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Ask the Counselor About Marraige & Relationships

Dear brothers and sisters,

Thanks for submitting your questions to the Ask the Counselor section.

Please find the 4 questions to which our counselor provided answers. If you do not find yours here, check out our upcoming session.

Question 1. Downward spiral

I met my wife four years ago, and we got married three years ago. My wife has always been headstrong, which I accepted as part of her personality because, overall, she is a good person. Her positive traits outweighed the negatives.

Originally, we planned to move aborad, and she was supportive of this idea. However, after we got married, she began to raise issues about it. Due to my own personal issues, we ultimately decided against moving. At the time of our marriage, I had a decent salary, but I had to leave my job due to illness. We then decided to start a business together. The business was breaking even after the first year, but it wasn’t generating substantial income. My wife suggested that I find another job, which I did, securing a well-paying position.

Now, she manages the business and despises it, despite the fact that we initially started it together. She blames me for everything that goes wrong, often swears at me, and becomes extremely irate. She has even threatened to leave me if the business fails, despite it being financially stable.

I went through social services and attended university on my own initiative, but I have very little family support. I feel isolated and alone. I genuinely love my wife, but I feel like she hates me. Despite my best efforts, it seems like materialism has always been a significant issue for her.

I am at a loss for what to do.

Assalamu alaikum wa rahamatulahi wa barakatuh,

I get the feeling from what you have presented that you are feeling that it doesn’t matter how hard you try, your wife never seems to be happy with you. This is obviously going to cause you concern as it would most people in this situation. It feels that you have now reached a point of despair and you don’t know what to do anymore and that is why you are seeking advice.

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My observations from what you have presented here are that the main thing you need to work on here is the communication in your marriage. I wonder whether she has any inkling of awareness that you are feeling this way? Is she aware that you are feeling that she hates you at times? Maybe she is completely unaware that this is how you feel. If you do not communicate this with her in one way of another, she will never know and will continue on like this. If you are comfortable to open up to her, then ensure that you pick a moment and space where you are both calm and won’t be disturbed and make this conversation happen with openness and honesty

It seems that a good portion of the tension between you stems from your business. However, given that this is a joint venture, this could also be a pivot point that brings you together. It is essential, for the sake of the business and your well-being, that the 2 of your are able to work cooperatively together. As a task that you bare both working towards the same goal, this can serve as the ideal means to bring you together as you work towards the same shared goal. When couples are in trouble, I would often advise to start on some kind of project together to allow this process to naturally occur, but alhmadulillah, in your case, you have something in place already. You now need to get together and rethink things out together and set out a plan for how to make it work between you.

With both the business and your relationship outside of the business, you will both have to make some sacrifices. You will have to find a balance that suits you both, and this is where communication is key. Communicating your needs to one another will allow you to explore how to find this balance, what sacrifices will need to be made by each person and how to respect these boundaries within a way that is acceptable to you both individually and as a couple. This can be difficult to implement if you do not communicate effectively with one another. You both need to understand and be willing to make compromise. Neither of you will be able to have everything your way. That may be hard at first, but in time, as the relationship runs more smoothly, you will come to appreciate having made the sacrifices you have as well as appreciating each other for making sacrifices for the sake of the relationship too. This appreciation in itself can be a wonderful way to enhance marital relationships.

With this last point in mind in particular and a focus on the positives, do initiate this conversation with her. Ideally, let it occur naturally following quality time together when the mood is relaxed. Allow each other to speak and listen to what you each have to say as uncomfortable as it may be. You both need to have the opportunity to say what you need to and to feel heard. If you feel this is something you would do within the home, then go for it. If you’re comfortable to try and it doesn’t work, or if you feel it wouldn’t work in the first place, then seek to do this with a counsellor who can facilitate this conversation and allow both of your voices to be heard. There is no shame in this and it will give your relationship a chance to get back on the right track.

May Allah guide you both and bring you happiness in your marriage. May He make you both the coolness of each others eyes in this life and the next.

Question 2. Haram relationship

I’ve been dating a girl for 8 years. We had our good moments and moments we aren’t proud of. I’ve been practicing the Deen since 2012. She took her shahada beginning of 2024. Our relationship has erupted with her leaving in a hurtful manner. The past few months was devastating. The month of Ramadan March 2024, I had issues of a misconduct at community college. I needed her emotional support but she also needed support from me but didn’t communicate it. This led to her relying on strangers for support. From my understanding there is an individual woman who’s a kufar who’s been plotting on driving a wedge between our relationship. This girl is having problems with her husband and is going through a divorce. On top of that she is an alcoholic. My partner started hanging out with her and I have seen the reg flags but I discuss to her that I trust you know what you’re doing. Not realizing that this person was manipulating my partner slowly to the point where my partner came home complaining about random stuff. I think my partner is drinking now to cope with the pain of the separation since Ramadan. My partner came home from work and I was contempt full and did not control my tongue. It pushed her to leave to someone house whom I did not know where she went. We spoke over the phone. The person speaking on the phone was a different personality. She was not my partner. Something switched. I felt unsafe and said I will have to make a phone call and the moment this happened I won’t be able to take it back. I called my Muslim friends to pick me up. She told me to leave the house keys and I did and left. A few days later I returned in hopes to reconcile the disconnect. I started chasing her to hurry and fix the relationship however I did not realize that activated her avoidant attachment style within her. Eventually this led to a lot of arguments and eventually she disappeared on me by not returning home. Few days later the police showed up with a restraining order. I had to leave to my Muslim friend house to stay and go to work. I fought the restraining order and came to an agreement of a cool off period of 6months. I came back to the apartment with all her stuff gone. I was hurt by this. It’s been 2 months I have not heard from her. I only seen her at court. My life has changed drastically. I think this separation is to now make things halal. Other than that, I have emotional days and some days are easy. I feel punished and at times I believe this is the decree of Allah. I’ve learned about my shortcoming and flaws and how I need to be a better man for myself to then be a provider and maintainer fulfilling the roles of a Muslim. I have difficulties at times in the night because I am concern about what she is doing. I miss her but I can’t reach out to her. Her attachment style and childhood trauma cause her to suppress her emotions. I’ve been told that she will need a lot of help in order for this to work. My Iman said to keep making dua for Allah to make my affairs to be in order. Her safeguarding and preserving herself was to leave like this. What am I to do? Having saber is my only option.

Please help me brothers and sisters.
In sha Allah

Assalamu alaikum wa rahamatulahi wa barakatuh,

I understand that you have been in this relationship for a considerable amount of time and as a result are emotionally invested in it. This is why the current situation is causing you so much pain and heartache. However, as I’m sure you are aware deep down, there is nothing like dating in Islam. There is a good reason for this and is why It comes with consequences as you are experiencing. At the same time, I understand that whether you are aware of this or not, you now have to deal with the painful consequences and that is what you need to deal with in the moment. You cannot change that you had this relationship, but you can learn from it as a means to recover and move forward

There is a reason Allah forbade having relationship ls outside marriage and you are experiencing this first hand. However, Allah is most forgiving so turn to Him in repentance and try to rectify your situation by going about marriage and relationships in the correct way as ordained by Allah. I can guarantee you, as you do these things for the sake of Allah, you will see how everything fall nicely into place.

It won’t be easy as the relationship was going on for such a long time and you went through so much with her within that time. Alhmadulillah, you have a supportive network which will make a huge difference in enabling you to move forward successfully. It is something that will take time and will take a lot of patience and certainly thoughts will continually enter your mind to go back. However, if you keep Allah close in remembrance then it’ll become easier to separate yourself from these thoughts. In time they will minimize and it will get easier. Keep your tongue constantly wet in the remember of Allah and make good use of your support network to keep your occupied productively in a way that is pleasing to Allah. Always keep in mind the lessons you have learnt about yourself during this time and be grateful for this as a positive outcome in your journey.

May Allah guide you and keep you on the straight path. May He forgive your shortcomings and grant you a spouse who will be the coolness of your eyes on this life and the next.

Question 3 Relationship Issue

I’ve been married for 2 years now. When we were in a honeymoon stage, he didn’t show me his extreme sides sometimes he was explosive but when I tried to have a conversation about them, he kept the calm manner without being extremist nor changing his own words. After married a bit, I started to see often he has issues with his own family, friends, and myself because of how he talks, changing words (even it was spoken few sec ago) and extreme way to think. I asked him many times to be careful with the choice of words that might provoke others and do not change words (often he blames that on others). He said his a way of view is always black and white and never wanting to change that. Taking someone’s sentence in a distorted way and accuses others (it’s one of reason he is unemployed for many years now-learned about it after marriage). His own family members suffer and myself as well, once it got to the point his own mother and his brother decided to cut their relationship and did so for a while. He apologized to his mom but behind her back, he told me he is not really sorry since he didn’t do anything wrong. I’m pretty concerned about what if his behaviors would affect the kids (if we ever had kids together in the future) and when I think of it, I don’t want any kids with him. I expressed what I thought but the conversation didn’t go well as he was pretty offended. To the point, I lost my interest and trust in him, I try to think what’s good about him but it seems the issue I am having with him is greater than what are good about him. I don’t know if I could keep this marriage like this without any improvement but my husband doesn’t have any single thoughts to change his mind, so it’s like I gotta learn to clap with one hand. How can I hurdle this issue in an Islamic way? p.s I’m new to Islam, so I might not understand some terminologies.

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh sister,

I can understand the concerns that you have with your husband and his seeming lack of appropriate communication skills. It seems this is an issue that he has with everyone, including those closest to him. It even appears that this may be the reason why he has struggled to gain and/or maintain employment. This obviously places an added burden on you in other ways, such as financially. Naturally, this is causing you concerns about a future with him and potentially having kids together.

In situations like this, one of the first things I would advise is to also consider the positives. Often without realizing, they outweigh the bad, but when the focus becomes fixated on a particular negative thing or event, people’s views can become distorted which makes the situation worse. You have, however, stated that you have made some considerations of positives and have concluded that the negatives are greater. I would ask you again to take the time to consider his positive points. What was it that drew you to him in the first place? What made you like him enough to accept his marriage proposal? Dwell on these factors further.

Something that seems to really stand out to me amongst all you are saying is that he has a really hard time with his communication skills. He seems to be unaware of when his interactions are inappropriate indicating some kind of lack of understanding of the social languages of others. I understand that this type of behaviour will obviously come across as rude and inconsiderate, but I’d also ask you to realize that some people do have genuine problems with these skills. It is not that they really are inconsiderate of others feelings, they simply cannot read others and understand how to interact appropriately with them in certain conditions. Such people are not doing this out of evil intention, it is a skill  that they struggle wit much like someone may struggle with maths or spelling. I’m not saying that this is definitely what he is going through, but I would ask you to reconsider him and your situation with this in mind. If you feel this may be the case with him, then it’ll help you to view the situation from a completely different angle and approach him differently and be able to communicate with him more effectively.

If after further consideration, you feel that his behaviour is too much of a problem and that he really is behaving in this way knowingly, then perhaps further counselling together is the route to take to try and work through these difficulties in an impartial environment with a third party. This will give you an extra chance to see if there is a way you can work it out successfully. Alternatively, if you conclude that actually it really looks more like he doesn’t understand how his words and actions are impacting others, then you can learn how to manage his behaviour by changing the way you interact with him and helping to teach him to understand social signs and understanding the emotions of others.

May Allah guide you to what is best for you and most pleasing to Him. May He grant you peace and happiness in this life and the next.

Question 4. Parents disagreeing to marriage

How can I go about convincing my parents to allow me to get married when they’re being unreasonable and emotionally abusive?

Salam, I have been interested in getting married for a few years. I spoke to my parents about this in Ramadan this year and they are totally against the idea of me getting married to this specific person because he lives 4 hours away and they don’t want me to move away.

My mum is making it extremely difficult as she was adamant about the guy buying a house in my city before she meets the family which is impossible because we’re both 20 and the houses are cheaper in his city. I’m willing to move there and he was willing to move here for me if they never agreed but now my mum is saying it’s a complete NO from her even if he buys a house and moves here.

I tried many times to speak to them and to convince them but my mum has become emotionally abusive towards me and tells me she’d rather disown me and wishes I died. I tried to speak to her and tell her that Islamically, my parents cannot disagree to marriage without having a valid reason and her answer was “don’t teach me about Islam, I’m your mum” and when I tried to ask her to voice her concerns she said “I don’t need to tell you anything I’m your mum you should listen to me”.

At first my dad wasn’t taking anyone’s side and he was understanding what I wanted and 2 days ago he completely changed and he agrees with my mum. He also says he doesn’t want me to get married and move far away and he also said he can’t help me convince my mum. I’m helpless because the reason is invalid and they’re not willing to meet the boys family at all.

Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh sister,

This must be so hard for you. You have found the man that you want to marry and you are willing to make the move to live with him. It is a move that makes more sense economically due to the cost of living there. However, the painful thing is that you parents don’t support this move and are therefore objecting and making the situation difficult for you. The words they are using towards you are abusive and painful and completely uncalled for and inappropriate, especially since it seems that other than you wanting to move quite far away, it is not that they don’t actually like him or agree to you marrying him.

Keeping in mind that their objections are not about him personally, it is solely the move that’s causing an issue there are a few things that you can do to aid the situation and get them on board, in sha Allah. Since they don’t seem to have any problems with him, you can focus on convincing them or coming up with compromised with them regarding the move.

From your perspective, understand this is all about them not wanting you to leave them. You wont understand yet, but when you have your own children you will. This doesn’t make their harsh and abusive words ok at all, but I hope perhaps takes some of the pain out of it for you as you can understand why they are being like this. It’ll also make it easier for you to approach them with a higher level of understanding that will make them more compassionate and responsive, in sha Allah.

They are afraid of losing you, so reassure them. Make plans to call them each night and visit every other weekend (or whatever is convenient for you all). This will reassure them that you won’t be disappearing and completing forgetting about them.

Let them come with you to find a house. Let them feel like they are a part of it and that their opinions are relevant and valid too. Again, this will help them to feel a part of your life and important decisions and that they have played an important role in this big step in their life.

If they are still being objective, you might consider involving your local Imam or someone of knowledge, who they respect to enlighten them to what is correct Islamically and that objecting to your marriage for the reasons that they are not valid. Let this person, along with yourself at least convince them to be more involved and talk to his family to begin with. In sha Allah this will soften their hearts to the idea of you moving as they find comfort in the knowledge that you are moving somewhere good and in safety with a good spouse who will take care of and protect you. Following this, you can take the steps above regarding involving them in the move and making plans for keeping in touch when you leave. It will be a process that will take time and requires a period of adjustment from both sides. It is not something that will happen overnight, but slow and steady steps can be achieved in the right direction with patience and openness on all sides.

May Allah make your journey easier and soften your parents hearts towards your situation. May He grant you happiness and success in your marriage and you the coolness of your parents’ eyes in this life and the next.

Monday, May. 27, 2024 | 07:00 - 08:00 GMT

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