Fathering & The Uphill Struggle of My Marriage

23 July, 2021
Q As salamu `alaikum,

I'm a father and I feel like I don't like my baby. I feel like rejecting my own baby. I hate crying and disturbance. Also, I can't tolerate a crying baby. I have problems with my wife that really shadow our life together, and I'm thinking of getting married again or divorced.

The problem is that she likes to control everything, while I want to share ideas and thoughts. She thinks that I'm a dreamer and unrealistic. Can you please send me some advice? Thank you.

Answer

In this counseling answer:

•Those early months of infancy are definitely not easy, and you need to find ways to relax with it. You don’t need any more stress coming at you or your wife.

•Your tension with your wife reverberates in the home, so the baby will pick up the negative vibe and react in kind with crying. If you and your wife care to save your marriage, you both need to accept that there is something amiss and then –as a team– seek help for it.


As salamu `Alaikum dear brother,

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You have to accept that with children comes crying (and just wait for the whining), sometimes last until the pre-school years. Perhaps you crack quickly because -as a new father- you are feeling helpless and a little scared, whereas your wife has become skilled at reading those cries and calming the baby. Because you are probably not around as much, you may see no possibility for the sound of silence.

Ask your wife to show you the tricks of the trade: how to rock and soothe your child, how to tell what the baby wants. If you feel more in control and confident, you might be a little less on edge, and may even enjoy your newfound skills.

Also, ask your wife to cut out some articles about crying babies, or go along for the next doctor’s checkup so you can learn what’s normal from experts. And if you’re not using a pacifier, you may want to consider it. Some people swear by them.

Over time, you should learn to take the tears in stride. Those early months of infancy are definitely not easy, and you need to find ways to relax with it. You don’t need any more stress coming at you or your wife.

Your tension with your wife reverberates in the home, so the baby will pick up the negative vibe and react in kind with crying. If you and your wife care to save your marriage, you both need to accept that there is something amiss and then –as a team– seek help for it.

Marital ‘issues’ can be quite complex, and often require a lot of work to understand. If either of the two is not willing to accept the other as he or she is, and is constantly trying to change the other person because they don’t fit a mental mould of what they should be, inevitably this will lead to tension and irreconcilable differences. Remember the words of Allah in the Qur’an:

“…and it may be that you dislike a thing while it is good for you, and it may be that you love a thing while it is evil for you, and Allah knows, while you do not know“(2:216). 

In this verse, Allah knows that the Prophet (SAW) did not like violence and fighting. Nevertheless, the ayat was revealed to teach us -his followers- to understand that often in life things that we dislike are actually good for us, but due to our lack of wisdom, far-sightedness and self-awareness, we may not realize it. This is where trust in Allah and Iman come in.

Fathering & The Uphill Struggle of My Marriage - About Islam

If we can see every event and occurrence in our lives as coming from Allah, then we will know that somewhere in it is something good for us. More specifically related to women, wives and marriage, Allah says:

O you who believe! it is not lawful for you that you should take women as heritage against (their) will, and do not straiten them m order that you may take part of what you have given them, unless they are guilty of manifest indecency, and treat them kindly; then if you hate them, it may be that you dislike a thing while Allah has placed abundant good in it (An-Nisa 4:19). 

In this ayat, we can see that often what we perceive to be negative or hateful is in fact good for us. Allah knows what we do not. He knows us better than we know ourselves.

In your case, perhaps what you perceive to be controlling behavior by your wife is Allah’s way of getting you to be more realistic and pragmatic, for example.

How do you know that your wife is wrong in accusing you of being a dreamer and unrealistic? Have you examined yourself honestly and objectively? Why might she accuse you of something like that if it is completely untrue?


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We should use these situations to –before we simply blame our spouses– scrutinize ourselves. Perhaps we are the ones that need reform! It is all too easy just to blame the other for what we dislike. But are we really doing the work of self? Are we truly aware of our own selves?

For example, you claim that your wife is controlling, yet you are the one that cannot stand to hear your baby cry. That is a symptom of controlling behavior – you are frustrated and annoyed by that which you have no control over.

I find that when my wife complains about something I am or am not doing, my first reaction -like most- is often the ego-defensive one, “No, she’s wrong.” However, after calming down and contemplating the situation objectively, I often find that she was -in fact- correct, at least from her own perspective.

To arrive at this, however, it requires a desire to arrive the truth, i.e. “right or wrong, I want to know what’s really happening here.” Of course, these situations are not easy, but if not handled with objectivity and commitment to truth and peace, it can lead to a home life that is filled with rancor, argumentation, and God knows what else.

Also, by modeling this type of behavior, to admit when one is wrong, apologize, and try not to repeat the negative behavior, as men we also set a good example not only for our spouses but for the children as well.

Then everyone learns -because daddy/hubby is doing it– that it is ok to do and actually leads to a more congenial, loving home environment, in sha’Allah. It is one of the blessings of humility, truth and forgiveness, all qualities loved by Allah.

Marriage is a complex and intense institution that requires the commitment by both halves. In Islam, the marriage relationship should be an interdependent type of relationship.

Simply put, we should be as team-mates working together and supporting one another on the path to Allah. As such, we should do our best to help one another towards this goal. However, this also implies that we first work on ourselves and ensure that we are not putting the blame on our significant other for that which we should be doing.

It is all too easy just to say that things are not working out, and it’s all her fault. It takes two to tango as they say, and since we are closest to ourselves and responsible for ourselves first before others, we should make sure that we are in fact doing all that we can, to fulfill the rights of our spouses before we request our rights to be fulfilled.


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About Dr. Abd. Lateef Krauss Abdullah
Dr. Abd. Lateef Krauss Abdullah is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Social Science Study’s Community Education and Youth Studies Laboratory, Universiti Putra Malaysia. He received his B.A. from the University of Delaware (U.S.), his M.S. from Columbia University (U.S.) and his PhD from the Institute for Community & Peace Studies (PEKKA), Universiti Putra Malaysia in 2005 in the field of Youth Studies. Abd. Lateef is an American who has been living in Malaysia since 2001. He is married and has 2 children.