In this counseling answer:
• You can love someone, but the decision for them to heal, grow, and change is always up to them.
• It may be absolutely necessary for you to reach out to a trusted family member on your side and his that can help reach out to him.
• Put a deadline on waiting.
• Meet with friends, go out with your son, seek knowledge and exercise, consider a hobby you enjoy or even developing your career in some area.
Thank you for emailing in with your question. I admire your desire to fight for your marriage and to see if you are able to inspire change in your husband which would then have a positive impact on your marriage.
First of all, I am going to work with the assumption that when you said your husband talks to other women on the internet you were referring to text conversations which are sexual in nature and not female “friends” or people he actually knows in real life.
This form of behavior falls under the category of a sex addiction; when the individual involved in the texting can’t stop and the behavior is having a negative impact on their quality of life. A failing marriage is one of them due to a lack of emotional intimacy, honesty, and transparency, as well as infrequent physical intimacy.
You are asking what can you do to help him change. First, I want to remind you of the following:
“It is the same [to Him] concerning you whether one conceals [his] speech or one publicizes it and whether one is hidden by night or conspicuous [among others] by day. For each one are successive [angels] before and behind him who protect him by the decree of Allah. Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves. And when Allah intends for a people ill, there is no repelling it. And there is not for them besides Him any patron.” (13:10-11)
The part of these verses, about changing, is one many of us have heard time and time again. I wanted to begin this because you must know that it is not your fault if your husband doesn’t change. It may also be beyond your capacity to inspire within him the desire for change. Ultimately, he will have to make a solid life-changing decision to not only give up his online lifestyle but to also decide he wants to be a present loving and caring husband and father.
You can love someone, but the decision for them to heal, grow, and change is always up to them.
So, how can you work with someone who has sent you back home to live with your parents, moved away, and doesn’t respond to you? Someone, who from nearly the beginning, has said that you both have “different opinions” about matters and has previously asked for a separation?
Option #1: Choose to Wait.
First, you will have to decide if the man you are married to now is a man that you want to be patient with. He has good sides too, as you have stated, and you would like to focus on those parts instead of just the bad.
The question is whether you can focus only on the good and be ok. Can you stay in a marriage where you are alone and your own emotional and physical needs aren’t being fulfilled? Are you able to wait in the hopes that one day he will be inspired to change and leave not only his haram behaviors behind but be determined to be a real man?
You must decide what you can handle and what you can’t. Be honest with yourself. Marriage is not meant to be a place of suffering. The only way for you to not suffer is to decide that you are going to wait for him, be patient, make du’aa’, and accept things how they continue to unfold.
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That is your choice and not one that anyone can force you to make.
Option #2: Put a Deadline on Waiting
You may also decide to put a time limit on your waiting. To give him some reminders and firm warnings and put a deadline on his current state of showing up in the marriage.
He has not just a wife but a son to show up for, but he is currently lost in his own world which is taking away his ability to think straight and do what Allah has created him to do and to show as the person Allah wants him to be. So your son is as much a victim of his choices as you are.
Option # 3: Reach Out for Help
Addicts don’t like to confront their behaviors. They don’t like to be exposed at all. Most importantly, they don’t want to speak to or be around anyone who might try to convince them to give up the behaviors which currently give them feelings of significance or value.
But the longer they operate in isolation, the worse things tend to get overtime. So, it may be absolutely necessary for you to reach out to a trusted family member on your side and his that can help reach out to him. Another man, ideally, who can help him understand that he is going to lose the blessings which Allah has put in his life. A wife, who despite his flaws is willing to support him in changing and focus on his good, and a son who will grow up and may not be as patient or forgiving of his father’s choices.
When children are young, it’s easy for people to ignore the consequences of their actions. When the child understands how their own mother is being treated things can change dramatically.
You may also want to recommend he seeks help from www.purifyyourgaze.com which is a platform to help Muslims who are struggling with sex addictions break free and get help. Do not be surprised if you receive a less than positive response about this.
This hadith feels applicable in this situation:
Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “Help your brother whether he is an oppressor or an oppressed,” A man said, “O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! I will help him if he is oppressed, but if he is an oppressor, how Shall I help him? ” The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “By preventing him from oppressing (others), for that is how to help him.”
Take Care of Your Life
While all of this is going on, it’s very important that you invest your time and energy, after caring for your son, in taking care of yourself.
Meet with friends, go out with your son, seek knowledge and exercise, consider a hobby you enjoy or even developing your career in some area. Your life can’t be on hold just because your marriage seems to not be moving forward.
Focus on things that bring you joy. Uplift your heart and iman, and nurture your skills and feelings of significance. While waiting for him to change, change you so that whatever you decide you are able to take care of yourself and your son.
Your emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being are important. While marriage is a huge part of life, it is not the only part of your life. Your life is for Allah and so use the time and distance in the best ways possible so that his problems do not consume your mind all the time.
Continue to call out to Allah and ask for His guidance. Ask Him to heal your husband’s heart, to help him return to the straight path and to stop doing anything that is displeasing to Him. If not for you but for your son as this man is his father. Know that Allah hears you and knows what you are struggling with. As you make decisions about what the best course of action is, ask Allah for His blessings so that every step of the way you know that Allah is pleased with you and you are earning reward during this test.
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.