Islamic marriage advice and family advice

Can’t get along with an egotistic husband. Leave him or stay?

leaves floating, falling into pieces, falling apart

Assalaam alaikum,

I am a 26 year old muslim woman, married, with a toddler.  I got married 4 years ago and it was a love marriage. However, I regret the fact that I hardly got to know him before I decided to marry him. My parents also didn´t have any problems with this union and they consented happily. Soon after our engagement I began to see his aggressive disposition which was very chauvinistic and dominating, although when he proposed to me he seemed very calm and cool. He would yell at me for disagreeing over something which I felt was wrong (like dope), citing that I have disrespected his authority. After marriage, I discovered many aspects about him.

FINANCIAL ISSUES: Him and his family were going through very bad debt problem in their business which he had hidden from me. The house we live in was mortgaged and can be auctioned anytime if we don´t pay the enormous debt. This has brought me in the midst of very bad financial problems. I don´t see this as the sole reason for leaving my husband had it not been for his own behavioral issues.

IN-LAWS BEHAVIOUR: His family, particularly his mother and sister regularly misbehave with me, curse me, deny me food from their very kitchen- to the extent that I am more or less confined to my own room and can do NOTHING outside the room on my own. Recently my mother-in-law told me she thinks I have done black magic on them and so whenever I come in front of her she starts reading the '4 Quls' ayats loudly. This is great mental agony for me who has done nothing of the sort and would like nothing more than to stay away from such shirk. They accuse me for not helping them around the house when, in fact, my mother-in-law is an abnormal person who tells me to get lost whenever I have tried to help her out. My husband openly confesses to his family's behaviour but not his own. Further, in this financial crisis they don´t support me, my husband and our child although the business was common, so I am forced to borrow money from my parents usually without my husband's knowledge.

HUSBAND'S BEHAVIOUR: My husband is a hypocrite who talks about Islam as if he is a saint. On one hand he cherishes ideals of Islam and likes giving long sermons to anyone who would listen, and on the other he also misinterprets its concepts often for his own purposes. For example, he often cites quranic verses and ahadith just to prove to me that 'women are designed to be of inferior intellect' or 'When I say something its final, and you cannot question it' (even though he has made several financial blunders in the process). He has always had general contempt for womenkind which he openly admits. If I disagree with him over something and try to defend it, he gets mad at me and starts yelling. He has been severely mad at me for some minor mistakes like some of his garment missing some times, countless times if I said something lightly in front of his family friends ( eg, once he was trying to convince his friend to join the police, and his friend said that he isn´t upto it- so all I said to his friend was, that if you feel you can´t join the police- don´t, and look for another job. On this he came home, yelled at me and didn´t speak to me for 3 days, saying I was contradicting him, and as a wife, I am not supposed to do it.). Then, whenever we have an argument, usually I try to remain silent so it doesn´t get big, but after so long, I have started to reply back only defending my position- which he doesn´t allow, saying I should only listen to him when he is angry and not reply. He has this particular streak in which he gets absolutely belligerent if I even seem upset over something. He tells me not to show him that I am upset even if I don´t like something. Moreover, he is in a habit of applying different kinds of prohibitions on me suddenly after a fight, like not allowing me to work (when he previously didn´t have a problem), or that I can´t go to my parent's house to see them, or that I can´t talk to my mother (who he hates and thinks is preaching me to misbehave with him, when she teaches me to have patience on the contrary) etc. My husband has had a bad childhood in the sense that his own parents were always fighting (and they still do) and in addition to that his financial troubles have given him an inferiority complex and bad ego.  No amount of me crying, wailing, emotionally upset, has any reversing effect on him- something he has told me countless times himself.

A few months ago, he beat me up and picked his gun up to shoot himself. This was only because we were stepping out somewhere for the evening and I went to pick my son up from my father-in-laws room to dress him. My son started crying in protest, since he wanted to stay back with his grandfather. So my father-in-law yelled at me and told me to put him down and leave. I came back to my room quietly and sat down. Seeing this my husband also started getting mad at me telling me that I don´t have a tact in dealing with situations, and when are you going to learn, you are good for nothing. I was also hurt and I told him for the first time, that you and your family are bent on insulting me on a daily basis. Thats when he told me I can´t go to see my family ever again. I was also emotional and told him I needed to go and stay with my family for a day or two, to get a break from this situation. Obviously when talking you look at a person in the face- and he kept telling me to look down and not on his face. But I probably had it enough and decided to look into his face. Then he hit me. After this I called my parents, myself decided to leave his house, and packed my bags. I ended up staying with my parents for the next 2 months, during which time, he apologized to me for raising his hand, but never asked me to come back. Later, he talked to my father, after which my father also gave him a piece of his mind and then, asked me to go back to my house and give this marriage another shot. Which I did. Never once does my husband realize that when he yells and insults me like that, his family listens to all that, our servants listen to it, and above all our 2 year old son gets emotionally wrecked.

Also, there have been other issues with him. He lied to me about his college degree which I now realize he doesn´t have. In this financial crisis, he can´t get a good job because he doesn´t have any college degree.

I have at least 2-3 times caught him flirting with girls (talking on phone with them in the middle of the night, then some chat history which I caught, some emails I saw). When I confronted him regarding these things he instead fought with me, yelled at me violently and told me to shut up and never to accuse him of such things ever again. In short he denied outright any such deeds.  I am not a fool, and I have caught him lying to me on several occassions, even for stuff he doesn´t need to lie about.

Then, regarding his financial problems, when I advise him he has strictly told me that as his wife and according to Shariah I can´t question him regarding our finances and that I have no right. He is also highly irresponsible (and also denies that bit) because he doesn´t get up early in the day to tend to his business, sleeps in late often till 1 p.m in the afternoon. If luck is not on his side, this shouldn´t mean he shouldnt get up and go to work, when he is expected there by his father. Most of his time (even when he is in office) is spent on Facebook and Youtube. This also pains me because as a wife, I can´t feel secure if my husband doesn´t seem to work hard. Procrastination is his biggest problem. For example, we had decided to apply for foreign immigration 2 years ago, since we wanted to go abroad and find sustenance,  and he made me sell my jewelery to pay for it. Having done that, he still hasn´t applied and comes up with lazy excuses regarding that document being incomplete and that issue being done etc.

The reason for writing all this in detail is that I am confused regarding my marriage. Should I let it continue in silence bearing its effects for the rest of my life, and not to mention, the terrible effect it will have on our children. Or will I be wrong in Allah's eyes if I divorce him and seek relative mental peace for me and my children? Please help because what I am dealing with here is a mentally unstable husband who when is in a good mood, is fine, but when he is in a bad mood, he is at his worst- which is atleast 2-3 times a week on average.


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7 Responses »

  1. Zehra,

    Never, ever let a man hit you. If he does it once, he will do it again. If you are in the United States, call the police and have him arrested for spousal abuse. His family will give you hell but so what? Research indicates that this type of behavior is learned so basically, your husband is just doing what his father has done to his mother. Your son will grow up seeing his father beat you and unfortunately, the cycle continues.

    Life is way to short to put up with any of this type of behavior. Who lies about having a degree? Obviously your husband has no dignity or respect for himself and believes a lie of this magnitude to be okay.

    The whole family seems like they are in need of professional help from what I can gather from your post. Your mental health is important as well as your child's. Talk to your parents, they love you too much to allow this to go on any longer. They need to be made aware of the mental and physical abuse that is taking place in your home. I hope for your sake you do not stay silent another day. There are way too many amazing Muslim men out there that know how to treat a woman. With kindness, love and mutual respect. May Allah guide you forth and hear your prayers...amin.

  2. Dear Sister

    Yours is such a sad story, but I'm afraid all too common. men changing suddenly after marriage is the norm nowadays.

    My advice to you sister would be to take him out of the house one day and talk to him in private where your son and his family are not around. Tell him everything, you have to make sure he listens to you. Then give him an ultimatum: Either he changes or at least attmepts towards a change or your leaving him!
    No dithering, no two ways about it, this has to be your ultimatum, it has to be your call. Speak to your parents before you do this. Tell them that this is what you plan to do and are they willing to accept you back into thier home- which I'm sure as your parents they will, you need them on your side.
    MArriage is a sacred bond, if you try and work on it then you've done your bit and there is no blame on you if you walk out.
    Try professional marriage counselling if you have to. Your right, your husband has personality issues and i believe from what you have told us, that he is in need of help- maybe if these issue could be sorted out he may become a better husband.
    But for Godsake sister don't put up with his violence- walk and don't look back if he ever raises his hands again at you!

    Good luck.

  3. Salaam My Sister Zehra,

    I am sorry that you are having to go through this agonising experience.

    Your husband is using Islam as an excuse to dominate you, when it is clearly outlined in the Sunna that our Prophet (pbuh) would regularly seek the opinion of his wives, allow them to speak freely and debate with them, that he would help with chores and never once did he raise his hand to them. So first and foremost, for all who are reading here: please note that violence against women and the systematic abuse of women and the pushing of women into subservience is not the example laid by our Prophet (pbuh).

    Your husband has developed a very defensive way of being in which he seeks to be obeyed, never questioned and acts as Judge and Jury 24 hours a day which is not a manageable situation at all. I am very concerned that he has acquired a dangerous weapon and has it to hand when he is not in a controllable mood, and I am also concerned that he has physically hit you.

    When a man hits you, you must immediately:

    1.) Call the authorities and report him and press charges
    2.) Pack up a suitcase of essentials and go to your parents / friends / sister's home
    3.) Demand that if he seeks reconciliation that he must go and see a counsellor
    4.) Only return after a period of time if you believe there has been improvement in the situation

    When men are violent, your life is in danger. This is a fact. Abusive husbands are responsible for one third of all female murders. Men are physically stronger and mentally less responsible in fits of anger and they can do untold harm to a woman in a fit of rage. Once they have calmed down, God only knows what is left of the woman - so you did the right thing by leaving, MashAllah, and I commend you for your strength in the situation. The more you go back after such episodes, the more it will happen until you take a powerful stand against it.

    Violent en are difficult to leave, because they make death threats and try to hurt you even after you have gone. However if you protect yourself in the appropriate manner (by not being alone, by not letting him know where you are and by reporting all actions to the authorities) you can be OK.

    I recommend that you leave the situation as soon as possible and get yourself out of there. The times when women were systematically abused and put up with it are long gone. 50 or 60 years ago, women had not choice but to tolerate abuse: but today, the world is wiser and more knowledgeable and the days of being beaten and put down and abused are over, and abusive men need to understand this.

    If, after you have left, he seeks reconciliation, I advise that you demand that he seeks counselling for his behaviours, gets work and so on and so forth. Do not consider returning to him until he has sorted himself out. This will either never happen, or it will take months , maybe years.

    I pray you strength and determination at all times, may Allah fll you with power and energy to get through it.


    Editor, Islamic Answers

  4. Hello Zehra,

    First and foremost, God is with you. Although it seems very hard right now, everything happens for a reason and this will only make you stronger because now you know what you want and don't want.

    In the present moment, I do not recommend you talking or bringing these issues to his attention. Men like him do not change and only get worse. I am talking from personal experience since I am also married and pregnant to an egotistic, chauvinistic, and narcissistic husband. The truth to this reality is that your husband along with other men with his behaviors is very selfish. Even if you leave him, he will do the same thing to the next woman. My advice is to protect yourself and your child. Whatever you do, try your hardest not to allow him to isolate you from your family and friends. If you must, keep your very close relationships a secret. This is a shameful situation because the whole purpose of marriage is to have trust, communication, and security (among other vital needs).

    Another helpful advice is losing to win. Trust me, you know the truth and if he is being emotionally and mentally abusive (which I feel he is), it is best to let him yap his nonsense then you defend yourself and the situation heightens. Trust me, I hate this as well, and it is so depressing but ultimately, you win by not falling into his emotional trap.

    It is easy to say you should leave him, but way harder to do. Have a plan and leave the second you are prepared. I can only assume that you are there because emotionally he has manipulated you to the point that you need him and think this is normal and a way of showing he loves you. He does not love you nor is this normal. Trust me, I am in the same situation as you, and even that I am pregnant, I caught him flirting the same ways you have, he yells at me for everything, talks down to me, and it is a constant day to day battle.

    You sound like an educated and smart female, and know that you are. There are so many wonderful men in this world and you deserve to be with one. I do too, and so does every single female in this world.

    Also, please try not to conceive another child. Focus on how to start your life without him. Have plan A, B, and C. You will need it. Go see a lawyer and start to document everything. Try to converse via emails and print out any information from his accounts (tip---make sure casually in an email you mention somehow you have access to his accounts for e.g. "Honey, I went into your email to check for that bill you asked for", or whatever is relevant to your situation so he does not attack back that you hacked into his accounts).

    Save up your money, and even if you do not have money, in the beginning you can rely on your friends and family while getting support from the government.

    Please be careful. Men like him are never satisfied. I am extremely beautiful and smart (have my masters degree), traditional yet modern, treat him like a king, work full time, keep our house and finance in order, and the list goes on. I feel I am a very good catch and yet my husband is not satisfied. I don’t even talk back to him and always go the extra mile, pretending I am in such a happy marriage (trust me I have tried different approaches and this seems to work the best for me given my situation), and basically live in his world. The problem is there is something wrong with him and it is not me. As the previous post mentioned, it is a cycle and sadly enough, your child may also become a victim and you will only fall deeper from reality to this fictitious world. You do not want to lose your identity and even if you have, it is never too late.

    Make sure changes you start to implement are done gradually since you do not want him to feel he is not in control or aware of your plans. Do not show how smart you are so he can mess up and thin k you will not catch him. Men like him burn immensely when they feel a woman, let alone their wife, is smarter than them.
    Wish you the best. Pray and mediate. Yoga also helps or any other type of exercise. Please consult a counselor, lawyer, and join support groups (family and friends and even better).

    Distant yourself from him as much as possible and grow yourself.

    Peace be with you.

    • Hii, i m surprised to read as to how common is the problem of men being egoist and stubburn.first they come after u as if u r there world Nd then they want to treat u like a doormat.they r happy iff u do exactly what they wwant.they want to control each breath u take.i have been married for 23yrs now. Still unstable.we both r educated enough,i m a house wife, doing my job with all commitment. My sons r 21and 18 yrs old. They understand his behaviour is wrong and shout for matters like being on facebook, talking to frnds, rediculous,is that.i dont have the freedom to talk to my frnds.he judges all frnds alike. Boys i wld say men bec they r obviouly my age, they can never b only friends he says. It is suffocating now, i nat take it any more.what m i supposed to do. He refuses to change.

  5. Assalamualikum
    Im just puzzled about my situation.i myself dont know whtere it is a big or jst a small prblm...but i would defnately like smeone to guide me as i cant share with my family...since chilhood i have grown up seeing my parents being closely with thier sisters cousins nephews since childhood evn im verry close to my cousins...thy r world to me...i have no friends cousins r only my as i grown up one of my cousins husband had bought me a proposal of his friend i was so happy n i married him ...the guy is verry good so do his family ..i love him alot n even he loves me ...everything is perfect...but the thing is after smetimes i got to knw that he hates my cousin husband who had bought me the proposal n i dont know the actual reason...i was verry close to him since chilhood but m rdy to stop talking to him in order to keep my husband happy...but the situation is getting worse day b day...when each of my relative is taken wrong by him...n when i deffend my family he feels that im taking their support and not his...i really dont know what to do...he is really nice guy but he hates relatives but i love my relatives what should i do...

    • Zein, there is no reason for you to be close to your cousin's husband. Make your husband happy and stop talking to him.

      Wael Editor

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