In this counseling answer:
• You found out your wife has been cheating on you. You may either consider divorce, or you may consider forgiving her completely and moving on. You may also consider some middle grounds like taking a break away from her and your surroundings for a time.
• If you feel like divorce can be the only option, then it is highly recommended that you at least try marriage counseling first. This is so that you can get some outside mutual support and a neutral ground where you can both express your feelings openly without further judgment.
• If you seek counseling as a last resort to saving your marriage and it still doesn’t work out, then you can walk away knowing that you’ve tried everything.
Assalamu alaikum Wa Rahmatullah wa barakatuh,
Being betrayed can be one of the most painful things one can experience, especially when that betrayal comes from the hands of the ones that you should trust most, especially one’s spouse. In your situation, you have come to realize that your wife has been having extramarital affairs to which you now feel you have lost all trust and don’t know what to do from here.
Take time to consider your options
Right now, the emotions you are feeling are raw and you are probably not feeling at all clear about what to do. Therefore, it’s always good to take a step back and consider your options carefully before choosing your path.
During this time, you should always remember to take your affairs to Allah and seek His guidance, pray istikhara (a prayer asking for guidance) and have confidence in His will to guide you to what is best.
During this time, note down the possible options you have right now. You can do this mentally, but writing it down has the added benefits of being able to see it all visually and consider it all over again in time with ease. With each option, consider what the good and bad points are about these options and ultimately how pleasing they are to Allah.
You may either consider divorce, or you may consider forgiving her completely and moving on. You may also consider some middle grounds like taking a break away from her and your surroundings for a time.
After consideration, put the list away and take some time off for a few days before coming back to it and then add to it as you feel necessary and as you have become more settled and possibly more rational.
The reason for this is that often in the heat of the moment it can be easy to make a decision on impulse and regret it later on. With something as significant as marriage you must be careful, and this is why it is good to take your time.
Whichever choice you make, there will be consequences to consider and logical steps to take to make the process smoother.
Given everything that has happened, the trust between you has been tarnished. She has seemingly committed zina behind your back and you have also been going through her phone. Both are behaviors which are unacceptable.
Beyond this, even though the trust has been broken, it might be said that the trust was never there in the first place if you initiated checking up on her behind her back.
“And how could you take it while you have gone in unto each other and they have taken from you a solemn covenant?” (Qur’an, 4:21)
There are numerous things you can do to regain lost trust in a relationship.
- Remember all her positive qualities
- Tell each other everything, even the small day to day things
- Ask about her day more often and tell her about yours
- Keep each other’s promises
- Always be honest
- Spend quality time together
- Never deceive anyone, not just your wife
- Build a relationship based on your love for Allah. Developing love for Him means you won’t deceive and lie and will trust for His sake, not just your marriage and wife. Strengthen your relationship based on your spiritual connection
If you are feeling like divorce can be the only option, then it is highly recommended that you at least try marriage counseling first. This is so that you can get some outside mutual support and a neutral ground where you can both express your feelings openly without further judgment.
If you seek counseling as a last resort to saving your marriage and it still doesn’t work out, then you can walk away knowing that you’ve tried everything.
Check out this counseling video:
Even if you are both considering divorce, marriage counseling can be a useful way to start the process of patching things up again and healing any damage that has occurred as a result of all the betrayal. Counselling provides a comfortable environment where you can both express your feelings in a neutral, yet supportive environment.
Consider your actions
Whichever route you take, you should also take the time to look at your own actions as well as hers. Your actions were a breach of trust as much as hers were. What you found out was very distressing, but this does not warrant you committing the sin of spying on her and tricking her by pretending to be someone else. In the Quran, Allah teaches us the best way to respond in such scenarios,
“And not equal are the good deeds and the bad. Repel [evil] by that [deed] which is better; and thereupon the one whom between you and him is enmity [will become] doesn’t as though he was a devoted friend” (Qur’an, 41:34)
By refraining from responding in anger, you will be free from falling into potential sin and wringing yourself and will be rewarded for this.
Allah even warns us about being suspicious of others.
“O you who have believed, avoid much [negative] assumption. Indeed, some assumption is sin. And do not spy or backbite each other. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his brother when dead? You would detest it. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is Accepting of repentance and Merciful” (Qur’an, 49:12)
As you can see, your actions are also unacceptable, and it is advisable that you also seek forgiveness for your own wrongdoings too and Allah is the Most Merciful.
Being betrayed by your spouse comes at a huge psychological cost. It is advised that you take time to carefully consider your options to avoid making any rushed and irrational decisions. If you choose to stay, then you will need to work on ways to rebuild trust once more if the marriage is to survive.
If you consider divorce, then it is highly recommended that you try marriage counseling as a last resort to ensure that you can be confident that you have tried everything before making the most extreme decision. During this time, keep Allah close asking for His guidance and forgiveness for the sins you have also committed during this time.
May Allah guide you to make the best decision. May you be happy and content with whatever the outcome may be.
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.