In this counseling answer:
• I would kindly suggest trying to save the marriage first. Seek out marriage counseling.
• It is your right as a woman and as a Muslim to seek a divorce if you have grounds, and yes you do have grounds.
• I would start initiating a plan quietly (with a counselor or lawyer) for the sake of you and your children.
Assalamu Alaikum sister,
Thank you for writing to us. You stated that you were married for 16 years and have four children. However, these years, according to you, have been comprised of many trials. During your marriage, you indicated that you have been neglected financially, emotionally, and in other ways. Your husband is into porn, drinking, cheats on you with other women and hardly ever perform salat. You also said that he forces you to do haram things.
Marriage: Kindness, Mercy, Respect
Sister, I am so sorry that you have had to go through this. No one deserves to be treated this way. Like his wife, he should treat you with the utmost love, kindness, and respect.
As you can see though, he does not even love or respect himself based on the haram things he does. I imagine you feel very much alone right now sister, but please know you are not. There are a lot of sisters, sadly, going through similar situations.
Sister, I’m not sure where you live; however, I would kindly suggest trying to save the marriage first. I am not sure what resources are in your area, but I would advise that you seek out marriage counseling, insha’Allah. If you can find an Islamic counselor or an imam, that would be best for your situation as he is not even praying and his Islam needs to be addressed as well.
I am advising this first because as Allah hates divorce, we are to try to save our marriage insha’Allah, if possible.
Marriage-Divorce and Support Systems
I would kindly suggest that you discuss counseling with him. If he refuses to see a marriage counselor with you, as well as refuses to change his behaviors, then you have every right to divorce. You deserve to be happy and to live in an Islamic environment.
Again, as I don’t know where you live and I am not familiar with the resources, insha’Allah please do seek out services in your area. They can help you facilitate a divorce, as well as counseling for yourself to begin healing from the trauma that you have been through for the past 16 years.
You may wish to consult your family physician and confide in her what has been going on and what you seek to do. Perhaps she may have some references or referrals for you.
Also, if you are close with any of the sisters at the masjid, you may wish to confide in one of them to seek out the support that you so desperately need. We all do need support in our lives from loving sources.
Your husband states that he will not give you a divorce as he wants to keep up social appearances. That is a rather ironic reason being that he is committing a lot of sins and not taking care of you as his wife. Given that fact, what appearances is he trying to keep up?
It is your right as a woman and as a Muslim to seek a divorce if you have grounds, and yes you do have grounds.
Check out this counseling video:
I would highly suggest insha’Allah, that you seek out counseling, legal advice, as well as securing support in the form of a close sister, or other family members. I understand how difficult this must be to do, but insha’Allah once you change your circumstances, heal and begin a new life, you will feel much better.
You may wish also engage in a Muslimah Support Group for encouragement and resources. If there are not any in your community, search online for support groups for Muslim women who are going through a divorce. There are a lot of good reputable sites, and then there are some that are not. If you decide this would be helpful, please do ensure that it is halal, as well as moderated by a practicing Muslim.
Allah Loves You
Dear sister, I can understand the pain you must be going through. This is a very difficult situation. You must feel very much alone. Please know that Allah does love you and does want you to be happy. Allah does not want you to be mistreated by your husband nor does he wants you to be exposed to haram behaviors or forced to do haram. Allah swt wants to see you happy, safe and insha’Allah married to one who practices Islam and treats you with loving kindness and respect.
Please, do ask your husband if he would like to try to save the marriage by going to marriage counseling. If he refuses, insha’Allah please start planning for a divorce.
Make duaa to Allah that He make this easy for you.
You don’t have to tell your husband right away because that might trigger him and he may become angry.
I would just start initiating a plan quietly (with a counselor or lawyer) for the sake of you and your children.
Please do let us know how you’re doing,
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.