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A Silent Husband: No Intimacy or Communication

26 November, 2017
Q As Salamu Alaikum. I have a serious marriage problem. I’m frustrated, stressed, and really exhausted. I’m 26 years old, married to a 32 years man with 2 kids, Alhamdulilah. It was an arranged marriage. My married life wasn’t smooth or good, I can say, in terms of love and respect. When we got married, we came to know shortly that I was pregnant. We were happy, but a few months later I understood that my husband was not the person who likes speaking or sharing. I know you would say that’s common in man. But he speaks only 10-15 sentences a day. Believe me! We live in Dubai, and he is always stressed due to his business. He works a lot. Thus, he keeps silent every day. Day by day, he gets more silent. I thought maybe he would change by time, but he hasn’t. It’s been more than three years since we got married, and he comes to me [for sex] once in 3 months, or once in four to six months only. In the beginning, I used to get very angry and react badly like shouting or screaming at him. Now, I’m normal, and it doesn’t bother me at all. He also gets attracted to ladies. He stares at them or talks to them, but I haven’t caught him with proof that he would cheat on me. So I’m quiet and normal until I catch him red-handed. But at the same time, I agree that he is a good person. For example, he is very polite and soft spoken. He saved money for his parents to perform Hajj and send them money for their living; he talks to them politely. He sometimes prays as well. He takes care of me and my kids, but he really gets attracted to any beautiful girls. That’s his negative part.He used to be very good financially in the beginning, but now he is not doing well. He is going financially down and says I’m the reason for his downfall, or sometimes he says I’m a bad luck to him. He doesn’t appreciate me. I’m a very friendly person who likes goodness. But with him, I miss living my life. He makes me feel life is a burden. It’s not possible to live without him as he is the father of my two kids, and he is the bread-winner, and I don’t expect him to change. It seems he will remain the same.I don’t like talking with him much; I usually speak to him when there is something important. His presence or absence doesn’t make any difference to me. I am just living. Sometimes, I think maybe he would cheat on me as he doesn’t come to me. People say he is like this maybe because of the work stress. Please do let me know if there is anything I can do to improve my marriage.


In this counseling answer:

“In trying to save your marriage, I ask that you utilize patience while trying to resolve these issues. Getting upset, which you have every right, will not help the matter. However, approaching him when things are calm to discuss issues that are hurting you may in time open him up to a dialog. I understand he is resistant to talking; however, if you approach him in a calm, kind matter, and indicate that you are trying to save your marriage, he may eventually respond, in sha’ Allah.”

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 As-Salamu ‘Alaykum dear sister,

Thank you for writing to us. I am sad to hear of the situation you are in concerning your marriage.

You stated your husband is a good man; he prays, is soft-spoken and polite, and he takes care of you and the children. He is also good to his parents. However, the negative sides such as that he doesn’t communicate with you, blames you for his financial issues, doesn’t appreciate you, does not show you affection or satisfies your sexual needs as well as being fixated on “beautiful girls” is understandably causing you much sadness and confusion in your marriage.

As you know, in Islam marriage is a protection and a comfort. Spouses are to be “garments for one another”. Men and women have rights in marriage and as such, they are to treat each other with loving kindness and compassion. Prophet Mohammad said:

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“The best among you is your best to his family, and I am your best to my family.” (At-Tirmidhi, 1977)

If we look at your current situation, it is far from ideal. Your husband for whatever reason is failing to provide you with the “best of treatment”. In fact, according to LiveBold, he is emotionally abusive as he is distant or unavailable. He blames you for his life problems, has a hard time showing you empathy or compassion, and withholds sex and so on.

This type of treatment is not permitted in an Islamic marriage. Although Allah dislikes divorce, often times it is the only answer, especially if he is cheating or being abusive (and there are many degrees and types of abuse).

I would advise you to try to save the marriage with the thought in mind that you have every right to be happy, respected, and fulfilled (sexually) in your marriage. You have every right to be listened to, treated with kindness, and enjoy the comfort and solace that marriage is supposed to provide.

In trying to save your marriage, I ask that you utilize patience while trying to resolve these issues. Getting upset, which you have every right, will not help the matter. However, approaching him when things are calm to discuss issues that are hurting you may in time open him up to a dialog. I understand he is resistant to talking; however, if you approach him in a calm, kind matter, and indicate that you are trying to save your marriage, he may eventually respond, in sha’ Allah.

I would also suggest making a list of the things he has been doing that hurt you as well as making a list of the things that are good about him and the marriage. This will give you a base from which you can compare and create possible solutions from. Perhaps, discussing them one at a time will provide more clear communication rather than attempting to discuss them all which can lead to feelings of being overwhelmed by negative points.

When discussing each point, please do include a positive attribute he may have that goes along with the issue which hurts you. For instance, if you discuss with him his silence and non-communication, and how it hurts you, also state you realize he is under a lot of stress at work, and how can you help ease this for him. By offering to help and possible solutions as well as asking him for solutions, it may make him feel as if he is not alone in his struggles, and that you are there to help him through it.

I would suggest dear sister that you both seek out marriage counseling, in sha’ Allah. If he refuses to go, I suggest you go in order to sort out your own feelings regarding your marriage as well as the impact it has had on your self-esteem and emotions. Be good to yourself, love yourself for the wonderful person you are, and please do not internalize his treatment of you as your identity.

These are his issues, and they were probably present long before he married you. Do good and healthy things for yourself such as exercise. Eat healthy foods, socialize with other sisters, take up a hobby to stimulate your interests in life; join a sisters support group for support, practice stress reduction techniques; and enjoy the little things in life in order to achieve a balance. Stay close to Allah in prayer, du’aa’dhkir, and reading Qur’an.

While you have no concrete evidence he is cheating, just the fact that he is looking at other women is haram, and it hurts you. However, as this is his behavior, and he is not sexually active with you, it is possible that he is cheating. If he is, you need to protect yourself (when you do have sex) from sexually transmitted diseases. While only Allah knows at this point, it is important that it is discussed with him (preferably with a counselor) so you can take the measures needed to protect yourself. Decide if you can tolerate this has happened, and find out if he is willing to stop, repent to Allah, and make amends with you. Again, this is hypothetical as we do not know if he is actually, physically cheating.

Lastly, if there is no resolution after trying to save your marriage, divorce is an option. While I understand it may be difficult with children and no income, he would have to maintain you and the children. Also, I would look to your family for emotional support and seek their help should you decide to divorce.

Please let us know how you are doing sister; you are in our prayers.


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.

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About Aisha Mohammad
Aisha has a PhD in psychology, an MS in public health and a PsyD. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years at Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York. She has worked with clients with mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, panic disorder, trauma, and OCD. She also facilitated support groups and provided specialized services for victims of domestic violence, HIV positive individuals, as well youth/teen issues. Aisha is certified in Mindfulness, Trauma Informed Care, Behavioral Management, Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, Mediation, and Confidentiality & Security. Aisha is also a Certified Life Coach, and Relationship Workshop facilitator. Aisha has a part-time Life Coaching practice in which she integrates the educational concepts of stress reduction, mindfulness, introspection, empowerment, self love and acceptance and spirituality to create a holistic healing journey for clients. Aisha is also a part of several organizations that advocates for prisoner rights/reentry, social & food justice, as well as advocating for an end to oppression & racism. In her spare time, Aisha enjoys her family, photography, nature, martial arts classes, Islamic studies, volunteering/charity work, as well as working on her book and spoken word projects.