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Lack of Love; My Marriage is Falling Apart

29 January, 2024
Q I have been married for 6 years. It was an arranged marriage, and that time I was 19. After my father's death, everything was on my mother; therefore, I didn't say anything and got married to the man my mother chose.After marriage, I came to know the real world. My husband doesn't show any emotion. I have always tried but couldn't love him. I feel we’re falling apart because there is no love. My husband never shows or shares his feelings towards me. There is nothing between us emotionally. We have two kids. I have made them my world. I laugh, and cry, and dream only for them.I'm not expecting love from my husband, but sometimes I think life shouldn’t be like this. I want to know what it feels like to love and be loved. There is 14 years gap between me and my husband. Is this the problem? I want to be in this marriage, but with full heart.



In this counseling answer:

“You have to figure out what makes you feel love and then try to build those things around you in your marriage, home, and family. Since you want to “fall in love” with him, you may need him to do the things which get the reaction of love out of you.”


As-Salaamu ’Alaikum dear sister,

No, life is not supposed to be loveless! You have every right to feel love in your marriage. Allah says in the Quran:

 “He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquility in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.” (Quran 30:21)

One of the ways love is expressed in marriage is sex. Thus, we are supposed to feel love in the form of sexual attraction for our spouse. There is no harm in admitting it when we do not feel that way. True, it may cause a bunch of problems, but if one does not choose to suffer until they meet their Lord and the relief in the Next Life, then that person has every right to love and sexual happiness in marriage that should not be denied.

No, age has nothing to do with it – unless it does. In other words, sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn’t, and I have no idea from the little bit of information you gave me if that is part of the problem in your case.

It may help you understand your husband’s emotional makeup, and this is not to justify his behavior, but men have a different emotional makeup from women. Men have to “control” their feelings – to be protectors/warriors, providers/workers, and to give women an orgasm first; a thing they must do in order to be able to satisfy their wife as they cannot do it after they lose their erection. So, controlling their emotions comes very naturally to them. However, many of them take it way too far and don’t admit their feelings at all. When this happens over a long period of time, they begin to fail to recognize when and what they are feeling, because they have cut themselves off so much from their feelings that they are completely out of touch with them.

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Women, on the other hand, are nurturing creatures, in order to respond to small defenseless and needy children. This emotional makeup is the opposite of men’s. For example, they automatically respond to feelings, which is a survival mechanism in them to preserve the life of their dependent children. Thus, women have the opposite challenge of men; they have to learn to deal with their feelings to manage them so that they don’t go crazy when their feelings don’t get met – which is the case in many marriages, because men don’t understand women.

Beyond that, you asked, “I want to know what I can do which will make me fall in love”. Love is a feeling, and feelings are not things that we can initiate within ourselves. They are from Allah. In addition, Allah gave Shaitan permission to whisper into our hearts to make us feel things which challenge our perceptions so that we have to think and struggle with ourselves not to listen to Satan but obey Allah since we do not obey automatically like the angels, the animals, or the plants. So, since we are not the initiators of our feelings and thoughts, and the only thing we can do in relationship to them is to respond to them, the way to craft or manufacture them is to figure out what we love and what stimulate thoughts in us, what excite and attract us (things in the realm of Islam), and then put ourselves in that environment, or build that environment around ourselves. Then, our environment should serve to make us feel what we want to feel, e.g., love.

You have to figure out what makes you feel love and then try to build those things around you in your marriage, home, and family. Since you want to “fall in love” with him, you may need him to do the things which get the reaction of love out of you.

However, if he won’t hear of it and won’t change or cooperate with the process of building love in his currently loveless marriage (a thing he may not like also), you may need to just change how you look at him. Start looking at him in a different light from a different perspective. Have you heard of the expression “the cup is half full” (as compared to “the cup is half empty”)? In other words, do you look for the good in things, or do you see everything based on its negative aspects? Try to find the good in stuff instead of dwelling on its bad parts. Maybe, you will be able to generate feelings of love if you search the good things you can find in him and dwell on those and how they benefit you. May Allah make it easy for you.

Beyond that, I recommend you go to marriage counseling. If your husband does not agree, you have every right to a divorce on the basis of a loveless marriage. Of course, that will be hard for you, but will it be harder than what you suffer now?

May Allah make it easy for you and guide you to know what to do and how to do it in this very sad and painful case!


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About Nasira S. Abdul-Aleem
Nasira S. Abdul-Aleem, an American, has a BA in English from UC Berkeley and is about to receive an MS degree in counseling psychology (Marriage and Family Therapy - MFT) from the Western Institute for Social Research. For over ten years, Nasira worked as a psychotherapist with the general public and in addiction recovery.For the last few years, she has been a life coach specializing in interpersonal relations. Nasira also consults with her many family members who studied Islam overseas and returned to America to be Imams and teachers of Islam. Muslims often ask Nasira what psychology has to do with Islam. To this, she replies that Islam is the manifestation of a correct understanding of our psychology. Therapists and life coaches help clients figure out how to traverse the path of life as a Believer, i.e., "from darkness into light", based on Islam and given that that path is an obstacle course, according to Allah.