I am an architect and academician by profession living in Delhi. My wife takes care of me as well as she should but sometimes she uses abusive and dirty language to humiliate me and it ends up hurting me a lot. I pray five times on time Alhamdullilah, but my wife does not.
She spends her time watching movies and dramas and listening to songs but does not pray until I force her to do it. I dislike her habits and our differences in thoughts and priorities bother me a lot. Whenever I try to talk to her, I feel like she doesn’t understand.
We have differences in opinion; I'm well educated, and she is not and that is the real reason for our disputes. I do not know how to be a good husband and get along with her. Many times I made up my mind for a divorce her but always stopped out of fear of Allah. I don’t want my wife to suffer from this decision knowing she might have not realized her fault.
In this counseling answer:
• It could be in fact, that your wife might have low self-esteem, and not really like who she is. It could be that she feels inferior to you due to your higher education and her attempts to find “equal” ground has turned abusive.
• I kindly suggest brother that insha’Allah when things are calm, take your wife out for a walk and maybe for some tea or lunch. Have a conversation with her about her. Don’t bring up the abuse, the movies, music or even Islam at this point. Just make it a sincere effort to get to know what it is that is really bothering her.
• You can help your wife draw closer to you by gaining her trust, listening to her problems, encouraging her, and letting her know that you love and respect her.
As-Salamu Alaikum dear brother,
Thank you for writing to us. As I understand, you live in India, you are 30 years old and you are married. Sadly, your wife is sometimes abusive and uses bad language to humiliate you. While she does take care of you in all other ways, she still has this vile, mean, abusive side to her.
Brother this is totally unacceptable and in fact, is a form of mental/emotional abuse. Emotional abuse entails tactics to try to gain power or control. Psychology Today (1) gives a case example which may or may not be like your situation “She calls him stupid, inept, dumb, and other like names frequently. When he speaks to her relatives or friends, she rolls her eyes in an attempt to manipulate them into disrespecting him. She frequently treats him with disdain and even disgust.”
Does this sound familiar? In many instances of emotional abuse, the one who is being abused may not recognize it as such. However, emotional abuse is much like physical abuse only emotions are used as “weapons”. This is certainly not what Allah intended for marriage nor should it go on unchecked.
Insha’Allah brother you can suggest that she go for counseling and or you both go for marriage counseling. In the meantime, setting up boundaries, walking away when she becomes abusive as well as practicing self-care is vital.
Educational Levels and Power Struggles
Along with the emotional abuse, you also state that you don’t like the way that she spends her time watching movies and listening to songs rather than completing her Islamic obligations. This is understandable as we must always put Allah and our Islamic obligations first before anything.
Indeed, other activities may be a part of life, but it should not supersede Islam. You stated brother that you have tried to talk to her about these things but somehow, she does not understand. You have differences in opinions, and you feel that these differences are due to your being well-educated and stating that she is not well educated.
You feel that these are the real reasons for the disputes. Brother, I’d like to ask you, do you really believe that it takes someone who is well-educated to follow Islam and to be kind? It seems that kindness, knowledge, and practice of Islam are qualities that one can attain whether they have a higher education or not.
The fact is, kindness has nothing to do with being educated. It has to do with having love and concern for people as well as liking yourself. Often when people have low self-esteem or don’t like themselves, they take it out on others. They usually take it out on those who are closest to them.
It could be in fact, that your wife might have low self-esteem, and not really like who she is. It could be that she feels inferior to you due to your higher education and her attempts to find “equal” ground has turned abusive.
This may in part explain her outbursts of trying to humiliate you which is inexcusable. However, there could be explanations such as I just described. Whether this is true or not for your wife we do not know.
Conversations from the Heart
I kindly suggest brother that insha’Allah when things are calm, take your wife out for a walk and maybe for some tea or lunch. Have a conversation with her about her. Don’t bring up the abuse, the movies, music or even Islam at this point. Just make it a sincere effort to get to know what it is that is really bothering her.
Check out this counseling answer:
You may wish to talk with her about how she feels about her life in general, her goals her dreams or aspirations as well as what she feels she has accomplished so far. This may initiate her to conversate with you about some deep feelings she may have inside of her which she may be expressing by hurting you. You may find that your wife does have a lot of insecurities about herself that need to be addressed.
Inshallah if you can open this door of communication in this different way, you may find that your wife will start to draw closer to you. If this does happen, it may be the start of healing. You may also find that your wife’s insults and humiliation and bad words will decrease.
When someone hurts us, is cruel to us, or mistreats us, our natural response is to protect and defend ourselves, which is expected. However, one cannot keep living in an abusive relationship. There needs to be a resolution which may include finding out why this person is behaving this way.
It usually has nothing to do with the “victim” but reflects how the abusive person views themselves. Insha’Allah you can help your wife draw closer to you by gaining her trust, listening to her problems, encouraging her, and letting her know that you love and respect her. While these things might be obvious things for you to recognize, your wife may not feel this way, or she may not even see these nice qualities that you have. Internal pain and conflict have a way of distorting reality.
Divorce as a Last Option
Brother, you spoke of divorce. As we know Allah hates divorce. It is not advisable unless you have really tried to save the marriage, and nothing has worked out. You might have tried to make her understand the problems within the marriage, explained how her abuse has hurt you deeply and spoken to her many times with no changes. Still, there are things you can try to save the marriage.
As Illustrated above, a different approach to communication which includes understanding and trying to get to the root of her issues may be of benefit. Marriage counseling may help, as well as suggesting she seek out counseling. Increasing your time worshipping together, going to the Masjid, readings for the Quran together and praying together is also a blessing and very beneficial to marriages.
It’s not unifying when you, for instance, say, “oh I’m going to pray” and you go pray in one room and your wife is in another. Separate acts of worship cannot be avoided due to the busyness of everyday life. However, when couples worship together it brings them closer to each other and to Allah.
If all attempts fail dear brother, you are not faulted for seeking a divorce. Unless real change occurs you are not expected to remain in an abusive marriage. We have the right to end incompatible or hostile marriages after we made every effort to save them.
Insha’Allah, with extra efforts and counseling your wife may come to terms with whatever it is that has led to her abusive nature. Insha’Allah the two of you can begin a path of healing. If she refuses, however, please do consider divorce as your right is to live “abuse free”.
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.