Islamic marriage advice and family advice

My Husband Doesn’t Want To Work!


I'm an American girl, 26,  and I converted to Islam almost 3 years ago.  My husband, 30, is from Jordan (Palestinian).  I went to Jordan to meet him after 2 years of talking to him on the phone and internet. I fell completely in love with him!  We got married in Jordan and I came back to America and waited a year for him to get a visa.  I was in college before I met him and dropped out just to go be with him. Stupid I know! I paid for my ticket, and almost everything when I went to Jordan.  I went over my credit limit on 2 credit cards, and all my money I had saved up from jobs was all gone from that trip. 

 It has now been a year since he hasn't worked, and he blames me for this. He worked a few jobs since being in America, but this past year he doesn't want to do anything.  We are always late on our rent, we hardly ever have money for food, our car is falling apart, and I don't have much clothing or anything nice.  He tells me, "since you aren't working I give up. We don't get anywhere if you're not helping me, so I'm not going to work either."

Before he came to America, he told me,  "I want you to stay home like a queen" (haha). Then when he came, he didn't want me working.  I didn't work for 2 years, and after that he started putting me down- telling me I was a loser because I'm not working.  So I started looking for work, but when you haven't worked for 2 years no one wants you.

He is always calling me names, telling me I don't know anything or calling me stupid.  I cry almost every night! I started school at home because I can't afford to go to college now, but he stopped making the $50 payments for that-he tells me to get a job. I asked him for $2 for something and he told me again to get a job.

He makes me feel so bad I can't stand it.  I asked him for a divorce because he doesn't want to work or give me a chance to find work,  but yet he keeps telling me go ahead and do it (work).  Doesn't he have to divorce me in Islam? What should I do?


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13 Responses »

  1. Salaams Sister

    Sorry for the terrible situation you are in. You should remind your husband that you dropped out of college to be with him. You spent your entire money to be with him and this is what he does to you in return. Sister you should follow what your heart says. This man is'nt doing anything good for you. He is'nt supporting you financially which he is supposed to do. It is his responsibility to be looking after you and all your needs. He sounds very lazy and seems to have a don't care attitude. Sister if he's going to stay out of a job much longer, he would be in the same situtaion as you.

    Expalin to him that it isn't easy to find a job overnight and that you will lend him a helping hand when you do find something but I still feel that it should be your choice if you want to work or be at home


  2. Salaam my Sister,

    I am sorry that you have ended up in this situation, which to me, sounds like communication failure.

    I don't know if your husband has tried to communicate his message to you and failed, if he has tried to communicate and you have ignored him or if he has not tried to communicate at all but the message I am getting from your question loud and clear is that your husband is having a hard time supporting the family, and he would like for you to help with generating income for the home. Because you have not done so (for whatever reason) he has developed a bitterness and anger towards you which is showing through in his comments, actions and behaviours. Or maybe you have tried, but have not been 100% committed - because it is true that finding work is difficult, but it is also true that if someone is absolutely determined to work: they will overcome any obstacle. So, maybe you have tried and quit too quickly(?) I don't know - I am guessing.

    This is not really anyone's fault - but a communication issue between the two of you and a failure to effectively express your wants, needs and desires in a healthy manner.

    In marriage: the husband and wife learn to blend and adapt to support the other. When husband can't do something, wife does it - when wife can't do something, husband does it. Together, the two become a team who help each other to progress and develop in life. Sometimes what is needed is knowledge, sometimes it is a certain outlook, sometimes it is faith and sometimes it is money. If there are no disability or childcare issues, or mental health issues that are preventing you from working, and if your husband is struggling to maintain your lifestyles - and you are able to work and generate income: then I cannot see a reason for you not to do so.

    It may be that supporting you was your husband's intention at he beginning - but then it became too difficult after he tried and he realised that he was not able to do it. Whatever the reason is that he wants you to work - I think it is important that you listen to him and try to relieve him of his burdens as this will bring you closer together and create more opportunities for the two of you.

    In regards to the way your husband is expressing his feelings: I would recommend that you set aside some time, preferably on a weekend when you have no other distractions and have an open and honest discussion about the way he communicates with you and ask him what is making him harbour these negative feelings towards you. When he responds: it is likely to get emotional as he will say negative things about you to you.

    When he does this - ask him to refrain from insults and tell you honestly what he wants. Try to not react emotionally , but stay calm and then when he says something insulting - say: "please stick to the situation and try not to insult me because I want to understand you and when you insult me it is difficult to keep understanding".

    I have a suspicion that he will tell you that he cannot do everything by himself and he needs a helping hand, and he wants you to work. You must ask him: "If I help you and start to work will you stop x,y,z behaviours?" and he must agree "yes", and then you must say make sure that he understands it will not happen overnight and check he understands: "do you understand that this wont happen in 24 hours a d it will take me some time to find a job?" and he must agree to that. Then you must get him on your side by saying: "do you understand that if you help me / be nice to me I will succeed quicker than if you put me down all the time?" and discuss these things in an emotionally cool way so that you are able to speak about his behaviour and your own behaviour without getting emotional about it - because this is the only way to sort things out. In between discussion there is a danger of falling into "useless topics" such as "remember that time when I...", "how about when you..." and general conversation that is not going to resolve anyone's problem or situation.

    You then must come to an agreement with your husband that you are willing to do x if he is willing to do y and the nasty comments have to stop and inshaAllah the problem that is causing this anger inside of him towards you should come to an end also.

    The end should be a win win situation as I am sure that your husband does not want to be married to someone he does not respect, and you do not want to be married to someone who makes you cry all of the time.

    Try to work things out and care for each other before jumping onto the divorce wagon. Often, nasty comments come from repressed anger - so if you provide a platform in which your husband can speak to you honestly, and where you will listen to him inshaAllah that anger can be expelled in a healthy way and you can attend to his needs and stop the covert abuse.

    I sincerely believe that he just wants you to get a job - and can't seem to get it across effectively and so has developed this anger & resentment towards you which is his (very ineffective) way of motivating you.

    If, after you have made sincere and concerted efforts to resolve the pressures that are affecting your marriage and if, after all of that he is still behaving in this way towards you, then it would be fair to say that he has got some character flaw that is causing him to be a horrible person and that needs to be addressed. But at the moment, it seems as though he has a genuine need or concern that you are not helping with and that stress and pressure is causing these behaviours.


    Editor, Islamic Answers

    • Dear,

      I do agree to leyla as being a husband I had been without a Job for more than a year. My wife helped me get a Job but Iam failing to fulfill her living standards. I cannot give her the luxuries but a respectable and halal earnings in her hands as iam simple I always keep calm now to avoid arguments because iam tired I don’t want to leave her I have a 2 year old daughter for whom I was a mother and father too, you can understand she is attached to me more than her mother. I am being insulted in friends and family behind my back by her but still let it go. I have made mistakes too but I said sorry but never heard once sorry from her on her mistakes. I love her alot I have a solid reason to leave her also by Islamic point of view but if God forgives our sins why can’t I forgive her. Iam struggling to keep my family together we are living separately as I cannot get a rented house of her standards.
      She thinks iam not interested to work its not that yes its hard to get a job true. She got it I am proving but she should thank Allah on what she is getting.

      Life being heaven or hell is in her hands.

      First comes to respect each other I don’t get it in return but I leave it to Allah to decide my fate.

      Being a husband my experience.

  3. Leyla is being very generous and is giving your husband the benefit of the doubt. Personally I think he's just a lazy bum who will never go anywhere in life. You are wasting your time with him. I agree that you should get a job, then immediately move out and divorce this bum. And go back to college if you can, or continue the home education program as you were doing.

    That's my opinion. But if you have the heart to try Leyla's very understanding and kind response, then go for it.

    Wael Editor

    • I agree with brother Wael. Allah has made earning provision the responsibility of men. For women, it is optional and a fancy thing. Even if the wife is a queen and her husband is a poor farmer, Islamically it is still the responsibility of the husband to provide for his wife. At the same time, Islamically wife is also not obligated to spend for her husband and for her family. I personally believe that any man who claims to have a drop of self-esteem should take his responsibility of earning for family extremely seriously. That is why the Messenger of Allah encouraged young men to control their sexual urges through fasting and lowering their gaze until they settle down financially and afford marriage.

      If he was a man of honor, he would have not felt any inner peace until he had secured a job. If he was a responsible man, he would have tried restlessly to find a means of income. He didn't do anything. And he does not even have shame for it. Let alone having shame for doing nothing, he is now even blaming you for his failure, calling you names, and making you cry. Can it get any worse than this? In my humble opinion, it can't.

      Love is good, but it is not worth giving it to persons who take advantage of it. Your husband is taking advantage of your kindness and love. Only you can decide if you will allow him such free ride in exchange of psychological abuse from him.

      If your husband does not divorce you, there are proper means in Islam, though which you can divorce him. Talk straight with him, make him aware of his roles and responsibilities as a husband, and you may give him one last chance to change. If he does not change, divorce this lazy bum. This duniya is hard, and akhirah is harder. Find a partner with whom you can truly share your life, and work together to attain success in both worlds.

  4. Neno85,

    My girlfriend married a guy many years ago. He is a very generous and kind person but...he will find one excuse or another not to work. He finds excuses for every job he gets and seriously, it's pathetic listening to him whine about every job that he gets only to quit a week later. He doesn't have a problem with his wife working a full time job but he wants to stay home all day as if that is going to pay the bills.

    I am really sad to hear that you left your studies and I pray that you find some way to return and finish. With all due to respect to Leyla, I agree with Wael on this one. He definitely sounds like he doesn't have any aspirations at all to do much of anything. Sit down and talk this over. Put everything out on the table. Be kind and respectful because after all, he is your husband...bum or not. For the record...woman do not have to wait for the man for a divorce as some may believe. The wife of a muslim man has no religious obligation to undertake harrasment, cruel family or any beating from her Husband.

    Do not sit by and watch your life pass hoping things will change. If he doesn't want to work now then when? Who is going to support the family if you choose to have children? that is a frightening aspect! Are you prepared to spend your life this way? Wondering from month to month how you are going to pay the rent or eat? You need to think about yourself in this situation because he obviously isn't doing a whole lot of it. The best of luck to you.

  5. Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh!

    It is very clear from the Islamic teachings that men are the bread winners... in this circumstance lets say you were earning a million dollars a month, still he cant force you to give him a single penny without your permission...

    so yeah...tell him about this ruling in islam...if he cant accept that,then he's not accepting his responsibility laid down by Islam....

    save yourself before you get kids....

    Make sure you pray the five daily prayers....dont worry...i would also recommend you to get in touch with Muslim sisters at your local masjid to get support...

    may Allah Swt help you and guide you to what is best in this world and the next!


  6. Assalamualaikum
    You can try Rumaysa advice first then
    In my opinion you should kick him out of the house. See how he manages. He will b active when he will know that everything he was given on a plate is going and he might realize his mistake. Stay separate till he mends his actions. Put conditions when can you take him back. He may be suffering from low self esteem because he has no proper skills or qualifications. Throwing him in the deep end will open his eyes. When he is out of the door let him win you step by step. Make sure that he gets himself some job and skills or qualifications at the same time. Tell him to work his socks off. Sepration will give you both a chance to think what you want but meeting outside the house and discussions over the phone will be helpful.

    you may Ask in your local mosque to have a word with him and dua for him inshAllah

  7. Salam Alykum,

    Hold on a minute people, how can we suggest her something or pass our judgement on her husband without looking at the two sides of the coin. We need to listen to her husband as well and I am sure, he will also have many points that will make us think, "O okay...he is not that bad, he has tried, but things didn't work for him..blah blah..."

    My suggestion...listen to both parties before you suggest them solution 🙂

  8. Talk to ur husband sweet heartedly try convincing him for job u should also find some job but if he doesnt cooperate then No need of sympathies at all.islam says man should not marry until he is financial able to run family. Secondly in islam man is bound to pay his wife monthly according to his income but as u told he doesnt earn money so it is out of question he is already ineligible to be a husband. Secondly wife has basic right to earn money she can manage her money the way she wants she is never answerable to husband that where she spends the money . Woman can enjoy these benefits unless she runs from her duties of being mother and wife. Islam is totally bilateral. It benefits both males and female. Talk to him very clearly or else apply for divorce. You have got internet consult from it u should also consult from imams.

  9. Why do we have to hear the husband's side if he is mentally abusing his wife?! This is abuse my friends:

    He is always calling me names, telling me I don't know anything or calling me stupid. I cry almost every night! I started school at home because I can't afford to go to college now, but he stopped making the $50 payments for that-he tells me to get a job. I asked him for $2 for something and he told me again to get a job.

    • That is domestic violence. The bum is an insecure idiot. It is abuse and I bet he will hit. I wonder what happened years later...

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