Classic Signs of an Abusive Husband!

16 October, 2019
Q I married 2 months ago, i was Christian and i become Muslim before i married my husband. I try to follow Islam as good as i can i perform Ramadan and pray 5 times day i try to be sweet to my husband and patient, I'm not perfect and even i obey him most of the time sometimes i get upset because he is never happy with me, i can see him is trying but he end angry always with me, i just ask one thing love and kindness i want to follow islam with him and grow up together, i try to be so thoughtful i am wearing hijab after we marry. And cover my body. I stop use makeup and i change almost everything from myself, be he wants more and more and its not about Islam its about his preferences about how should i express myself or behave but i feel he is deleting my personality, I'm cheerful and i love to give him love but i feel rejected like he doesn't want my love, he asks me to lose weight to study what he wants on the way that he wants and he said he married a woman that don't understand him, i want to make him happy but i don't know what to do. Please tell me what im doing wrong i just want my husband's love.

Answer

Short Answer: No one should ever change themselves in order to please a spouse. When you marry someone, you don’t marry an idea of them – you take that person as they are. If your husband won’t speak to a therapist or a sheikh/imam/scholar, then you need to make a decision. Are you okay with living in a situation where you aren’t “enough” for the rest of your life? Are you okay with having for a partner someone for whom you will never be good enough? If the answer is yes, then continue to go to therapy and continue focusing on yourself and your growth and relationship to Allah. Some people are okay with being in a marriage just for the mechanics of it – and that is perfectly fine! If you are not okay with this and your husband is unwilling to make any effort on his part, then you may need to examine whether your marriage is worth holding onto.

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Salaam sister, thank you so much for your question. I am very sorry to read about the situation in which you find yourself. 

The Problem is not You

Sister, you are not the problem in your marriage, based upon what you have said here. 
 
No one is perfect, of course, but lack of perfection is not a reason to be treated badly by the person that Allah has entrusted you to. Allah said in the Quran that marriage is supposed to be a relationship of love and mercy – not of servitude. If your husband is trying to gently and kindly and patiently guide you if you are doing something un-Islamic, that is fine. Husbands and wives should do that for each other. But as you said, what he is doing goes far beyond that. To be frank, it is unacceptable behavior.
 
No one should ever change themselves in order to please a spouse. When you marry someone, you don’t marry an idea of them – you take that person as they are. As I mentioned above, guiding one another Islamically is an act of love (as long as it is done so in the correct manner). But he does not have a right to tell you to change yourself as a person to fit his ideal image. Does he devote himself to figuring out your preferences and twisting and changing himself to fit your ideal vision of a man?
 
Tell you what you’re doing wrong? Sister, you are not doing anything wrong. You are not the problem here.

You only Control Yourself

This is a lesson I learned, myself, in my early years of marriage. It can be a hard lesson to learn, but please understand, sister: no matter what you do, no matter how you mangle your personality to try to change your husband’s view of you you cannot make him change. You cannot make him accept you or love you.
Rather than push and struggle and try to twist yourself around, I suggest that you learn to love and accept yourself just as you are. Your husband keeps changing what he wants and changing his standards. What makes you think he will ever be okay with you? If you lose weight, what makes you think he won’t just find another thing that doesn’t suit his image?
 
Sister, focus on your relationship with Allah. Focus on being the best person that you can be. Focus on loving you. It is the crucial first step to inner peace in a situation like you have described.

But what about my Marriage?

The advice I have given you so far is important, but… what about your actual relationship?
 
The best thing to do would be to go to couples therapy. I do not mean talking to a sheikh or imam – I mean talking to an actual marriage counselor who is licensed to deal with situations like this. If your husband will not agree, go to therapy on your own. It may not help your relationship (though it might!) but it will help you immensely.
 
If you cannot see a therapist or if your husband will only agree to talk to some sort of Islamic figure, I suggest speaking to one alone first. There are unfortunately many Muslim authority figures out there who will just tell you to “be patient” and “keep doing what he asks and insha’Allah he will be happy.”
Do not speak to men like this. Look for someone who is understanding and sympathetic. Look for someone who is willing to give hard advice both to you and your husband. When you find someone you can trust to be fair in your situation, have your husband come in for a meeting, as well.

What if he just Says No?

As I said before, you can only control yourself. If your husband won’t speak to a therapist or sheikh/imam/scholar, then you need to make a decision. Are you okay with living in a situation where you aren’t “enough” for the rest of your life? Are you okay with having for a partner someone for whom you will never be good enough?
If the answer is yes, then continue to go to therapy and continue focusing on yourself and your growth and relationship to Allah. Some people are okay with being in a marriage just for the mechanics of it – and that is perfectly fine!
 
If you are not okay with this and your husband is unwilling to make any effort on his part, then you may need to examine whether your marriage is worth holding onto. I hate to have to type out these words, but I want to write to you with absolute integrity.
 
Dear sister, I pray that your husband opens his eyes and is able to see how fortunate he is to have a wife who is trying so hard to make him happy. I hope he will realize that he needs to put in some effort, too, so that you can have a long, fruitful, and happy marriage. Ameen.
And Allah knows best.

I hope this helps.

Salam and please keep in touch.

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

Can a Muslim Woman Divorce Her Abusive Husband?

A Husband’s Power Over his Wife

How Should a Woman Respond to Her Abusive Husband?

About Leah Mallery
Leah is a Muslim convert of almost a decade. She has two kids, an intercultural marriage, and half of a French degree in her back pocket, looking to switch gears to science and medicine. She has lived abroad for over a decade, having just recently become reacquainted with her roots in America. She currently lives in Michigan near her family and – masha’Allah – a sizeable Muslim community.