We have been married for 6 years. I have not had any intercourse for a very long time including kissing with my wife because she doesn’t take care of herself. Sometimes she has an offensive smell from her breath due to tooth decay, sometimes her armpits. She wears dirty or old pajamas, has no fashion or trend, etc. I am so sad. I don’t feel any connection with her.
I am starting to carry resent towards her for her wasting my youth. Sex is beautiful thing. I am starting to have thoughts that are not Islamic. I don’t know how long I can last like this.
In this counseling answer:
• After some time in a marriage, it is common for things to slip and change from where they were when a couple first married.
• Understanding potential reasons for her current state will help you to appreciate why she behaves as she does and to assist her accordingly.
• Consider addressing her about it.
• Reigning the spark in your marriage, you could organize a date night.
• Make sure to compliment her.
Assalamu alaikum wa Rahmatullah wa barakatuh brother,
After some time in a marriage, it is common for things to slip and change from where they were when a couple first married. There can be any number of reasons for this, whether it just be familiarity, or as is often the case, the birth of children which take over with all attention being directed to caring for them over self-care.
This gradual shift generally takes place over time and, therefore, does not become glaringly obvious immediately. But when it does become evident, it can lead to dissatisfaction in the marriage as you are experiencing.
Spouses are supposed to bring each other comfort, so it is understandable how it can cause distress in a marriage when they don’t provide the same.
“And of His signs is that He created for you from yourselves mates that you may find tranquillity in them; and He placed between you affection and mercy. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.” (Qur’an, 30:21)
There are a number of steps you can take to overcome this issue.
See it from her perspective
First of all, try to consider the above reasons as to why she is like this. Do you have children now? As a result, does she spend much of her day caring for them and simply has little time and energy to focus on her own self? Or perhaps she is simply not aware of how her self-care has slipped as it has occurred gradually as she has gotten comfortable in the marriage. Otherwise, her emotional state could even be contributing to her self-care.
If she doesn’t feel good about herself, then she is not likely to have any desire to take care of herself. Understanding potential reasons for her current state will help you to appreciate why she behaves as she does and to assist her accordingly.
If it is the case that she is overtaken by the role of taking care of other things, such as the children, then you can try helping her with tasks that take up this time. This will give her the time to take care of herself. Even if it is just to give her some time to herself to relax and do something she enjoys, then this will make her feel good about herself and more motivated to take of herself.
It will also bring a sense of appreciation towards you that will help to reignite her feelings towards you and make her have more a desire to make an effort to look good for you.
Talk to her
If it is the case that she has just gotten so comfortable in the relationship that she doesn’t need to make any effort for you anymore, then you might consider addressing her about it. She may feel offended by such discussions so make sure to approach this sensitive subject gently.
If you feel comfortable, you could do this directly, or else you could do it more indirectly by buying her something that you would like to see her wear, for example, or a nice new face cream that might encourage her to take care of her appearance more. You know her best to know which approach she responds to best.
Reignite the spark
Another way to do the above more indirectly whilst serving a dual purpose in reigning the spark in your marriage, you could organize a date night. Go out for dinner together. Ask her to dress up nicely and you do the same. This way, not only do you get to see her dressed up nicely, even if for this one occasion, you also get to have some time alone together doing something out of the usual routine.
You make this a regular thing, once a week or two. This way you both have an event to look forward to that you can put special efforts in for and enjoy each other’s company.
It may be that having this opportunity to dress up might help her to feel good about herself and boost her self-esteem which will make her more likely to do the same again and even improve her appearance around the home.
When you go on date nights, or even if she wears something nice around the home, make sure to compliment her. When you compliment her, she will feel good about herself and will be more likely to strive to take care of herself more often, both for your satisfaction as well as for making herself feel good.
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At first, it may require you to be observant of even the smallest things that she has done to take care of herself, or else, complementing her on other things not necessarily related to her appearance. For example, if she makes some nice food or has done a good job with something such as working hard, taking care of the house and/or children all day, let her know.
Make her feel appreciated and valued. If she feels appreciated and valued, she will feel good about herself. And, the better she feels about herself, the more effort she will make to make herself look the way she feels.
In the meantime, turn to Allah as a means to divert yourself from any temptations. In sha Allah, your wife will make some changes and you will find beauty in her again, but in the meantime continue to pray for both of your guidance. Help yourself by keeping Allah close that you won’t be tempted to do haram for fear of Allah. Fasting is one of the things recommended by the Prophet (SAW) to control one’s desires.
“Abdullah (b. Mas’ud) (Allah be pleased with him) reported that Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said to us: 0 young men, those among you who can support a wife should marry, for it restrains eyes (from casting evil glances) and preserves one from immorality; but he who cannot afford It should observe fast for it is a means of controlling the sexual desire.” (Sahih Muslim 1400 c)
With your wife’s current behavior and lack of self-care causing you dissatisfaction in your marriage, there are various things you can do to try and improve this situation.
Firstly, try to understand why she is like this. Is it because she’s busy with other things? Has she just become over comfortable that she doesn’t feel the need to make an effort? Or is her state of mind in a bad place?
Following this, you can either help her out more if she’s overworked or talks to her if she has become too at ease. Doing things to reignite the spark between you will give you both the chance to do something fun and enjoyable together, as well as provide a good opportunity to make a special effort in this occasion.
This, along with regular compliments, will encourage positive change in her.
May Allah reward your resistance to do things that are Islamic and may He keep you on the straight path. May He bring you happiness and contentment in your marriage and make you the coolness of each other’s eyes in this life and the next.
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