somethings have inadvertently been passed  down to us. Certain events during our childhood have affected us. I realise that by fighting in front of our kids we risk doing the same.

After a fight, I'm desperate to make amends, but my wife is not. Like I said, she will continue to "punish" me for days. If the fight wasn't severe enough, she will make a "patch-up" conversation into a fight and take it out on me. To me it feels like she has some innate desire to humiliate me - somehow linked to her strained relationship with her father (when she saw his torrents of rage affecting their mother and family, and stood up to him).

The difference between my wife and me are many. We are truly different people. One big difference is that I look at the relationship between my parents and don't hold anything against my father, following Allah's commands that children should not get involved. On the other hand my wife doesn't think this way.

In the long drawn out aftermaths of our fights, my wife will never let go until she is satisfied (don't know how). She will always say, that it was my fault (regardless! to date according to her only about 1 in 20 arguments were her fault and even then I did something wrong!), I started it, that's why she reacted, and its not her fault at all because I was the instigator, etc. etc. etc.

Her fiery temper has not only affected me and our kids, but also my relations. I am afraid to ask for my mother to live with us for fear of what she might get to witness 🙁 I effectively abandoned my parents back home because firstly I was afraid of the future prospects for myself and my children if I went back. But also I am sure that even if I were to want to go back my wife would never have agreed. My father's health deteriorated progressively and he ultimately passed away, despite my and my siblings last ditch attempts to provide medical care.

Now another subject - as a man I have sexual desires; a lot of them, all the time. As we are the same age, my wife tells me that she has aged and I find that she no longer is too interested in intimacy. Maybe once or twice a month. I on the other hand am forever fighting my desires. When it gets too much I will watch pornography and masturbate. Otherwise I constantly fantasise about women, who I see on the road, who I work with and find attractive, etc. etc. I am afraid that if tested in this way and given the opportunity, I will fall foul of the sin of adultery.

I also suffer from OCD and have this weham where I will say the start of a dua, kalma, Surah, etc. many many times, thinking that I haven't done it right, and because sexual and/or blasphemous thoughts cloud my mind. All this makes me feel very mentally tired and as a result I struggle to pray, I do so infrequently and irregularly. Because the thought of praying and enduring the mental strain becomes too much, specially given time pressures. But these days I am making a more concerted effort to at least pray once a day. My wife is more regular. I also try and listen to the Quran and Tafseer, hoping for Divine guidance.

I also constantly think of the time, when I told my parents about this girl I was interested in and married my wife. How I wish that I had that time again and I would have chosen differently 🙁 How I pine for the time, any time until the time when my wife fell pregnant with our first child, 'cause I still had the option until then. For me now there is no way out, as I can't bear be without my kids. I don't want to put them (and myself!) through the torment of their parents' divorce.

I can go on and on, ... But hopefully I have given enough and as unbiased a background as I can.

I beg that someone out there can advise me on a course of action.

Jazakallah Khair


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14 Responses »

  1. >You have got yourself in a ridiculous situation, consider second marriage if things don't improve.

    How to Deal with a Quarrelsome and Nagging Wife

    source: by Recovering 🙂

    1) Excessive unnecessary over-the-top affection shown by a husband towards his wife or vice versa can be counter productive and make a spouse rebellious and disobedient in the long run.

    2)Some wives have pack mentality, either they are a follower or a leader of a pack (like wolves in the wild). Hence its important for a husband to show his wife by his actions very early in their married life that he is a leader and not a follower. A follower husband is submissive, one who cannot control dominant behaviour & aggression of his wife.

    3)To rectify the dominant ,nagging, quarrelsome,& rebellious behaviour of his wife, a husband might usually get angry, lose temper, shout, at his wife which has no impact,instead it makes her more aggressive, the right behaviour is being calm, assertive and in control. When you are angry and fearful, your body gives out negative energy which makes the other person more powerful to react.

    4)A disobedient wife will protest when she is not allowed to do something's which she is used to(eg your wife is asking you to let her go along with her office colleagues to the half yearly office trip, but you hate it, as you have being informed that some males from her office engage in haram things during these outings). Your denying her permission may result in her protesting, creating a scene or even crying, pay no attention to these antics, ignore.& don't give in, as it would make her more powerful.

    5)Be a leader, behave like one,be assertive, if you want her to do some task/work, tell her to do it, say "Do this" and never say "Can you do this". Body language should be always positive.

  2. Never feel shy to ask for a advice. your story is very similar to my maternal uncle but the only difference is that the marriage is second and the boys are out of teenage. you have given your wife a chance to humiliate you in front of others just like my aunt did , first of all discuss with her how bad it feels,she must show some respect. a wife who don't respect her husband can never get respect in a family instead the family will call her mental case.
    if she dont listen to you stop any kind of interference with her let her bark how long can she bark a month if she threat you, threat her the same way, threat her that you may leave her and there is no way to complain this to the police she is taking benefit of the laws of England. threat her that you would talk to her family about this (a final decision or a final goodbye ) and after that stop conversation with her that would leave her defeated then see the change.
    is she runs to hit you in a quarrel or she hits you just like my aunt did it in front of my mother and sister she scratched my uncle's face in Pakistan slap her hard on the face. tell her there will be no compensation if she cant respect you. but first discuss the matter with her
    another sign also exists!, may be she is sexually frustrated and longs for your touch and wait for you to come first , try this too to know.
    so sorry to hear it

    • "if she runs to hit you in a quarrel or she hits you just like my aunt did it in front of my mother and sister she scratched my uncle's face in Pakistan slap her hard on the face."

      This is terrible advice. First of all, it is forbidden in Islam to strike any living creature in the face, even an animal. Secondly, violence does not solve problems; it only exacerbates them. Returning threats with threats sounds like a gang mentality, not a marriage.

      Wael Editor

    • Sounds like terrible advice. If that's the case he needs to try to help her, she might need professional input to overcome her rage. Also there is usually a reason why someone would behave so aggressively, perhaps it's frustration over something her husband did which was wrong yet he carried on. Again it all comes down to communication - the couple need to understand what the issues her and effectively manage them or divorce respectfully if they don't see a future.

  3. Salaam, I have been there. I have been in a marriahe where I wasn't respected, and neglected emotionally and physically. I had a husband who wasn't providing for me and expected me to contribute financially for little things like grocery and dinner and it would frustrate me. It would frustrate me to the point where I would eventually become angry and resent my husband, but he just wouldn't listen! And that's the key to a successful marriage - good communication and respect!! You need to really sit down with her as calmly as possible and try to make her see that what she is doing is destructive. You need to also try to establish weather there is something she is resenting or if she is frustrated over something. It could simply just be tjay she is exhausted from working and then taking care of the house and the children. I appreciate you are helping out but it seems your quite reluctant to as it's not part of your personality or upbringing. Is there a relative you can leave the kids for an evening or overnight - plan a romantic evening, prepare dinner and then gently talk to her about her feelings and aboit yours.
    Also about lack of intimacy, again I know how hard it is when ur neglected - talk to her about this too. Perhaps be more romantic to get her into the mood. Speak about cutting down on working hours so u guys can spend more time togethrr. Go on holiday if u can just the two of you that's if I have someone who u can leave the kids with
    Also consider counselling so u can talk things out more effectively and help to find solutions.
    I pray Allah swt eases your pain and blesses your marriage ameen.

  4. Asalamoalaikum brother ,
    After reading all your post one thing stands out is that there is lack of LOVE between you and wife.
    No marriage is without conflict but loving couple manage them out of love and respect for each other.

    So main ingredient for happy marriage is LOVE.

    Now question is how to develop passion towards partner for whom you have so many complaints and grudges?

    You both need miracle and hard work to fall for each other.

    Some suggestions are in above posts.

    If you both are able to get more religious and start doing every thing for sake of Allah then it will be easy to love and fulfill each other's rights for Allah sake.

    You should bring in your mother to live with you as she will give you moral support and might ease burden of household .

  5. As-salamu Alaykum,

    When a person says they have OCD, this always catches my eye because someone close to me has this condition, and I know first-hand what it is like to deal with someone who is afflicted with this problem.

    If you have not been treated for OCD, you should work on this first, hopefully with the support of your wife or other family members. OCD can often be controlled through medication, cognitive behavior therapy, or a combination of both. Getting treated would hopefully alleviate much of the anxiety you are feeling towards your wife and your life in general. I do not in any way mean to place blame on you for any of the issues you have described, but the fact is that we do not know what role OCD plays in your married life, and it may be that some of the things your wife does is because she is reacting to the stress of living with a partner who has this condition. The effects of OCD on one's family can be detrimental, and it may be difficult for you to recognize this on your own. I advise you to see a doctor who is specialized in this issue and to seek out treatment until you are no longer disturbed by "blasphemous" thoughts and other intrusive thoughts. When your mind is clear and you are back to normal, Insha'Allah, you may see things in a different light.

  6. Assalam alaikum,

    I agree with Sister A's advice above. I know it would make sense to start repairing your marriage immediately, but first I think you should seek counselling alone. You eluded to being weak-minded - and you have mentioned that you fear falling into sin - OCD is linked to challenges with impulse control and you may read up on this a little to understand your feelings and how to deal with them. Until you do not understand yourself a little more, it will be difficult to "fix" your marriage. I recently read something along the lines of "If your house is built on a weak foundation and is falling apart, fixing the door won't help." It could be that your marriage really never had a strong foundation in the first place and you need to get that in place before real progress can begin.

    You have mentioned that your wife always feels you are wrong and wants to blame you 100% of the time. It could appear that way, but it also could be that she is seeking to be validated by you---and it could be that both you and her don't validate and acknowledge the pain you are causing to one another.

    In addition to your marital concerns, I see you that you are struggling with guilt regarding your parents and feel that you have succumbed to her needs by helping her with house work - House work is ONLY women's work, ONLY in cultures.

    Once you feel more confident and ready to take on your wife, then you should let her know that you want to go for counselling, not just for the sake of your family, but for the sake of the both of you because both of you are suffering. Yes, she says, she isn't interested in intimacy due to her age, but I find that to be an excuse and since intimacy in women is highly correlated to their emotions, and emotions on her end are affected by the problems in the marriage, this is directly impacted. This isn't right and needs to be addressed in a way that is effectively successful for you and her without "forcing" the situation. What I mean is, the both of you need to fall in love again (or for the first time) and become forgiving to one another. You also both need to make a pact to never bring up family or matters of the past in arguments. A couple can successfully argue if they deal with issues at hand, but when she brings up unrelating issues, this is just a diversion, however it does shed light on what is going on in her mind--you should deal with this once and for all and both agree to leave those matters.

    I believe that you can both have a successful marriage as long as you take it one step and day at a time. You don't need to have her on board right away, but eventually, when you feel ready and confident, be assertive to break down her walls.

    May Allah make you successful in this trial and bring endless love and mercy into your marriage, Ameen.

  7. My opinion is after 10y it hasn't worked, and now u feel your not guilty anymore and you have tried
    Yor best, u should ask for seperation. I feel u know your own weakness u know this women is to strong for you. And yor character. She's never gonna back down and giv u more sex and children cause she's set and happy with
    2 children, job, winning with the husband, nice home full family support, she's got all advantage.
    U have to move on, I say this every man has a right for child
    But shouldn't b an excuse to leave the women, I love my husband I argue with him aswel but if u feel there's
    A need of her always to win its wrong coming frm a wife
    There must b respect twice a month sex isn't gud enough, for yor desire, argument should not stop effection.
    She's not a bad mother but she's got sense of power that she knows she's Gona win. ocd or not children
    Not b mine or yours -ours and we should be in a relationship.
    Mother-in-law isn't an answer to help with house-work, I hav a 5 bedroom house I can clean it myself and
    Control the 3kids, I have full time job. It's getting respect and appreciation from my husband that I want.
    I want reward. Husband, kids,house then Job, women islamically should not think work
    If yor not providing, and struggling to pay bills. It's yor fault for her having a full time job.
    If u feel u can pay for everything can u really start all over again with new wife? new life.
    U will always be in debt with yor parents.
    Be with the ones you love always.
    Threat and bullying in marriage it's not gonna work.
    Yor very very similar to my husband. My moto of life is open yor mouth if it's gud coming out.
    Help people, sacrifice for gud, don't have jealousy greed selfish, teach people right, and argue for positive
    Not worse. A marriage isn't forced to be accepted by anyone. Yor not wrong to ask for separation, that will
    Give u both a taste to see what's really important.
    She has a right to be as happy as you are but all the advantages shouldn't be on one side only.
    Allah knows best. I hope Allah gives all Muslims understanding of better education for good.

  8. Realistically she's not Gona go counselling.
    She's on win win win case. U need an outside non family member involved. Someone who sees
    You equally, and make sure yor not lieing. You both need to put yor point across separately. So one
    Doesn't interfere with the others story. There should be a conclusion where if the worse comes can
    You live with it. Ther has to b a challenge for gud outcome, and belief gud, if yor truthful she won't leave you.
    The end to the story wil come. God bless you both

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