In this counseling answer:
” It is important to take time to consider the impact that leaving your husband could have on your daughter. Consider also the impact that staying in a stressful relationship will also have. It may be that a little more patience is needed in supporting him to fulfill his role, but not to the point that you reach burnout. Finding a healthy balance between the two, perhaps achieved by taking some time away, can be a useful way to consider all your options thoroughly.”
Wa ‘Alaikum Salaam wa Rahmatulahi wa Barakatuh sister,
You are correct that it is very important for us to show good examples to our children of what marriage should be about. This is both for their own psychological stability, but also to set an example of what marriage should be like as this will come to be what they expect of marriage. Therefore, if they grow up witnessing a stable happy marriage, they will seek the same. However, if they witness instability, such as abuse (whether it be physical, emotional, financial. Etc..), they will grow up thinking this is normal and may end up in a similar marriage, thinking that’s what marriage is about. Alternatively, they may even see the unhappiness experienced by 1 or both parents and instead choose not to marry at all due to the negative associations with marriage. This could be detrimental to them as we are told about the importance of marriage in Islam as it serves as a form of comfort and security for so many reasons.
“And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquillity in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.” (30:21)
Impact of marital relations on children
Children are more sensitive and observant of such things than we realize at times, so one needs to be cautious about how much you think you’re hiding from them. Sometimes, you can be hiding it well and portray a healthy marriage, holding it together for the sake of the children, but unfortunately, without realizing, you take frustrations out on them either openly or subtly.
However, understandably, you also want her to have a father figure. This is very important also and will also provide her with the knowledge of what it’s like to be in a marital relationship and the protections that marriage brings other than financially providing.
Like you suggest, it is also a chance to teach children about developing qualities such as endurance and loyalty. Such traits are best developed when security is threatened. If a relationship was perfect with no problems, then it would now allow the chance to develop these characteristics.
It is, therefore, understandable why you feel somewhat torn between leaving the relationship. Your husband is not fulfilling his role as a husband and father by supporting you financially as he is obliged to.
“Let a man of wealth spend from his wealth, and he whose provision is restricted – let him spend from what Allah has given him. Allah does not charge a soul except [according to] what He has given it. Allah will bring about, after hardship, ease.” (Qur’an, 65: 7)
“Hind came to the Messenger of Allah [SAW] and said : ‘O Messenger of Allah, Abu Sufyan is a stingy man who does not spend enough on my child and I. Can I take from his wealth without him realizing?’ He said: ‘Take what is sufficient for you and your child on a reasonable basis.'” (Sunan an-Nasa’i)
This may have a detrimental impact on your daughter. At the same time, you face the guilt of leaving the relationship and fear that you will deprive of the ability to witness skills such as loyalty and endurance that will be useful to herself as she grows up. Either way, you might feel that you are depriving her of something.
You also need to think about the ways in which he is fulfilling his role as a father aside from the financial aspect. There are many other aspects of being a good father and husband, including instilling good moral and ethical values and showing love and compassion. So, consider if he is fulfilling these aspects also.
Perhaps, as his wife, you could provide him more support. Maybe, given his situation, he just needs a little bit of encouragement and motivation. You can be the one to do that.
It’s easy for people to get stuck in a rut and think that due to their previous shortcomings, there is no way out. Having support from loved ones can greatly assist this. The feeling of care and support from a spouse can be very beneficial in such situations.
Deep down, it may be that he himself knows he should support you financially. He may feel guilty and perhaps embarrassed while saying it’s not his job to provide. During this time, make sure to pray for him. Pray that Allah will guide him and assist him in fulfilling his duties to you and your daughter.
Lose the guilt
On the other hand, however, there is only so much support and encouragement you can give someone before you begin to suffer the psychological consequences of failing to achieve success. The most important thing is to give it a go so that you know you have tried. You have been sensitive to his difficulties and you have done all you can to encourage him to do what he is supposed to. This way, you will not look back with a guilt that you walked away from the relationship, but that you tried all you can.
Certainly, you need to persist with some patience and prayer. It won’t be a change you can expect overnight, but at least give him sufficient time to even make a little change. Perhaps in 6 months or so (or however much you feel you can bear), reassess the situation. Take a step back and look if he has made any changes or improvement.
Take a break
If it is that you want to travel, but worry about the guilt you will feel as he can’t travel with you, then perhaps go ahead and travel, but for shorter than you had intended, or not as far away as you had intended. This way, you still get the chance to travel, but without so much burden of leaving your husband behind.
Keep in mind that you are going through a lot of stress right now. Getting away from that, even if just for a short time, is a very important part of recovery. You cannot expect to care for your daughter and support your husband if you are at the point of burnout. Taking some time away is a vital component of recovering from such stress.
This is also important for your daughter too. As much as you might feel that she is not affected by what is happening in the home, it could be having inner effects on her that might not come to light until she is older. Being away from your husband will give you both the chance to reflect on the situation. He can contemplate on his own position and where things will head if he doesn’t sort himself out. You can contemplate on your options of staying or leaving in an environment where you are not overburdened by daily stressors.
Overall, it is important to take time to consider the impact that leaving your husband could have on your daughter. Consider also the impact that staying in a stressful relationship will also have. It may be that a little more patience is needed in supporting him to fulfill his role, but not to the point that you reach burnout. Finding a healthy balance between the two, perhaps achieved by taking some time away, can be a useful way to consider all your options thoroughly.
May Allah grant you a happy family life and guide you to make the decision that is best for you all and most pleasing to Him.
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.