Islamic marriage advice and family advice

Husband can’t balance wife and family

Arguing couple


I've been married for almost 3 years. He had been in USA for 8 years before I met him. He did not have permanent residency to reside in USA until I applied for his permanent one after the marriage.

I have been suffering with a disability (MS) for many years prior to the nikah. My disability had detoriated so much  that I had to leave work and could not return to work. My quality of life has been reduced since my husband and his family were made aware of this and wanted to still go ahead with marriage.

Our nikah was arranged through family friends- we did not know his family before. His nuclear family all lives in india. Both families used to communicate through skype regularly. His family seemed really happy with my parents and me. After a year we did our nikah.

After the nikah he moved in with my family and me. He was renting an apartment before that. My parents wanted him to save up as much money as he could so we could buy a house. My parents did not expect him to contribute to any bills etc, nor did they ever ask. I was also receiving various therapies for my health, which were all failing.

Everything was perfect. My family loved him, his family loved me, and we both were very happy. Both parents had a good bond and would talk regularly, and I would talk almost daily. After some months we decided to go to India as his family and my husband assured me I may have better hope in India with my health.

My parents decided to come as well, as they would be able meet his family for the first time. He had not visited his family for the past 5 years in India. He came to India two months after I arrived there.

After me and my family got there, things changed a week after my parents had returned to USA. My husband's sister would always give me horrible comments, and so would my mother-in-law. They would make me feel like I don’t fit into the family. My sister-in-law would do things purposely to annoy me, like turn the air conditioner off at night or take my phone. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law would start saying, "If you couldn't get treated in USA, you won't be able to get help here". Yet they are the ones who convinced me that they would take me for treatment in India. They kept telling me I’m not dressed appropriately, however I would always be wearing traditional shalwa kameez with a hijab on my head.

I just ignored everything, and told my husband about it. He said to me that his family is behaving wrongly and they shouldn't treat me like this, and that if he had been there, he would have surely helped me.

Something that was strange was that despite having so much extended family, not a single relative came to their house to meet me or my parents. Not even any of his grandparents. Not even a neighbor. When my parents asked to meet them, the in-laws would say once their son is here then they will meet them. They knew my parents were only there for a week.

A month passed, and I had not met with any medical professionals, nor any family apart from his nuclear family- which was one sister and brother (both younger than my husband). Mentally I was suffering a lot, and my pains were so unbearable. My days were spent in bed. A month and a half had passed, but then my husband called and said he would be with me in a few weeks, so I felt relieved.

When he got there he spent most of the day with his father, going out, or sitting in the room with his family. I would sit sometimes with them, too. I wasn't getting any time with him. I felt distanced from him. Even the nights he would sit with them, he would end up sleeping on the sofa bed or in his mum's lap, while I would be crying myself to sleep in pain and stress.

Finally his extended family visited, and most shocking of all was when they saw me they asked who am I, and my in-laws only then told them I am their son's wife. They had no clue about the marriage, but these were my mother and father in-law's sisters, brothers and parents.

Anyways, I still hadn't seen a single specialist. So my aunt and uncle asked if they could take me to their house (a few hours drive) for a few weeks. My husband agreed. Then we started visiting doctors finally.

I had been with my aunt for 2.5 weeks. Me and my husband had very short conversations on the phone. He blamed me all of a sudden for the problems I had faced with my in-laws. He didn't even ask how my treatment is going, or if I needed any help, or when he would come take me home. He would tell me he's busy most of the time.

Our first Eid together was approaching and I really wanted at least a few hours with him alone, so I asked him to come on Eid day to pick me up, so I could spend time with him before we got to his house. He said his whole family was going to come. Eid came and I was waiting for him to call, as it me who was always making an effort to call him before. I waited and the evening came, but he didn't come nor did he call me on my first Eid.

A few days after, he called my uncle, spoke rudely, swore, and said what right have they got to take his wife to doctors etc. I don't know why he did that. He even called my parents and spoke very rudely. He threatened that he will drag me out of that house, and I can't go back to USA. I could not believe this. I called his parents, and they did not seem sorry.

I returned to USA due to hus threats. Two months had passed, and he had his phone switched off, along with his whole family. I didn't know what was happening, so I sent many messages to everyone, but no response.

I had filed divorce papers, and the first notice reached him. 2.5 months later he finally contacted me, but he wasn't the same one bit. He said I should move to India with him, but me and my family disagreed. I tried my best to explain how I can't adjust there and that this was never discussed before.

Another month went by, and I was trying hard to save the marriage. I really loved him a lot. I know he treated me bad, but I was a living corpse without him. He finally apologized and decided to return. There wasn't much effort from his parents.

It's been a year and a half since he's been back. We don't really spend much time together, as he works 7 days a week and is always tired. I've asked him so many times to leave this job, but he won't listen. I suspect it's because he can use his phone quite freely, and this gives him a chance to have long conversations with his family.

Since he's been back he has only ever spoken to his family in front of me on my birthday, his birthday, and our anniversary, and that was when they called his phone and we both spoke to them. He has been taking care of me and helping me a lot and has been saving money, but whenever he returns from work most of the time he's always stressed.

Now he says his parents are unwell. When I asked what happened he would say his dad's had high blood pressure, or his mum's diabetes is out of control, or his mum went to the dentist and had her tooth taken out, her blood pressure shot up, she had to go hospital for an injection, etc. All he seems to mention every other month is that he needs to go India. He keeps saying his parents need him.


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2 Responses »

  1. I think the main problem here is your cultural differences - you have been raised in the US, he has been raised in India...your mentalities and ways are bound to be drastically different, and it's most often super difficult to make a relationship work when there are big cultural differences between a couple.

    The second issue is you trying to make things work because of your disease - you have convinced yourself that you are 'a corpse' without your husband...but then at the same time, you mention he's constantly working, so why exactly is it that you can't be without him (even though you are being without him due to his excessive work)?

    The third issue is your husband's constant nostalgia and need for India and his parents when he's livin in the US. I mean, a grown man that can't go a day without speaking to his family, and even sleeps in his mother's lap? That's creepy, weird and immature. He needs to decide whether he wants to stay in the US and invest in his marriage, or if he wants to move back to India for good to be closer to his family.

    Fourthly, I think you might be spending way too much time locked up at home...which could be why you are so eager for your husband, and why you have even asked him to quit his job for you. That's a pretty unreasonable demand to make if your husband doesn't have other jobs lined up for him. Say he quits his job for you...then what? He's going to spend his day locked up in the house with you? That's not right. I know you are in pain, but you need to find something to do with your time, besides waiting for your husband to come home from work. I would suggest that you look up any networks for people with MS in your local community...I think you would benefit from meeting other people with the same condition as you. Maybe you will make some new friends, or maybe you will learn about some options you didn't realise you have in terms of working according to your abilities, having hobbies and interests, medical services you didn't know about, etc.

  2. Asslaamualaykum wife,

    I'm sorry to hear of your health struggles as well as the struggles in your marriage.

    Your in-laws' health problems (a tooth extraction, high blood pressure, and diabetes) are all easily solved by taking medications, insulin, and what not. They don't sound like the kind of health problems that should require your husband to become their caretaker, as he is anxious to do or is at least using as an excuse to go back.

    I know you love your husband, but there needs to be 100% honesty for any relationship to work. Honesty with both your partner and with yourself. You should sit your husband down and ask him point blank if he is willing to make your marriage a priority in his life. Of course he should have ties with his family if there are positive ones, but not to the point where he is neglecting his wife. Also, can he find a job in his field that doesn't require 7-day workweeks? That is really tough, because on the one hand, he needs to make money and provide for the both of you, and having a 7-day job is better than NO job. But has he really searched for a job with a schedule that fits his family (you included) better? I know his current job allows him to be on the phone with his family 24/7, but that is not a good thing. When he is at work, he should be focusing on the mission of his place of employment. He shouldn't be on the phone all day. He could get fired for that, and aside from that, he is not being honest towards his work.

    You need to evaluate whether you really want to play second fiddle to his family. If you are not getting your emotional needs met in this marriage, you should talk to him about those needs. If he doesn't show interest or make a change, go ahead with those divorce papers and not let him talk you out of it this time.

    Inshallah you will be in a better place in several months to a year.



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