Unhappy Marriage: Is It a Test or Punishment from Allah?

08 July, 2020
Q Salam. I really need help.

I loved a Muslim guy and we wanted to get married but my family refused. I have prayed for forgiveness as I know I was in the wrong to be in a relationship but I truly loved him.

Three years ago I was engaged to a relative despite not wanting to. I clearly told my family I was unhappy but they went ahead with it anyways. My fiance tried to make it work but I always despised him. I could not bring myself to like him or even talk to him.

I have never felt this level of dislike as I did for him. I've heard that nikkah inculcates love for your partner but after my nikkah things became even worse. I was unable to build a relationship and he knew I was against this marriage yet he still tried to build a relationship.

His eagerness for romance really put me off. Things got so bad that we were considering divorce at one point but my family refused to end it.

I tried my hardest to feel something positive but all I felt was dislike for him. I could not talk to him and we fought a lot.

In a year I lost weight and became terribly depressed and confused. I prayed a lot. I prayed for things to work and for God to forgive me for feeling the way I did towards my husband. I also prayed for this relationship to end.

Now I'm married and I tried to put everything behind me and give this relationship a chance. I gave in to a lot of things including intimacy but my heart is not in this relationship. I do things because I'm required to, not because I want to. And my mental health is suffering.

My husband knew all this and yet we've been unable to solve anything. I agreed to this marriage for everyone's sake and happiness and yet I'm the one who is most unhappy and no one sees it. I've tried to talk to family but nothing is helpful.

My husband says he feels cheated as no one told him about my lack of consent. I clearly showed my lack of interest. It's not my fault my family told him otherwise. It feels so unfair.

This is not how married life is supposed to be. All I wanted was a stable happy relation and since my engagement things have been upside down. I've endured for four years and my patience is running out.

Will God punish me for feeling this way? Is it a bad thing to pray for a relationship to end? Is this a test or a punishment from God?

What should I pray for? I'm so upset and confused. Please guide me.

Answer


In this counseling answer:

In Islam, no one should marry against his/her will. Parents may suggest, screen, and help us pick a lifelong mate; however, it is always up to the person who will marry, not the parents.

The only way you could fully love your husband insha”Allah, is if you let go o f the previous relationship in your heart.

 Look at possible compatibility issues to see where you and your husband are compatible/not compatible and determine if this is something that can be fixed between the two of you.

Speak with your husband about his feelings and see what he would like to do as well.

If you decide to stay together, marriage counseling, individual counseling, Islamic marriage classes would all be very helpful.

Please go for ongoing counseling for yourself to address your depression and confusion regarding the situation.


As salamu alaykum sister,

Shokran for writing to us and trusting us with your feelings and concerns. I am so sorry to hear about what you are going through not only in your marriage, but in your past in regards to your parents not allowing you to marry the man who you wanted to.

I can only imagine the hurt and heartache that you went through when they said no and you had to marry someone else. As they had a relative for you to marry, that is who you married instead. 

Past

As you know however, and as you stated -you knew that you were wrong to be in a relationship in the first place but you truly loved each other. As you realized that it was wrong, you did pray for forgiveness alhamdulillah. 

Current Situation

Your current situation is one of depression, stress, confusion and sadness due to a conflicted marriage. As your family married you to a relative, you have been very unhappy ever since.

You did tell your family that you weren’t happy and you did not want to marry him however they did not listen and you married him anyhow. 

Rights in Choosing Marriage Partner

Sister, as a Muslim you do have the option to marry whoever you want as long as that person is Islamically permissible for you. With that said,  you could have married the Muslim guy that you stated you loved. 

Unhappy Marriage: Is It a Test or Punishment from Allah? - About Islam

Making Parents Happy versus Marrying who you want 

Sister, while it is a goal to want to make parents happy,  that does not mean we must marry who they state that we should. Parents may suggest, screen, and help us pick a lifelong mate; however, it is always up to the person who they will marry, not the parents.

That is not being disrespectful nor disobedient as you are an adult. You are the one who has to live with your choice of a husband insha’Allah for the rest of your life (as marriage is supposed to be forever). Marriage is a personal choice, not a group choice.

Help and efforts can be made by others but ultimately it is you who decides who will be your spouse. Moving forward, whichever way your marriage goes at this point, please know that if the situation ever does arise again concerning marriage, you do have the right to marry who you want. 

Trying to Make it Work 

Sister, despite not wanting to marry your relative, you did with the hopes that Allah would put love between you. However, this has not happened. In fact, your husband always tried to make it work but you never liked him.

Your disdain for your husband has also naturally affected your intimate life and you find yourself unable to build a relationship with him intimately and otherwise. 


Check out this counseling video:


Praying to Allah

While you did try to give the relationship a chance by praying to Allah and depending on Allah’s guidance. You also took it upon yourself to try to put everything behind you, and to give this relationship a chance.

You did give in to a lot of things and compromised for the relationship. This included intimacy, but your heart was not in the relationship. 

Evaluate your Situation 

Sister you say that your mental health is suffering from all of this, and understandably so. It is not a healthy nor fair situation for you or your husband. You both deserve to be married to someone who will cherish you and appreciate you both individually.

Your husband deserves a loving wife who really wants to be with him, and you deserve a husband who you love and desire to build a marriage with. If you cannot be that for each other, it may be a sad and difficult marriage.

Talking with Husband 

Sister, I kindly advise you to sit down with your husband and speak with him about your marriage. Obviously he senses that things are not right and he probably is not happy either.

The two of you need to decide whether you are compatible enough to try to change things to heal the marriage. If both of you decide that you would like to save the marriage, there are many things you can do to help save it. 

Saving Marriage

Sister, if it is agreed that the marriage is worth saving, I kindly suggest that you and your husband take Islamic marriage classes at your local Masjid or Islamic Center. Marriage classes have helped many couples get through very hard times, view things from a different perspective, and have created new skill sets for couples.

You may also wish to get marriage counseling on a regular basis in your area as well. Marriage counseling can offer ways to get things out in the open, resolve conflicts, and help  couples on the healing path.

Looking at Self 

My dear sister, perhaps it is that you still were in love with that other guy and did not give your husband a chance, or perhaps you and your husband are truly not compatible and never will be.

These are things that you need to figure out for yourself by looking deep inside and being honest about how you feel and what the real issues are.

Changes

I know this is not easy, but changes in your marriage should occur one way or another insha’Allah. Allah does not want you to be unhappy nor does he want your husband to be unhappy.

There are some cases where arranged marriages work out beautifully, and there are some cases where the couples are totally incompatible and it does not work. This is why it is important to get to know one another in a halal way.

With that said, if you approach your parents concerning your unhappiness and your desire to divorce if you chose, they should be very supportive of you and talk to you about your options.

However, this may not happen. You must remember however that if you and your husband do decide to divorce it is your right to divorce.

Your parents really have nothing to say about the matter except to be supportive of your decision. If they are not, I kindly suggest that you seek support elsewhere such as from your sisters, a trusted imam, or a mental health counselor. 

Mental Health 

Sister, I kindly suggest that you see a mental health counselor due to your current depression and feelings of confusion. A counselor can help you manage your depression as well as help you to sort out your confusion regarding this matter.

Whenever one goes through life’s tests and trials we go to Allah first, but we also take advantage of the blessings and provisions that Allah provides for us such as doctors, nurses, counselors, lawyers, etc.

Tests, Trials, or Punishments

You asked if this was a test or punishment from Allah. Sister I cannot answer that because only Allah knows. However, I really do not see this as a punishment because your sought repentance regarding that past relationship (it is in the past-you gave it to Allah), you pray to Allah seeking His mercy and help with your marriage.

Lastly, this was a decision that you made. True, your parents made this decision for you, however in the final analysis you agree to this even though you knew that you would not be compatible with your husband.

Choices

 Perhaps you did not know that you had choices in this matter of marriage, but in the final analysis you did and you possibly made a wrong decision.

At this point you can speak with your husband and decide if the two of you really want to heal the marriage and make a go of it, or if you would just like to divorce and be done with it. As Muslims those are your options. 

Conclusion 

Sister please do continue praying to Allah as you have been. Praying is our rope to Allah, our strength and our survival. May Allah bless you and your efforts and grant you ease.

Sister, please do look deep inside yourself and ensure that you have given this marriage everything -which includes letting go of the past relationship and the guy that you loved. That is the past, it is gone.

The only way you could fully love your husband insha”Allah, is if you let go of the previous relationship in your heart. If you are sure that you have done that, look at possible compatibility issues to see where you and your husband are compatible/not compatible and determine if this is something that can be fixed between the two of you. Speak with your husband about his feelings and see what he would like to do as well. The two of you Insha’Allah will come up with the correct answer.

As stated previously if you decide to stay together, marriage counseling, individual counseling, Islamic marriage classes would all be very helpful. If you decide that you both would like to divorce that is an option as well and you can speak with the imam about that. In the meantime please go for ongoing counseling for yourself to address your depression and confusion regarding the situation.

Insha’Allah sister things will work out. May Allah guide you both in the right direction and Grant you ease. 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 are liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

Read more:

https://aboutislam.net/counseling/ask-the-counselor/divorce/how-to-get-out-of-my-forced-marriage/

https://aboutislam.net/counseling/ask-about-islam/muslim-couple-build-strong-marriage/

https://aboutislam.net/counseling/ask-the-counselor/marital-obstacles/they-forced-me-to-marry-my-cousin/

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 projects.