Wa ’Alaikum Salaam my dear sister in Islam,
This is what Allah (swt) says that marriage in Islam is supposed to look like:
“And among His wonders is this: He creates for you mates out of your own kind. So that you might incline towards them, and He engenders love and tenderness between you: in this, behold, there are messages indeed for people who think!” (30:21)
Your husband is not being the type of husband that the Quran describes. Because of that, you are suffering so much. You say that you can’t leave him (“I am not strong enough to handle the sting of a divorce”), yet you get nothing out of this marriage. I can’t imagine that the relief of a divorce would be worse than what you suffer. Divorce is lawful in Islam for a reason – a reason like the one you have described.
“And it is not lawful for you (men) to take back (from your wives) any of your Mahr (bridal-money given by the husband to his wife at the time of marriage) which you have given them, except when both parties fear that they would be unable to keep the limits ordained by Allaah (e.g. to deal with each other on a fair basis). Then if you fear that they would not be able to keep the limits ordained by Allaah, then there is no sin on either of them if she gives back (the Mahr or a part of it) for her Al-Khul‘ (divorce).” (2:229)
The evidence for that from the Sunnah is that the wife of Thaabit ibn Qays ibn Shammaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and said, “O Messenger of Allaah, I do not find any fault with Thaabit ibn Qays in his character or his religious commitment, but I do not want to commit any act of kufr after becoming a Muslim.” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to her, “Will you give back his garden?” Because he had given her a garden as her mahr. She said, “Yes.” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to Thaabit: “Take back your garden, and divorce her.”(Narrated by al-Bukhari)
But I am going to believe you that you do not want a divorce. So what’s the other way to get out from under the oppression you have described? How to talk to him about your problems and what’s the reason for his change?
I can’t answer all these questions, but I am going to set the stage for you so you can see how marriage in Islam works and figure out the answers to your questions on your own, In Sha’ Allah. Then you can approach your husband with the info and see if he is a game, In Sha’Allah.
Firstly, Allah (swt) gifts us, and husbands, from Allah’s gifts, gift their wives. However, for a wife to get what she needs from her husband, he needs to ask her. Unfortunately, most men lose sight of the internal workings of this reality. Shortsighted men, who don’t look below the surface, only look at the appearances and behaviors and think that a woman telling them what she needs is her ordering him around. To solve this problem, men need to learn to look at intentions instead of actions to be able to discover the difference between following commands and someone telling you what they need. You cannot read their mind or feel their feelings.
Secondly, the other issue I should mention is the difference in our sexual roles. Women need a man to serve her needs and experience an orgasm. In fact, without him serving her needs with respect and care, she cannot cum. The man, on the other hand, needs no such gentle handling; all he needs for him to cum is for his wife to give him permission to access her body and to cooperate. This is because his sexual response comes from sight first, then touch and smell and not from her serving his emotional needs (although if he is not emotional about her at all he will not have an erection, which is a wholly different problem and not the subject of this answer).
Please show this answer to your husband and see if it helps, In Sha’Allah. I hope it helps. If you both understand this information, you two can figure out your own relationship problems, even without the help of a marriage counselor – and of course, first and foremost, with the help of Allah’s religion and Allah’s guidance, In sha’ Allah.
Allah (swt) guides us by means of Islam, His Prophet (saw), the example of how to do things, and us asking of Allah alone (tawakkal). Surely, when we look at the behavior of the Prophet (saw), we see him doing things his wives advised him to do. I suggest your husband follow the example of his Prophet (saw), In Sha’ Allah.
May Allah (swt) guide you both and make it easy for both of you.
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