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I’m Torn Between My Husband and My Mom

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

Apr 26, 2018

Question

Assalamualaikum.

I am married and as the eldest in my family, I am responsible for taking care of my sick mother.

To add on, my parents had a marital issue - no nafkah, basically my father is not in the picture, but they are still married. My mother depends on her children financially and even assist her with daily living if she is unable to do it independently.

My sister is married, but she has to care for her mother-in-law who is also sick. My younger brother just finished studying and he needs to prepare for NS.

My husband, on the other hand, seems to be not in favor of me helping my sick mother as most of the time I had to spent my time with my mother. As much as I can, I tried to perform my duty as a wife. It’s just that since we are living with my in-laws, I couldn’t spend my time more on his side, in which my husband prefers to spend his time with his family. What shall I do now?

I don’t want to be a sinful wife and at the same time, I don’t have the heart to leave my mum all alone when she already has poor physical and mental well-being.

I talked about this issue with my husband before. My husband was okay about this initially, but his actions show otherwise. At times, I thought of divorce even though I know it is a sin. I am torn apart between being a wife and being a daughter.

Counselor

Answer


I’m Torn Between My Husband and My Mom

In this counseling answer:

• Start discussing ways in which everyone can help alleviate some of the burdens you are carrying alone.

• Have an open conversation with your husband. By working together, you can both aim for the best win-win scenario possible.


As-Salamu Aleikom,

Thank you for your question and reaching out. May Allah reward you extensively for seeking to be a loving daughter who is caring for her mother and also a loving wife who is caring for her husband and honoring his family.

This is a really tough time that you are in right now. It sounds like you need help. While I appreciate you may be the best in caring for your mother, it also sounds like you will need to meet your siblings and find out how they can all help in caring for your mother.

Everyone may have a different specialty, but everyone can and should be doing something.

As the eldest, you can use your position to remind them of who their mother is and how much she deserves from all of them.

Start discussing ways in which everyone can help alleviate some of the burdens you are carrying alone. It might be a matter of training them what to do or simply a matter of creating an expectation.

Everyone is “busy” and so busyness isn’t an excuse. As human beings, we make time for that which is important to us. Let the siblings come together to create a plan that is fair to everyone.

While your father may not be in the picture that doesn’t mean he can’t help in some way. I’m not sure what your relationship with him is, but one thought is to reach out to him directly and inform him that you need assistance in caring for your mother. That could come in the form of hired help or resources to support her.

Of course, I’d need more information from you to know if that’s possible but I wanted to suggest it.

You live in a family and it’s time for that family to support you in the care of her.

When it comes to your husband, I would advise that you sit down and have an open conversation with him. What are his concerns? What are his needs?

Listen to him openly without feeling the need to be defensive. Give him a space to express his concerns.

Then let him know that you hear him and appreciate what he has shared and ask, “How can we care for my mother who relies heavily on me while also taking care of each other, our marriage, and honoring your family as well?”

The phrasing intends to help him think from a perspective of “we” instead of putting all the pressure on you alone to manage the entire situation.

He can be reminded to consider the reward he can receive from Allah for supporting you in honoring and taking care of your mother. To ask him to think of you caring for your own mother the same way you’d hope his own mother would be cared for if her health was the same.

By working together, you can both aim for the best win-win scenario possible.

There are seasons in life. Sometimes there is a newborn baby to deal with which changes everything. Sometimes there is a sick child who demands more attention from one parent over another. Sometimes it’s an ailing parent or one’s own health.

A loving marriage asks that both people seek to care for each other and the concerns of each other and share the burden.

Otherwise, one has to wonder what kind of a man is content with himself knowing his wife obeyed him and deserted her own parent who depends on them and is a great need. What would be accomplished by such an action?

In many situations, whether it’s a husband busy caring for his parents or a wife busy caring for her own, the reality is that one spouse misses the other. They want to feel cared for, special and receive their attention and affection.

Yes, in some degree of selfishness, they want to make sure they are still the number one priority in their spouse’s life. It happens with children, friends, demanding jobs, volunteer work, etc.

Think about the things your husband appreciates the most and exert energy there. You can’t master the universe. So, focus on the most important corner in it within his heart.

It’s a beautiful thing to also consider how Islam honors the caring for parents within our religion and the reminders given to all of us in caring for them.

Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Apostle as saying:

“Let him be humble into dust; Let him be humble into dust. It was said: Allah’s Messenger, who is he? He said: He who sees either of his parents during their old age or he sees both of them, but he does not enter Paradise.”

Amr bin Shu’aib narrated that his father, from his grandfather, who said that the Messenger of Allah said:

“He is not one of us who does not have mercy upon our young, nor knows the honor of our elders.”

It is reported on the authority of ‘Abdullah that the Messenger of Allah observed:

“The best of ‘the deeds or deed is the (observation of) prayer at its proper time and kindness to the parents.”

Abdullah bin Mas’ud reported:

I asked the Prophet (), “Which of the deeds is loved most by Allah?” Messenger of Allah () said, “Salat at its proper time.” I asked, “What next?” He () replied, “Kindness to parents.” I asked, ” What next? ” He replied, ” Jihad in the way of Allah. ” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

I understand that some cultures have a very strong preference for the husband’s family. However, Islam itself seeks to honor parents no matter whose parents they are.
I pray with these reminders at hand that both you, your siblings, and your husband can home to an agreement that helps everyone honor and serve your mother for the sake of Allah thus opening the door of good deeds for everyone.

May Allah support you, reward you, and grant you patience.

Amen,

***

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.

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About Megan Wyatt

Megan Wyatt is the founder of Wives of Jannah (http://wivesofjannah.com/) where she offers training programs, live workshops, and relationship coaching for wives and couples. She is a certified Strategic Intervention coach with specialized certifications for working with women and marital relationships and has been coaching and mentoring Muslims globally since 2008. She shares her passion for Islamic personal development in her Passionate Imperfectionist community (https://www.facebook.com/CoachMeganWyatt/). She is a wife and homeschooling mother with four children residing in Southern California.

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