Islamic marriage advice and family advice

Husband only cares about his career and green card

(Editor's note: this is a very long post. After I spent a long time editing it, I emailed the author to please summarize it, but she did not respond. I'll leave it to you readers if you feel up to reading it all and answering. - Wael)

Passport immigration stamp, green card

I am a 24 year old Muslim woman. I desperately need some guidance regarding my marriage.

First off, I would like to give a mini bio of myself:

For 23 years, I was born and raised in a conservative community, alhumdulillah. I kept my habits clean, and tried to follow Islam's guideline to the best of my abilities. Not only for religious purposes, and for Allah (SWT), I never crossed any boundaries of the religion, and I was proud to do so.

I was raised around like-minded, God-fearing people. I attended Sunday School regularly... like most children at the time, I resented my parents for sending me. But, at least the lessons I learned rubbed off and came in handy in my later years.

I never was into anything that is deemed controversial these days. I kept my mannerisms clean, still do. I dressed within the limits of Islam, I even began hijab in college (better late than never, I guess). I never drank one sip of alchohol, and proud to say I never will. And most important to me, I never dated anyone. I wanted to keep myself pure and clean for the one I marry. Whoever I planned on staying with, with what I thought would be the rest of my life, would be gifted with my innocence.

I grew up in a sort of bubble, which had its pros and cons. However, I was naive and had expectations for my future, especially whenever I thought about getting married last year, and the person I committed myself to.

You can say my husband is the complete opposite of me.

A little background on how our marriage solidified:

His family was from the same area in the same country as mine, and they had asked my parents for quite a long time, a few year in fact, for my hand in marriage for their son. I am US born, but their son is a foreign national. When I was younger, I would always joke around, "I will never marry a FOB." Hence, my parents thought I would not approve of the proposal that had come forth. Little did I know I would accept it myself later on.

Last year, my mother had gone to visit family, and his family met up with her, again asking for my hand. She informed me and told me about their son. At first, I had seen his picture but was not interested. But, when my mom came back from her trip, she told me that his family said please give them a chance, and their son would like to come meet me. I thought they were persistent, but my mind was actually slowly opening up to the idea that maybe I should just "scope the situation out."

I hadn't really thought about marriage up until that point, or wasn't bent on getting married, because I had gotten several proposals before, but either me or my parents refused.

When we met:

I always knew if I ever did get married, it would be an arranged marriage. That's just me. I know the limits of Islam, but I myself was never really interested in the idea of dating or finding someone for myself. When I met my husband for the first time, I already knew I wanted to marry him.
I had prayed Istikhara duah several times before he came, and just had a "feeling" that he was the one. I met him once, spoke to him...more like interrogated him, and he seemed to be honest and forthcoming about his answers. That's what attracted me to him, his brutal honesty.

Little did I know, that just because someone is honest, doesn't mean they are compatible with you.

When I say he is the complete opposite of me, it's the truth. When I was questioning him the first time we met, I asked him if he had been in any previous relationships. That question was important to me, because of the past I upheld. He said yes. It gave me a little jolt, but I went further in questioning. He told me he was in a long-term relationship, but it ended badly, and he was completely over her.

I just thought to myself, if he was so honest to say this, or even mention it, it must be true. Second, I asked him if he was regular in praying. I myself at the time should have stressed this question first and foremost, but I myself wasn't perfect in the praying department. He told me he wasn't regular, but he would try. Seemed like "perfect" answers so far.

I asked many other questions, but these are the two of importance for now.

A week later, I said yes to the proposal after finding out he liked his first impression of me too. The second time we met, we had our court marriage done. The third time we met, we had our nikkah done. I wanted to keep everything within halal limits as possible, and I also got caught up in excitement. I have always been impulsive, If I know I like something, I go for what I want.

Another benefit of rushing a nikkah was also to help my husband at the time to get his green-card. He was in the midst of applying for residency positions for being a doctor, and a green-card is actually a crucial piece of documentation these days for foreign national medical graduates, so they have a chance of getting as many interviews and hospital offers as possible.

I was trying to think long-term, since I had already made my decision that he would be husband, and wanted us both to benefit at the time so he could have his immigration papers started on ASAP, which take a minimum of 3 months to get processed.

Where the problems began:

It seems for the past one year that I have been married, it has been like a roller coaster, with more downs than ups. Anyone else in my position after saying this one simple statement would end a marriage in two snaps, but I wanted this to work.

My husband lived with my family and I for a few months, because at the time he was studying for his last certification exam as a doctor. We still were strangers to each other, and treated the beginning more like an engagement, just trying to see how the other person was. He stayed in the basement, while the rest of the family and I stayed upstairs.

His attitude at first seemed a little crude, and rough around the edges, but I told myself he was studying for a very difficult exam, and he must have been stressed. We had a few good sweet moments, but now that I look back on them, maybe they were out of convenience for him. We had more downs than ups, like I mentioned earlier. He would be a little demanding in the beginning, especially when we were filing his immigration papers. I filed everything by myself, without the aide of a lawyer, and handled everything A to Z. I guess this is where the problems first came in, and they can be blamed on me.

At the time, my husband said conveniently when he was living with us, his family was bankrupt (which turns out to be far from the truth), and he needed help with all the immigration filing fees, and especially his residency program interviews, all in all ranging above several thousand dollars. Whatever the community had given to me as a monetary gift to me personally at the nikkah, I gave it all to him, thinking he needed it more than me. I never once hesitated in wanting to help him, I wanted to do whatever I could, because I came from a generous family. We would help anyone, if we had the means.

But, from all of that help, I thought our time progressing as a couple seemed a little slow- I was expecting our relationship to start growing and budding, and get on the way for caring for on another. I still feel like after one whole year, I still haven't gotten that. I am the type of person that loves and hates with all my heart. I will give my heart to anyone, as long as they they just show me a little compassion or affection.

One whole year, and it's sad to say my husband does not have feelings for me. He "cares" for me, but his number one priority he has made VERY clear is his career and his future profession. He has point blank said everything else really doesn't matter. It just seems like their is a block on his heart to fully open up to me. He does say, however, that once we have our rukhsathi (actual wedding ceremony) and we start living together, it will be different.

I always have a problem whenever he says that, because first and foremost, I think our problems are because he does make work his number one priority, and now he is saying the wedding ceremony cannot happen for a few years, when his family and him came forth with different intentions when they asked for my hand. We were under the impression they wanted a marriage and ceremony within the year.

My husband says many of our problems will end once we are living together.

Well, one year has passed, and there is no mention of a wedding.  His family does not keep in touch, and there is zero discussion about it from all sides. At times, I think that maybe a blessing in my case after all said and done in letter. It's so unfortunate these days, that no matter what the circumstances, there is a taboo placed on a divorced woman. It is a million times better for a woman to end a failing marriage even one day before the actual rukhsathi in any culture, and have it consummated then getting a divorce.

More problems...:

The family that wanted this relationship to begin with, they have taken a back seat ever since this rishta was formed. I know that I shouldn't expect a relationship with my in-laws, but I find it discomforting and hurtful that the people that wanted my hand in the first place, don't even give me a single phone call. I used to keep in touch with them regularly, but I got discouraged eventually, because it was always one-sided.
Ever since the beginning, it seems they are more absorbed into their own family. But, they do like causing misunderstanding, which is even more tragic.

They have their son in the palm of their hands and always tell him that I do not do enough for them. I don't know what else I can do.
I even visited them in their country a few months ago. My mother was there with me. Not once did they even invite us for a cup of tea, or want to even try to give me a little time, to get to know me.

That's where more problems started arising...misrepresentation from my husband's family. Basically, them shamelessly lying. The lies would get back to my husband, and my husband would make sure to tell me what he thought of me and that I was a bad daughter-in-law. I pleaded with him, and even told him I would try my best with them.

My family invited them over and gave them the respect of trying to get to know them. We showered them with love, attention, and gifts. They seemed happy to our faces, but when they would talk to their son, it seemed only complaints came out of their mouth.

My husband and I went through a very difficult time going back and forth with all the family induced drama, and still are reeling from the affects. His family is still acting the same, even after I returned to United States. They still do not contact me, but yet they want to exercise a great amount of control on their son, with me always being painted as the villain, unjustifiably so.

I never had an enemy in my life. I know when to keep my mouth shut, and I know that even if they are horrible people, I have always been political and ALWAYS polite in my mannerisms with other people.

It seemed like so much had happened already with my husband's very rigid, inflexible attitude, and then the behavior of his family.
I still stuck with it.

My husband, although he only lived with us for that short time frame last year, we didn't get to spend as much time in one setting together after that. We tried to visit each other when possible, because he had finally gotten a job after we met.

The Real Problem:

Long complicated story short. My husband and I are having major problems right now. Most of them are about respect and trust. I never wanted a hollywood romance, Gone With the Wind, love story in a husband. I just wanted respect. Respect to me includes treating me with respect in every way- being good to me, being understanding and polite, and being a good support system, and now more than lately, being loyal and honest.

My husband did get his residency alhumdulillah, that he had applied for last year. However, he has had so many hiccups in starting, it's unbelievable. I honestly truly believe that all the jolts that he has suffered in the past few months career wise, is Allah (SWT) trying to get him to become a God-fearing person, to have a least some taqwah. My husband unfortunately was dishonest with me from the beginning saying he wasn't regular about praying.

He doesn't pray at all. I told him that all these jolts he's going through maybe is a sign he should put his head down to sajdah, it won't hurt.
He would always brush it off and ignore as usual. For me to even say that goes against my beliefs, I feel like I've had to swallow a lot because like I said, we are the complete opposite.....he was brutally honest in the beginning, but I definitely think we are too polar opposites, and I'm so afraid we are not going to be compatible for the long term.

Recent Heartbreaking Problem:

My husband with all the recent hiccups he's faces career wise, I have tried my best to give all the support he needs in every way. From emotional support to financial support. However, his attitude lately has me a little terrified and maybe in denial. He has seemed more agitated and more stressed, rightfully so with everything going on, but he seems to be not realizing he has to prioritize his life just like I have to do. I am busy too, I have job, and am absorbed with many other things in my life, but I know what I committed myself to last year. When I signed the nikkah papers, I was ready for a relationship.

I think he was ready for the benefits that came out of a nikkah, but not a relationship. When he speaks to me, its rude. He doesn't try to coordinate a schedule or see if we can see each other. He always has an excuse that he is busy, but he still has times for friends and colleagues, which is truly painful. His behavior is getting a little more bold too, and much more arrogant, a very disturbing trait he had from the very beginning, that his friends and family alike say he suffers from.

When I say arrogant and bold, it's heartbreaking. Because, with his new found status and him finally on his way to becoming a doctor here in the United States, he refuses to acknowledge all the times I supported him every step of the way and all the support I gave him. I wouldn't end my marriage on that no, not just because my ego got hurt.

I am really confused on to end it because, we don't have a normal relationship anymore. We used to talk on the phone every day, and then with his attitude, I told him I think we should go back to our initial form of contact we began with when we first met, email. I told him I wanted to learn to re-communicate with each other so we can stop bickering and be there for each other when we need it.

Little did I know that with regained confidence he would find support and admiration from other people.... particularly women.

I am not a jealous person, but I know I would never confide in the opposite sex in certain things. I know my limits and boundaries, and for the respect of my husband I know that certain things said to the opposite sex or actions are deemed inappropriate.

This is where my current issue lies:

My husband loves getting praised. But, he is seeking attention from a few girls in particular. It maybe innocent, but he still flirts. That is what is killing me. I confronted him about it, and instead of easing my pain or trying to understand what I was saying, is that instead of trying to put attention into other people, and God forbid other women, put that attention into our relationship.

That's when the conversation went from uncomfortable on my part to horrific. He got so angry he said what he did was his business, classic defense mechanism he as usual displayed, and said there was nothing wrong in what he did. He didn't understand that I was actually hurt that why couldn't he talk to me instead of talking to someone else, even IF it was innocent.

He told me point blank that he doesn't know how to keep me happy and we should end it, after just asking him please just give me respect in every way. But, he did remain bold enough to address to say that if were to end it, what would happen to him...i.e. his green card. He said he can't keep me happy and we fight too much anyway.

I told him I did not want it to break and please calm down and think about what he was saying. He just said, "what's the point." I didn't know how to react, I felt numb. I started uncontrollably crying, but he seemed immune to me. He did not once console me and give me support. He seemed like he had made up his mind already. The only thing he asked of was what would happen to him and his career, his greencard. I felt like my world crashed. My mother was with me, and I called her over later and she confronted my husband as well. He seemed very callous and cold.
She was actually headed to Omrah the very next day, and said we should work things out.

Anyways, I have not spoken to my husband since. I desperately need guidance on what to do. My husband has been in touch with my mom and told her he feels embarrassed about what happened, but he felt cornered and stressed out with everything lately career wise. Despite his retracting what he said, I feel if you say something in anger even, it usually is coming from a deep dark place, and it's usually 100% true.

I don't know after everything if I should keep giving him chances to give me the marriage I deserve and finally give my family piece of mind too.
My mom is sitting in Omrah right now doing the same duah I am doing ever since Ramadan has started, if he is good for my deen and dunya please make him a better person for me. If he is not, please close my heart to him.

I don't know how to interact with him at this point if he calls or emails. He still does not acknowledge what he said a few days ago, and is not apologetic for anything. My parents and family have been through so much, not just me and my relationship with him, but when I say if all the problems can be balled up into one and thrown onto one family, that's the case with mine, Wallahi.

All of us have been struggling with something different or the other, and my failing marriage is breaking me down beyond return at this point.

I need duah and guidance. Please.


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3 Responses »

  1. Get out no matter how much it hurts, I have married a muslim now together 13 years and I regret it, his mother is constantly complainig and his whole family has arranged anothe marriage behind my back, i was generous and genuinely loved and cared about them but I relzed these people dont care and are very willing to hurt you and your husband married you to obtain satus here I garaunty it , I was a fool for 13 years. I catn begin t tell you my story and exsperiences it to much and too long to put here, but you are nothing more to them than a green card and piece of paper tp get status , People like that will go to any measure and lengths to accomplish thier goals and your exspense and pain. They may pray to Allah but that doesnt make them good people there is bad everywhere, even in the mosque

  2. Dear Musllima Sister,

    Please get out of this marriage. Marriage is not like this. I was married to someone for 1.5 years only when finally I got fedup with him,

    I was also fed lies about praying, etc when asked him from the beginning. I supported him and looked for jobs for him, but he was very disrespectful, cheap, un-religious and rude to me and my family.

    The key in any marriage/relationship is respect. When it is not there, GET RID OF HIM!

    For me I have no children, so alhumdillah for that.

    Please look out for yourself before it is too late and you are married to him for a long time.

    You know the answer to this problem DEEP down in your stomach. It is , I have to get out of this marriage. This is hell, not happiness.

    If he was sweet to you in the beginning, it was for HIS own benefits my dear.


  3. pray to allah and leave him if your marriage doesnt work and marry some other person and if he lfirts then tell him to stop in knid way and tel lhim to respect u u etc if u dont find whatu want then divorce him simple sister or u want ot be liek this sad bad whole lfie?
    and try to make thin better tell him to be good tel him to read namaz go to mosque listen to khutbah where people tal kabout wife's rights in islam how husband should trwat etc

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