I got married a year ago, and my wedding was 3 months ago. Before the wedding, I had family problems going on with my husband and his family regarding living separately. My husband told me he would give me a separate home as this is my right and his parents were also okay with it. But now suddenly things have changed.
His parents don’t want my husband and me to live separately and my husband told me that even if he could he would not as he said that his parents were important to him. He doesn’t want to lose the Paradise below his mother’s feet.
I told him that I never told him to leave his parents. I understand that it’s his obligation to take care of them and I will fully support him regarding that and help him in it with happiness. aAll I was asking was for a separate accommodation near his parents’ house. When we live separately and incase he doesn’t take care of them, then I will force him or I myself will take care of them. I will happily do that for them.
His father said that if I really wanted to live separately then I should have mentioned in the nikah contract, but I believe that this is my right and don’t have to mention this obvious thing. My husband thinks that he will do the wrong thing if he gives me a separate house. He thinks by this he would disobey his parents, so now we are living together.
Is my husband wrong by forcing me to live with his parents or should he give me a separate home? And if he doesn’t give me a separate home, is he oppressing me by taking my right? Is he sinning all the time I am living here and will he be questioned on the day of judgment regarding this?
I am falling into stress and depression each day as I am not happy here as small problems are happening all the time. Is there any solution now?
In this counseling answer:
•Be assertive when you talk to your husband and your in-laws. Own your feelings and talk using “I statements”.
•Make a clear point that you do not intend to divide the family.
•Be open and express you love and respect for your husband and his family.
•Make sure that the things that are weighing you down within that environment or your husband are resolved before you think about starting a family.
As-Salamu Alaikum Sister,
I am sorry to hear that you are in a difficult position. While marriage is a bond of happiness and commitment, sometimes it can also create stress, confusion and negative feelings when you and your partner are in conflict. Marriage is a life-long commitment and, therefore, it is natural to have conflicts in marriage since it is bonding of two different individuals with different values and backgrounds.
You want to have a separate living abode from your in-laws; however, your husband is not willing to move out of his parents’ house. What you are experiencing right now is a very common conflict that women face in the sub-continent. While you are only asking for what is fair, and your right, your husband and his family are not willing to understand your perspective. I can sense that in your situation, you are feeling drained, unheard and emotionally exhausted.
I am glad that you are able to pick up on the issue very early on in your marriage. As a wife, it is definitely your right and entitlement to have a separate home; big or small – according to your husband’s means.
Also, as you have mentioned, you had clearly made it a point before you got married that you want to live separately and your husband and his family agreed. However, after marriage they have started making excuses for not getting a separate home.
This feeling of not being heard, or the feeling that your husband is violating your needs is bound to create a rift between you and your husband eventually. Therefore, it is very important that you address the issue very firmly in the “here and now”.
Here are some ways in which you can communicate effectively to your husband regarding your feelings and rights.
Let him know the Islamic perspective.
According to my knowledge, it is definitely a wife’s right to get separate accommodation.Ideally, it should be a separate home altogether, but if that is not possible due to financial circumstances, the woman should still have a separate space of her own that includes a bedroom, bathroom and a kitchen, so that there is a minimal interaction with the in-laws.
It is better to live in a separate place than having grudges, politics and a toxic environment that cause you stress and ultimately leave you feeling sad, depressed and emotionally unavailable to your husband.
Islam enjoins an environment for the husband and wife where they are in peace and happy with each other. Let your husband know that living in an environment where there is no peace for you is not only difficult but it makes you unhappy.
According to a Hadith by the Prophet Muhammad Peace Be Upon Him
“The Best Of You Are Those Who Are Best To Their Women.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhī 1162]
Communicate how you feel.
Sister, in the institution of marriage communication is the most important ingredient for trust, happiness and fulfillment. It can be exhausting if the communication is one-way, or you are having a difficulty getting your message across.
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Talk to your husband as well as his family together so that all of you are on the same page.When there are in-laws involved, sometimes the in-laws might feel mis-communicated and they perceive the girl as a “threat” to the existing family structure. Therefore, it is important to keep this in mind when you communicate to them.
Additionally, make a clear point that you do not intend to divide the family.
Express your feelings assertively. without being afraid to show your vulnerability
You may be communicating to your significant other on a regular basis. However, one important factor is how you communicate. Be assertive when you talk to your husband and your in-laws. Own your feelings and talk using “I statements”. For instance, you can say “I feel hurt and disappointed when you dismiss my needs”.
Do not be afraid to show your vulnerability. While being vulnerable sounds intimidating to some people, I personally think it allows authentic intimacy between two people. Express clearly to your husband how deeply living in a joint family system affects you.
Do not fall into the blame game.
I understand that this is a very sensitive issue in most families and may even have a lifelong impact on your relationship. When you ask for a separate home, your husband may feel angry, unhappy, inadequate, incapable, etc. depending on the situation he is in. Therefore, he is likely to project these feelings on you. When he does, be conscious of it and do not fall into blaming him when he blames you for putting him in a difficult situation. Stick to “I statements”. Such as I feel… , I want.
Avoid being passive-aggressive.
Sometimes when we are angry, instead of addressing the issue directly, we become passive aggressive. For instance, when you are passive aggressive you would revert to blaming other people, sarcasm or feigning compliance with your husband’s requests when you actually don’t want to.
Let your husband know that you respect him and his family.
Be open and express you love and respect for your husband and his family. Let him know clearly that you do not intend to separate or divide the family.
We all fear change. Maybe your husband or his family is afraid of the change that would occur with their son moving away. Let them know through words and actions that you are not “stealing” away their son but rather helping him start his own family.
Think about family planning till your issues are resolved.
Although, you might think this is Un-Islamic, but I would highly suggest you not to succumb to family or society pressure of starting a family right away. Sometimes, this can create further marital problems. Make sure that the things that are weighing you down within that environment or your husband are resolved before you think about starting a family.
I pray that everything works out for you and your family, InshaAllah.
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.