Wa ‘Alaikum As-Salaam dear sister,
I’m sorry to hear that you are going through such a troubled marriage.
Before I begin to respond to your question, I’d like to make clear that I am not a religious scholar or Imam; therefore,I won’t be able to quote you exact laws and hadith about the rights of siblings and family members. I advise you to send your questions to our Ask the Scholar section. However, I can certainly provide with some general information that will help you make the right decision that would be in your best interest.
As a married man, your husband’s primary obligation and responsibility is towards his wife and children, then certainly his parents and siblings. If one is depriving his immediate family (wife and children) of their needs (both basic and reasonable needs), but providing his parents and siblings more, then he is doing injustice to them and will be held accountable.
You husband’s parents and siblings perhaps need money, and it is okay to give them money – as long as your needs are also being met. But if he gives them all his money and does not give you anything but food, water, and shelter, then surely he is missing the point.
When it comes to your mother-in-law and her complaining about you; unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to change that. I say this only because it seems you’ve tried different avenues already and nothing has worked. Your mother-in-law’s complaints about you to your husband or your parents or your brother is unacceptable. It is also unacceptable for your husband to complain about you to his mother.
A marital relationship should be one of privacy and intimacy. If your husband has an issue with you, this should be discussed in private with you, and if there is still no success, then a third person, who is completely unbiased, should be brought in to the picture. The reason I say unbiased is because neither of you want to be judged. This third person who is not related to you and only has a professional relationship with you would be able to provide you with an unbiased opinion. Examples of an unbiased person would be an Imam or a counselor.
It seems like your husband plays every argument he can in his favor. First, it was his money that he could not give to you because he was supporting his parents. Then, it was your money that now has become OUR money which needs to be contributing to home expenses. It appears that you don’t have a very healthy relationship with your husband, and it also seems like his parents have some strong influence over him.
The bottom line here is that it is okay for your husband to financially help his parents and siblings, as long as your needs are also being met within reasonable limits. Desiring Eidi for yourself is reasonable. Wanting to shop for yourself is reasonable. Wanting to go out with your husband for a dinner is reasonable. I don’t think any of your requests are unreasonable. There are numerous hadith and verses in the Qur’an that talk about a husband’s obligation towards his wife and children.
If you can, try having a conversation with your husband about your distress in this marriage and encourage him to go to marital counseling with you. I know counseling is considered to be a very big stigma in the Muslim community, but I think you need to worry about what is it going to take to get this marriage back on track more than what other people are going to say if you go for marital therapy. This is after all your life not theirs. If you are able to convince him, this will provide both of you a person who is completely unbiased and will be able to guide in the right direction.
If you are unable to convince him and nothing else works, divorce might be in your best interest. I understand that divorce has a lot of implications and stigma both in your family and in society. But again, you need to think about what is best for you, this is your life.
You mentioned that you fear the aftermath. Let me just say here, the more fearful you are, the more people will scare you. If you appear confident and state what your needs are and take actions when they are not met, you are standing up for yourself. For example, you chose to go live with your brother, you took action. However, I’m sure you were made to feel guilty and, of course, there were complains. Unfortunately, you can’t change other people’s behaviors and actions, but you can certainly change your own behaviors and actions.
If you feel that you have tried to make this relationship work and it’s not going anywhere, your husband has cut off all ties from your family, you are not able to reach out to your family, then a move out and then a divorce may be the best option here.
I know you must be worried about getting remarried, but again, are you willing to live like this with this man and his family for the rest of your life? Or would you rather make a change now so you can find a man who is more considerate, loving, and caring to live within the future. You need to ask yourself what is important to you.
You live in the USA, you have rights. If you choose to divorce your husband and he refuses to give you a divorce, you could consider moving out and filing for divorce on your own. Have a conversation with your family about your plans. Your husband should not limit you from contacting your family and you can take several measures to make sure this doesn’t happen. Perhaps, your brother who lives here can help you.
And if you ever fear for your safety, you can always go to a domestic abuse shelter. Find out the nearest shelter to your home: http://www.thehotline.org/
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