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Husband Keeps Restricting Me; Is It The Time to Divorce?

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

Aug 25, 2019

Question

Assalamu alaikum,

I officially became Muslim through my husband when we got married, although I was already a Muslim by heart when I met him. After we got married and I brought him to the US, I started noticing that his way of thinking is drastically different from mine, so much so that I get offended by what he says because he talks carelessly.

For example, he once talked badly about a woman online who took off her hijab, and he generalizes women a lot. I wasn’t Muslim my whole life, but I feel like we shouldn’t judge other Muslims, and instead drive them closer to Allah.

I have lost all love for him in all ways as this is not our only difference in thought. I feel like I got married for the wrong reason, and that was fait. When I first knew about Islam, it was like paradise and I wanted to keep knowing it.

Yet, he kept restricting me and telling me what to wear, and always verbally forces me to wear hijab and abaya. I always try to rebel because I feel like I am not up to that level yet. The only good thing of this marriage is our baby girl.

I don’t know what to do anymore and I’m honestly very unhappy. He’s been here for almost a year and if I divorce him within 2 years he’ll be sent back to his home country, and I don’t want inflict any harm either. I don’t know what to do, please advise me.

Counselor

Answer


Husband Keeps Restricting Me; Is It The Time to Divorce?

In this counseling answer:

• I would kindly suggest marriage counseling.

• As he comes from another culture, it may be hard for him to adjust. He may not understand that with your conscious choice to serve Allah, you are also going through a metamorphosis, much like a butterfly.

• You could set up some boundaries so that it does not affect your growth as a Muslim.

• Make a list of the things that attracted you to him when you first started talking, and make a list of the things that you both have in common.

• If his behavior affects negatively your relationship with Allah, then know, the latter comes first as it is more important.


Assalamu alaykum,

Thank you for contacting us with your concerns and issues with your husband. May Allah grant you ease in this situation, dear sister.

Islam is in My Heart

Sister, it sounds like you became Muslim because you felt in your heart that it was truly the path for you. You sound like you truly love Allah a lot, and are striving to learn more and acclimate to Islam. For each person, the journey may be different.

Husband Keeps Restricting Me; Is It The Time to Divorce? - About Islam

Some sisters who become Muslim will comfortably put on a hijab and abaya the next day and feel fine while other sisters need more time to get used to some of the changes which come with Islam. Everybody goes at it in their own pace, however, the goal is to strive every day to learn more and become a better Muslim.

I am sure, in shaa’ Allah, that if you can bypass your husband’s current generalizations and treatment of women and focus on Islam, you will continue blossoming into a beautiful Muslim woman. If you are pushed, harassed, put down, or criticized, it may have a negative effect. Your husband should be patient, kind, loving and encouraging.

He should praise your efforts and assure you that when you are ready, the time will come when you can choose to wear hijab. As he comes from another culture, it may be hard for him to adjust. He may not understand that with your conscious choice to serve Allah, you are also going through a metamorphosis, much like a butterfly. Change does not always occur overnight.

Only Allah Can Judge

You are right in that we should not judge other Muslims. Our goal is to not only get ourselves closer to Allah but to others as well. We cannot accomplish this by criticizing, gossiping about, and harshly condemning other’s actions and choices. There are gentle ways and reminders which we can use to guide and teach.

Thoughts Regarding Women

Sister, you stated that you married him and then brought him to the United States afterward. It was after that that you noticed a difference in thinking and things about him that were not so nice, ones which are not good behavior for a Muslim, nor for anybody for that matter.

It sounds like your husband has issues regarding women in general. I may be wrong, Allah forgives me,  but he sounds like he may be chauvinistic, and that is not a good trait nor attitude. I can understand that this would be a huge turn off for you, and I’m so sorry that you had to discover this part of him after you were married; it’s not an easy situation.

Loss of Love

You said that you have lost all love for him because he thinks so much differently. Rightfully so, you don’t appreciate the way he speaks about other women, and you feel as though you are incompatible because of your moral differences.

Islam as the Reason for Marriage

You stated that the reason that you got married was for faith. That is the right reason to get married. However, when we get married to someone, we should ensure that we are compatible and that the person whom we are marrying is practicing good Muslim habits. We must try to ensure that we get along and we have things in common.

I’m not sure how long you’ve known him before you married him, but at this point, I would kindly suggest marriage counseling.


Check out this counseling video:


Setting Boundaries

As some of your husband’s behaviors, attitudes, and thought processes are causing hurt and conflict, they must be addressed. Referring back to his shock and his feeling appalled when somebody takes off their hijab is a bit extreme. Even in countries that are Islamic, not every woman wears a hijab.

His reactions may calm down over time as he gets used to his new environment. However, in the meantime, you could set up some boundaries so that it does not affect your growth as a Muslim.

First of all, you should not be forced to wear a hijab and abaya. If you are not ready yet, then you’re not ready. While it is desirable to wear the abaya and hijab, as a new Muslim your focus should be on getting closer to Allah, and letting things grow naturally.

Forcing Islam

When someone is forced to do something such as wear a hijab, it can turn into resentment, and they can lose any affection, love, or desire to grow towards doing so. You wear a hijab out of love and obedience to Allah. If there is compulsion, it may have an opposite effect.

Please, sister, do not let this happen to you. In shaa’ Allah, please keep studying and growing in your own way.

Marriage Counseling & Bonding Islamically

Sister, I do recommend that you both go for marriage counseling at this point. It is not likely that your husband is going to change his views right now, if ever. More importantly, his views seem to be hurting you. Perhaps a counselor can help you both work out a common ground for the issues that are causing trouble so that you may compromise.

Additionally, I would encourage the both of you to attend the Masjid for prayer, social events, and lectures. This will, in shaa’ Allah, help you grow further in Islam and will in shaa’ Allah soften your husband’s heart as he learns more about Islam as well.

He may learn that his harsh ways are not beneficial to your marriage, or for you as a new Muslim. In shaa’ Allah, worshipping together in your home, such as reading the Quran together or praying together, will bring you closer.

Fear He Will Be Sent Back to His Country

You mentioned that he’s been in the country for almost a year and that if you divorce him he will be sent back to his home country, but you don’t want to inflict this harm. Sister, if your marriage is not working out despite doing everything within your power to try to save it, you have the right to divorce.

You are not expected to be in an unhappy marriage where there is constant conflict. Whether he gets sent back to his home country or not should not be your concern if you divorce. You did not marry to get him a visa, but because you loved him and wanted to lead a happy Islamic marriage.

If your marriage is not working out despite you’re trying to save it and you divorce, he will have to worry about whether or not he gets sent back to his home country, not you. It is not your fault.

Incompatibility

Compatibility issues are often the result of not getting to know one another properly beforehand, in a halal way, and is unfortunately quite common. The results of incompatibility and irreconcilable differences may result in a divorce. Again, this is not your fault, and it is not your responsibility whether or not he will have to return home.

While your marriage is very important and you should try to save it at all costs, your relationship with Allah and seeking knowledge to progress in Islam comes first. If your marriage is hurting your growth as a Muslim, and it cannot be rectified, you must put your growth first.

Conflicts and Differences

I’m so sorry that you are going through this, sister, I can imagine it’s not easy and it hurts. When we get married, we expect it to be happy and joyful. While problems and conflicts do arise, we expect to resolve them in a mannerable way.

Conflicts such as yours are actually a common problem nowadays as couples meet through various platforms, and often marry without getting to know one another properly. Although we are blessed to meet other Muslims from various cultures, we must learn that culture can influence how things are expressed and accepted.

Culture can also influence how problems are resolved. As Muslims however, we need to realize that Islam supersedes culture.

Looking Back and Finding Value

Sister, please make a list of the things that attracted you to him when you first started talking, and make a list of the things that you both have in common. When things are calm in shaa’ Allah, go over the situation with him.

Discuss how much you love him and point out the things in the marriage that need to change. Refer to the things that you have in common that you would like to focus on for your relationship. This may help negate the negative points which are harming you.

By refocusing both of your goals and attention to other areas and important points in your marriage, other harmful issues may dissipate with time. Please let your husband know that you would like to save the marriage and that you would like to go for marriage counseling, in shaa’ Allah.

I kindly advise an Islamic counselor in your area who is familiar with reverts and the journey of growth that new Muslims may experience.

Your Most Precious Relationship is With Allah

Sister, after all is said and done, please do realize that your most precious relationship is with Allah.

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.

Read more:

Intercultural Marriage: Muslim Women Narrate Their Stories

Before Entering into an Intercultural Marriage

What Is So Hard About Being in an Intercultural Marriage?




About Aisha Mohammad

Aisha received her PhD in psychology in 2000 and an MS in public health in 2009. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York. Aisha specializes in trauma, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach. Aisha works at a Family Resource Center, and has a part-time practice in which she integrates healing and spirituality using a holistic approach. Aisha plans to open a holistic care counseling center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah. Aisha is also a part of several organizations that advocate for social & food justice. In her spare time she enjoys her family, martial arts classes, Islamic studies as well as working on her book and spoken word poetry projects.

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