In this counseling answer:
• The best support you can give your husband is to help him get out of this habit of talking to non-mahram women online. Try to make your relationship with him stronger.
• Encourage him to seek counseling for his depression.
Assalamu Alaikum Sister,
I am sorry to hear about what you are going through. It must be a difficult and painful situation for you to see your husband talking to other women online, and even be committed for marriage to a lady. While I think you are a strong woman, I also feel that you should talk to your husband about giving you your rights of time, attention and love rather than wasting them on chatting with other women online.
You say that your husband has developed depression. He has also developed an emotional attachment and hence committed to marrying a woman he met online. Yet he is not sure how to communicate to her that he is married.
It seems that your husband has not physically met the woman he intends to marry in real life since you mentioned that he has told that woman that he has some serious illness. If he has not actually met that woman, it is quite possible that the woman is lying about herself as well. There is no way to know what kind of character and background she may have.
In Islam, it is important to not only see the woman before marriage but also to know about her background, her family, values etc. Therefore, there is no point in becoming so serious about marriage before those points have been dealt with in depth.
It is also certain that your husband does not truly love that woman, but is rather just “passing time” or lusting after the woman. In true love one does not hide their situation nor do they tell lies. The reason a person lies about oneself is to maintain an “image” he wants the other person to see. I am sure once the woman finds out that he is already married, she will not want to marry him at all. It is her right to know that he is already married; otherwise, she will feel cheated on.
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If your husband is unable to tell her that he’s married, you could try telling the woman yourself that your husband is married to you. Correct any lies he has told her. If she is still willing to marry him, then let them go ahead with the marriage rather than engaging in sin (getting close to each other without marriage).
Sister, you have mentioned that you fear that if the marriage does not take place, your husband will develop schizophrenia, or go deeper into depression. Firstly, do understand that grief or emotional turmoil may cause depression but not schizophrenia. If you feel that your husband’s depression is aggravating, you might need him to get professional help from a counselor/therapist.
The best support you can give your husband is to help him get out of this habit of talking to non-mahram women online. Try to make your relationship with him stronger. You’re his wife and he has rights over no other woman but you.
Here are a few suggestions that can help your relationship with your husband get stronger InshaAllah.
Learn to communicate with your husband. Try to understand his likes, dislikes, hopes, wishes, dreams, and fears. If he brings up the topic of his emotional attachment to someone else, try to discourage him as much as you can, and divert his mind elsewhere. Show him that you love, trust and respect him.
Try to get intimate and close with him on an emotional level. Make him his favorite food or find a hobby that you can share with him. Make it a point to do some activity together. It could be anything, such as gardening, painting, reading a book or so on. Doing activities together, or going out together will help him put other women out of his mind and focus on you. It will also InshaAllah help you get closer to each other.
In the Quran, Allah says,
“And one of His signs is that He created mates for you from yourselves that you may find rest in them, and He put between you love and Mercy; most surely there are signs in this for a people who reflect.” [ Al-Room: 21]
Put effort into your physical appearance
Also, make yourself physically and sexually attractive to your husband. Dress up, wear makeup, perfume and beautify yourself the way he likes it. Be open about it and ask him how he likes your hair done or what shade of lipstick he prefers etc. Islam emphasizes that a woman adorns herself for her husband. This would also help you get physically closer to your husband.
Appreciate him for all that he does
Men have a strong need to be appreciated and respected. So, try to appreciate him in little things he does for you. It would also help him realize his sense of responsibility towards you.
Sister, sometimes we are unconsciously pushing the other person away. Try to see if any of your actions may be pushing your husband away to another woman.
Help him get closer to his family
One way to help him overcome his addiction to chatting with women online could be to help him get closer to his family members such as his parents, siblings, male cousins etc. Remind him that his parents and his family have a right over him as well, and he should give them due time and attention.
Help him get closer to Allah
Sister, it is also important that you help your husband get closer to Allah. Guide him to pray five times a day and read, as well as understand the teachings of Quran, InshaAllah. When a person is far from Allah SWT, there is a void inside. He then tries to fill this void with futile activities, such as chatting to non-mahram women in your husband’s case.
May Allah help guide and preserve you and your family, Ameen.
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