I am a married Muslim woman. I have completed my post graduation, and I want to work as a teacher which is my passion from the early childhood. I am married to my cousin. He enjoys his freedom on the holidays. He spends the majority of the time with his friends rather than with me and my daughter. This causes more problem as I feel ignored. So, in order to avoid depression and confusion, I want to start working.
As per the Islamic rules, I obey him and perform all my tasks, but to his family comes last. This has devastated me. So, please suggest me better advice.
In this counseling answer:
• I would suggest sitting down with him and being open with him about your emotions. Do this in a gentle way, not a confrontational way.
• You can both decide on appropriate times outside of the home for both of you to socialize.
• Keep in mind the communication tips listed below.
• Make sure the conversation ends with an agreed-upon plan in place moving forward and revisit this topic as much as necessary.
Assalamu alaikum wa rahatuulahi wa barakatu.
Thank you for writing in and trusting us with your concerns. It is my understanding you recently graduated and want to work as an early-childhood teacher. It is also my understanding you feel that your husband often spends time socializing with others instead of with you and the children.
Dear sister, please take comfort and inspiration in knowing many of the earliest female Muslims were not only educated; they worked and used that education. Look at the first wife of the Prophet Mohamed (peace be upon him), Khadija, she was more than just a worker. She was a highly successful business owner that employed the Prophet Mohamed (saws) in her company. Essentially, she was a CEO during her time.
Amrah bint Abdur Rahman came to the generation after the Prophet (saws). She was a scholar, a jurist and a highly respected teacher that educated many brothers and sisters.
Fatima bint Muhammad Al-Fihriya Al-Qurashiya was a woman who is credited with founding the oldest existing, continually operating degree-awarded university in the world.
Knowledge is a backbone of Islam and it is a great deed for you to provide early childhood education.
As you expressed wanting to use your education, please move forward in doing that and make your dreams a reality. Inshallah, you will help to educate and expand many minds during pivotal years.
Additionally, you can make new friends with similar degrees and career interests. This can help expand your social network. Just as your husband has time with friends, so should you.
Communicate with Husband
Sister, does your husband know how you feel about his allotments of time with family and with you? He may not realize it makes you feel ignored.
I would suggest sitting down with him and being open with him about your emotions. Do this in a gentle way, not a confrontational way. For example, you could begin with “I feel ignored and lonely when you spend most of your free time with friends instead of us, we miss you”. Instead of saying “You make us feel ignored when you go with your friends.” Remember, it is not what you say but HOW you say it that can make all the difference.
Tips for Communication
Learning to communicate effectively takes time. Ideally, it should be calm and done respectfully. Here are some tips to keep in mind.
Check out this counseling video:
Actively listen. The idea is to listen to understand, not to respond. The better you understand his perception and show that, inshallah the more he will try to understand yours.
Repeat ideas back to him. This provides validation for his feelings and inshallah will encourage him to do the same. For example, you could tell him “I understand you want to spend time with friends to release stress from work so you don’t vent on me”.
Ask open questions not just closed. A closed question usually only leads to a yes or no answer without much leniency, an open question gives him a greater opportunity to explain. “Why do you want to spend so much time with them” versus “Do you want to spend every weekend with them”. You will get more information to work with out of question one.
Clearly state what you want. Men (and women) do not mind readers. Let him know clearly what you want. If that is to dedicate at least one day every holiday to the family then tell him that. Be concise.
No raised voices. The second it turns into an argument, neither of you will succeed. It should be about finding a solution to make the family happier, not telling the other one they are wrong.
Discuss with him solutions moving forward. Such as, you can make plans for his holidays to include going out to a special location both of you enjoy and spending time cooking a meal together than enjoying a family movie. If you set specific plans, it gives a timeline and a special day to look forward to.
You can both decide on appropriate times outside of the home for both of you to socialize. This should be individualized and can change. For example, he might want a few hours one weekend to enjoy a sporting event with friends and maybe the next weekend you take a few hours to go out with friends to a cafe.
It is important that you both agree on time together as well as equal time outside of the home to be with friends and enjoy.
Nothing is wrong with having a social life. The key is to balance it with the family and ensure the family is #1.
Another idea is to see if you get along with his friend’s wives. Perhaps while he and his friends are enjoying their time, you and their wives might do the same. This could even lead to having big dinners with all of you combined which would be fun for everyone.
Sister, moving forward inshallah, this can be fixed to improve the happiness in your home.
To begin with, start making plans for how you wish to enter the career field and take action. If this looks like applying at a local school then do so. Alhamdulillah, you completed your education and now is the time to use it for the benefit of others as well as yourself.
Work on honest communication with your husband. Remember, he might not realize how you feel right now and as such has no idea you are lonely. Utilize the communication tips above to keep the conversation respectful and calm. Actively listen, provide validation, open questions, be clear and avoid raised tones.
Make sure the conversation ends with an agreed-upon plan in place moving forward and revisit this topic as much as necessary. Every marriage has disagreements and room for improvement; open and respectful communication goes a long way towards keeping a marriage happy and prosperous.
May Allah (most honored and revered) heal your heart, grant you happiness and a good career in education,
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.