In this counseling answer:
• Try to maintain a good attitude by avoiding suspicions and developing mutual respect between you.
• Avoid being too permissive as this will let him believe that his behavior is ok.
• Talk about the situation for fear of how Allah will judge him.
• Encourage him to make good friends.
Assalamu alaikum wa Rahmatullah wa barakatuh sister,
It is one of the ultimate betrayals in a marriage when one partner commits fornication or adultery. It hurts the other party and destroys many marriages. Unfortunately, it seems that you have been the victim of this very thing.
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)
Understandably, given his behavior and your discoveries in his phone, the evidence clearly points to his betrayal. This inevitably distresses you as he should be one of the people in your life that you trust the most.
Whilst you now have evidence to support your suspicions, this may taint your views of everything he does. What he has done is completely inappropriate, regardless of whether he is married or not. You saw words and pictures and cannot be sure that he took it any further than this. Again, this doesn’t make his behavior ok, but it does seem that he may have exercised restraint to some point.
There may be times that he uses his phone in an innocent way, but you will be inclined to feel he is up to no good again. You have seen the evidence that it has happened at least once which is betrayal enough. However, don’t hurt yourself anymore by constantly looking for further evidence.
Betrayal has already occurred regardless of how many times. Now, if you want to save the marriage, you should work on trying to make things better again together. Alhamdulillah, there are many things you can do to help the situation.
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Try to understand as well that trust is a two-way thing. Going through his phone is also a betrayal of his own trust too and will not help things in the current situation. This will only push him away and maybe make him even more likely to fornicate again. Of course, this doesn’t make his behavior ok at all. But it’s important to try and see things from another perspective too.
Talk to him.
It might be a good idea to talk to him about the situation. However, it’s very important that you do this in the correct way. Nagging him and accusing him of being aggressive will not help things. It will likely make him unresponsive to you.
Approach him calmly and tell him that his behavior is hurtful regardless of how far he has taken his haram actions. You fear the punishment he will receive for committing haram and that you are saying that as a loving wife who is concerned for him.
Don’t be too permissive.
It may feel difficult to bring the topic up with him and may be very uncomfortable. However, at the same time continuing to do nothing will also let him know that you think his behavior is ok. He will have no motivation to stop.
Encourage good company.
O you who have believed, fear Allah and be with those who are true (Qur’an, 9:119)
It sounds like this problem is exacerbated by bad his bad friends. Perhaps he is only doing what he is as a means to show off to them. This may be why he possibly hasn’t taken any further than messages alone.
Without necessarily telling him to abandon his friends, which would possibly only cause further difficulties between you, you could instead encourage good company. Invite sisters that you know to have good, Allah-fearing husbands to your house for dinner. This way, whilst you are with the sisters, he will be interacting with brothers who can be a more positive influence on your husband. In time, spending time with good people will encourage him to be the same. It will lead him away from those who are guiding him astray.
“The similitude of good company and that of bad company is that of the owner of musk and of the one blowing the bellows. The owner of musk would either offer you some free of charge, or you would buy it from him, or you smell its pleasant fragrance; and as for the one who blows the bellows (i.e., the blacksmith), he either burns your clothes or you smell a repugnant smell”. [Al- Bukhari and Muslim]
Often men can be quite reluctant to attend counseling. However, you might instead try seeing if you can seek counsel from your local imam together.
This way, it might feel a little less like formal counseling. He also is advised by someone who is well versed in the laws of Islam and will be able to advise accordingly using Islam to support this. It will also give your husband the space to feel like his voice is being heard. He will be more likely to respond to the advice of the imam.
Overall, it is understandable why you feel you have hit the end of your tether now. Fornication can cause so much damage to a relationship. There are, however, some things you can do to help the situation.
Firstly, try to maintain a good attitude by avoiding suspicions and developing mutual respect between you.
Avoid being too permissive as this will let him believe that his behavior is ok.
Talk about the situation for fear of how Allah will judge him.
Encourage him to make good friends indirectly by inviting pious sisters and their husbands to your house that in sha Allah will be a positive influence.
You may also seek advice from your local imam who will be able to provide more informal counseling as well as offering Islamic advice.
May Allah make it easy for you both to resolve this situation and live happily together. May He guide you both on the straight path and make you the coolness of each other’s eyes in this life and the next.
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.