In this counseling answer:
“Involving someone else is highly recommended to help address his spiritual direction and confusion, and how he treats and behaves you with and his boundaries with other people. ”
Thank you for your question and for reaching out.
There are a number of details you have put forth in your question which are all important and I’ll do my best to address.
While marriage is always a two-way street, I am going, to begin with, some things I hope can make a difference in your relationship since you are the person present who can take new action.
Connection vs. Control
The first thing to consider is how can you connect with your husband in a more meaningful way. It sounds like you miss him when you are away, which is natural. However, it also sounds like chasing after he has resulted in him being irritated.
Instead of continuing the pattern of competing for his attention,, perhaps you can try a different method which has worked for other women in the same situation.
1) Let your husband know you’d like to speak and catch up each day at the same time. Then you can both agree to that time and do your best to not miss your window of meeting up.
2)Express a desire to talk and leave the ball in his court.
When a woman puts her desire in front of her husband, he has a choice to respond. Him choosing is how you find affirmation of his love and commitment to you.
Having to force him or nag him will likely leave you feeling unsatisfied even he does comply with your demands to call or speak.
So, one option could be to busy yourself with your studies, your hobbies, and your friends. Remind yourself and him that you are a woman worthy of being paid attention but not a woman who is going to wait around for hours every day for him to show up.
To be honest, I rarely recommend this kind of advice publicly because I would prefer to work through something like this one on one in relationship coaching because then I am able to monitor her responses and his.
To be clear, the goal isn’t to “play hard to get” or turn the situation into a game. The most important part of this situation is that you understand your value and worth as a woman.
The fact that he does not want to speak to you is concerning but you attempting to chase after him for his attention or to speak longer is likely to backfire leaving you even more frustrated.
A marriage requires the effort of two people who want to speak with each other, who want to make time for each other, and who are willing to make some small sacrifices here and there in order to maintain the marriage.
Give him the space to choose to respond.
Call when you want to call, or schedule times to meet up, but otherwise, give him the choice to decide to respond or not respond.
I know this kind of advice of giving space is frightening to many women. Especially when you mentioned that he works with a lot of female co-workers. But him working around women shouldn’t be an issue in and of itself. The fact that he is really close with them, but not with you, would be a red flag.
You have every right to not want to ignore the possibility that he is emotionally close with other women but not you. It wouldn’t be fair, if those are the facts on the ground, for me to tell you to ignore that gnawing feeling that he may be too close to these women in some way.
If he is speaking to other women and hanging out with friends but doesn’t speak to you or hang out with you, then it’s not his introverted nature that is the issue.
It’s where he is choosing to find significance and companionship that is.
If things persist in this way, I would advise you to find a family member you both trust to speak with both of you about what is going on in your relationship.
The second option is going to require a lot more sacrifice on either his part or your part. This is that you both need to be living together in order to strengthen your marriage and work on your marriage.
Can he get a job where you are living? Can you transfer your education to the area where he is living?
Human beings can be weak. When weaknesses are left unchecked, they can lead a person down a path that is difficult to recover from.
He might need his wife by his side and someone to remind him of his purpose and to keep him in check until he matures into his role as a husband. Whether you like it or not, his current behavior reflects the person that he is right now. You need to make a decision about what you want to let go of worrying about and what is truly concerning and shouldn’t be ignored.
Check out this counseling video:
Sometimes, one spouse is the person sent to save the other from self-destruction. Because you’ve mentioned that he has been going through a major religious crisis, not only missing prayers but also discussing atheism, it’s clear his life priorities and values are not calibrated right now.
If a person can leave the prayers, we cannot be surprised that they may find it easier to sin. If a man is even entertaining the idea that there is no God, then it would be no surprise that he may not value the person in his life that reminds him of God.
The spiritual crisis is of great urgency. While it is not your sole responsibility to manage his spiritual state, you are in the position to have immense influence over him but that can’t happen from a far.
There is a lot at stake.
If he continues down that path, will you be able to stay married to him? Would you want to be with him still despite your feelings of love for him? Will you be able to respect him the same?
These issues need some form of attention and intervention so I’ll bounce that question back to you.
What is clear is that both of you living apart from each is resulting in a negative impact on your relationship. Something needs to change and it may require the help of someone you both look up to and trust with the sensitive topics at hand.
Repeating for the third time, involving someone else is highly recommended to help address his spiritual direction and confusion, and how he treats and behaves you with and his boundaries with other people.
May Allah assist you both and grant you the guidance and support needed for a loving and strong marriage.
“And if you fear dissension between the two, send an arbitrator from his people and an arbitrator from her people. If they both desire reconciliation, Allah will cause it between them. Indeed, Allah is ever Knowing and Acquainted [with all things].” (4:35)
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.