My husband and I have been married for nearly seven years, and we have four young children. I converted to Islam. The problem I have is that my husband doesn't give me any attention, show any love towards me, or offer me any emotional support.
His work is not far away from home, yet he goes out to work early in the morning and comes home around midnight every single day! His working hours are as long as any other working people.
On top of that, I am not allowed to ask him where he is for all those hours. I have been accepting that he comes home so late, but the fact that he hates when I ask him where he was makes me extremely uncomfortable and suspicious. His friends are either divorced men, men that are unfaithful, or single men!
I have no family here, I'm completely alone. He doesn't help me with anything or even talk to me at all. It makes me extremely unhappy; I feel unloved, neglected, and not worth anything!
Another problem is that my husband is very friendly with women. Recently, he was in contact with a young woman who is currently going through divorce. They were talking on the phone, and I didn't like how she was talking to my husband - paying compliments and speaking with very sweet voice. He even asked me if she could stay with us for a week or two until she finds a flat.
Why do I have to put up with this? It makes me extremely depressed! Is he allowed to keep close contacts with other women, even though it makes me extremely unhappy and creates a lot of problems in our marriage? He also knows that I would not be able to accept a second wife.
Please, advise if my husband's behavior is permissible, and how I can make him see that I need tenderness and time from him. May Allah reward your efforts.
In this counseling answer:
“My first intuition about your situation is that when you had your children with no family or community support, both you and your husband probably became very overwhelmed. Communicate appreciation, respect, and admiration. See whether he will be drawn back toward you and begin to give you the love, attention, provision, and protection that you need and deserve.”
`Alaykum As-Salam dear sister,
My first question is: have you told your husband that you do not feel loved or valued and that you feel very alone and helpless in your situation? Have you told him that you need him?
I cannot tell you what is and what is not permissible. However, as a psychologist, I can say that in my opinion, your marriage is not healthy. There could be any number of things happening here. I strongly advise you to seek to counsel as your situation appears to be very serious.
One area to explore is your communication. Do you communicate with each other? Do you have compatible communication styles? Do you know your husband’s communication style? Do you know your husband’s basic emotional needs?
Another area to look into is how you and your husband actually perceive your union. Do you both have the same ideas and values about marriage? Did you discuss this prior to your marriage? Did you have mutual goals when you first met? What attracted him to you? What attracted you to your husband? Can you rekindle that?
Explore the way you both respond to stress. You mentioned that you have four young children. Some people seek support from friends and family when they are overwhelmed. Some people run away; some people seek solutions. What is your style for working through stress? What is your husband’s style? Is your husband feeling helpless and overwhelmed?
Have you and your husband co-created a parenting system? Have you talked about who will take what responsibility and who has what function in the family? What happens if you ask him to work with you on creating a workable family system? Is he interested in fatherhood? These are very important questions to answer honestly.
You need to know if your marriage is salvageable or if you are, in reality, really on your own. One thing is certain; you have four young children, and you need to be able to manage yourself and be a good mother. With that said, again, I strongly encourage you to get face to face counseling to help you sort through this.
If your husband is going to run away from his responsibility and leave you alone in this, then you will need the support and the help with developing strategies for self-preservation and to manage your household.
Check out this counseling video:
If your marriage is salvageable and your husband actually wants to connect and be a husband and father, then you will want the counseling so that you can both get the support you need so that you can re-connect and learn how to communicate, manage stress, and problem solves effectively.
My first intuition about your situation is that when you had your children with no family or community support, both you and your husband probably became very overwhelmed. You both probably feel alone, lonely, and helpless in knowing what to do or how to work through this.
Contact with females
That your husband asked you for permission to have this young woman stay with you is a good sign. What I understand from your post here is that you do not want this and that you and your husband agreed to a monogamous model of marriage.
Therefore, simply say “no”. This leaves him with the option to violate the bond that you and he agreed to or to honor it. I realize how difficult this is for you. Your heart must be breaking.
I also see that you do not have any support or friends. Even with the best marriage and a doting husband, a woman with four young children will still need extra support. Are there any mother groups that you can join? You will definitely want to start your process of healing and hope by connecting with other women and developing a support system for yourself.
For now, try this one thing: write little notes and put them in his pocket or where he will find them when he is at work. He won’t expect this and will be surprised. This will involve 5 notes per week. Start with caring about him – re-establish a connection. Start with “I’m thinking about you”; “I care about you”; “You are important to me”…. (Give him one note a day).
Then you can state things that you genuinely admire/admired about him. (Take some time and find at least 10 things you genuinely admire about him as a man or as a person.) Communicate appreciation, respect, and admiration. For example, “I appreciate how hard you work every day to provide for our family”; “I admire your sense of fairness and justice”.
After you have given him at least ten compliments (one per day in a note), begin to give him a note once per week that says what you feel/need expressing in an emotional manner, rather than a demanding manner. For example, “I am lonely, I need you.”, “I’m scared to be here alone at night”, “I’m overwhelmed; I can’t do this all by myself, I need you.”
Try this; it will take about a month. See if this sparks some conversation. If it does, try to be more responsive and receptive than aggressive. This will likely be difficult because you are feeling victimized and hurt, but we are trying to see whether he will be drawn back toward you and begin to give you the love, attention, provision, and protection that you need and deserve. So, we are exploring approaches.
If he talks to you or spends time with you, tell him that you appreciate it a lot. If you are able to re-connect on any level, perhaps you will find an open door that you can go through so that you can suggest counseling. If not, then get counseling for yourself. One day at a time.
May Allah always be with you.
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.