Islamic marriage advice and family advice

I didn’t like her then, and I still don’t like her now

wife unhappy husband

Asalam I alaikam brothers and sisters in Islam.

I don't even know where I should begin because it's very difficult situation. First of all, I was married to a girl from my home country. I originally was asking for her sister's hand in marriage, but the family said no for the reason that she was still in college. So her family offered their other daughter, who now my wife. Right off the bat I said no, because she wasn't my type and I could tell. So the next day the family got offended  I guess about my decision. At the same time, my own family was going crazy on me for saying no to my wife. I was not interested in her- how could you marry someone with no interest in them?  So we came back to the states. My father was so upset, he cursed me and said he's never coming back to look for a wife for me.

Some time went by and I was just asking my sister about a girl that we both knew, and word got back to my parents. They were so infuriated, I guess, that I simply asked about 'so and so'. They yelled and screamed at me, and said the only person I should marry is the girl that I didn't want. So I said to myself that my parents know what's best for me, so I said okay in hopes that my mindset for her would change.

Well, it didn't. We barely talk. I am not physically attracted to her-never was. She doesn't like to do anything, just stay home like a zombie all day. She never tries to look good for me, as I dress very proper all the time- not to please others, it's just how I am. I like to have a good appearance, I'm not a show off. She has the life in my house: cleans when she wants, cooks, just stays home...and is okay with that. Doesn't want to go see relatives, and forget about out to dinner or something like that sort.

After we had our wedding I really tried to feel something for her and tried to make it work, but I realized that it wasn't and told my parents and they basically told me they would throw me out and disown me. It's been four years  and I'm miserable. I pray to Allah SWT all the time to put love in my heart for her. I pray, I fast, I go to jummah. I'm not perfect, I know that, but I'm striving to be better. I feel like divorce is the only way I need to move on with my life. It's been miserable ever since I got married. Please someone, give me some helpful islamic advice. Thank you.

asalam I alaikum,


Tagged as: , , , ,

13 Responses »

  1. Assalam alaikum Brother,

    I am very sorry for your predicament. What has happened shouldn't have and parents should blackmail their children into marriages. For whatever reason, some parents think that two people can just magically make it work with the snap of their fingers.

    It sounds like you want to do the right thing and your dilemma is upsetting the "perfect" picture. As difficult as it may be, I think that you and your wife should have a very open discussion about this. You don't need to involved your parents and frankly, it isn't their job to meddle in your marriage. Of course you should respect them, love them and take care of them--but that doesn't mean becoming the sacrificial lamb. I get the feeling that your parents value reputation very much and this may be the driving force in pressuring you.

    Most likely, if you are miserable, your wife is too. Talk to her about the situation--tell her that you don't want to live like this and can't carry on. Perhaps she will be understanding about amicably going separate ways if you can convey to her what you have written here--if you don't open the doors of communication, it will be difficult to end this silent suffering. Eventually, everything will heal and get better--but it will only get worse if you continue like this.

    Since you have given it 4 years--perhaps try counselling to see if there is a way to save the marriage and shorten the gap in the incompatibility--and after trying your best, you have to try a trial separation to see if what you feel or don't feel is true. Whatever you choose, ensure that you fulfill her rights in either decision. May Allah ease your pain and difficulties, Ameen, Thummah Ameen.

    • AsSalamu Alaikum, I'm not in full agreement with Saba's comment. You can't tell her that you are not attracted to her and not happy with her until you find out how she feels and if she would be willing to do done things that you would like her to do. Have you tried to romance her and tell her that you would like her to dress up for a romantic evening? There are many things that you can do before breaking the BAD NEWS about your true feelings! You have to remember that she is now a woman who you have been with and many men will not marry a woman who is divorced. We get married and raise a family with the intention of pleasing Allah above pleasing ourselves. There are ways to make each other happy even if she's not your dream girl. You need to seek further counsel with your imam before you make the move to tell her your true feelings. It's really going to hurt her. She may also realize that it's not perfect but think of her worries of never finding a good pious brother who will be willing to marry a young divorcee when there are plenty of sisters who have never been touched. This will be very difficult for her. Seek help from your imam and maybe more than one. AsSalamu Alaikum

      • I don't feel that he should hurt her either and of course he should be tactful in how he says anything to her.

        Telling her that he isn't attracted to her at all before or after listening to her isn't going to lessen the hurt in any way. This is an awful situation to be in--but it doesn't mean that the both of them should continue to live like this--him suffering in silence and her oblivious to the reality.

        I agree, he should talk with an Imam and as I said in my post, they should get counseling and try to make things work before taking any final decisions.

      • As-salamu Alaykum,
        What has happened is unfortunate and should not have happened, but what's done is done, and you are a married man. You did not mention whether or not you have children, but if you do, then it is especially important not to make any hasty decisions as a divorce will impact them for the rest of their lives.

        Reading your post, I did not feel that any of the issues you mentioned should be impossible to overcome. Also, some of the traits you mentioned regarding your wife would be considered positive to many people. Staying home, cooking, and taking care of the house are things that many women take pride in doing well. The fact that she does not like to go out or visit people may indicate that she is shy or that she does not like to gossip. If she is new in the country, she may also feel that she does not quite fit in yet. I do not take any of the above as negatives because it sounds like your wife is probably loyal, easy to please, and focused on creating a comfortable home for the two of you. If she does not dress up, it may be because she just feels super-comfortable with you at home and does not feel the need to present herself differently because it might feel fake to her. I'm not saying she should not make the effort, but perhaps it really never occurred to her that you are unhappy with her appearance.

        You did not mention any concrete steps you have taken to improve the relationship between you, but I think there are a lot of subtle things you can do to create love between you.

        The first thing that occurred to me is that perhaps you should take her to the masjid if you do not do so already. Encourage her to get involved in classes to learn Qur'an and other aspects of our religion. If she is open to this, she will start meeting other women and making friends, which may encourage her to be more open. If you are also able to take such classes, you guys can discuss the different things you have learned during your studies. At home you can read books together and discuss what you have learned. You can subtly turn some of the conversations towards marriage and discuss the Islamic view on various issues. As you both learn, you may both start to gain more appreciation of your roles and duties. I include you in this because you may start to see more value in the role of housewife that you don't currently see.

        Find out what your wife's hobbies are and do something to facilitate her practice of these hobbies. For example, if she enjoys sewing, see if there are any local classes she can take. Bring her to a fabric store and encourage her to purchase the materials she needs for various projects. See if she wants to study something at the university or college. Basically find out what her interests are and encourage them. She will feel that you are interested in her and respond positively.

        In addition, most women respond very positively to gifts and compliments. Buy her the kinds of clothes you would like to see her wearing. Buy perfume, lotions, and other cosmetics. Buy jewelry and accessories. Ask her to try the clothes on for you and compliment her when she does. It sounds cliché, but most women will take the hint.

        Finally, talk to your wife about everyday matters. Tell her some problem you are having at work, and ask for her opinion. Ask her to help you with various things. Show her things that you find interesting. Take her out even if she doesn't feel like going. Tell her it will make you happy. Talk on a regular (daily) basis, and do everything possible to build trust and love between you. If she continues to resist you after such efforts, which should last for at least a year in my opinion, sit down and discuss things further. But instead of saying you are unhappy, ask her if she is unhappy because you have noticed that she doesn't seem very enthusiastic about your relationship. Then see what she says and ask her what she thinks could improve love, communication, and understanding between you. Then build on that. Yes, it is a long process...and that is why marriage is hard work.

        Remember, too, that you are coming from a different cultural perspective. Depending on how and where she was raised, your wife might not yet be used to the idea that you want her to be an active participant and partner in your marriage. It is not that easy for people to change fundamental things about the way they think about certain matters, and it may take years for someone to make the transition into a different lifestyle or mindset. For most people, this has to be gradual.

        Regarding physical attraction, it is important that spouses be attracted to each other, but keep in mind that it is not your wife's fault that she is not attractive in your eyes. Clothing, hairstyle, and other superficial factors may be under her control, but the way she actually looks is not. Consider your own beliefs about what makes a woman attractive. The older you get, the more you understand that it's what's on the inside that counts. Someone can be very attractive but very ugly on the inside, and looks do not matter at all in that case. On the other hand, some people are very plain-looking, but their faces shine with the glow of eeman and goodness. This is one of the reasons I suggested more religious education and activity for both of you at the beginning. Once you both work on your religion and grow in faith as a couple, you will start to see the beauty in each other's eyes and hearts, and other things will take on less importance. Also, the longer you stay with each other, you will eventually face some challenges or tests that will make you stronger as a couple. When you face some hardships with each other, you will start to have appreciation for what each of you has to offer in such situations.

        • Masha Allah. Excellent advice. I think people should not rush for divorce for minor issues such as having a stay at home wife who isn't outgoing.

        • @A fantastic advise masAllah

          I do think you are lucky to have your wife because if I was the man right now in your shoes I make it work regardless. To me it seems you haven't even made an effort with her except put her down just because you don't like her for whatever reason. Your holding whatever against her because of your parents you did have a choice NOT to marry her and if you strongly felt you didn't like her WHY DID YOU MARRY HER. I also think divorcing her is very harsh and SELFISH of you.

  2. Salam Alykoum,

    Forced marriages are not allowed in Islam and should be not practiced.
    I never live your kind of situation but you should not let your parents oder you to who you have to marry.

    Now you're married... You have the right to divorce her for the reason that you don't love her. Just be kind with her if you explain her the situation.
    About your parents: They must understand that you are a man now, you do your own choices and must respect them as you're respecting your parents.

    good luck

  3. Salam brother,

    Although your parents emotionally pressured you into this marriage, it is not entirely their fault. What your parents did was wrong but you didn't have to marry her. You should have stood your ground and firmly said no! And by the way you are a man so you do not even need your parents permission to get married. Sisters have to fight tooth and nail to marry a man of their choice because they cannot get married without the walis permission. But you don't have these problems. You could have married whoever you wanted, your parents don't have a say.

    When you made the decision to submit to your parents will and accept her then you put another person's life at stake, your wife's. She is innocent and has done no wrong. If you accepted to marry her then You should follow this through after marriage. If someone was married at gunpoint or girls who get beaten up and forced into the marriage are blameless. Their marriage is invalid, but you were not forced!

    Brother look at it from your poor innocent wife's perceptive, as sister A said, her life will be ruined if you leave her. As we all know how culture destroys a divorced women's life. Marriage is not a game. You can't just go and return her back to the store because she is not what you wanted.

    I think the problem is you may be more modern or westernised while she is a traditional village girl. This is a mother in laws dream. No wonder your parents loved her! Lol. You don't feel the passion for her, you don't feel like you have much in common. But at the end of the day everyone is different. No marriage is perfect. Even if you got married to her sister or another girl how do you know you will be happy?? What if the other girl is too outgoing and party's all night, then you'll get fed up of her.

    I ll tell you something when I married my husband he was so quite and didnt want to go out or do anything. He didnt talk much. I used to get annoyed that he is sooo boring and so unromantic. Dressed so freshi. I was bored but of course i loved him be because he was a good person! And that's what mattered. But I wanted the fun aspect. Few years later he turned into a party animal. Always going out and being romantic! That's what I wanted but... I was miserable because he had turned bad. He just wanted to have fun and didnt care about anything else. Then I thought I just want the old him back! The boring quite shy man back who dressed funny, because he was good and treated me kindly! The moral of the story you never know a good thing untill its gone!

    Brother look there are so many posts of spouses mistreating each other, men phisically and emotionally abusing their wife, wives cheating or deserting their husbands etc etc, and people still want to make their marriages work! When they have huge reasons to divorce! Your wife is not abusing you or violating your rights. She is just being a normal housewife. Most men would love to have a stay at home wife because they think muslim women have become westernised. The issues you have with dressing up and going out are minor problems that YOU have not her! You can easily resolve them by COMMUNICATION! Talk to her, tell her what you want. But her nice outfits you want her to wear. Take our out. Tell her she has to go with you or else you will be upset. There is so much you can do. The main thing to think about whether she is a good muslima. Does she pray. Will she be a good role model for your kids, a good wife (loving, faithful, compassionate) to you. Being a beautiful party animal will only be good in the honeymoon period! Not in real life, when you have to deal with real problems, then the only factor that will matter is whats on the inside.

    I pray that Allah installs love and affection between your hearts.

  4. The brother was coerced emotionally by his parents to marry her when he clearly didn't want to. In a hadith prophet saw advises us to look at our potential spouse before marriage as this creates 'love:

    Once a companion told him (peace and blessings be upon him) that he was going to get married. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) asked if he had seen her. When the man said no, he (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

    "Go and look at her for it is more likely to engender love between the two of you." [Ahmad and others and it is sahih]

    This is to see if there will be potential attraction. The brother clearly liked his wife's sister and wanted to marry her.
    I believe that his wife knows of this. This could be very painful for her, knowing she was the second choice and even then he was reluctant to marry her. This could be very damaging to her self esteem which is why she probably doesn't dress up or make an effort knowing she can never really please him.

    Brother, I think try out sister/brother A's suggestions for a year or so, and see how things develop. if after you are still unhappy then you can think of divorce as it is permissible under such circumstance. There is a hadith when a woman came to prophet saw complaining that her husband is very ugly. prophet saw asked her to return her dowry and separate from him.
    in the current climate we live in a couple need to feel attracted to each other otherwise it could lead to other sins. i think the brother has the right to be happy and choose a partner that pleases him when he looks at her and vice versa.
    May Allah grant us all peace and blessings in all our affairs. Ameen

  5. Brother you should talk to her as well. About all your concerns you can write them down.. And ask Allah Aza Wa Jal to make it easy for her. As our Prophet Salla'Allahu Alaihi wa Sallams saying goes. "Love for your brother what you love for yourself." You should talk to her gently. Give sadaqa on her behalf. And Ask Allah Aza Wa Jal for your sins and her sins.

  6. Brother why don't you to bring the relatives to your house, order the dinner from favourite restaurants and bring her flower at home... Why don't "you" bring the clothes that you want her to wear! And irn them,, cook and clean and ask her to rest! Does spfivorce have to be the solution to everything.. What if she is not the talkative type? What if she is shy/reserved/conservative... If she is then she expresses her feelings through drawing, arts, sewing, singing, writing, and mst importantly quit ess... Just b/c she doesn't talk about things.. Doesn't mean that she doesn't think.. May be she had a bad relationships with her friends and now she can't trust anyone.. You could be the door of her to trust the world again... But only on one condition.. You have to sacrifice your time and some of your wants and desires. An let her ..

    Flwers wilt and die if they are hidden from the sky.. Everyone wants to be loved, trusted, and valued for "who they are" not how you want to puppet them around..
    Sometimes the people and things that are the most unattractive to us are the most beautifulest from the inside.. B/c they have suffering so much n the inside .. Our perception of beauty s distorted due to our lack of understanding of the this term "beauty" how do people in Arica get married, get attractive...

    If you didn't choose your skin, eye, hair or height do you think she chose hers!?!?!
    Sorry to be rude.. But everyone is disgusting from the inside!!!!! Even you!!! The only thing that matters is a persons taqwa! Only if we could see everyone as Allah Sees in people and that is their hearts and their actions.. The insensitive cant se the hearts! They only care for themselves..

    Sacrifice for her brother ONlY for Allahs pleasure and not yours! Just forget what has happened to for the last 5 years and just think about why is she like that? Try to know what she likes and doesn't.

  7. it is your decision
    However I tell you divorce her before it is too late (kids and so on)
    and be carefull next time it is YOUR decision to marry some one and you don't let anyone exploit your emotions

Leave a Response