Islamic marriage advice and family advice

My husband is not standing up for me against his parents

amnesia sleepy tired no energy tired mum

As salaam alaykum,

I have been married for 2 years now. The first year, I mostly spent with my family as I was finishing my final year of university. When I came to live with my in-laws permanently my mother-in-law was acting very clever. This means that she would be nice to me in front of everyone and then when I was on my own she would be mean. Two months into the marriage, I told my husband I was fed up as she would cause issues and try to cause an argument over anything and she would make me look like the bad person.

At that time, my husband conveyed to me that I'm "trying to get him against his family," which I made clear wasn't the case. A few months went by and I started to take it out on my husband. I always stayed quiet in front of my in laws. Our marriage was not going good and his father heard us in an argument and went and told my mother-in-law. They interfered at that time.

During this lockdown, my husband has seen everything and the way I am being treated. He has been really nice to me. My mother-in-law has insulted me, caused me pain/hurt, is controlling and suspicious, accused me of things I haven't done, and is jealous

Since I got my degree I have not done anything with it...I worked so hard too. Instead, she says "your education is over, you need to stay at home, cook, clean etc." I do this but inside I feel pain as before I got married, I worked part-time and studied. It's killing me as I don't want to spend my whole life like this: I had career plans.

I get told I'm disrespectful, but I am the one who gets treated and spoken to disrespectfully by my mother-in-law and sister-in-law. My sister-in-law  doesn't live with us but interferes, and my mother-in-law tells her everything and she is another copy of her mother. I can see everyone is fake. I have tried so hard...I would try talking to my mother-in-law, but every time I did, she would just verbally attack me.

I have told my husband everything. My father-in-law even stopped talking to me, I don't even know the reason. I get told to cook, clean, wear nice clothes etc. I already do all this. Yet it doesn't get recognized or appreciated. During this lockdown, my husband has been really nice to me; he has been understanding and can see what his parents are doing is wrong. It kills me that 2 months into the marriage when I came back from finishing university, I was fed up, that I've told him over the months I can't take this anymore.

He himself when we got married said "I don't want to live with my parents." But he has done nothing. I have even asked him what his future plans are now and he doesn't tell me. He is not financially stable. What hurts is that all this time I could have got a job and we could have worked together to get financially stable but my in laws won't let me work. I even asked once and my mother-in-law wen to my father-in-law and said "you haven't let the other daughter-in-law work and your going to let her?" I really want to work!

I've wasted a year crying and in pain; sometimes while crying, I cant even breathe. My husband is nice to me and his parents, but I have cried so much over this year because of what I have experienced. I'm writing this post because all this time, I have tried not letting my marriage be affected. But I am at a point now where I can't be the same with my husband. He has seen how much I have struggled and I have tried to be so patient, as I have thought that this is his mother and father and sister, but I keep having a mental breakdown because of it all.

My husband hasn't taken any steps to move out (which is what is better for the sake of our marriage). I just don't know what to say to him or do. I'm starting to feel like part of it is his fault as he should have done something when I told him. I don't want to be mean to him but I just don't feel like talking to him anymore. I have went through episodes of feeling depressed.

Please help me Jazakallah khair.

Sister 


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11 Responses »

  1. Asalamualaykum Sister,

    I'm so sorry for the frustration and sadness that you are experiencing, and have been experiencing for some time now. Your gut is telling you that your husband is being irresponsible and neglectful of your feelings. He should be listening to you, hearing you, and working to find a remedy. Instead, by doing nothing, he is complicit in the abuse from your in-laws. Remember that the one who sees bad and does nothing to stand up against it is essentially a participant and one of "them."

    I think you need to sit down with your husband and reference the time he told you that he didn't want to live with his parents. Explain to him that your decision to marry him was dependent upon that. Instead of shutting down as you are presently doing (as necessary as it was for the time being), you need to communicate your feelings to him. Tell him that you are overworked, stressed by his parents, and unfulfilled playing your current role in the family considering that you went to school to have a career. Also tell him that you are feeling unheard as a spouse and important part of his life.

    Communication is necessary to solving any issue. You could present it in a way that he understands that making you happy is part and parcel of making the relationship with him a happy one as well. You will both benefit from a change. See what he says and does about it. As your husband, he should take you seriously and not just brush it under the rug. Inshallah he will see the situation more clearly and have some empathy for you.

    Also, before communication with him, why don't you try making a sincere dua that it all goes well? Pray 2 rakahs in addition to the obligatory and hand your fears over to Allah. That always comforts me when I'm having a problem.

    So try those things first and let us know how things unfold, hopefully for the better Inshallah.

    Hugs,

    Nor
    IslamicAnswers

    • Wa'alykum Asalaam.

      Jazakallah Khairan sister for the advice.

      I tried talking to him and he was listening, he got upset as he goes you really think I do not care when I see you like this. He has seen me cry and he has asked whats up, or comes and sits with me. I just don't get how he doesnt understand as i have been telling him everything. Most of the time he doesn't know what to day and even told me I don't know what to say when I asked why he isn't saying anything.

      We were sat as a family and he did give a reminder on oppression and the one who is oppressed as well as hurting others using hadith and the Quran. He said he did that for me but i don't think it had an effect on the people who heard it.

      He goes I can not do anything as he does not want to upset his parents and he goes they are reason you are hurting (he Knows it, but hasn't done anything). He goes I can't do anything, This was difficult to hear. I feel like I am on my own. I know i'm only ruining myself as the people who have caused me the pain do not even care.

      I just do not understand what to do. I am trying to not let anything affect me but i really feel like my MIL has caused me so much difficulty and some sort of depression as I have been crying for a year.

      • Asalamualaykum P,

        Unfortunately, I think sister Tami is right...your husband is not able to stand up for himself and his family, and this is a very deep rooted issue that goes back to his own childhood and the way he was raised by his family. He is not utilizing assertive communication with them, or any kind of boundary-setting. Perhaps he is scared that he will lose them, but the alternative is that he would lose you, and that may be something that he feels is unlikely to happen. Perhaps because you yourself are not setting enough boundaries in the relationship. Crying is fine to release pain and healthy even, but there comes a time when we have to take action based on self-preservation and survival.

        For you to survive in this situation, you need to be willing to separate from him if his behavior and that of his family does not change. Remember that Allah is your protector first and foremost, and you will be just fine if you set boundaries with this family. Allah does not expect you to just accept this kind of behavior. It's wrong and you owe it to yourself to change it. So you need to communicate not only with him but also set boundaries with his parents. Next time they treat you this way, tell them that you do not feel comfortable with X, Y, and Z and will not tolerate it. If they push you anyways, continue to repeat the boundary, without giving any explanations and without giving into their demands. Inshallah things will improve, but you have to do your part to protect yourself in whatever way is necessary.

        Hugs,

        Nor
        IslamicAnswers

        • Wa'alykum Asalaam.

          I think you may be right sister. Jazakallah khairan for making me realise. I spoke to him again about how I feel. He was silent and did not say a word. What does that mean? He doesnt know what to say again. But Why is what i do not understand.
          I told him that he may be losing his wife....no reply.

          We have been married for 2 yrs, i do feel like it is too late to set boundaries. I am really disappointed, I am disappointed in myself too that i didn't speak up more earlier on in the marriage. I can not leave him though as it would cause massive issues. He has never treated me badly, its just he is weak when it comes to these things,

          • Aslamualaykum Sister,

            It is never too late to set boundaries. Boundaries are not about the other person. They are to protect yourself. Of course if you've been allowing the bad treatment for a long time, your in-laws may initially be shocked or take it badly, but let them feel whatever they feel in response. How they feel is not your responsibility. Your responsibility is towards yourself first and foremost. So sit them down and explain to them that what they are doing is making you feel uncomfortable.

            This is even more important if you are intending on staying in the marriage and in close proximity to them. If you don't do it, nothing will change, and you will be worn out from all the stress. You need to teach them how to treat you through your actions. For example, if someone asks you to clean the house, tell them that you are tired and cannot do that at this time. Tell them that you will consider doing it later when you have more energy. And then don't do it...they will see that you are serious.

            Whatever you do, don't set consequences that you feel you can't follow through with. For example, don't tell your husband that you will get separated from him if he fails to stand up for you, if you are not actually intending on doing so. That will just make your boundaries seem soft and pliable and you will be taken advantage of. Just start with small boundaries like what I described. Tell them you are tired. Tell your husband you are tired from having interactions with his parents, and need a break. Ask your husband if he will help you cook tonight, or if he can take care of his parents that night so that you can focus on looking for a job for a few hours. There is no shame in this. You don't have to play any "prescribed" roles here. These gender roles are often cultural in nature and have nothing to do with Islam.

            When you respond to your mother-in-law's demands, take a moment to breathe and collect yourself before answering, so that you can actually gauge how you feel about what they asking of you. Do you feel happy about helping? Do you feel resentful? Or are you simply tired that night and need a break? That way, you can respond in a fashion where you are considering yourself and your needs as well. Our people-pleasing tendencies sometimes get in the way of proper communication and better relationships.

            Don't give up, particularly if you are set on staying in this situation. Do what is in your control, and make Dua that Allah help you with the rest. You are not expected to do it all, as you are just one person. Nor are you expected to do it alone. We are prescribed prayer in part because we absolutely need Allah. He has programmed us to need him. So just cry to Him and ask him for help sister. He is waiting for you. 🙂

            Hugs,

            Nor
            IslamicAnswers

          • Also, if your husband is silent, he may either have no idea what to say, or he may be upset, or he may be waiting to see what you actually do (rather than what you say). This goes back to teaching people how you want to be treated through your actions. If you say one thing but then you end up doing another, they will not take your words seriously.

            So let him be silent and do what you need to do OR if he is silent, ask him what he's thinking or feeling. You are not at the mercy of his reactions.

            Nor

          • Sister Nur,

            You given excellent advice with hope and inspiration.

            Let’s hope it is for the good.

            “ if someone asks you to clean the house, tell them that you are tired and cannot do that at this time. Tell them that you will consider doing it later when you have more energy. And then don't do it...they will see that you are serious.”

            - Knowing the type of in-laws she has....and she uses the phrase above may turn out negative, unless Allah opens their hearts. The family will surely say you are “Lazy!”. They will never look themselves as the wrongdoer. They will never be happy, even if you do everything right and do what you are supposed to. It’s a backward cultural disease and mind they have and you can’t change them.

          • Wa'alykum Asalaam.

            I appreciate your advice a lot. Jazakallah khairan.

            Tami is correct, she has identified my in laws properly and they would definitely react in that manner. I guess i have to bear a bit more patience, even though I have been for more than a year. It is just becoming so difficult to do so.

            When i did remind him of the fact that he said he did not want to live with his parents. He was silent as i was saying all these things, but the next day he goes to me yes i did say that but i haven't been able to do what i said to you at the beginning of the marriage, He took it the wrong way and goes your calling me useless and that I want to go home and come back once i have the materialistic things. This is not the case, I am able to provide for myself, i have been doing while studying and at uni, when i got married it all stopped.
            Every time I talk to him about a job he avoids the conversation all, so that will not be happening i guess. I am just going to leave it for the time being and just not bring it up. I'm at a point where i just don't even want to talk to him as he won't do anything no matter what.

            My In laws are what have caused our marriage to struggle, otherwise we are fine with one another. It would be nice if husbands took their wifes struggles seriously...even though he says he does.

      • Sister P3ac3,

        I don’t have anything to say. You have tried to talk to your husband, he ignores you and blames you somehow. How dare he blames you when he has seen how abused you are by his parents during lockdown. He seems to NOT CARE at all!! You are basically stuck with this family for the rest of your life. It’s up to you if you want to get up and leave. You are educated and deserve better. You are being too nice and letting people who are supposed to love you and protect are instead abusing you. Your husband has failed as a role of a husband. Please don’t get pregnant.

  2. You are married to a toxic backward very cultured family. I don’t think your husband has a backbone at all. They are over ruling his life and most likely do emotional blackmailing. This is not marriage at all. Give him an ultimatum. He is allowing this abuse to happen, he knows that his family are being disrespectful but he let’s it happen because he can’t stand up for himself. This is oppression and you don’t have a life of your own.

    • My husband can see everything and he has listened to me. He did say to me i have been listening, I may not have shown that I have and that is my fault, He has tried making me feel better by hugging me, It just fustrating that he can see all this, yet when I ask him what should we do he says I don't know. He should have moved out ages ago which he hasnt. It's his family who have caused the issues, otherwise we would be fine with one another. I would call it oppression too, but i just don't get what to do. I do everything, from cooking to cleaning. I obey them and have never answered back. I can tell they do not like me, or hold some negatives about me. It really sad as I would never hurt anyone or cause anyone any difficulty, yet i;m getting it all.

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