My husband is not religious at all and I have young kids.
He is narcissistic and does not help with the children at all.
I feel afraid to teach my children religious knowledge in his presence.
At the same time I know it is my responsibility as a mother to teach it to them.
Should I wait in this marriage for things to get better? Should I leave for the sake of my children? I am very confused. Please help
In this counseling answer:
Make a list of the top reasons why you would wait.
Make a list of the top reasons why you would leave.
Compare and contrast the top 3 reasons for each decision.
Visualize your life without him then visualize your life without him.
Reflect on what the visualizations made you feel and what that means for you.
Make duaa and pray istikhara.
Consider professional counseling.
Reach out to your social support network for support.
Continue teaching your children about faith, consider doing it when he is not home if you are not comfortable to do this in front of him yet.
Thank you for taking the time to write in and seek advice. It is my understanding your husband is narcissistic, non-practicing, does not help with the children and you feel afraid to teach your kids religious ideas in front of him.
I also understand your main question was should you wait or leave now. Sister, that decision is yours to make. Let us unpack this so you can answer definitively for yourself, should you leave.
Stay or Leave
Sister, I will present to you two tools to inshallah help you make a strong decision and move forward. The first tool is a list of why you would want to stay versus why you would want to leave. Make two columns and on one side write down the reasons you would choose to stay in this marriage.
Once you have written down all the reasons you can think of, identify 3 that are the most important to you. Next write down all the reasons you would want to leave and identify the 3 in this list that are most important.
Once you have your top 3 reasons for both possible answers, compare them and think about what it means to you.
The next tool is a visualization exercise to help you tune into your own emotions and thoughts.
During this, pay close attention to how you feel: does your heart rate change, do you feel tense, do you feel happy or sad, any fear, etc.
Please sit down in a comfortable position and location where you will not worry about anyone walking in and you feel able to relax.
Close your eyes and take 4 slow and deep breaths. Then imagine your husband is no longer married to you and you are with your kids. Look around this visual, what is your life like? How does it make you feel?
For the next one, imagine you stay with your husband for many more years, your kids are older now and he is still with you. Look around this visual of a potential future, what is that life like?
Compare and contrast the different feelings each choice gave you. Think about how you see things in both visualizations, which was more positive and healthier. Ask you if you can be happy with this man and do not rush the answer.
Do not forget to make frequent duaa and pray istikhara. Reach out and talk to Allah (most honored, most revered) about your situation. You can visit this link to read about understanding istikhara.
“…And when you have decided, then rely upon Allah . Indeed, Allah loves those who rely [upon Him].”
Sister, I encourage you to consider professional counseling. You can do this in person locally or online via webcam or phone. Whether you decide to stay with him or leave, I would utilize counseling services.
This can help you unpack the negative emotions and emotional wounds that result from being involved with a narcissistic individual. If you would like an Islamic counselor, I suggest Noor Human Consulting.
Check out this counseling video:
I encourage you to seek out support from trusted family and friends. If you decide to leave, some days will be hard, and it will be of great benefit to have people around you who can give you a morale boost and listening ear.
If you decide to stay, I still suggest connecting with family or friends regarding your struggles. They can help you see a different perspective on the situation and provide support for you and your children.
If you leave, you could also benefit from a support group for divorced women. This does not have to be formal or in person, you can find many of them on social media.
It will help inshallah to speak with other women who have similar experiences and are going through the same emotions you will feel.
Sister, these are your children. If you feel uncomfortable teaching them about Islam in front of him then set aside time when he will not be present to teach them. You can do this temporarily until you feel stronger to do it in front of him.
If you decide to leave him then this will not be a continued concern. The fact you are afraid to speak about Allah (swt) in front of him should be a red flag Sister.
My Dear Sister, here is a summary of your next steps moving forward as you work towards a happier self.
- Make a list of the top reasons why you would wait
- Make a list of the top reasons why you would leave
- Compare and contrast the top 3 reasons for each decision
- Visualize your life without him then visualize your life without him
- Reflect on what the visualizations made you feel and what that means for you
- Make duaa and pray istikhara
- Consider professional counseling
- Reach out to your social support network for support
- Continue teaching your children about faith, consider doing it when he is not home if you are not comfortable to do this in front of him yet
I know this is a difficult time for you Sister and this is not an easy decision. Inshallah you will get through this hardship and make a happier life for yourself. May Allah (swt) guide your steps and heal your emotional wounds, ameen.
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 are liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.