I have been married for 2.5 years now. We have 2 baby girls and the third one is on the way. We met through an Islamic matrimonial website. He had been thrice divorced previously with no kids whilst I had never been married before. His longest marriage lasted 3.5 years; the other two were just a few months. He told me the reasons for each of his divorce and I could accept them, so when he proposed, I accepted his proposal. Both of us did istikharah as well and the outcome was positive. Well, that's how we felt.
Actually, now when I think about it, I was very desperate to get married. He was probably desperate, too, because he had been divorced thrice and couldn't live without a wife. Till now, I still ponder why I accepted to marry a thrice-divorced man, when I had never been married before, and never had any relations with men in my life.
The psychological issue I have is that I keep having painful pangs of jealousy, thinking about how he had sexual relations with 3 other women before me. And the pain increases when I start having whisperings like "he is a revert for 12 years. He must have had sexual relations with many women before becoming a Muslim." I feel sick and grossed out when I think of that. I just cannot love him wholeheartedly. This impedes our marriage to bloom.
In these 2.5 years I have asked him for divorce countless times, but he wouldn't let me go because of the kids, and he also said that I have no valid reason to ask for a divorce. Whenever we have quarrels, I would think about this and get very upset. I don't know what to do now except asking Allah to make me strong and seek refuge from the whisperings of Satan.
Sincerely, I don't know how I can ever be happy in a marriage where I cannot love and respect my husband wholeheartedly. Another point to note is that he is a generous husband and dedicated father so far. I am the one with this extreme jealousy and feeling of insecurity. Please tell me what I should do as a Muslim wife.
In this counseling answer:
• Don’t be harsh on yourself for going through these times and for feeling what you feel.
• The first step in this direction is to look inside yourself and explore what might be the root of your own insecurities.
• Get to know this person well. Once you get this connection, you will feel love for him.
I sense that you are feeling overwhelmed. You have two little ones and you are pregnant. That alone usually puts women though a roller coaster ride of emotional ups and downs, and fears and worries.
During this time in a women’s life depending on her support system of family and friends, she can often become depressed, feel isolated, and wonder if what she is doing is really the “right” thing. This is natural. Don’t be harsh on yourself for going through these times and for feeling what you feel. This is a time for you to become quiet within yourself and look at your life where you have been, and where you want to go.
There is no perfect husband. There is no perfect man living on this Earth. The only perfection we, human beings, can experience while dancing on this Earth is in Allah (swt). So, rejecting or trying to change things as they are might not be your best option. You have a little family now; therefore, it might be wise to consider the possibilities as you all grow through life together. That would be my first advice.
You might be surprised 10 years from now about how wonderful this can be if you consider “relaxing” into it. Religion does not teach us to judge or to tell another human being how to live, or what decisions to make. My prayer is that my words facilitate the awareness of the deeper wisdom that is already put inside your own heart, mind, and soul by Allah (swt).
With that said, here are my thoughts. This man is with you, and most likely he loves you very much. Thus, there is most likely absolutely nothing to be jealous of.
Men do not choose a woman to be with for the rest of their life because she is sexy or prettier than other women. Men choose a woman because he senses that he will be emotionally safe with her. What are you jealous of?
Or are you afraid rather than jealous? You have not said that this man has love or affection in his heart for another woman. True, he made mistakes. Yet, once we work on our character and correct ourselves, we become pious – by the help of Allah (swt).
Begin the journey of getting to know who this human being you live with is. Lean his heart, his mind, and explore his world. Be curious, ask questions, and get him to talk about himself, his hope, values, and dreams. Know that there is no such thing as romantic love; much better to love and find romance than hope for romantic love.
Knowing and understanding a human being and seeking out connection will cause legitimate love to develop because this is, in fact, what love is in reality. This will strengthen your bond. In other words, if you can join with your husband, you might be able to learn how to co-create romance!
There is not “greener grass” on the other side. Seek out mutual life goals. Learn how you can support your husband in his life journey, and help him get to know who you are. Teach him how to support you in your life quests.
As you do this, you will find little moments where you can gently shape your husband’s behaviors and teach him how to listen to you so that you can share your heart with him. Once you get this connection, you will feel love for him.
Yes, I am asking you to start by giving this to your husband. Once you make him feel connected to you and trust in the emotional space between you and him, you will be able to ask him to listen to you and to “feel” you as well. If this happens, you will love him because you will have that emotional space with him.
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You might consider being very forthright in telling him your fears. Take some time to understand your own feelings.
You say, on one hand, that you married this man only because you felt “desperate” to be married; yet, you are jealous of him as well. Since genuine love is actually the level of knowing and understanding a person you have, we can put aside the issue of whether you loved this man when you accepted the proposal. We can also put aside any judgments you have on this man and begin getting to know who he is and learning how to understand him.
The first step in this direction is to look inside yourself and explore what might be the root of your own insecurities. The more work you do for yourself, the stronger you feel inside and the abler you will understand his mind and soul. If you are filled with insecurities, your own mind will also be filled with chatter, and you will not be able to sit quietly and get to know this man you are living your life with.
This is the beauty and art of marriage which is the vehicle that holds two souls together as they travel together in life. Marriage is this growing together. As you travel this journey and discover who this man really is, you will also learn many things about yourself that you have never known you have deep inside.
My suggestion is that you consider taking the time to heal your insecurities, quiet your mind, and discover yourself before making any decisions in haste. One day at a time.
Don’t be harsh on yourself for going through these times and for feeling what you feel.
Rejecting or trying to change things as they are might not be your best option. You have a little family now; therefore, it might be wise to consider the possibilities as you all grow through life together.
Get to know this person well. Once you get this connection, you will feel love for him.
The first step in this direction is to look inside yourself and explore what might be the root of your own insecurities. Take the time to heal your insecurities, quiet your mind, and discover yourself before making any decisions in haste.
May Allah give you patience, understanding, wisdom, and strength.
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