I am married for about 19 years with 2 sons. 3 years ago, I found my wife cheating. She had physical relations with a non-Muslim. She had just stopped her affair due to her problems with the guy when I found out all. I asked her to change her lifestyle completely and follow Islamic ways.
She refuses to stop wearing western clothes and also refuses to stop talking to male friends. She is quite irregular in her prayers. I gave her Islamic literature to understand, also asked her to join Islamic classes, but she refuses. Even her sorry for the affair does not seem to be coming from within.
We were having a very good life with no fights, healthy sexual relations, no restrictions on her spending. Yet, she cheated which has hurt me very badly. Although I don't feel like staying with her, because of my children, I could not make up my mind to divorce her. She clearly states that she cannot change herself and I can divorce her if I want to. This attitude of hers is really hurting more than her cheating she did.
If I continue to stay with her for the sake of children, and I am unable to make her follow our Islamic ways, then would I be considered a "Dayooth" and become a sinner? What should I do, should I divorce her?
These last 3 years have been real turmoil for me. Please give me guidance so that I don't end up taking the wrong decision. Please help. May Allah guide us the right way.
I tried doing Istikhara but have not got any clear indications to suggest staying with her would be good. I understand that Istikhara is not only about dreams, but it is about options opening.
In this counseling answer:
• Look at her other behaviors to see if there’s a correlation. She might go through a crisis or have mental health issues.
• If you truly do not want to stay in the marriage then don’t stay in it. You deserve to be happy.
As Salamu Alaykum dear brother,
Thank you for writing to us. I’m very sorry to hear about your wife’s infidelity. It must have really hurt you and destroyed any trust that you had in her.
You’ve been married for 19 years and the both of you have two sons, so you have a history and a legacy. I can imagine your shock and devastation when you found out. It must have crushed you, I am so sorry you had to go through this.
Please know you are not alone. Sadly, we get many questions such as yours about cheating spouses, and it does hurt as well as disrupt lives.
Brother, you have a long marriage history with her. She is your wife and you have children together. I am not clear on how your wife was prior to this episode of cheating. However, you stated that you had a very good life that you got along, had a healthy sexual relationship, there were no restrictions on her spending and you had no fights between you. The point I am wondering is whether she was practicing Islam for the 19 years that you were married. Did she suddenly deviate from the path of Islam into this haram behavior? If so, it seems very strange that she would do this. It is something you may need to look at a bit closer.
You stated that she still refuses to keep all of her prayers, she won’t join Islamic classes and she continues to want to live a life that is unIslamic. I would kindly suggest that you look at her other behaviors to see if there’s a correlation.
For instance, does she seem depressed, anxious or are her behaviors in any way out of character? For her to suddenly change so drastically after 19 years is cause for alarm. It could be that she is going through a crisis and fell into haram ways. Or it could be that she is experiencing some type of mental health issue and needs to be evaluated.
I will kindly suggest that insha’Allah you attempt to get her into counseling. Marriage counseling would be ideal. However, as she is the one who changed so dramatically, she would need counseling individually as well to rule out any mental health issues.
In some cases, like this, when cheating is involved and there were no previous issues, it can signal a radical change in thought processes which may be indicative of a mental health issue.
Brother, I know you’re very hurt right now and I see what you have written that you are really trying to help her get back on the path of Islam. May Allah bless you for your efforts. I would kindly suggest that you continue to try to encourage her Islamically as well as suggest that you start out with marriage counseling. Insha’Allah, should the marriage counselor detect and any mental health issues with her, they would refer her for individual counseling as well.
I would also kindly suggest that if you truly do not want to stay in the marriage then don’t stay in it. You deserve to be happy, brother and live a life that is pleasing to you as well as to Allah.
Regarding your question about becoming a sinner by staying with her, I am not an Islamic scholar, so please do write to our section “Ask the Scholar” for a more Islamic answer concerning this.
It is my understanding that if she is trying to save her Islam such as praying once in a while or reading Qur’an sometimes, there is still hope. There is even hope when people have left the folds of Islam for long periods of time and came back. This does happen and those who returned to Islam sometimes return with a stronger, renewed faith.
The ultimate sin which separates us from Allah, as you know, is shirk.
With that said, if after trying to save your marriage she still does not cooperate you, you have the right to divorce and seek out the life that you wish to live to be happy.
We wish you the best, brother,
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 be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.