In this counseling answer:
“On the one hand, I’m encouraging you to be a little less available. Keep yourself busy fulfilling meaningful goals for your own life and expanding the positive relationships you have in your life with friends. So, all of your free time isn’t invested in focusing on what you aren’t getting from your husband.
On the other hand, I’m also encouraging you to take his complaints seriously and find out more about what your husband is missing so that you can honor his needs. In turn, you are both able to start paying attention to each other affectionately.”
As-Salamu ‘Aleikom dear sister,
Thank you so much for your question. I pray that you find some support for your marriage, in sha’ Allah.
When the Falling in Love Stage Ends
One of the first details of yours that jumped out at me was that you and your husband are about to reach your three-year anniversary and that you both got married after having fought for your love for one and other.
It’s important to know that the deep feelings of love and passion that brought you together aren’t going to stay in the same form as things in the beginning. Because of this change, it’s common for one spouse or both to begin to panic and believe they’ve fallen out of love because they haven’t married the right person.
The reality is that when the in-love stage begins to pass, the relationship will inevitably enter into a new phase. In this phase, feelings of love don’t dominate the relationship as much. In its place, actions of love need to be chosen.
When you or your husband chose to act in a loving way, positive feelings will continue to be felt. But there is an intentional choice involved to keep a marriage going in the long run. Actions lead to feelings vs. feelings lead to actions.
It sounds like both you and your husband could use this reminder so that you can restore the love and connection in your marriage that has been lost.
Invest Your Energy in Something Meaningful
When a woman places all of her emotional needs onto her husband, he can start to feel smothered and pulls away. The more he pulls away the more she chases. As a result, a negative cycle begins and repeats over and over again.
Perhaps part of what made your husband attracted to you, aside from everything he loved about you as a person, was the challenge in marrying you because you weren’t always available to him. He had to keep proving he deserved you by fighting to marry you. Now you are here all the time begging for his attention and struggling with anxiety attacks because of how he is responding to you.
What if you took some of your energy and invested it into something else meaningful for you?
You looked your baby in the eyes when you sat with him and felt totally present.
You went out and met other friends with children.
You listened to a lecture and took notes.
You thought of life goals you want to pursue and took small steps towards them.
You attended a study circle or online class.
You made time for a hobby that you used to enjoy before the baby came along.
I want you to stay focused on your beautiful self and not get lost in the fear of losing love. Regain your confidence as a woman and reconnect with your higher purpose.
A confident woman is an attractive woman and reignites the path of pursuing you because your entire focus isn’t always just on your husband.
While it is important to work on your marriage, it’s going to serve you to work on yourself and find other ways to feel good outside of your husband.
Consider Your Husband’s Needs
At the same time, your husband has mentioned that you aren’t giving him adequate care since you had the baby.
Many men, after their first child, feel a sense of being neglected by their wife.
As a mother of four myself, I am tempted to join the collective voice of women across the world that want to say, “Are you serious? A man feels neglected? Can’t he see that his wife dealt with the hardships of pregnancy, then gave birth, dealt with post-birth difficulties and pains, learned how to nurse and care for an infant around the clock, never sleep, and then manage her normal regular duties?”
It doesn’t sound fair, but the reality of relationships is that whether we women like it or not those men in our lives are still human beings with needs. Emotional needs and physical needs. They miss the love and attention of their wives, the ease of connecting with her for intimacy and not having a little person in the midst. So the conversation isn’t about what’s fair; it’s about what’s real. This means it’s important to take a comment like this seriously.
I understand you think that what he’s saying isn’t the sole reason for his change in heart, but instead of judging the comment, what could happen if you took it seriously? If you chose to honor his feelings and honor his words and ask him, “I hear that you feel I’ve not taken care of you since the birth of our child. What is it that you miss?”
Asking something like “what do you miss?” is an affectionate way to ask for details and invite him to respond from his heart.
If you want to figure out what he is missing, this is a great place to begin.
It doesn’t mean that everything is your fault because you are taking an initiative to repair your marriage. It simply means that you are willing to take responsibility for your role in the marriage and be the first person to put your best foot forward. Should he begin to answer and see that you are taking him seriously, the conversation can deepen into what you both miss.
Balancing Out the Emotional Equation
On the one hand, I’m encouraging you to be a little less available. Keep yourself busy fulfilling meaningful goals for your own life and expanding the positive relationships you have in your life with friends. So, all of your free time isn’t invested in focusing on what you aren’t getting from your husband.
On the other hand, I’m also encouraging you to take his complaints seriously and find out more about what your husband is missing so that you can honor his needs. In turn, you are both able to start paying attention to each other affectionately.
This is a balanced look at marriage in the long term – two people who independently have fulfilling lives who then come together and give to each other, honoring themselves and their spouses.
Do Something Meaningful Together
Think of something you can do together which is meant such as praying together, taking a walk with your baby outside together, or donating something to those in need as a couple.
Involving yourselves in activities that are positive like this can assist positive feelings to naturally flow between the both of you if you both let go of expectations and just enjoy the moment for what it is.
It sounds like you spend so much time serving your in-laws and your baby that you aren’t able to serve yourself, your husband, or your marriage. That’s going to have a negative effect on your well-being, so consider discussing with your husband how you can both get out for meaningful activities.
Even better if you can leave your little one behind to be watched by your in-laws so you can go out alone from time to time.
Ask Allah to Grant you Sakinah
Right now your heart is troubled. You often feel anxious. You are losing out on feelings of calmness or tranquility.
Ask Allah to guide you to that which will bring you tranquility in your heart. To be able to let go of your fears and instead see what Allah wants you to see in the test that is unfolding before you.
By bringing this to Allah and seeking to understand what He wants from you, your faith will remain strong, your heart will be attentive, and you will find, in sha’ Allah, strength to move through this test with grace and recover what feels lost in your relationship.
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.