In this counseling answer:
“You are reassured that all marriages face certain difficulties. Yet, they are a means to strengthen a healthy marriage. Being in a long distance marriage comes with an added burden, but with patience and understanding can come with many blessings too. Understanding his situation, that he has elderly parents to take care of and work to be done, will help you be more compassionate to his own situation as well as understanding that men and women have different preferences in how their needs are met. Finding other ways to have your needs met by mixing with others and doing things you enjoy as well as seeking treatment for your depression will also be a great way to make things easier on yourself also.”
As-Salamu ‘Alaikum wa Rahmatulahi wa Baraktuh sister,
Marriage can bring so much happiness and contentment. Yet, at the same time, if spouses do not feel that their needs are being met, it can be a cause for unhappiness and discontentment as you are feeling at present.
Certainly, as his wife, he has a responsibility to meet your emotional needs. However, pushing it on him too much might make him feel frustrated and less willing to meet those needs. If you constantly make him feel like he is not fulfilling his role as a husband by not attending to your emotional needs, then it is likely that he will disengage as he seems to be. There are, however, ways to work through this successfully.
Marriage is not always easy!
Marriage is a beautiful institution as is valued very highly in Islam as we know.
“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.” (Qur’an, 30:21)
However, all marriages will come with some form of difficulty or another over the years. In fact, it is the endurance of such difficulties that build character in a relationship and strengthen it, if only the couple endure and deal with such difficulties appropriately.
In your own case, the present difficulty is that of being apart from your husband for an extended period. Long distance marriages can be very difficult and do require additional patience to endure the challenge. However, there will be added bounties to this too, so try to look on the positive side too. Being apart from one another gives you the chance to miss each other and really appreciate each other and look forward to seeing each other the next time. If you were together all the time, you wouldn’t be able to appreciate one another the same as being in a scenario like you are.
“But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah Knows, while you know not.” (Qur’an, 2:216)
Ultimately, the reward of being patient with the situation is great.
Say, “O My servants who have believed, fear your Lord. For those who do good in this world is good, and the earth of Allah is spacious. Indeed, the patient will be given their reward without account.” (Qur’an, 39:10)
See it from his perspective
Understand, that it seems he has many other responsibilities right now; he is caring for his elderly parents and working as well as trying to maintain a long-distance marriage. This will be a heavy burden on his shoulders. As much as you need his emotional support, he also needs yours too. He needs to feel that as his wife you are supporting him to work and in taking care of his parents and grandparents as he is also obliged to do, as much as taking care of you.
“And your Lord has decreed that you not worship except Him, and to parents, good treatment. Whether one or both of them reach old age [while] with you, say not to them [so much as], “uff,” and do not repel them but speak to them a noble word.” (Qur’an, 17:23)
Husbands and wives are supposed to provide each other with comfort. Whilst you might feel like calling him often is your way of showing this to him, he may instead be feeling that you are putting him down and insulting his ability to be a good spouse. This will, in fact, be far from providing him with the comfort that he desires from marriage.
As you say, husbands should give love, care, and understanding to their wives, but at the same time wives also need to support their husbands. Keep in mind that men’s and women’s needs can be quite different. It can be easy to assume that they want the same as women do, but this is not always the case. Furthermore, not only do they have different needs, but the same needs they have as women, such as the love, care, and understanding are often better received in a different way. For example, to you, you might feel supported by regular phone calls from him, but for him, given that he has many other responsibilities with work and family, the best support you can give him is to give him space to fulfill these roles also.
Find other ways to have your needs met
With your husband being so far away, it will be difficult for him to meet your needs for love and comfort from afar, as well as his other responsibilities too. So, you could always look for other ways to have your needs met also. Spending time with other sisters and doing things you enjoy is a good way to boost your self-esteem and just generally feel more positive in life.
Seek treatment for your depression
It is advisable that you do go ahead and seek treatment for your depression, for the sake of your marriage as well as your own psychological wellbeing, as it seems that it is impacting on your relationship. If you can overcome the difficulties that you face with your depression, you will be better placed to manage your marriage more effectively.
You are reassured that all marriages face certain difficulties. Yet, they are a means to strengthen a healthy marriage. Being in a long distance marriage comes with an added burden, but with patience and understanding can come with many blessings too. Understanding his situation, that he has elderly parents to take care of and work to be done, will help you be more compassionate to his own situation as well as understanding that men and women have different preferences in how their needs are met. Finding other ways to have your needs met by mixing with others and doing things you enjoy as well as seeking treatment for your depression will also be a great way to make things easier on yourself also.
May Allah bring you ease of these difficulties and grant you happiness and contentment in your marriage in both this life and the next.
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.