I’m married, and for nearly 5 years me and my wife haven’t slept together, even though we live in the same house. We started having issues when I started my own work around 9 years ago and faced losses in my business, while my wife who is a doctor with her own clinic earned handsomely.
I have my own house, but I am not always able to pay for all the expenses. However, I am paying for our kids’ very expensive schooling. Since my wife earns a lot and pays for her maid and other expenses I’m unable to pay for, she keeps fighting with me.
Another reason our relationship deteriorated is because I found out my wife was romantically messaging one of her colleagues. I confronted her, but she claimed it’s all my imagination and that there’s nothing going on.
I insisted she leaves that person, but she still meets him every day. Because of financial woes and not wanting my kids to suffer from our separation, I never got divorced and we ended up living just like that. During this time, my financial situation improved, but it’s a mental and emotional battle that I am currently fighting.
I feel extremely lonely and miss the love and support of a wife. I’ve tried to fix things with my wife, but she says she doesn’t love me and that she’s only here for the kids. As you know, in our culture it’s taboo to get a divorce, especially when you have kids together.
I supported my wife when she was starting out her business and every other way possible, and when I started my own entrepreneurial effort, I was expecting the same, especially since her earnings were better. If I am trying my best and earning halal, why can’t women be patient and adjust?
For five years, we’ve had no intimacy, and although I’ve tried to fix things, there’s just no love left between us. I don’t know what to do anymore; please advise me. Thank you.
In this counseling answer:
• When you feel hurt, sad, or neglected, let your wife know exactly which of her behaviors are affecting you in that particular way.
• You can start communicating with her by using “I-Statements”.
• Let your wife know verbally as well as non-verbally, in subtle ways that you care about her, your relationship, and the family which both of you created together.
• Find a positive hobby for yourself such as running/jogging, playing or spending quality time with your children, reading, or anything that makes you feel “alive”.
• Connect with Allah SWT and ask him for His guidance and mercy on your family.
Assalamu Alaykum Brother,
Thank you for reaching out. I can understand how much mental and emotional pressure you must be going through right now. From your post, I understand that you are in a marriage where you feel that your emotional and physical needs are not being met. You are trying to make this marriage work because of your children and the financial issues you are going through. You also suspect that your wife is in an extra-marital relationship and you feel helpless about it.
Brother, marriage is a relationship between two individuals who are there for each other physically, emotionally and financially. Life is a journey in which we need to have people who are there for us when we need them, and it is the same for both men and women. Being a man puts you under a lot of pressure to maintain and sustain the family, and MashaAllah, you are doing a great job of it.
It is apparent that there is a huge communication gap between you and your wife. And that you are going on with a mechanical life, where both of you are unhappy. While I do not know what major incidents took place that made both of you grow so apart from each other; however, this is something very common in relationships in this era. The reason is that we tend to get sucked into the pressures of everyday life to the point where we start dismissing significant others in our lives.
While I do understand how difficult this situation is for you, but I would also like you to know that the situation must be equally tough for your wife. While it may be difficult and would take a lot of effort on both of your parts, but it would be necessary to make the situation better.
Communicate With Your Wife
The building brick of any relationship is trust, and trust is built when you are able to communicate with each other effectively. Trust comes with the feeling of “safety” and “security”. If you want to hold on to this relationship, the first step would be to improve the communication between the family, especially with your wife.
When you feel hurt, sad, or neglected, let your wife know exactly which of her behaviors are affecting you in that particular way. Often when we are trying to get our hurt feelings across to a significant other we enter into the Blame Game. Hence, it is important that you do not blame her for your feelings, as that might make her defensive or push her further away from you.
You can start communicating with her by using “I-Statements”, for instance, “I want us to have a better life” “I feel hurt when you are ignoring me” etc. Be specific about her behaviors and your feelings in a way that you own responsibility for your feelings instead of putting the blame on her.
Another thing that you need to do to make this marriage work, is to confront your wife about the extramarital relationship she is having because that is something if left unsaid, would eventually eat your marriage away. You need to make it clear if it is only your own premonition or something real. If it is real, you would need to ask her directly why she is doing that to the family.
Taking Care of The “Little” Things
To truly build a relationship that matters, it is important that you take care of the little things that people want from the relationship. Relationships are all about “give” and “take” sometimes we get so caught up in things that we forget our roles, wants, real goals in life. While you cannot fix the other person, what you can do to make the relationship better is to take responsibility for your end of the relationship and see how things progress.
Let your wife know verbally as well as non-verbally, in subtle ways that you care about her, your relationship, and the family which both of you created together. Finances, unfortunately, become a huge part of resentment among couples and families. However, it is important for both of you to understand that finances are only one part of the relationship, which is falling apart – it is important to see if you put aside your financial issues, what strength does the relationship have? And how can you both work towards improving it.
Check out this counseling video:
In Islam, we find the best example of a husband in the character of our Prophet Muhammad Peace be Upon Him. According to Hadith,
“The best of you are those who are the best to their wives, and I am the best of you to my wives.” [al-Tirmidhi, 3895]
Connect With Your Self On A Deeper Level
Sometimes the disconnection we are feeling from other people is actually because there is a lot of disconnection within ourselves. We feel as though we want something else, something more. But we are not really sure what we want, or what that gain would do for us. Therefore, it important that you analyze what are the things that you desire most, and why. Once things are clearer to you, everything will start to fall in place.
Take Out Time For Yourself
When we are caught up in life, we forget to take out time for ourselves, and the things that truly matter for us. For instance, as you mentioned, when you are continuously working to make ends meet for your family, it is natural to get stressed and burnt out. Finding out time to do activities that are close to your heart will help you be more satisfied with your life as you grow older. Find a positive hobby for yourself such as running/jogging, playing or spending quality time with your children, reading, or anything that makes you feel “alive”.
Connect With Allah and Ask Him for Guidance
A happy family is eventually the goal of every person, however, if the toll of trying to pull the family together becomes too much you definitely need to consider how to balance things in a way that your own needs are also not neglected. Islam gives man the right for more than one marriage, under the condition that he is able to maintain a balance between each of his wives – which also entails financial responsibilities.
Connect with Allah SWT and ask him for His guidance and mercy on your family, pray from Him to open His doors of Barakah on you and your family. He is the All-Hearer (Sami) and All-Seer (Baseer). InshaAllah, He will make things easy for you.
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