In this counseling answer:
• Make an appointment with your husband to talk about these matters. You should prepare yourself by writing down your thoughts and some strategies on how you believe both of you can work to resolve some of the issues facing you.
• Discuss what kinds of responsibilities can be shared. He needs to work with you to help you raise the children and that means he cannot be guided by a cultural interpretation of the husband’s role, or even worse, a cultural interpretation of the wife’s role.
• Seek refuge in Allah (swt) from Satan and calm yourself down.
May Allah Most High make it easier for you. May He (swt) grant you patience and reward you tremendously in this life and in the hereafter for your perseverance. Ameen.
We want to tell you at the outset that you should not consider divorce because the situation, in sha’Allah, does not seem beyond repair. We also commend you for being the first to reach out and seek help. The reality is that although we might be able to offer some reassuring words for you, ultimately you will have to talk to your husband face to face.
We suggest that if you have not already done so, make an appointment with your husband to talk about these matters. You should prepare yourself by writing down your thoughts and some strategies on how you believe both of you can work to resolve some of the issues facing you. We urge you to see your husband’s current focus on religious classes as a positive factor in resolving the issues at hand. If he has an appreciation for the Qur’an and the teachings of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saw), then he will not be able to deny any of the logic we are about to present to you.
First, help your husband understand the complex nature of parenting by actually listing out all of the various tasks that are associated with raising the children. It seems that he does not care how many of those tasks get done, if at all. Do not present these tasks in a complaining manner but rather in a matter of fact style so that he can pay attention to all of the tasks you are describing. Do not leave out any task for no task is too small. Your goal, in the end, is not to make him feel guilty for not helping you, but rather to help him become conscious of the overwhelming responsibilities that you are carrying all by yourself, as well as working outside the house full time.
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Second, talk to your husband about culture. Help him to understand that while culturally it might be acceptable for the husband not to help, in your family’s situation, since you work, there is no real viable alternative except to share responsibilities. Discuss what kinds of responsibilities can be shared. He needs to work with you to help you raise the children and that means he cannot be guided by a cultural interpretation of the husband’s role, or even worse, a cultural interpretation of the wife’s role. Try to see if you can get access to a publication entitled, “The Family Structure in Islam,” by Hammudah Abd-Al ‘Ati. Read through this book when you have a chance and, in sha’Allah, you will see the vast nature of a husband’s responsibilities towards his wife and children.
Finally, be very clear with your husband that you appreciate his attending the religious classes, but that he really needs to help you out at home. Mention to him that his children have a right over him as much as you, his wife, has a right over him. Convey to him the lessons we learn from the life of the Prophet Muhammad (saw) specifically relating to how he dealt with his family. Al-Aswad bin Yazid said that,
“I asked A`ishah, “What did the Prophet use to do at home?” She said, “He used to work for his family, and when he heard the Adhan (call to prayer), he would go out.” (Bukhari)
There is sufficient evidence in many more hadith that the Prophet Muhammad (saw) used to balance his private life and his public life as much as possible.
We urge you not to consider divorce. This fault of your husband is indeed correctable but it will require your working with him to help him to change for the better. If necessary, involve both of your parents to help your husband see the seriousness of the matter. If necessary, you can even get his religious teacher to intervene and encourage him to spend more time in service of his family.
The next time you do find yourself resenting him, seek refuge in Allah (swt) from Satan and calm yourself down. It is not worth it for you to accrue sins because of the negative actions of your husband. Ma sha’ Allah, you have already gained so many potential rewards with Allah (swt) and in the eyes of your children, so continue persevering. Shower him with kindness while you are attempting to help him establish some balance in his life. If ultimately, even after all of your efforts he is still unaffected, then you should clearly express your feelings regarding the situation and demand that he respond in a merciful and positive manner.
In-sha’Allah, make du’aa that Allah (swt) most high guides your husband to heed your advice and begin to help you and your family in all regards.
Allah (swt) knows best,
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.