My Wife’s Past Frustrates Me

16 December, 2017
Q As-salamu `Alaikum. After getting engaged with my cousin, we got very close to each other. A couple of times she asked me whether I would forgive her if she had committed a mistake. First, she told me nothing specific, but then I insisted, and she told me she had a friendship with another cousin of her, and she feels guilty talking to him over phone. I got depressed and started asking for details. Then she told me that she didn't love him, but once at his house they met and hugged each other. According to her, as that boy came to know about our engagement, he got angry and asked to meet her, but she refused and then stopped talking. She felt guilty at that point and thanked Allah for saving her from bigger sin. I kept asking for minor details and it has been going on for months. Now that we are married, I still can't get rid of these thoughts and feel very depressed. She also feels upset. I want to ask what might be the reason for her confessions on the first hand. I know she is loyal to me, but I still keep thinking about her past and that she might still be thinking of that guy. How can I get over these obsessions and love her without any other thoughts? Another disturbing thought is that what she thinks about me after months of my harsh behavior. She might be thinking of that guy again as I have not believed her and might have shattered her trust in me. Kindly tell me how to get out of this situation. Thank you.



Wa ‘Alaikum Salaam,

Thank you for reaching out to us to try to help you solve your problems.

One, you asked “what might be the reason for her confessions on the first hand?” People do things for many reasons, and many combinations of reasons. However, you seem to be implying that she had a bad reason, like she wanted you to feel jealous, or she wanted you to know that she did not love you but loved someone else, or that she was trying to hurt you. It is our duty as Muslims to put the best construction on things and to “make 70 excuses for each other”. So, you should assume that her reason is the obvious one: she wants her husband to know her completely, and she does not want to have any secrets from her husband. This way of looking at it will not only help you have a good opinion of your wife, but it will help you to appreciate her good way of being in her marriage with you. It will help you also to trust her to tell you who she really is with no reservations, even when it is something that might be hard for you to deal with or might upset you!

Dear brother, if you think that no woman ever thinks about another man from the one she is married to, you are mistaken. Shaitan is alive and active. Thinking about someone is unavoidable because Allah Created Shaitan to test us. ACTING on those thoughts would be the problem! Please don’t take that to mean that she feels something for him. She already told you that she does not!

Please recognize that Shaitan whispers to her the same way he does to every other person on the face of the earth, and that she cannot be held responsible for that. That is the “nature of the beast”, which means that Allah created this place in a way to test us. She has passed her test by NOT committing zina with that man AND by telling her husband her true struggles in life. Of course, I am sorry for her that she hugged him and she needs to make big tawbah (repentance) for that because that was a sin. But, the rest of it, including telling you, was not a “sin”; we cannot stop Satan from whispering to us! We can only avoid obeying him.

As regards to your second question about “what she would be thinking about me after months of my harsh behavior and that she might be thinking of that guy again as I have not believed her and might have shattered her trust in me.” Again, put the best construction on your wife’s ability to understand and to love you with your true self (the good and the bad of it, as long as the bad is not so bad that it takes you out of Islam and chastity). She knows how hard it has been for you to deal with this news; you made that perfectly clear to her. So, now, let her know that you appreciate her patience with you, that you know she loves you because she chose you over him, and that you recognize her patience with you processing the news.

Your wife is a human and deserves to be forgiven for something that was not zina. The Prophet (saw) said: Be merciful to those on the earth and the One above the heavens will have mercy upon you.” [ Tirmidhi 1924] We all sin and need the Mercy and Forgiveness of Allah. So, invest in that by having mercy on others in the hope that Allah will then have mercy on you when you need to be forgiven for your sins, In Sha’ Allah.

May Allah Make it easy for you.


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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.