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Fed Up with How I Live with My Husband; He Only Cares For His Family

19 October, 2022
Q Assalamualaikum, I am fed up the way I am living with my husband. I am a doctor by profession but after our 1st baby i have been at home since then almost for 3 and half years. My husband is the only person in his family who earns good compared to his brothers,so in every situation he is the one paying for everything: his mother's hosp. expenses, operation expenses ,babies expenses, whenever they need money they vl ask him and he gives them. One brother has been staying with us since I got married and is now 30 years old but staying with us.

My problem here is we aren’t stable. We don't have anything of our own then he gives his brothers, he doesn't care much about me, I dont want his brother to stay with us.

I want to leave him but after going to my parents place I won't be able to listen as my dad jeers very much.I am so depressed as to what to do. I feel like dying


In this counseling answer:

  • You have the right to have your own home and a place of intimacy only for you, your husband, wife, and children. In the long term, the lack of privacy can negatively affect your relationship.
  • If there is an “abuse” of his help from the side of his family, support him to set healthier boundaries and learn to say no.
  • Discuss your priorities and try to come to an agreement. It means a compromise and a mutual respect for your needs and values.
  • Make efforts to keep the marriage alive and protected during time periods when you are required to adapt and make some sacrifices for your families.

Salam alaikom wa rahmatullah sister,

As I understand, you are fed up with the situation that your husband – who earns well compared to his brothers – pays the expenses of the rest of his family. You feel that he does not care much about you.

Sister, I understand your frustration. You say that you want to leave, but I would like to ask you to think about this situation from another perspective.

Your husband has to provide for you as his wife along with your child. I assume that he does, as you do not mention the opposite.

I understand that you may value gaining some economic stability more. As a married couple with a child, you would like to have your own space, but only for the three of you, which is your right.

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On the other hand, your husband seems to practice his Islamic duty to help his family in need, and he bears the responsibility and cares for them.

It seems that for him, helping his family and making sacrifices for them by prioritizing their needs in front of his own needs (spending his income on his mother and giving shelter to his brother for a prolonged time) is a value and a priority.

From this perspective, what is happening is some kind of clash of values, or probably only priorities. I do not know, but maybe you find his values important as well, and vice versa, but you have different priorities.

Not Allowing Oneself to Be Used

From what you presented, I cannot grasp whether there was an “abuse” of his help from the side of his family, because that would be another story.

I have seen cases where family members took advantage of the one who was the most responsible in the family, using the “excuse” of Islamic duty to help each other. 

When one sibling has everything on his shoulder, has multiple jobs, and can hardly manage to provide, while no one helps him. 

Or when a sibling arrives to spend just “some time” with the family until he settles, finally stays there for years, and seemingly has no willingness or effort to move forward.

Behind these issues can be cultural norms, but dysfunctional family dynamics as well. But this is not what Islam teaches by helping one another. 

If this is the case, try to support your husband to set boundaries and learn to say no to his family.

Learn and Respect Priorities

What I suggest is discussing these priorities and trying to come to an agreement. It means a compromise and a mutual respect for your needs.

I think for a successful marriage, both parties have to recognize and respect the core values and priorities of the other. Especially if these values are in line with Islamic principles. 

With this being said, I kindly suggest these tips for you:

Respect Priorities of Each Other

Try to reflect upon and discuss your main priorities, trying to arrive at a mutual agreement. The key word is “respect.”

Respecting the priorities of each other and understanding the real values behind them. 

If you think you need to involve a third party, try to find someone you both respect. It can be marriage counseling, where you learn about how to express your love and care for each other.

You have the right to have your own home and a place of intimacy only for you, your husband, wife, and children. If you want to know more about this, please write to our section, Ask the Scholar

Life Periods

On the other hand, during a lifetime, many things happen that can affect your family situation.

Changes may take place and one of your families has a greater role and place in your life for a period of time. For example, an illness, a grief period, or an economic crisis, etc. 

During these periods, we all need to adapt and make some sacrifices for each other. And this includes respect and willingness to adapt by those who are helped too. 

Try to see from a higher perspective. These are just life periods, and it does not mean that they will always be like this.

Keep the Marriage Alive

At the same time, both of you need to make efforts to keep the marriage alive and protected during these time periods

Mutual understanding can help a lot. Enhance your communication and share your ideas and feelings with each other. Try to spend more time alone together talking. Do activities, have fun, and strengthen your connection.

Your Right for Privacy

With that being said, it’s OK to express that after years, you would like to have your own place as a married couple and not share it with his brother. I think all parties (including the brother) have to realize that, in the long term, the lack of privacy can negatively affect your relationship. 

He is a non-mahram to you, so it probably means that you have to stick to a certain dress code and Islamic etiquette at home, which in the long run can be uncomfortable for you, which is understandable.

Maybe your husband is not aware of your perspective. You grew up in different households and probably had different norms and circumstances. For instance, you did not have to share your space with others. You might have a different understanding of intimacy and privacy. 

Learning and Counseling

Check out the series of Sr. Hana Alasry about Effective Marital Communication. Here are some further sources you may find beneficial: Communication in Marriage, Importance of Communication in Marriage, The Five Love Languages

If there is an improvement in your marriage, you will probably feel less depressed as your needs are also heard and met. 

However, if you think you need further work on your mental health, please turn to a counselor who can assist you. You can try our life coaching services as well, for couple or individual counseling.

I hope these tips will help you to find reconciliation and peace in your marriage. May Allah help you with it. 

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Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information that was provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, it’s volunteers, writers, scholars, counselors, or employees be held liable for any direct, indirect, exemplary, punitive, consequential or other damages whatsoever that may arise through your decision or action in the use of the services which our website provides.

About Orsolya Ilham O.
Orsolya Ilham has a BA in Communication and Manager in Public Relations, MA, BSC in Psychology. She studied Islamic sciences and obtained certificates in Islamic Counseling and Islamic Marriage Counseling. Previously she worked in a client-centered atmosphere; currently, as a translator, counselor, and content creator related to Islam, counseling, and psychology.