Everyone talks of physical abuse and emotional/verbal abuse but no one says if neglect isn't allowed. I feel like I've been in this marriage by myself and the husband was just cruising by. He's made me feel so unimportant, uncared for, ignored, and just not prioritized at all. I'm always the last choice for him and he doesn't work on the marriage even after very clearly expressing my needs from him over and over again, since the beginning of the marriage.
I've been so patient, I've put everything on the side waiting for him to change, but it doesn't seem to work. I fell into a deep depression because of feeling so unimportant and being put last all the time. I was much happier living with my family and following my dreams before I got married.
Would it be wrong to get divorced and is emotional neglect allowed in Islam? Should women just allow emotional neglect just because we aren't physically getting beaten or verbally abused? Jazakallah kheir.
In this counseling answer:
• Emotional neglect is not allowed in Islam.
• It is time that you talk to him about consulting a marriage counselor and/or taking marriage classes at an Islamic Center or Masjid.
• If he agrees to go for marriage classes and/or marriage counseling alhamdulillah. If he does not agree to go, sister, I kindly suggest that you start to resolve your situation by going to a counselor.
As Salamu Alaykum sister,
Thank you for writing to us. I’m sorry to hear what you have been going through with your husband. Sometimes it is the most hurtful feeling in the world to feel uncared for, ignored, and not important – especially when it is caused by one’s spouse.
Marriage and Rights
You have every right to feel loved, cherished, important, and prioritized. That is what marriage is about. Marriage is an institution, a contractual agreement wherein two people get married and there is love, mercy, kindness, affection, comfort, and protection within that marriage. Within these attributes of marriage is emotional support, nurturing and concern.
Neglect is not allowed in Islam. If we look at the life of our beloved Prophet (PBUH), we can see how he prioritized, cared for, and loved his wives. Muslim husbands should seek to treat their wives such as our Prophet (PHUH) treated his. There is no finer example than our Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).
With that said, as your husband does not seem to want to work on the marriage even though you have clearly expressed your needs and wants, perhaps it is time that you talk to him about consulting a marriage counselor and/or taking marriage classes at an Islamic Center or Masjid. It could be that he truly does not understand what you need. It may appear that he is not prioritizing your needs when in fact he may not even understand your needs. He may feel he is being a good husband, when in fact he is not understanding how to make you happy, nor how to attend to your emotional needs.
In all fairness, you should give the marriage a chance by sitting down with your husband when things are calm, and telling him how much you love him and desire to save the marriage. You may want to insha’Allah point out that you have been unhappy for a while now and that you would like for you and him to take marriage classes at the Masjid or Islamic Center to improve your marriage.
Giving Marriage a Chance: Marriage Classes
Insha’Allah, you may explain to him that as you are both young there is still a lot to learn about marriage. As you have only been married for 4 years, it seems that there are certain things that he may not understand (as well as you) about the institution of marriage. If you approach him with an openness that you both could benefit, you may see positive results insha’Allah.
As you live in the US, I do know that there are many Masjids that offer not only premarital counseling classes, but also marriage counseling classes as well. These could be a big benefit for you and your husband insha’Allah.
Check out this counseling video:
Sister, I kindly recommend giving him this chance. As Allah hates divorce, we do need to make every effort to try to save our marriage. Perhaps if you speak with him and explain that you are trying to save the marriage he will realize that has come to a point that you are thinking of divorce. This may Inspire him to want to try to change by learning more about an Islamic marriage and what is expected of him and of you.
Learning Each Other
Often times in marriage especially for the first couple of years the husband is concerned and immersed in his career and supporting the family. This can lead to neglect of the wife, although it is not intended.
Please, do sit down with your husband and talk to him about how you feel, stressing that you do love him. Indicate that it comes to a point where you are depressed and something needs to be done. Acknowledge that you would like to learn how to be a better wife as well. Often when we approach a problem with the idea that “we both need to learn” it is better received.
If he agrees to go for marriage classes and/or marriage counseling alhamdulillah. If he does not agree to go, sister, I kindly suggest that you start to resolve your situation by going to a counselor. Seeing a counselor on a regular basis is needed for the depression you are experiencing. Ongoing counseling can also insha’Allah, help you move through your feelings about your marriage, perceptions, and insha’Allah help you decide what is best for you in terms of your needs, your marriage, and your future plans.
We wish you the best.
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.