His parents feel he has taken their only grandchild away from them and he never spends any time with us himself. I try to take her to meet them when I can, but it is quite hard. I am worried that my child will lose out by not spending time with her grandparents and not spending time with her father. Should I listen to my husband and not take her to see her grandparents? I often do it behind his back. What else can I do (if anything) to make him realize that it is important for him to spend time with his daughter?
Now, I am very depressed and fed up with the situation and I sometimes feel pressurized to stay in the marriage for my daughter. Is it okay to stay in a marriage for your children even though you are clearly unhappy, or would it be better for my child if I asked for a divorce?
In this counseling answer:
“Even if you feel that you cannot gain his attention right now, pay attention to yourself. By taking care of yourself, you will grow in your own self-esteem. By attending Muslim women’s circles, you can learn much about yourself, about your religion, and the rights that your religion has given to you. By taking these steps, you yourself will begin to change. You will become more self-assured and have a better sense of yourself. You will also learn to be of support and gain support from other sisters.”
As-salamu `alaykum, sister.
It seems that you are living in very trying conditions at the moment, so try to seek relief in du`aa’ (supplication) after your mandatory prayers. When one opens one’s heart to Allah in this way, even though actual relief from the situation might not seem forthcoming, the inner relief can unburden much tension that prevents you from seeing the solutions to your problem.
From what you have not said, it seems that you do not ask much for yourself and that you have more or less compromised your honor, your self-respect, and your rights in Islam in order to cope. But you are not coping, and as you give up on your self-respect and your rights, so will your daughter as she grows up because you are her role model, whether you like it or not.
The root of the problem is between you and your husband, and until this is resolved, he will not learn to honor you, himself, your marriage, or your daughter.
“And among His wonders is this: He creates for you mates out of your own kind, so that you might incline towards them, and He engenders love and tenderness between you: In this, behold, there are messages indeed for people who think” (Ar-Rum 30:21).
So think, sister, what it is that you are doing to allow your husband to feel at liberty to behave in the manner in which he is behaving? Do you take care of yourself both physically and emotionally? Are you neglecting your spiritual needs that can nourish and sustain you in times of difficulty? If you cannot do this for yourself, how are you going to do this for your daughter? Her self-image will come from how you and your husband, her father, behave towards one another, how you relate to one another.
Even if you feel that you cannot gain his attention right now, pay attention to yourself. By taking care of yourself, you will grow in your own self-esteem. By attending Muslim women’s circles, you can learn much about yourself, about your religion, and the rights that your religion has given to you. By taking these steps, you yourself will begin to change. You will become more self-assured and have a better sense of yourself. You will also learn to be of support and gain support from other sisters.
In turn, this will influence how you run your home, by making it a more pleasant, calm, and relaxing place to be. You will become more organized and more able to smile.
Last, but not least, your husband will begin to notice and, in sha’ Allah, spend more time at home with you and his daughter. In this way, you can learn more about each other and consult with one another.
“Consort with your wives in a goodly manner, for if you dislike them, it may well be that you dislike something which God might yet make a source of abundant good” (An-Nisaa’ 4:19).
Only then will you be able to ask of him what is your right and the right of your daughter without being made to feel as if you are committing a crime.
“And as for the believers, both men and women—they are friends and protectors of one another: they (all) enjoin the doing of what is right and forbid the doing of what is wrong and are constant in prayer, and render the purifying dues, and pay heed unto God and His Apostle. It is they upon whom God will bestow His Grace, verily, God is Almighty, Wise” (At-Tawbah 9:71).
In summary, you should not be asking about your child’s right to see her grandparents but about your own rights as a wife.
Wa as-salamu `alaykum.
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