What to Do with My Irreligious Wife?

14 October, 2020
Q I married a girl who apparently claimed she did a paper marriage before. I accepted it as a fact knowing she was virgin but now she has shown me her disturbing sides like she used to go to clubs, wear short clothes, drink.

I tried to change her but she calls me narrow-minded. She, I believe, uses birth control as well. I want to leave her but my parents won’t allow. What are my options?

She lies and takes false oaths by Allah. She prays in less than 3 mins and never makes dua saying God knows what I need. Her arrogance knows no limits.

I explained it to my parents but they say she'll get better. She calls me boring,backward and narrow-minded.

She is overseas( at least there she can wear short dresses) and I don’t want to apply her visa knowing I can’t trust her. She can’t fast either but she lies to everyone she does. Her mom always helps her in her lies and fake promises. How do I get out? Or should I stay?

Answer


In this counseling answer:

  • You can find some tips on how to speak with her about the issues within the marriage.
  • If she is unreceptive to saving the marriage, outline your expectations for an Islamic marriage and how it is not being met and then discuss your concerns with the families.
  • Make du’aa’ to Allah (swt) for guidance.

As-Salamu ’Alaykum dear brother,

Thank you for writing to us. I am sorry to hear about your difficulties with your wife. I am wondering how you met her, if you got to know her and her family prior to marriage and if any of these traits were apparent before marriage.

Her faith

While she was previously married, her being a virgin is not relevant. What is relevant is her Islam and how she practices it as well as her ability to be a good wife. While much emphasis is put on virginity, as you can see, it can be over-rated.

Now, even though she was a virgin, she is not practicing as a Muslim should. Therefore, it is often wise to seek other criteria when seeking a spouse beside her being a virgin. It can save much future pain.

Different levels

It sounds like both of you are on two different levels concerning your Islamic practices and viewpoints. This often happens when a marriage takes place without learning of the character and practices of the one we plan to marry. At any rate, that is in the past and now in sha’ Allah you must move forward. Brother, I encourage you to try to save your marriage for the sake of Allah (swt) as Allah (swt) does hate divorce.

You may wish to begin in sha’ Allah by sitting down with your wife when you are together again, or over Skype. Or another chatting platform. Discuss these behaviors which bother you while backing them up with Qur’anic proofs.


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Communicate

I would kindly suggest that when you approach her, you do so with a spirit of love and forgiveness so that in sha’ Allah she will open her heart and mind to changing her behaviors without feeling the need to become defensive.

Also, you may wish to make a list of the positive traits she possesses that drew you to marry her and compliment her on these fine attributes. Next, make a list of the things you would like her to work on, as well as a list of the things you need to work on (we all have things we need to improve upon). Discuss these with her, asking for her feedback and input.

In the Qur’an it states that,

And of His signs is that 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.” (30:21)

Marriage

With these signs, brother, we are to have faith in one another, seek to sustain the love, accept the challenges in marriage and work through them if possible. Forgive one another, have mercy and respect, and be truthful with our spouses. T

hese are only a few of the things that help create a good marriage, brother. However, in sha’ Allah, if you and your wife review these (and more) perhaps you can both agree that your marriage needs work in these areas.

You may also wish to express your love for her, your desire to remain married to her, but state that you require an Islamic marriage in all aspects. This would mean that both of you would need to get closer to Allah (swt) and to each other and really make efforts to integrate your social lives in the Islamic community to build healthy friendships for social and educationals times once she is there.

Counseling

I would also kindly suggest that you both take marriage classes at your Islamic center and see if you both can get marriage counseling from your imam or another marriage counselor. These interventions will help strengthen and save your marriage and give you both skills and a deeper insight into how to create a strong Islamic marriage.

What to Do with My Irreligious Wife? - About Islam

If she is receptive to your efforts to save the marriage and shows some willingness to change, alhamdulillah.

Change does not always come overnight, brother, but a willing heart is a beginning. It may be that she has not had the correct Islamic guidance or teachings. You stated that her mom covers up her lies, thus, illustrating she may not have been raised in a truly Islamic home. However, only Allah (swt) knows.

If she refuses to try to save the marriage or refuses to change her haram behaviors, I would kindly suggest that you call a meeting between you, her and both of your families.

Involve third party

I would kindly suggest that you remind everyone that as Muslims, you are required to live a certain way and uphold the values and foundations of Islam and that you currently do not feel your wife is serious about living an Islamic life despite your attempts to lovingly assist her in the changes needed to please Allah (swt) as well as save the marriage.

I would suggest that you ask for their suggestions stating you do not want to divorce but you do want to live an Islamic life. In sha’ Allah, both of your families will offer support in this matter. If not, please do make istikhara prayer regarding divorce.

Conclusion

While I am not sure how long you have been married or why you did marry one who is so different than you, please give this marriage your best efforts and make du’aa’ to Allah (swt) to grant ease and change the circumstances of her careless behaviors so that you both may enjoy a beautiful Islamic marriage.

Please, outline your concerns as well as her attributes. Speak with her about the issues within the marriage. If she is unreceptive to saving the marriage, outline your expectations for an Islamic marriage and how it is not being met and then discuss your concerns with your families.  Make du’aa’ to Allah (swt) for guidance.

You are in our prayers,

***

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.

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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 projects.