In this counseling answer:
• If at any point you begin to consider suicide or hurting yourself, please contact the Pakistan emergency line at 115, The Aman Foundation 24/7 helpline at +92 (21) 111-11-9123 or contact your parents.
• It is time to stand up for yourself, sister!
• Begin with your morning affirmation and making duaa.
• Sit down with your husband and have an honest conversation. Let him know how you truly feel and respectfully make it clear that you deserve to be treated with kindness. Express to him that you need to see your family more often and your parents have rights over both of you.
• Don’t try to force intimacy, instead work on reigniting your desire.
Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatuulahi wa barakatu Sister.
Thank you for writing in and sharing your feelings. I am sorry for your struggles, sister! May Allah ease your struggles, ameen.
It is my understanding that you are struggling with depression and anxiety which is rooted in your marriage. It is specifically related to a lack of emotional connection, healthy communication and controlling behaviors. It is troubling to me that you state, “I have no interest in life. I feel suicidal, but I know suicide is haram and Allah hates it.” and “I am so scared. Will Allah punish me because I am not able to be a good wife?”
Let me begin this by saying you are not a bad wife for struggling with depression or are you being ungrateful by asking for help. The fact you wrote to us shows you want a better quality of life and are seeking counsel on how to make this happen.
Please, dear sister, for the sake of Allah (swt), if at any point you begin to consider suicide or hurting yourself, please contact the Pakistan emergency line at 115, The Aman Foundation 24/7 helpline at +92 (21) 111-11-9123 or contact your parents.
Verbal Abuse and Family Isolation
Based off of your accounts, it seems that not only have you endured abuse for 14 years, you are also being isolated from your family. Please, understand your husband does not have the right to isolate you from your parents or verbally abuse you. This is sinful!
You mention he lies to your family about why you are not visiting them. This is tacking on deceit to an already sinful action. Islam promotes maintaining our bonds with family and showing them respect.
Gently let him know that your parents have rights over you and you need to spend more time with your mother. Schedule a date you will visit and keep him to it. If he wants to go with you, there’s no harm as long as he lets you socialize with them.
“The person who severs the bond of kinship will not enter Jannah” [Al Bukhari and Muslim]
Verbal abuse is often hidden and some use the excuse “but he doesn’t hit me” as if this is acceptable. Verbal abuse can hurt you just as much if not more than physical and it leaves scars. Those scars are not as readily seen as physical abuse, but they certainly manifest themselves by hurting your self-esteem, causing depression and wearing you down until you are a shell of your prior self.
It is time to stand up for yourself, sister! Tell your husband that you do not deserve to be insulted or abused. Remind him that it is sunnah to treat one’s wife with good character and mercy.
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Quran appoints the husband as the protector and maintainer. This does not mean the man is entitled. It means he has been given a responsibility. It is your husband’s duty to take care of you and your household just as much as it is yours. Marriage is a partnership; it is not possible for it to function happily unless both parties are giving it their best.
“And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquility in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.” [Quran 30:21]
Allah (swt) has given certain rights to the husband and wife, making both of you accountable to uphold your duties and promote a happy marital bond. Neither you nor your husband should demand something of the other that causes hurt feelings or are beyond the marriage’s current capacity. Although sexual relations are a right of the husband, it should not be at the expense of your well-being.
Forcing yourself to engage in sexual acts when you feel depressed will train your mind to associate intimacy with negativity. This will not make intimacy more pleasurable for him nor will it help you to rekindle those feelings.
Instead of forcing intimacy, tell him you want to work on making your intimate life more pleasurable for him and yourself. This will frame it in a positive way for him. Ask him to try engaging in more foreplay to help bring back feelings of desire. Think about something you really enjoy or want to try and ask him to do it for you. Intimacy should be enjoyable, not a chore.
Starting today, begin your day with positive affirmations. It is a fancy way to say speak kindly to yourself and believe it. It might feel awkward at first, but if you do this on a regular basis you will not only start to believe it, you will start to act accordingly.
Please, take a moment to look in the mirror and tell yourself “I am a good wife and I deserve to be treated that way”. Say it to yourself until you speak with confidence and really start to feel it.
Make sincere duaa. Even if you see things improving, keep making duaa. If you don’t already pray with your husband, ask him to pray with you. It is better to pray and read Quran together on a regular basis. If you both reflect on the verses of Quran together, it will bring you closer, inshallah.
Communication is key to any successful relationship. Both of you need to sit down and have an honest conversation without any raised voices or insults. If you fear he is not capable of doing this, seek out a mediator such as a family friend, Imam or a marriage counselor. You need to tell him honestly how you feel; he might not even realize you are unhappy.
Pick a time each week you and your husband will devote to one another. This is not about having difficult conversations or forcing intimacy, just enjoy each other’s company. Watch a movie together while cuddling; make biryani together as a team or any other idea that comes to mind for you. Something you will both enjoy doing together as a couple.
I know this is a difficult time for you, sister, but inshallah it can improve if you are both willing to put in an effort and remain consistent.
To summarize, begin with your morning affirmation and making duaa. Sit down with your husband and have an honest conversation. Let him know how you truly feel and respectfully make it clear that you deserve to be treated with kindness. Express to him that you need to see your family more often and your parents have rights over both of you. Don’t try to force intimacy, instead work on reigniting your desire.
May Allah (swt) grant your marriage greater compassion, mercy and patience,
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.