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How to Overcome Financial Stress?

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

Apr 04, 2019

Question

I’m struggling financially with my wife. We both work full time; however, the salary is not high enough to meet our needs. We also owe money to some friends which we are not able to pay them back due to the situation we are in.

When we first got married two years ago, we had to get our furniture from Rent-a-Center. We are still paying them now monthly 250 dollars along with our apartment’s renting fee as well as the electricity and gas bills. I’ve suggested a few times to my wife that we could move out of this town to somewhere where we can work and live in better conditions, but she has been refusing the idea. She also refuses the idea that I go to another city that is 5 hours from home where I would have a better salary.

Another thing is that I haven’t visited my mom for about 10 years. She is in my country back home and I want to visit her but I can’t visit her or help her as much because of our bad financial situation.

I want to know what is the right thing to do here islamically. I don’t want to force my wife into something she doesn’t like. She stated she doesn’t want to live in NYC. I have also suggested New Jersey or Westecher or even Yonkers. I need your help and advice to do the right thing.

Counselor

Answer


How to Overcome Financial Stress? - About Islam

In this counseling answer:

•Go back to the list of expenses and see if you can trim anything down.

•It is time to make a move to a more lucrative place where you both can get better paying jobs.

•You and your wife may also want to sit down and write out all the pros and cons of moving versus staying where you are.

•Regarding the idea of you moving to work somewhere else, I really can’t recommend that as it does put a strain on a marriage.

•Keep alert for other opportunities in your area.

•Some of the keys to getting through this difficult time is patience, faith, communication with your wife, and making du’aa’ to Allah to grant ease concerning your finances.

 


As Salamu Alaykum brother,

Thank you for writing to us about your issues and questions regarding finances and choices. There is no doubt that the cost of living everywhere has risen. While some places are more expensive than others, generally the cost of living has gone up.

I know that where you live the heating costs and electric are very high. In addition, there is cost for rent, cell phones, food, household, gas, cars, etc. Plus, you are paying rent a center $250 a month. These are a lot of expenses to try to budget, even when two people are working.

Examining Financial Health

Sadly, finances can cause friction between married couples, especially when there is a disagreement as how to budget, spend, or even when considering relocation as you desire to do.

Brother, I kindly suggest insha’Allah that if you’ve not done so already, sit down with your wife and re-examine your budget together. This would mean listing all your expenses including household products, groceries, toiletries etc.

Next, list your income. Whatever gap there is between your income and your expenses, look at that number. Go back to the list of expenses and see if you can trim anything down.

It might mean returning the items back to Rent-A-Center and going to a thrift store or donation center and purchasing what you need at a much lessor cost. That would save you $250 a month. It might mean canceling cable if you have it and going with a fire stick or Netflix subscription. It may mean revising your monthly shopping.

Wherever you can, cut your costs insha’Allah to try to reduce your spending. I know is difficult, but with some creative thought, it can be done.

How to Overcome Financial Stress? - About Islam

Brother, I do not know if any of this pertains to you, I am only offering it as a suggestion because I know it has proven to be helpful for myself and many others. If you have already paired down the expenses and spending and are still having difficulty, perhaps then it is time to make a move to a more lucrative place where you both can get better paying jobs. Please do keep in mind though that moving can cost a lot of money.

Relocation

If considering a move, you would need to gather the finances for a moving truck, movers, first month’s rent, security as well as for setting up utilities in the new town that you move to. You had mentioned New York City. As you know, the cost of living is extremely high in New York City.  It is much probably higher than where you are now. However, if you have a job lined up that pays extraordinary well, it might be worth the move.

Negotiation and Compromise in Marriage

Being that your wife is not keen on moving, you may have to come to an agreement with her. I would kindly suggest you sit down and speak with her and find out her reasons for wanting to stay where you currently live. It may be that she grew up there. She may have family and friends there that she does not want to leave. Perhaps she is fearful of moving to a new area and being alone.

Whatever her reasons are, please consider them with kindness and discuss ways in which you can work around them. If it is that she will miss her family perhaps you and her can discuss a plan wherein she would be able to visit her family on a regular basis for example.

You and your wife may also want to sit down and write out all the pros and cons of moving versus staying where you are. When things are put in a visual light, it is often easier to see solutions. That is why I’m asking that both you list your finances as well as list the pros and cons of moving.


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Leaving Home to Work

Regarding the idea of you moving to work somewhere else, I really can’t recommend that as it does put a strain on a marriage. Is not good for a husband and wife to be apart for long periods of time. However, if this is the only way and you are in dire straits of becoming homeless, then it is recommended that you do whatever is needed to maintain a home.

Insha’Allah, it will not come to that. Insha’Allah, you and your wife can either pare down your expenses to where it is more manageable for you, or you can come to an agreement and move to another area where the pay is higher.

Wanting to Visit Mom

You stated that you have not seen or visited your mom in about 10 years. You said that you wanted to visit but you can’t, and you can’t help her as much as you want financially because of your current situation. Brother, I imagine this weighs heavy on your heart.

Our mothers are very dear to us, and we want to take care of them to the best of our ability. It is also very difficult when we cannot see them. Insha’Allah, when you get ahead a little bit financially, you could possibly put some money away every paycheck into a fund for taking a trip out to see her.

If you have siblings back home, you may wish to discuss with them your current situation regarding your inability to help as much as you would like. In this way, they will understand that you face hard times and you do not just ignore your responsibility to your mom.

I am sure that your mom understands and knows that you love her very much. I know this does not make it easier brother, but just know that these times will pass they are a test. As difficult as it may seem right now, things will get better. We must do our best in this life and put our trust in Allah. 

Navigating Hard Times Together

Some of the keys to getting through this difficult time is patience, faith, communication with your wife, and making du’aa’ to Allah to grant ease concerning your finances.

Brother, I would also kindly suggest that you do keep alert for other opportunities in your area. There may be a job that pays more and has greater opportunity. Again, make du’aa’ to Allah to guide you to a more productive and lucrative job in order that you can provide for your family in a more stable way.

In this world, your best teammate and supporter is your wife. Please do take into consideration her thoughts on all of this. At the same time, you are the provider and maintainer of your wife. She should be sensitive, understanding, and sacrifice as well for the marriage.

In the end, brother, as you know, you have the last say in the matter. My point in all this is that as spouses you are in this together and should consider each other’s feelings. I understand that you consider hers, she should consider yours as well. She should also know that whatever final decision you make, it for the good of the marriage and family structure. Marriage is a sacrifice at times.

Trust in Allah

Dear brother, trust in Allah and continue to make du’aa’ for His continued blessings and mercy. In time, brother, you will be through this hard part in your life. You will be stronger in the outcome as will your marriage,insha’Allah

Often, going through hardships brings a couple closer. It is a shared experience that was resolved together. As you know, in life, there are hard times and good times, but we all make it through somehow. I am confident that you, along with your wife’s input, will make a good decision regarding your future direction.

We wish you the best,

Salam

***

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.

Read more:

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About Aisha Mohammad

Aisha received her PhD in psychology in 2000 and an MS in public health in 2009. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York. Aisha specializes in trauma, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach. Aisha works at a Family Resource Center, and has a part-time practice in which she integrates healing and spirituality using a holistic approach. Aisha plans to open a holistic care counseling center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah. Aisha is also a part of several organizations that advocate for social & food justice. In her spare time she enjoys her family, martial arts classes, Islamic studies as well as working on her book and spoken word poetry projects.

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