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My Husband Neglects His Duties – What to Do?

05 November, 2023
Q It’s been almost 16 years of marriage. I have two boys, 13 and 5 years old.

My husband is not doing anything. He is very lazy; the whole day he sits at home, and in the evening he goes out with friends and comes back late at night.

We do fight every time, and every 4-5 months we stay together, then again every 5-6 months we stay in separate rooms. But for the past 4 years now, I have been spending time alone.

My parents support us with housing, clothing, feeding, and the kids’ studies. And all my kids expenses are borne by my parents alone.

My husband has no time for us because he is always busy on Facebook and Instagram, talking to people other than the kids and me. And he is always ready to fight and abuse me.

I don’t understand what I should I do…


In this counseling answer:

  • Your husband really needs to confide in you and also take up his responsibilities as the head of the house.
  • You can reflect on these perspectives and try taking proactive steps yourself before considering other options at this point.
  • I kindly suggest, insha’Allah, that you sit down with your husband when things are calm and discuss the situation.

Salam alaikom wa rahmatullah wa barakatuhu,

Thank you for writing and sharing your story. I am sorry to hear that you have been going through such a difficult time. I am also sorry for what you’re going through and that you feel you can hardly find anyone to share your struggle with.

From what you have presented, this does not sound like the scene of a happy marriage. Your husband is not working, and instead he is spending all his life time with his friends, or when he is home, he is on social media. Half the time you are fighting and sleeping in different rooms, and your parents are the ones footing the bills for food, clothing, and school—something he should be doing yet doesn’t seem to give them his time.

On the surface, this certainly does not seem like a happy or ideal place to be in a marriage. However, I also understand that you are only providing a snap shot of your version of events while you are not feeling happy in the relationship.

It may be that there are happy times shared between you both now and in the past; after all, you have been married for 16 years, so you likely have lots of happy memories together too.

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Spend Time Reflecting on This and Ask Yourself:

  • Do you sometimes have good times together?
  • Are your current reflections here a result of your frustrations?
  • What things did you used to do together that brought you happiness that you could still do now?
  • Was he always like this from the beginning? Or did something happen that changed him along the way, such as a bereavement or job loss?
  • If it is, can you pinpoint a trigger when his behaviour changed due to a negative event?

If this is the case, then perhaps you need to go gently and patiently with him, as his behaviour may likely be a product of this.

Such an event would have potentially led to a threat to his manhood and ability to fulfil his role as a man, therefore leading him to distance himself from you and his children due to feeling embarrassed. Spending all day either on social media or with friends becomes his way of coping with this threat through avoidance.

If this could be, or is the case, this doesn’t relieve him from his role as father and husband, but it should raise your awareness of the underlying reasons for his behaviour so you can understand his actions more easily and allow you to approach him more appropriately and realise that this is not something that is your fault.

Give Him a Chance

Giving him a chance to make changes with a little encouragement is a good place to begin. Depending on how he responds, you can escalate to approaches that may be a bit harsher until he takes action. If he is still unresponsive, then you could consider harsher options, such as telling your parents to cease providing for you as they have been doing so that he is left with no choice but to step up and fulfil his role.

Has he been looking for work? If he has and he’s faced with constant rejections, this could be another reason for his behaviour that has left him feeling bad about himself, leading to reduced self-esteem. An easy option to feel better about himself may be to receive validation elsewhere or simply avoid the negativity by being on social media and with friends, almost as a defence mechanism to deal with his situation.

Either way, whether he is searching or not, your added support in finding work could go a long way in resolving this dilemma. It will give him an added push while letting him know that you care enough to support him even though he has been letting you down. This could help ease some of the difficulties you’ve been facing.

So, you see, while it may seem like he is a lost case who doesn’t want to do anything to resolve the situation himself, there are actions you can take to push things in a better direction.

I would encourage you to reflect on these alternative perspectives and try taking proactive steps yourself before considering other options at this point. InshaAllah, he will change, but if he should not, it is better that you don’t look back with regrets that you could have done more on your side to make things work.

May Allah (SWT) guide you and your husband and reward your patience. May He grant you happiness in this life and the hereafter.

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: 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 be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.