In this counseling answer:
There can be numerous reasons spouses develop these feelings of animosity. Identifying the underlying cause of this conflict can be useful in tackling the issue from the route and finding a middle ground to overcome these issues. Whilst difficult, this can be the key to ensure good relations with both parties without sacrificing the relationship with one or the other. There will likely need to be some form of compromise, but ultimately, with patience, relationships with all can be successfully maintained.
Wa ‘Alaikum Salaam wa Rahmatulahi wa Barakatuh,
It is common in marriage for couples to experience similar scenarios to what you are facing now where the spouse does not get on with the in-laws. Sometimes the in-laws have a problem with the spouse, and other times, like in your situation, the spouse has an issue with the in-laws.
As a result, you are now left feeling like the person in between and are torn between satisfying your duties towards your husband or father. You feel that if you satisfy one over the other then you will be disappointed or upsetting the other.
Islamically, you do have obligations to both your father:
„And We have enjoined upon man, to his parents, good treatment….” (Qur’an, 46: 15)
and your husband,
„… But the men have a degree over them [in responsibility and authority]. And Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.” (Qur’an, 2:228)
So, to choose one over the other will inevitably mean you must sacrifice at least one of these obligations.
There are many reasons why such conflicts can occur between spouse and the in-laws. Sometimes it is just simple jealousy and disliking to see their spouse/child spending more time with and loving someone else as much as they desire to be loved and cared for. Perhaps they feel that they deserve to be or should be the priority over the other.
Sometimes it is protectiveness where the parents feel like as the parents they should protect their child from any potential harm, including from that of a spouse. Husbands might feel that once the woman marries, he should be the protector of her now and wishes for her to separate from such close bond from the parents so that he can fulfill the role. Often the parents or spouse might feel like it’s not possible to share such intense love for more than one person and that if the spouse loves their parents so much then they couldn’t possibly share that love with them. Or it might be that the parents fear that if their child falls in love then the child will not love them anymore like they once did.
It may be any of these reasons why your husband has a hard time accepting your relationship with your father. Or it could be something else. The point is to understand that there are many potential reasons as to why your husband feels the way he does towards your relationship with your father.
It is useful to try and understand the reason why he might feel this way as it will help to guide the way you deal with the situation most effectively. For example, if it is that he feels that it is not possible you can love him if you love you father as much as you do, then openly tell him and show him how much you do love him. This will reassure him on this matter, especially if displayed straight after being with your dad so he doesn’t feel like you’ve exhausted all your love with your father and have nothing left to give him when you get back to him.
Whilst it can often feel like it is only possible to take one option or the other at the sacrifice of the feelings of the other (i.e. choosing to only care for your dad or to only be with your husband), there are ways in which you can at least attempt to find a middle ground that will satisfy both parties, and most importantly yourself as you are able to fulfil both duties to some extent without feeling like you completely neglecting the other.
Another option could be to see your father a little less for a short period of time, but ensure that there is someone looking out for him in the meantime. This would help you to focus more on rebuilding your relationship with your husband again to the point that the love between you is strong enough that he will be confident in your love for one another and be more relaxed about you seeing your father.
On the other side, it might be that you choose to be firm with your husband and be clear to him that you feel it is your responsibility to take care of your father, that he took care of you as a child and now it’s your turn to take care of him. You might want to tell him that his reactions to this are uncalled for, being clear that the only thing your father is really asking for is that he takes care of your medical bills. Ultimately, worrying about monetary issues is only something that concerns this dunya, but acts of kindness, like taking care of your father will be much more important for the Hereafter too.
Perhaps a more middle ground option might be that you and your husband both go together to take meals to your father. Let him be a part of it too. Not only might it help build relations between them by spending time together, but your husband might feel happier for you do be doing this kind act for your father if he is part of it too. Perhaps he feels excluded as it is, so try letting him be involved. Seeing your father like this, a single man living alone might help to create a sense of empathy for him that will soften his heart towards your father as he comes to have a deeper understanding of his situation and develops compassion towards a lonely old man. Even if he chooses not to continue doing this, he may feel a lot more at ease with you continuing to take meals for your father.
Overall, when facing difficulty or conflict between spouses and the in-laws, there can be numerous reasons for these feelings of animosity to develop. Identifying the underlying cause of this conflict can be useful in tackling the issue from the route and finding a middle ground to overcome these issues. Whilst difficult, this can be the key to ensure good relations with both parties without sacrificing the relationship with one or the other. There will likely need to be some form of compromise, but ultimately, with patience, relationships with all can be successfully maintained.
May Allah (swt) soften the heart of your husband towards your father and may He (swt) increase love between you and your husband. May you be the coolness of each other’s eyes and may you all live happy contented lives in this life and the next.
Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.