In this counseling answer:
• Find a quiet time to sit with your husband and discuss the situation.
• Be honest.
• Show your support and love.
• Moving forward, there may be painful moments and difficult times, sister. You may still need time to get over feelings of hurt and betrayal. If you are finding it difficult to deal with, please seeking ongoing counseling to help you process these emotions.
As salam Alaykum sister,
As I understand from your situation, you have been married for one year and recently discovered that your husband has a child from a previous relationship. I can imagine that this was a big shock for you to learn and must have hurt you very much; I’m sorry you had to find out this way.
As you did not know your husband very well prior to marriage, there may not have been any way of you know about this. However, when one marries, honesty about something like this is critical as it is such an important matter in one’s life. After all, this is a child that your husband had prior to marrying you.
I am wondering if his family is aware of this child and if so, why they did not mention it to you or your family prior to marriage. As this was not disclosed prior to the marriage, it could be looked upon as a form of deception. A child is a very important part of a parent’s life and surely the fact that there was a child should not have been hidden or left out.
Perhaps his family does not even know that he has a child. As you did not indicate how old the child was nor if any of his family knew they are possibly innocent in not disclosing this very important information. Nonetheless, there is a child, and your husband did not tell you about this very important part of his life.
Perhaps your husband may have felt ashamed of his previous relationship which was haram. However, a child is precious and a blessing from Allah despite the way the child was conceived. It is not the child’s fault as you know.
Sister, in Islam, all human beings are born serving a law. It is our predisposition, meaning we are all born Muslim. The way in which we are raised and taught to believe takes us away from Islam and worshipping Allah.
Therefore, this child was born Muslim and as your husband is the father it is up to him to teach this child Islam. As it appears, the mother is using the child against him for monetary gain, which may be beyond what is typical child support. He may have to go to court to gain visitation with his child as well as for setting the correct amount of child support.
However, you do not know if this is true, perhaps the mother is just trying to make your husband responsible of his child. Perhaps the case may be that very few people know about this child. Perhaps his family does not know about the child and the child’s mother is threatening to tell if he doesn’t comply and he is angry.
It may be that your husband tried to ignore it or run away from the whole situation, hoping it would go just go away and he wouldn’t have to face it. Sister, it is up to your husband and it is his responsibility to teach, guide, and support this child that he brought into the world.
Trust in Marriage
Ideally, in a marriage, spouses trust one another and confide in one another about all things. There is no need to go through phones or computers or try to extract information from other areas in order to find out the truth.
In an ideal marriage, spouses can count on each other, to be honest. Sadly, in your case, this did not happen. Obviously, something was suspect enough for you to feel the need to look at your husband’s phone.
I can understand not wanting to expose your actions of looking at his phone messages, but this is a very serious issue as it relates to a child’s well-being. It may also set the future tone of your marriage in terms of honesty and trust between you and your husband.
Speaking with Husband
Sister, I kindly suggest that you find a quiet time to sit with your husband and discuss the situation. In shaa’ Allah, begin by expressing your love for him as you have in your message, and that you are aware he has a child from his previous relationship.
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You may wish to express your hurt in his not trusting you or informing you about the child. Depending on the situation, your husband may become upset, angry, sad, or remorseful. Please be prepared for all kinds of emotions when you do speak with him.
Your husband may or may not ask how you found out. If he asks, instead of trying to cover up how you found out about the child, I would encourage you to be honest. You may want to explain that you had a feeling that something was not right which led to your checking his phone messages.
You may wish to apologize for this as it indicates you doubted his sincerity and honesty (with good reason), however, given the situation maybe this is the only way you would have found out at this point.
Your husband should not object to your inquiry or methods as it was his deception that led you to take such steps in the first place. I am suggesting that you be honest concerning the way you found out because not only is it the Islamic thing to do, but in hopes of you in sha’ Allah having an open, honest, and trusting relationship with him.
Honesty in Marriage
The point of an honest and loving conversation regarding the child is to get you both on a new page where honesty, trust, and good communication will begin. In shaa’ Allah, once you and your husband have discussed the child and situation, you may wish to show your support and love.
In shaa’ Allah he will also express remorse and apologize for not telling you. Moving in this way can strengthen your marriage and bring you closer in terms of commitment to each other as well the continual building of an Islamic foundation for your family.
Moving forward, there may be painful moments and difficult times, sister. You may still need time to get over feelings of hurt and betrayal. If you are finding it difficult to deal with, please seeking ongoing counseling to help you process these emotions. In shaa’ Allah, your husband will respond with love and gratitude for your kindness and support, even though you are hurt.
You will need to make many decisions regarding the child. You may also have to deal with the child’s mother if there will be a visitation at your home. In shaa’ Allah you both can be on good terms for the sake of the child. I hope that this experience will bring you and your husband closer as well as provide his child with a stable Islamic family environment.
When we get married we do not expect surprises and hurts such as this, but in shaa’ Allah your husband will learn from this experience and it will bring you both closer once it is resolved.
We 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.