Am I in a Toxic Marriage or I’m Just Being Emotional?

11 August, 2020
Q I think I may be in a toxic relationship, or maybe I'm just being emotional.

I'm not myself now, I'm what my spouse wants me to be. I wear niqab, dressed in black, very long hijab, can't go swimming, rock climbing, or many more.. He keeps saying "I am his possession, so this is how I should dress so other men don't see me, or my face".

Even when I was pregnant and light headed, had difficulty breathing in the niqab, I still couldn't take it off for a while.

I understand that his arguments are grounded, but it's not like I want to wear a short hijab and fitting clothes, I still believe in dressing as modestly as possible, like abaya.

He keeps changing his words, like before marriage, he said, only wear niqab most of the time, but after marriage I was not allowed to take off niqab even for health reasons. Then he doesn’t appreciate that I'm doing all these for him "you're the one who wants to wear this and that, don't put it on me, take it off now! take it off!" he even said things like this "woman! ask for divorce, then you can wear whatever you please!"

He doesn't want to lift a finger at home, I do all the chores and handle the kids myself. He comes back home, takes off his socks, bag and shirt and puts it on the couch. On the weekends, he wakes up between 2-4 pm and the moment he wakes up, he asks for breakfast, most of the time, it clashes with the kids nap time, the kids are all cranky, and I have a hungry husband too. So we always fight on the weekends, and he blames it on me, when half of the time I'm not even the one who started the fight.

He wants me to be the best version of myself, but he is not the best version of himself. Almost 6 years now, but no change at all, no matter how early, and how many times I wake him up for fajr, half of the time, he misses his fajr.

We always get into arguments and then I make up with him because I can't see him upset. Is my marriage toxic? Am I supposed to just be myself but still be the best version of myself, but in my own way, not minding how it's gonna affect my marriage? Or is this just a normal marital fight, I'm just being emotional and I should instead do everything that he wants, perhaps that will be the very thing that will grant me jannah?

I need help, I don't know where to go.

Answer


In this counseling answer:

You can only control your own actions.

Communicate with your husband assertively.

Slowly let your husband realize that you are an individual, with her own ideas, thoughts, needs. When you communicate this to him, emphasize on your emotions and feelings. 

A lot of times, the reason husbands put too many prohibitions on their wife, is that deep down they feel insecure.

As home makers, wives and mothers, women often forget to take out time for themselves or prioritize their own needs. Know that you also have a right to yourself, to take out time for self-care.

Having a positive, meaningful activity will give your life more color and meaning – and something to look forward to day after day. It will also give you a sense of identity. 

Last but not the least – ask Allah SWT for guidance.


Assalamu Alaikum Sister, 

From your post, I understand that you are in a difficult situation. You are trying as best as possible to maintain your home, your children and agree to all that your husband wants from you – however, in the process you feel it is getting increasingly difficult to cope.

You question whether you should do everything that your husband wants you to do, and whether it will grant you Jannah. 

In Islam, Allah SWT has made man “ Qawwam” one who provides for the family; and hence he is superior and the authority over the household. 

Yet, a lot of people and men misuse this authority granted to them – thinking that they have a right to “control” or “rule over” the woman. It is important that you understand your rights in Islam. 

Allah SWT has made Islam very easy to follow; and the compulsory covering for women does not include a face covering (niqab). If it is something that you are not comfortable with – you have a right to tell your husband that you can not wear it. It is something he can not force you to follow – because Allah SWT himself has not made it compulsory to follow. 

You Can Only Control Your Own Actions 

Sister, we often have a need to “fix” other people, or control their habits and actions. But ultimately, we only have power to change our own actions, behaviors and habits.

A lot of the things you have mentioned in your post, are quite common in all marital relationships such as the husband not taking responsibility, or taking house chores for granted. But you cannot change his habits unless it is his decision.

Am I in a Toxic Marriage or I'm Just Being Emotional? - About Islam



Communicate With Your Husband Assertively

Communication is the building block for every relationship. You have to learn to express your authentic feelings to your husband – no matter how intimidated you feel. I understand that he does not listen when he is angry, but there could be times when he is approachable and is in a good mood.

You can use that time to communicate your feelings and expectations to him. Let him know how you feel about the various things that make you feel sad, burdened and overwhelmed.
When you communicate with your husband try to use “I statements”.

For example, “I find it very difficult to breathe in Niqaab”, or “I get overwhelmed when your time for breakfast clashes with our kids’ nap time”. Using ‘I statements” allows you to own full responsibility of how you are feeling – and it avoids falling into the trap of a “blame game”. There is nothing that can rot a marriage or any good relationship as quickly as a blame game. 


Agree to Disagree

We often think of conflict as something bad – or we think that if a couple argues or has a fight; it essentially means that the relationship is unsuccessful. However, this is not the case, talk to your husband openly about having conflicts and arguments in marriage. 

Slowly let your husband realize that you are an individual, with her own ideas, thoughts, needs. There are times when you agree to him; and there are times when you do not – and vice versa. You have a right to having your own opinion and a say in things.

When you communicate to him, emphasize on your emotions and feelings. Help him see that you are a human being as well who has emotions, feelings and wants. It is equally important for the husband to acknowledge the wife’s emotional needs, as it is for the wife to acknowledge and respect her husband’s. 

According to a Hadith reported by Hazrat Aisha Radhi Allahu Ta’ala Anhu, the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “The best of you are the best to their families, and I am the best to my family. When your companion dies, then do not abuse him.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhī 3895]


Check out this counseling video:


Understand Your Husband’s Underlying Feelings

A lot of times, the reason husbands put too many prohibitions on their wife, is that deep down they feel insecure. If this is the case, confronting your husband directly about his insecurities is not likely to solve the problem, on the contrary – it will aggravate him, or make him defensive.


However, if you understand why your husband behaves the way he does, might make it easier for you to deal with the problems you are facing. 

Take Out Time For Self-Care 

As home makers, wives and mothers, women often forget to take out time for themselves or prioritize their own needs. Know that you also have a right to yourself, to take out time for self-care.

Self-care will not only help you establish healthy boundaries in your relationship but it will also enable you to handle the daily routine in a better, refreshed way.  Try to make a schedule; for instance, allocate one or two hours every week, where you do things that you enjoy doing.

Find A Life Purpose 

Sister, it is impossible to be able to keep pleasing your husband, at the stake of your own inner peace. Ultimately, you do need to draw a line and let him know that these are the things that you are willing to do in this marriage and these are the things that are making it extremely difficult for you to survive. Once you have everything out in the open – it is easier to find a middle ground for both partners involved.

In addition; I believe it is extremely important for every woman to have their own purpose in life – otherwise, life becomes dull and monotonous.

Find something that speaks to your soul, it could be anything, such as a hobby (painting, gardening, writing, crafting), or something like giving food to the poor, spending in charity.

Having a positive, meaningful activity will give your life more color and meaning – and something to look forward to day after day. It will also give you a sense of identity. 

Ask Allah SWT For Help And Guidance 

Last but not the least – ask Allah SWT for guidance. Speak to Him in prayers and supplications. Let Him know what difficulties you are going through in life; and He will definitely give you a solution. In the Quran, Allah SWT says, 

“Allah burdens not a person beyond his scope…” [2:286]

May Allah SWT make things easy for you. Ameen.

Salam,

***

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 are liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

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About Timea Aya Csányi
Timea Aya Csányi pursues her BSc. degree in Psychology and Islamic Studies at the Islamic Online University. She is a certified NLP® Practitioner, one of our writers and counselors at the "Ask the Counselor" section. She works as a fitness trainer who is specialized in the spine and functional training. She is advocates for gaining self-love and confidence through exercising. If you are a Muslimah who seeks spine-friendly online training with a PT, you can reach out to Timea at [email protected]