It's been 4 years of heartbreaking fight after fight. I'm not thin enough. I don't cook Arabic food well enough. (Well, I am American born.) Sigh, too much makeup, then no makeup and I'm ugly. I'm stupid because I don't speak Arabic fluently. Um, of course, not...he was supposed to coach me and then all he does is yelling at me.
I cry every day. I want to go home to my children in the US. NOTHING here is right. This is not good. What can I do? He refuses to get help or even to talk about it. He yells at everyone; at his parents, too. He won't admit his mistakes and always blames things on others. Help me, please! I cannot go on this way.
In this counseling answer:
• Abuse is in no way accepted in a marriage.
• Remember, putting others down brings their own self-esteem back up as they place others in a place lower than themselves. The trick is to not fall victim to this yourself and understand his reasons behind talking to you in this way.
• Seek self-esteem boosters elsewhere by surrounding yourself with friends who make you feel good about yourself.
• You need to do everything to save the marriage. However, there is no shame in choosing to divorce because sometimes things just don’t work.
• Get some space from each other first.
• If you chose to divorce, make sure to enroll the help of your friends and family to support you through a difficult time.
Wa ‘Alaikum Salaam,
It sounds like your marriage is really not in a good place right now and you are really suffering for it. Obviously, I can’t tell you whether you should divorce this man or not, that is your decision to make, but I can advise you on how to manage the situation.
From what you say, it seems like he needs to get some help since he’s suffering from anger problems, even towards his parents, so try not to take it personally. As his wife, you are the one closest to him and so is the one whom it is easier to take his frustrations out on. Unfortunately, you are the one who has to take the brunt of the abuse. No abuse is acceptable, especially of the physical type, and continuing to allow him to abuse you in any way will only let him know that it is OK to behave like this towards you. So, he will continue. That is not to say, however, that you go back and abuse him. But simply let him know in a calm manner that his behavior is not acceptable.
If you chose to give your husband time to change, then he needs to know this. Often, people put others down when they feel negative about their own selves and they lack self-esteem. Putting others down brings their own self-esteem back up as they place others in a place lower than themselves. The trick is to not fall victim to this yourself and understand his reasons behind talking to you in this way. Seek self-esteem boosters elsewhere by surrounding yourself with friends who make you feel good about yourself.
Certainly, in Islam, we are encouraged to do all we can to save our marriages even in the toughest of times. But there are times when it will not work and it is ok to pursue a divorce. In such cases, there is no shame in choosing this option because sometimes things just don’t work, especially if you have been enduring constant verbal and physical abuse. If this is the route you chose to take, then make sure to enroll the help of your friends and family to support you through a difficult time. Regarding the emotional difficulties faced in a divorce, there are practical implications that will be best managed with the support of others.
Alternatively, if you have the means, you might think of going to stay with friends or family for a while to get some space from each other. It would give you the chance to feel some relief and for him a chance to appreciate you in your absence.
Check out this counseling video:
Alternatively, it might also confirm a choice to seek a divorce to him, too. Being away from him and the situation will help you to think with more clarity. It may be that you are so caught up in the emotions on a day-to-day basis that you completely overlook any of his good qualities and the good times you spend together. Or it might be that you realize that his behavior is so unacceptable that it’s time to be brave and move on from the relationship. This space will allow you to think these things through.
It is during this time as well that you could increase your acts of worship to Allah (swt) that you will make the decision that is most pleasing to Him (swt) and will be content with whatever happens in the relationship, be it to stay together or go your separate ways. Finding comfort in the remembrance of Allah (swt) will assist in reducing the stress that you are going through.
May Allah (swt) bring you happiness in your decision and peace and contentment in your life however you chose to move forward.
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.