10 January, 2017
Salam. I am going through a very difficult phase of my life and really need some advice to come out of it. I got married when I was 17. Now I am 36 years old. It was a love marriage; my parents were against it as they didn’t like the overall trends and ways of his family. His educational background was also not very good, but I insisted on getting married to him. It’s been 18 years of marriage and we have 3 children. Since the beginning of my marriage, my husband has always shown his irresponsible attitude towards me and our children. My husband has always showed dependency on others. First it was his father and then he started depending on his brother who was financially strong. He lost his job at this time and due to his irresponsible attitude, he remained jobless for 4 years. We were surviving because we were living in a joint family where my brother in law was bearing the financial strain. At that time, I started my job in a school as a teacher to manage school fee of my children. My husband started depending on his brother and me for supporting the family financially. I did not mind contributing, but later I realized he has started taking me for granted as if maintaining financial needs is not his responsibility. Our family was entirely depending on my brother in law’s earning and me. Later, due to financial strain on my brother in law, he asked us to move in a separate house. My husband was very irresponsible in submitting bills and fee and all the expenditures. There was lots of quarrel between us which was not only badly affecting our married life but also our children were affected mentally. Whenever I tried to talk to my husband regarding these problems and tried to make him realize to think about his responsibilities, he always responded in a very loud, aggressive and abusive way. I started developing hatred for him and that created a distance between us. He also doesn’t care if I am not talking to him or ignoring him for months as he was well aware that I have no other option other than to survive with him in any condition. Later, I came up to conclusion to look for job myself where I can help my family, Hence I started applying for the job abroad especially in UAE. By Allah’s blessing, I found a good teaching job in a school in Abu Dhabi. I sponsored my children and my husband too and brought them to Abu Dhabi. I gave him this last chance to look for a job by sponsoring him and supporting him. Here also he was at ease thinking that I am managing everything so he was relaxed. After spending couple of months, he found a job but again due to his non-serious attitude, he resigned from that job and went back to Pakistan. I tried my best to support him but now I feel it’s high time and I need to move out from this relationship as it’s giving me depression and nothing else. I told him that I would go for khula (divorce) and I did not want to live with him anymore. Now I am financially stable and can lead my life peacefully. I reached the edge of my tolerance and decided to divorce. Now, my husband is pleading and asking me to forgive him. He says he will change. I have given him enough chances but was he waiting for me to ask for divorce? I asked him for divorce 4 months ago, and since then he has been asking me to forgive him but did not show any improvement in taking up his responsibilities. I am very upset. What should I do? I don’t feel love or attachment for him anymore nor have any respect for him. His pleading also seems his way to get escape from the society to show people around him that everything is fine in our relationship. What should I do?
As-Salaam ‘Aleikom sister,
It sounds you are going through a very stressful time with your spouse. In sha’Allah, I will try my best to advice you what to do in this situation.
You got married to your husband when you were only 17, and your parents were not so happy about this marriage. Sometimes parents can sense that something is not right about the person when their children are blinded in love. It takes more than love to keep a marriage intact, and unfortunately, many people don’t realize that until it’s too late. The statistic shows that the primary cause of divorce is financial.
If your husband is as you mentioned, then he is not having a good marital relationship with you. He is also contravening the order of Allah who says,
“…And live with them in kindness…” (Quran 4:19)
In Islam, greater financial security is assured for women. It is good that you wanted to help out when he first lost his job, but you should not be the financially responsible person in your marriage. No married woman is required to spend a penny from her property and income on the household. It is the man who shoulders this responsibility in the family.
You have unfortunately married a man who is uncaring, selfish, irresponsible and even abusive. It might be better for the victimized to seek for divorce/ khula, if nothing helps to change the situation. It looks like your husband is so used to sitting back and enjoying your money, and he likes that you manage the financial side of the things. He has been doing it for eighteen years. That is a long time! He is afraid to lose you and he is asking for forgiveness without showing any improvement in his responsibilities. He can’t afford to lose you as he is simply dependent on you. You have already given him so many chances to improve and he is clearly not taking it seriously. Both the kids and you are effected by his behavior which is not healthy at all. This isn’t what marriage should ever be.
Sit down with him alone when the kids are not around, and have a serious talk with him. First, there is no excuse for his irresponsibility. He must be held responsible for his role as a provider for the family. Second, you must make it clear that this irresponsibility will not be tolerated. This is a message to give to him clearly, calmly and with conviction. Your marriage needs to be transformed from responsible/irresponsible to mutually responsible. Third, you have to let go of some of the responsibility you have been carrying as this is the time for him to share it.
I would suggest that you speak to your family and seek their help and advice. It is excellent that you are a financially independent woman, but you will need support from your family IF you decide to go through a divorce with your husband.
May Allah (swt) ease your problem and make it easier for you and your children, In sha’Allah.
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