Wa Alaikum As-Salam R,
I am so sad to hear about how much investment you made into this marriage and into this young woman only to be hurt. It sounds like she was very young when you married her. Perhaps, she did not mature enough to be ready for the responsibility of marriage and of being a wife and mother.
You are saying that she is now a good mother and hard worker. If she is focused on rearing her children, then, I believe, she would not be pre-occupied with other men; unless, there is some breakdown in your relationship. Even then, it is unusual for a woman, who is focused on her children, to be busy with other men, especially if she is married. The picture of a married woman who is a hard worker and a good mother but also runs after men is contradictory – but it can happen.
Being young and immature at the time of marriage is by no means an excuse for her to be with other men. A mature woman would not do anything which makes her husband jealous. That is a waste of precious energy that should be directed toward strengthening communication and developing a strong family system. With that said, your wife’s behavior is a bit puzzling.
Before I continue, I want to say that when your heart hurts, it needs a voice – and violence is NOT a voice. If your heart is broken, then find a safe person to cry with, to process with, and put words to your feelings. Hitting is never the answer and it won’t solve any problem. First thing to do in such situation is to remain living in separate places until you can find help, but beating is NOT okay. You should talk to your wife to find out if she is willing to offer any explanation for her strange behavior. Perhaps, there are many hurtful feelings from past mistakes on both sides of yours.
Using divorce as a weapon does not help either. The reason is because if you want to achieve a sense of inner peace and an amicable solution to the difficulties that you have been experiencing with your wife, then the focus needs to be on effective communication. Regardless of what both of you mutually decide to do, you should move in the direction of connection, communication, and care. Then, you can consider what the best path might be in order to find the best resolution. If you make your decisions while you are feeling angry, hurt, and emotional, your decisions may neither be in your own best interest nor of the children.
After having the opportunity to step back and analyze your situation, if you find that your perceptions about your wife flirting with men, getting into their car, or having an affair are correct and you cannot reconcile your difference with her, your next step is to decide whether you can tolerate living with those conditions without becoming vulnerable to anger and rage. Naturally, it would be very difficult for most men. You have to be honest with yourself. If you cannot tolerate that kind of situation, and you doubt her sincerity and ability to remain chaste, you may want to seek legal counseling to find out what your rights are as a father and what steps to take. What I am saying here is that you must work through your emotions before you make your decision. Make your decision based on facts and your own personal needs at this time. This will reduce the intensity and frequency of arguments and will decrease the probability of violence.
I am not a legal person or a scholar of Islamic jurisprudence, but as a human being, it seems that you have provided your wife with a means to support your children as well as herself. Yet, you still want to continue providing for your children whatever support you can – simply from a moral perspective. But again, if you get focused on what fair and unfair is and how you have been tricked or used by her, then you run the risk of becoming a violent man rather than a wise man. Therefore, focus on how to salvage your own ability to care for yourself and on how to maintain a relationship with your children.
Your children will want to know what your values are because you are their father. If you are able to manage your emotions, you will be able to navigate through the confusion and create a way for your children to spend time with you, so that they can learn all about you, who you are, and what you believe in. They will learn your values and your faith. That is the important at this point whether you remain married or you choose to divorce.
I encourage you to talk to our scholars who are experts of Islamic jurisprudence at Aboutislam.net to explore what your rights in Islam are, and then to seek legal counseling in the country that has jurisdiction over your marriage and child custody issues. It would be good for you to know what your rights are whether you ultimately decide to divorce, or you are able to reconcile your difference and remain married.
I also encourage you to get marriage counseling. This process will help you to clarify what you feel about your wife and your marriage. If both you and your wife have the sincere desire to make this marriage work, a lot can be achieved with the help of marriage counseling. That might be difficult since both of you currently live in different countries, but you can still get some counseling and guidance with the eventual goal of meeting face to face. If you do not feel convinced of this woman’s sincerity, then counseling will help you to work through your emotions, to think clearly, and make wise decisions about the steps that you will want to take to ensure that you maintain a good relationship with your children and that your interests are fairly protected. If you are not sure about your feelings and what you want, counseling will help you to clarify them.
You are a young man, and it appears that, in sha’ Allah, you will have a bright future. Take things slowly, one day at a time, and don’t make any decisions in haste. Take the time to position yourself for a successful life. This is a gift that you will be able to pass on to your children.
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