Islamic marriage advice and family advice

No intimacy with wife

wife unhappy husband

Salam brothers and sisters,

I have been married for a year now and I am in a rocky marriage. It wasn't an arranged marriage but my wife started gradually adding weight. I never told her directly what the issue was for fear of hurting her feelings. I take care of myself well and I want her to do so as well. I intervened early on an let her know that I will take her with me to workout and start dieting. She started doing it for a bit then gave up, eventually telling me that I was too controlling and wanted to control everything about her. I wasn't happy with the way things were going but still did not want to hurt her feelings so I just decided to stick with it. Her friends ended up telling her that she should exercise and so on. She then came to me asking if her looks bothered me and I told her the truth. She then got upset and left.

When I met this woman I had all kinds of issues but I decided that if I wanted to be with her I would need to improve myself so that I can be the best man for her both physically and mentally. I ended up getting my life together and married her. We were getting to know each other on the phone because we lived in different countries.

Three months ago she got pregnant unexpectedly. We had agreed to get our finances and her immigration situation in order before having a child. One day she told me "I will get pregnant and I don't care if you are onboard or not" which left a bad taste in my mouth. She got pregnant shortly after and with our current financial situation, I became completely stressed which killed my sexual desires completely. She asked me about not initiating intimacy and told her that I was stressed and the declining of the attraction made me lose all desire for intimacy. We have been intimate during the pregnancy but she was the one who initiated it. I have been very close to her during the pregnancy but not affectionate enough. I started making more efforts to be affectionate in the past 2 days she told me that if I wasn't attracted to her physically she'd prefer to get a divorce after the child is born. I have told her that I can work with her on getting in shape after the pregnancy but she doesn't seem to understand my stress. She sees my efforts as her forcing me to be more affectionate though it's not the case so she's not accepting it.

She seems to be keen on divorce and I don't want that especially for the sake of our child. I understand that women's bodies change and I am not looking for a top model. I don't care about stretch marks and a little bit of weight but I just don't want her to let herself go. I have had these conversations with her but she doesn't listen.

Thank you for reading all this and your advice is very much appreciated.


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7 Responses »

  1. Dear Brother:

    There is a good chance you may have bungled your good intentions and trying to be honest with your wife, and this negatively affected your entire marriage. That is how things go. You can never unring a bell. This is not unusual since men who have little experience with women often say the wrong thing to their wives and then there are "players", ladies men or romeos who always know what to say to women, although they are rarely sincere about anyone or anything other than themself. That is one reason why it is important to have a very positive connection with your spouse that surpasses physical and sexual love, emotional love and those obvious aspects of attraction. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with having your sexual ideal or preferred features fulfilled in your marriage partner, most people who are older know that beauty changes and fades.

    Men usually marry a woman and thinks she will never change. Women often marry a man and think they will change him. Not!

    I want to share with you my observation that almost every paragraph of your submission focuses on your wife's physical appearance. You may have said to your wife and demonstrated your unhappiness with her much more than you think you have. Just reading your post was troubling to me. Most confident women with their dignity and self-respect intact will tell the man they love that if he does not find her attractive, to find someone else. And there is usually the strong possibility that when the man sees the so-called unattractive woman happy, arm in arm with another man, he then realizes what a fool he has been. And that so-called unattractive woman may at that time be quite beautiful. Your wife's honesty about divorcing after the birth of your child might be in response to your focus on her physical appearance.

    Overweight women know they are overweight. Telling them and talking to them about it is a disaster waiting to happen. It rarely provides any benefit. And a pregnant woman is also experiencing life within her own body among other changes to her body that she has little or no control of. And every single woman is different. Sadly, most men want to have children, but rarely are supportive or kind to the woman who births their children, the person who carries the tremendous weight, life changing and overwhelming responsibility of carrying that child. Many men are insensitive and self absorbed about their needs. Your post seemed to reflect that. And just as you might get defensive in response to my observation, that may very well be what has happened to your wife. Yes, she has gained weight is now out of shape. Telling her this fact may be created defensive feelings and sadness within her.

    You might consider talking to your wife about HER feelings. She said she would get pregnant whether you wanted to have a child or not. She may have been using this to have that one part of control she does have in her in her life. Her own body. I don't know. But it is strange that she had that view which differed from the plans the two of you made.and then actually got pregnant. You did not go into detail about her citizenship status. She may have felt concerned that you used her and now that she had gained weight you wanted to discard her and as a result she would lose her status. Being the mother of a child of a citizen might give her more security in the country you live in. I have no idea. The first year of marriage is often very hard if you do not know the person well. May Allah reward you for your good intentions and your efforts to resolve your marriage problems.

    You mentioned not wanting to hurt your wife's feelings. Fail. You did that anyway. And keep in mind that you stated you had issues when you first met your wife and worked on yourself to improve. Everyone works at self-improvement a different level. And everyone is not going to do it or achieve the success the way you did.

    Regarding taking your wife to the gym, believe me, she does not want to go to the gym with you.

    Your wife might do well taking a Zumba class with other women or participating in a physical activity other than what you do -- far away from you. Where NO ONE IS JUDGING HER.

    You have several months until your child is born. There is time to reset and maybe improve this awkward situation. Ask Allah to guide you in this matter. Be unselfish. It is not easy to put the needs of your spouse ahead of your own, but women do that all the time. So it can be done. Also be consistent in your petitions to Allah.

  2. I disagree with the above poster completely, who makes you out to be in the wrong here. I don't think you are at all. To me, you seem quite considerate of your wife while your wife is the one that seems very unreasonable and bizarre towards you.

    She asks questions about her appearance and your attraction towards her - which would lead any normal being into thinking she wants honest answers - but when you give them to her, she pouts and throws a tantrum like a toddler. I'm sorry, but if you are THAT sensitive to feedback, positive or negative, don't bloody ask the questions that opens up the pathway for feedback. If you are THAT sensitive, maybe it's better to be oblivious than butt hurt, lol.

    She knows you have issues with her weight gain, yet, she makes it out to be your problem that she can't stick to a diet and an exercise routine, and she has the nerve to pretend like she can't understand why you are not attracted to her. How dumb can you be? When your husband flat out tells you they don't like too much excess fat on your body, why are you surprised that they won't sleep with you because you have a lot of it?

    She knows you don't want a baby right now, yet, she has flat out told you she doesn't give a shit about what you want and don't want...and has ended up pregnant anyway, against your wishes. I'm sorry, but I don't see how you are in the wrong in all of this - except for not using protection to avoid pregnancy. You should definitely have been more careful and done more to avoid getting her pregnant.

    I think your wife sounds like a very difficult person to deal with, and on top of it, you two just don't sound like a good match at all. Maybe she's not wrong when she says divorce might be an option for you two...yeah, sucks you are bringing a child into the mix, but what can you do?

    Try to suggest couple's counselling before you sign the divorce papers...maybe it will help to get a third party involved. If it doesn't help, and you can't move on from your issues...just sign the divorce papers and try to be the best dad you can be to your child.

  3. Well, instead of criticizing her appearance, why not encourage her to be healthy, not just for you but for her child also? If she's healthy, she can be there for her child and take care of him/her with healthy body and mind.
    The healthy plan should be well roudned that has meal plans, exercise plan, and also wellness plan (yoga, massage, spa, vacation, date night, etc).
    And she can start a prenatal exercises from now, that can help her during labor, childbirth, and postpartum. Encourage her to eat healthy foods for the sake of the baby and for her own health.

    About the pregnancy, because having kids is one of the purpose of marriage in Islam, if one spouse wants to have kids, the other can't say no without a legitimate reason (islamically). So she has a right to have kids and because she can't have another husband, it's your duty to give her kids. That's just the plain truth.

    Discuss and talk to her about this. Put more efforts to show that you're interested in this pregnancy, go to prenatal classes (Lamaze, Bradley, Amani Birth) with her, let her choose a prenatal exercise class (yoga, pilates, etc) and drive her there (but give her privacy to take the class by herself), take a walk after dinner with her, etc. Pregnant women's hormones are fluctuating. If you help her now, you can avoid postpartum depression that can affect her even more.

    Good luck and I hope you'll find a way out to keep the Marriage together.

  4. I remember a patient during my observership last year in usa , she was a grandmother in 60's. You could tell by the looks of her that she was tierd, she had minimal tears in her eyes and told us how she was divorced 20 years ago, because her husband said she was fat and he married a lady from the weight loss program he took his wife to . 20 years later she was depressed and still hurt that he married an instructor from the weight loss class. And before divorcing he told her wife that you didnt loose weight !! That lady doesnt go to her hometown for the fear of encountering the husband and bringing the pain back again and still longs for him even after 20 years that somehow he comes back .

    My point of telling this here is that your words might have hurt your wife a lot. One year into marriage and all you talk about is her weight issues , saying someone is fat is one thing not being intimate because of that very reason is shattering .
    It is not very easy for everyone to loose weight , there is a big reason for the beauty industry , all the sort of surgries , tummy tucks and all. I have seen female patients who are ready to undergo knives for the purpose of beautification because their husbands are no longer satisfied. Do you realize you have not only been saying that you are unhappy with the physical looks of your wife but also practically shown her that her weight disgusts you . Initially you have not left her any choice at all . Having a child is her right too , she probably might have thought that bringing a child in the picture would change your views, you do care about your unborn child but your views about your wife is the same , hence she has given up any hope.
    The ultimate choice is yours , you will have to bring her confidence back . I know someone who despite her wife gaining weight and loose skin praises her and her confidence is remarkable
    You can tell your wife how important she is to you or you can keep complaning which has not done any good to you nor to her . It can take around 1-2 year after childbirth to come back to the normal shape , do you have the patience to put up , what is more important to you , the presence of your wife or the presence of image in your mind , if the case is later then it would be difficult for you to keep your wife happy as you will constantly tell her again and imagine she has to undergo all this while she would be taking care of your baby .
    Introduce healthy habits in the home , go for a walk together daily stop eating junk food altogether and approach her nicely regarding this.
    Whereas your honesty is praiseworthy i think it should be mixed with empathy. Being honest is a big trait but being empathatic and sympathic is even bigger. Allah says he places mercy between spouses , so brother show her the mercy shes been dreaming of here.

  5. Salaam,

    I can guarantee you that that if the gender roles were switched, the man would still get scrutinized over here because he isn't taking care of himself and/or satisfying his wife. But I'm not going to delve on that and I apologize in advance if I come as a sexist which I am not. I support and take both sides of the coin into consideration.

    I do agree with some of the posts that you have to approach your wife in a more comforting and motivating way. This is your wife and the mother of your child. People have different levels of emotion and one might take it as a motivation and another might take it as an insult if you make comments about their body.

    Having said that, I believe that partners should be honest with each other and not sugarcoat things unless it is very detrimental to the relationship. If the brother is not feeling satisfied during intimacy, can you blame him for not? He clearly mentioned he is not looking for a supermodel or visualizing what he wants his wife to be. He wants her to just be healthy. Being healthy in both body and mind is a Sunnah and BOTH partners should strive for that. This applies to both male and female.

    Motivate your wife to do little things and build upon that; walk together, bike together, dance together. Going to a gym can be intimidating because there are so many people around you and you can feel trapped and judgemental about yourself because the person working out next to you can be very fit. I've been down that route where I was very self conscious about myself and compared to others. Show your wife compassion while working together to build a better relationship. Partners need to understand each other and not expect to interpret just because. Humans are complex and communication is the bridge that links us together.

    Rely on Allah and motivate each other both in mind and body. Realize that there will always be room for improvement no matter how much you understand each other. Wish you all the best of luck to you and your wife!! 🙂

  6. Asalaamu Alaikum,

    I agree with the posters A and Roses.

    It seems like you care for your wife and her feelings, but don't know how to communicate your concerns. On one hand, I cannot say that some physical attraction is not important. But on the other, beauty is not a forever thing but good character is. I think that you are young and maybe you are caught up in what society says is beautiful. If you only married your wife for her good looks then the marriage is destined to be hard for you. Why don't you focus on what you love about your wife and fill her up with praise about it. If you make her feel good, then she is going to want to be the best for you.

    My husband is younger than I am and has commented about my looks because he is surrounded by young women. I know how I look, and I want to be better but I want to know that my husband loves me for what is inside. You probably hurt her feelings pretty badly, and she probably doesn't trust that you love her. But you can fix it by giving her compliments on things other than her appearance. Women aren't quite as visually stimulated/motivated as men are, we are more emotionally stimulated.

    Don't try to persuade your wife to go to the gym, because she will always think that you are unsatisfied with her. Why don't you take her on some long walks, which is good for pregnant women. Or take her on a hike or plan some fun physical activities together. Why don't you fix her healthy meals? Show her you want her to take care of herself, but do it in a way that shows her that you also appreciate her and want to be with her.

    Also, your wife didn't get pregnant because she wanted to. She got pregnant because Allah willed it to happen. So, get that out of your mind. He doesn't give hardships that you can't endure. Plus, it also takes two to get pregnant. Every time you had sex with her there was a chance of her getting pregnant. My older sister was on birth control and got pregnant with my second nephew unexpectedly, so don't blame her for getting pregnant. It is a choice to have sex, and if you can make that choice then you can accept the consequences.

    Best Wishes to you and May Allah guide you.

    • Best comment I’ve ever read. Never knew women require emotional stimulation. I’m definitely gonna keep that advice in mind for my future marriage.

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