Islamic marriage advice and family advice

Setting boundaries with husband and expecting acceptance

Brick wall

I'm concerned about my boundaries. I've been married for 10 years and have 2 kids. My husband and I fight all the time. Recently he's been trying to put our kids in the middle of our fights.  I'm a working mom and he has expectations from me about keeping the house nice and clean- which according to him I'm not able to fulfill. Now, my house is not filthy. I'll straighten it up a bit if it's a formal gathering; however, I'm not embarrassed if a visitor popped in. For the most part it's in great shape.

I used to wish he'd stop picking on my weaknesses in such a harsh way and accept me for who I am. Unfortunately with all the harsh words, actions, and feelings I've gone through over the years, he's lost the respect and love I once I had for him. Our social activities revolve around his circle of friends and we do EVERYTHING together. I don't even go see my parents and they live 10 minutes away. If I want to go out, he asks me to leave the kids with him but then taunts them and says things like: see you're mom left to be with her friends. If he won't permit me to go out, he'll say "I'm not selfish like you, I want us to do everything as a family so the kids know family values".

I feel I put in a lot of effort in raising the kids and taking care of them as well as trying to keep to the house clean, however none of my efforts are ever recognized and I'm not given any 'me' time. I've even been cut off from using my cell phone, he'll check it like a hawk. He says if I want to call my friends I should not do it in front of my kids. It's all so bizzare to me.

He has great qualities too, but I feel that I can't handle the emotional torture that I go through with him. For 2 years I've felt like I needed a break from him and to be away for a a few months but he won't permit it.  He says if I leave, I leave for good and leave the kids behind. In a way I feel that's my value to him in his heart- if we didn't have kids he would've kicked me out. I feel so used and abused but I'm trying to be strong for the kids. I cannot separate from my kids. Now I'm feeling like I just want out but for the sake of the kids I hang in here.

I feel my husband doesn't trust me to allow me a break and I shouldn't be with him. I've never cheated on him during our relationship and even gave up talking to friends (including my best friend) to please him. But the more I give up, the more he wants out of me. I also feel that I shouldn't have to tolerate and accept his behavior, and the kids shouldn't have to see that.

Please advise on:

- What I should do? I'm so confused!

-How I can fix things/end this mutually? (because he will create a scene and threaten to take the kids, or that he will do something everyone will regret)

- How to break it to the kids so that they will hold themselves together?



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18 Responses »

  1. salaam sister which country are you in
    and you need to get your parents involved this is domestic abuse and you staying in it for your kids well sister i used to say that but you know what it is a load of ............ rubbish your kids will learn that as a way of life and be treated like that and treat others like that im not sure how he is saying he will take the kids away from you but i am sure he cant i was in that situation too but i still have my kids stop giving in to him and is he working oh dont give up the job if your in the uk you can get lots of help ask at work speak to some one

  2. Sister,

    The reality is, your husband just can't be happy unless he finds something to argue about. I myself try so hard to keep my home clean but with several other family members, it's nearly impossible to have things the way I want them. My husband tells me I am dirty, calls me a pig and whatever else you want to throw in there. The words sting but they are not true and I know it. He just has to find something to complain about. It's as if his day is not complete without saying something about me or what I did or did not do.

    I can totally relate to how you feel being torn down by all the comments from your husband. They just dig and dig to the point that you really just don't care about them or their never ending comments anymore. You actually find that in time, your heart beats but really, it is dead. The love you have for them is slowly being killed by the nagging and constant berating of who you are. No appreciation or thanks...just, "why is this there," why did you do that", "you live like a pig" and blah, blah, blah. Today...I become physically ill when things heat up. I know it's because I have taken it for so long that I am at the point where I cannot take it anymore. Emotionally I am done.

    You have been married for ten years and your husband behaves in a very insecure manner. You can't go and see your parents? Haram. What is the reasoning behind the fact that you cannot see your parents? I have wanted to visit my aging mother for 2 years. My husband can go abroad to see his family for months at a time and I am happy for him because I know how much he loves his family. I encourage him to go. Me on the other hand...I am not extended that courtesy. This month I wanted to see my mother and insisted that I go alone. My husbands remark was, "is there something that you don't want me to know about?" Really? Married for 30 years and I have to have an ulterior motive to see my aging mother? Unbelievable. If I wanted to have an extramarital affair, I would not need to travel to another state.

    You have been cut off from using your cell phone...why? He has to check it as well? Why? You are a grown woman with a job. If need be, you can purchase service under your own name. Your husband may not be a bad man at all but like mine, he is controlling and manipulative.

    Have you ever spoken with your husband and told him what his actions are doing to you and your marriage? I did. I told my husband that he and he alone is destroying our marriage. The constant comments and gets old. Really old. Some days are great, others are not. We are constantly trying to work through things and get through the rough patches.

    I cut my hair really short a few weeks ago and i absolutely love it. My husband has always given me a hard time about cutting my hair...even threatened me with divorce. That day I cut it short knowing full and well that there might be hell to pay. I was happy and that was what mattered to me. I do so little for myself and it was a gift for "me". My husband said to me, "why did you cut your hair?" I said, "I needed a change". Funny thing...he wasn't mad at all. He was happy for me. Men...I will never figure them out.

    If you haven't, sit down and talk with your husband. Maybe you don't go to your parents because then your parents might know of the difficulties within your marriage. Maybe that is what you intervention and support. I know you love your kids and would never in a million years consider leaving them but I also know that when married to someone of this nature, they can drive you into the ground and make you consider alternatives you never would have considered otherwise.

    I feel your frustration in your post and I know first hand what you are going through. Don't give up just yet sister. You have been married for ten years, hang in there a little longer and seek counseling and if possible, get your parents involved. Husband and wife must have a mutual understanding of what each needs and wants from their relationship. Your husband needs to realize that you are a team and as such...a team has to work together for the benefit of all. May Allah guide you and your husband to happier days ahead.


    • I liked your reply. I have a very similar husband too, but I think setting boundaries is our own duty, and when we dont do our duty, we suffer.
      To the poster: Set your boundaries, tell him I have friends, I have parents, I have a life other than you and cleaning for you. I do my job well, i.e. the house etc, and once I have done my work, I will do these things that make me happy. If you dont like it, thats your problem.
      Another way I am learning to deal with such men is to just take their garbage in one ear and out the other, and then do what you need to do! He gives u rubbish about house , kids etc, tell him: I'm a good wife and mother and I dont need your certificate to believe this to be true.
      For yourself, just remember his foul words are originating from him, his creation, NOTHING to do with you. You are beautiful, dedicated, hard-working, and sincere to your loved ones, and nothing he says can change that.
      Make yourself so strong inside that it wouldnt matter what he says or thinks. Only accept restrictions that are valid, otherwise just respectfully tell him you cannot do that, You need to have places where you can let go and relax,vent etc....and he will have to live with that.

    • Najah, you usually give great advice but this time you're off the mark. Here's a sister who has been verbally abused for ten years, forbidden from seeing her parents, cut off from her friends, and your advice to her is to hang in there? So she can end up in your situation, 20 years more down the road, feeling like her heart is dead (as you described yourself)?

      Both of you (Najah and sonusanjana) need to get out. No one has to live like this. Marriage is supposed to be a happy, mutually supportive, loving relationship. If it's not, then where's the benefit? Start over, start a new life, and be happy.

      sonusanjana, if your husband is willing to go with you to see a marriage counselor then maybe there's a chance. But I doubt very much that a man like this would agree to involve an outsider, as it would threaten his desire for control. Take the kids and leave. Don't warn him first and don't give him a chance to stop you. Once you're away, ask for a divorce.

      Wael Editor

      • Wael,

        This is what I said, "Don't give up just yet sister. You have been married for ten years, hang in there a little longer and seek counseling and if possible, get your parents involved. Husband and wife must have a mutual understanding of what each needs and wants from their relationship. Your husband needs to realize that you are a team and as such...a team has to work together for the benefit of all. May Allah guide you and your husband to happier days ahead."

        When I tell her to hang in there, I am not telling her to just suck it up and deal. No, not at all. She needs to assert herself and her husband needs to check himself. The reality is, her husband is a jerk...there is no changing that. All I am saying is, involve family and seek counseling. Maybe this isn't a marriage to be saved at all but you never know till you try!


        • Najah's response didnot occur to me as Wael interpretted it.

          I understood it as an encouragement ..... meaning like chin up, stand up for yourself put a definitive plan in place and move forward.

        • Okay, I understand what you're saying.


        • As salamu alaykum, Najah,

          I have to ask for forgiveness to sonusanjana for talking to you in her post. Please forgive me.

          So nice to know about you again, your words have touched me again as you have done so many times. You have put your guts out there, I am humble always in front of you, you have gone through a lot but as the phoenix you are reborn once and again from ashes, masha´Allah. I hope you don´t mind I talk a bit to you.

          I think your advice is excellent, ...wise, masha´Allah, and it is good that others learn that a family relationship is a life time commitment because a marriage is not just that when we have kids in common with other person, we become a family and we have to be conscious that we have the responsibility of other people´s life before throwing the towel without at least trying our best to improve the situation.

          Let me tell you something. once you realize you can say: "My name is Najah and I don´t answer or listen if you call me by any other way, unless it is a loving, respectful way" and that you deserve to have rights as the one of visiting your mum, that is a must and you know why, because nobody else in this world will love you as she does and a mother´s love is an unique experience and you have the blessing of having her alive, Alhamdulillah.

          One more thing, your husband keep surprising you, that means that not all your thoughts about him are as you think, then keep getting surprised and don´t be afraid by what he planted in your mind through all these years.
          Keep cleaning yourself as you were a beautiful garden and get rid of what you don´t like and feed what you like and allow yourself to have rights and enjoy the beauty of all the flowers, bushes, trees in you, enjoy the smell and the sounds, see how those trees are full of fruits and have nests for the families with little birds, masha´Allah, create yourself as you have done so many times, but this time with a new consciousness, awake knowing that you did, do and insha´Allah will do a great work to try to keep your family together, giving good roots to your kids, helping your husband to be a better human being, ...Masha´Allah.
          I know sometimes you get exhausted and those moments are when you feel "dead" inside but my beloved Najah, you have me here to tell you that those moments are just that, moments of exhaustion, you are more than that, your life is more than those moments.

          Let me tell you that your Heart is one of the most loving, living, compassionate, respectful Hearts I have ever met, and because of that you have fought so much to keep your family united. That is the problem sometimes when we are too strong, when we are fighters and we don´t give up easily, we carry sometimes more weight than we can bear and here. the problems begin, try to stop when you identify the first symptoms of exhaustion and let the rest of the world be and go to your garden to enjoy the smell, the colours and the sounds, they will notice something has changed and you will see that those moments of deep exhaustion will be less and less frequent. Just try it and insha´Allah, you will notice the difference for good. Remember that they don´t like us to change because that will push them to get out of the old routine and find a new one to adapt, that can be a little bit annoying at first but if you keep trying insha´Allah, you will see that has worth the effort.

          I love you, my beloved Najah, I keep you in my Heart. I am thankful for your Presence. May Allah(swt) bless you and your family always. Ameen.


          • Maria,

            Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your sweet and inspiring words. Just reading your post brought tears to my eyes. Marriage is like a roller coaster if you will...some days are up, and some are down. In the end of the day, we all have to do what is in the best interests of not only ourselves but that of our offspring. May sister Sonusanjana stay strong and do whatever she needs to do in order to find peace and happiness within her life.


          • Thank you, my beloved Najah,

            You are so right, masha´Allah. Insha´Allah and Ameen to your prayer.

            You are a colourful, shining Star on my Heaven, Take care my sweet girl.



  3. if only men like these understand .my dad was the same and asa kid i grew up scared of parents fights. iam very grown up now and sometimes wish my mother had got a divorce.

    all i can say through years of watching the turmoil is just stand for yourself. you are independant and earning so dont be afrain to demand some respect.

    i find that when people are picking on you too much just tell them you will do what pleases you and if they want to change something in the house they are most welcomed you are just too tired or not interested or need some time on your own. if you want to go and see your parents tell him , he is more than welcomed but you WILL go and see them.

  4. Salam sister,

    I agree with the above sisters. Stand up for yourself. Don't be a doormat or else you will be trampled on your whole life!

    You know your good and doing your best. You cant kill yourself trying to acheive perfection. Just ignore his comments. Just imagine its the same tape player of a recording playing in the background everyday. Its faulty because the stop button doesn't work!

    Since your husband wont let you do anything then just let your hair down and do what you like within islamic limits of course! Just enjoy! He needs to see that you will not be taking his cruelty and will not be trampled on!

    Good look. May Allah bless your marriage xx

  5. I agree with Brother Wael.

    If you have tried out everything but still its not working. Then its better to come out of it and have a peaceful life but remember, your responsibility being single parent will double- financially as well as emotionally, especially in terms of up bringing. You have to make up your mind about these aspects too. This break up will have a long lasting effect on you as well as kids. Think of everything with a cool head without being prejudice and decide accordingly. you may take opinion/advice of anybody who knows your situation.

    pray to Allah (swt) to guide you.

  6. AOA,

    I wouldn't waste time putting up with this. If it has been going on this long, it will only continue and become worse.

    Your husband is insecure, threatened by your ability to work and confidence to do so. I don't want to come across as some feminist because they are abhorrent but many males in this modern age do not possess the qualities of a true man. Having successfully isolated you from your family and friends he is clearly aiming to break you down and even attempts to turn your own kids against you.

    Is this guy really a good example to your kids? Is your work taking over your role as mother? You need to be a mother first. Yes we all have to work but some things need to be sacrificed, less expenses and more time with the kids. You need to tell him straight without the kids present. Ignore any of his lame remarks and stick to the point about his disrespectful and possessive nature.

    Believe me, it is not worth it just to give an outwardly view of a supposed happy family with both parents under one roof. If that is the only reason you remain in this situation then you should now be clear on what you need to do next.

    In a house full of arguments there is no blessing and your kids will resent both of you although you risk coming off worse as the mother is the primary carer and when they are old enough they will challenge you on your choice of actions.

  7. As salamu alaykum,

    First of all, thank you very much for allowing me to talk to Najah and please forgive me for interfering in your post.

    You have already received the main answers to your question. I may add something to them. These are just my personal thoughts, please take them with a pinch of salt.

    I´ve been thinking deeply about a way out to your situation, this is not a white and black situation and maybe subtle changes can make a big difference, insha´Allah.

    You mention two big ones in every relationship, love and respect, I believe that just for the fact that he is the father of your children and that you thought you loved and respected once, it deserve the try of getting to love and respect him unconditionally, this means that you have to see him as he is, with all his flaws, and learn to love and respect him as he is now, the good fact about this try, it is that you will free yourself from inside from the psycological slavery you are in. My main question here is: Are you willing to give it a try and heal your relationship from within? Being your answer yes or no, will be good if you heal your relationship within yourself anyway, then here I go.

    Communication, let him talk, let him telling you what he wants from the marriage life, from you, from your family, don´t stop him, don´t judge him, don´t feel attack, just listen and when he is done, ask him if he has any solutions to improve the situation or to get what he thinks it is the best for all of you.

    Once he has talked, try to digest what he has said and say to him if he wants to know what you think. You are the one opening the communication, then you are the one in power here, remember that there are always two ways of looking at things and that the main goal here is to begin the process of healing and stop the sick behaviour, be as cold headed as you can and talk from heart, he may stop you or attack you verbally, because this is the pattern he is used to, but if you don´t answer back to the attack and keep talking calmly and respectfully from heart, insha´Allah, he may change not in short term but insha´Allah, the seed is there.
    You know him, but Allah(swt) knows best and in this kind of delicate situations where we put on the table so much, please has Allah (swt) , to fulfill his commandments and his protection and guidance as your first priority.

    When you feel it is time to stop, do it in agreement and if it is too hard for him to talk , just let it be but say firmly but respectfully and from heart that you need to get to an understanding for the wellbeing of the whole family. Talking from heart,insha´Allah, your words will reach his heart, and I am not meaning passion here, I´m meaning compassionate, kind, honest, respectful and all the good qualities that are fruit of the spirit and lie within the Heart. The seed of healing is planted, the way to see it how it grows take time but I do believe it deserves the try.

    Any time you smell on the air an argument is coming, change the patterns, don´t answer back, pray asking Allah(swt) for guidance, wash yourself to cool yourself down, pray with the kids, play with them, see if you can find something that will give you good memories instead of bad ones,...visit your family with them,

    Please remember that Unconditional Love and Respect from Heart has no physical boundaries, the waves emanated by a heart filled with them, accelerate the process of healing and softens the hearts of all the ones involved in the situation, I know that it is difficult and I know too that we don´t have the power to get it just by ourselves and the only way to get it, it is longing for it, appreciating all the blessings and working hard to get it in the day to day we have, surrendering completely to God and insha´Allah one day we will get it.

    Please before making any movement that can affect your life, you can ask God for guidance through Istikhara. I am sorry for not being of more help.

    All my Unconditional Love and Respect to you and your family. May Allah(swt) bless you all. Ameen.

    Allah(swt) knows best.


    • Maria, it warms my heart to see you commenting on this website again, and offering your kind and compassionate advice.

      Wael Editor

    • Thank you everyone for the advice, I had made istikhara and took my step upon it to leave, but my parents made me come back.

      I am miserable in this relationship, and for my husband to change things I have to go to unnsaary verbal extremes, such as asking for divorce.

      I have started cutting the world out (social life) but can't figure out how to get out of this, he seems to win my parents over, and they ask me to try to make it work by setting my own requirements in if.

      I am now just thinking of making out of city arrangements and just leave, but things are complicated with my parental support in his side because I have kids. I just cannot live like this- stoneag?

      I can't even open my own account, he finds a way to diss the idea and make me feel bad about it.

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