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Counseling Q/A About Marriage & Friendships

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Thank you for participating in the session.

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

Question 1. Abusive marriage

It’s almost 16 years of marriage. I have 2 boys 13 and 5 years old.

My husband is not doing anything. He is very lazy, whole day he sits at home n in d evening he went out with friends and come back late night. We do fight always 4,5 months we use to stay together the again 5,6 months we stay separate in other room for 4 years like this I am spending.

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My parents supporting us with housing clothing fooding, and kids’ studies. And all my n my kids expenses are bearing from my parents only… then too he doesn’t want to live happily and time for us always busy on Facebook and insta no talking with kids and me…and always ready to fight and abuse me .

I don’t understand what should I do….

Assalamu alaikum wa rahamatulahi wa barakatuh sister,

From what you have presented, this does not sound like the scene of a happy marriage. Your husband is not working and instead he is spending all his life time with his friends, or when he is home, he is on social media. Half the time you are fighting and sleeping in different rooms and your parents are the ones footing the bills for food, clothing and school; something he should be doing, yet doesn’t seem to give them his time.

On the surface, this certainly does not seem like a happy or ideal place to be in a marriage. However, I also understand that you are only providing a snap shot of your version of events whilst you are not feeling happy in the relationship. It may be that there are happy times shared between you both now and in the past, after all, you have been married for 16 years so you likely have lots of happy memories together too. Spend time reflecting on this and ask yourself whether you do sometimes have good times together? Are your current reflections here a result of your frustrations? What things did you used to do together that brought your happiness that you could still do now?

Was he always like this from the beginning? Or did something happen that changed him along the way, such as a bereavement or job loss. If it is that you can pinpoint a trigger when his behaviour changed due to a negative event? If this is the case, then perhaps you need to go gently and patiently with him as his behaviour may likely be a product of this. Such an event would have potentially lead to a threat to his manhood and ability to fulfil his role as a man and therefore leading him to distance himself from you and his children due to feeling embarrassed. To spend all day either on social media or with friends becomes his way of coping with this threat through avoidance. If this could be, or is the case, this doesn’t relieve him his from his role of father and husband, but it should raise your awareness of the underlying reasons for his behaviour so you can understand his actions more easily and allow you to approach him more appropriately and realise that this is not something that is your fault. Give him a chance to make changes with a little encouragement to begin with. Depending on how he responds, you can escalate to approaches that may be a bit harsher until he takes action. If he still unresponsive, then you could consider harsher options such as telling your parents to cease providing you all as they have been so that he is left with no choice but to step up and fulfil his role.

Has he looking for work? If he has and is faced with constant rejections, this could be another reason for his behaviour – that he’s left feeling bad about himself leading to reduced self esteem. An easy option to feel better about himself may be to receive validation elsewhere or simply avoiding the negativity by being on social media and with friends almost as a defence mechanism to deal with his situation. Either way, whether he is searching or not, your added support in finding work could go a long way in resolving this dilemma. It’ll give him the added push, whilst letting him know that you care enough to support him even though he has been letting you down. This could help to mend some of the difficulties you’ve been facing between you.

So, you see, whilst it may seem like he is a lost case who doesn’t want to do anything to resolve the situation himself, there are actions you can take to push things in a better direction. I would encourage you to reflect on these alternative perspectives and try taking proactive steps yourself before considering other options at this point. In sha Allah, he will change, but  if he should not, it is better that you don’t look with regrets that you could have done more on your side to make things work.

May Allah guide your husband and you and reward your patience. May He grant you happiness in this life and the Hereafter.

Question 2. Fought with a non-Muslim friend what to do next

Assalamu alaikom sister. I am living in a non-Muslim school and most of them are non-muslims. I had two non-Muslim friends. With one of them she and I had fights before. I and her were studying in a tuition. There was another girl who was the same class as me and I talked to her. I cannot walk alone to my house even if it’s nearby because it’ll be evening. That girl I met would have to walk in the same path I should go. So, I decided to walk home with her. I told my friend this at the end of the tuition and she replied “You changed too right?” And got up furiously and went home. She once mocked Allah too [without knowledge]. I forgave her because she did it out of knowledge. She even called me “Traitor” for that tuition situation, even if I didn’t do nothing wrong. I now wrote a letter in a gentle manner I can telling her that I cannot be friends with you and also told her the reason for it. I did this to save myself. Sometimes it hurts what she says. She sometimes asks Me “Do you have any sense”? With a different face.  And when she read the letter, I wrote to her. She cried. And she is angry with me now. She says that now I hurt her by that letter. And my other friend told me to leave her because she felt the same way. But after she saw her crying, she told me to join with her again. I don’t think it’s ok.  What can I do now? Is it my fault or hers? Can I still be friends with her again?

Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh sister,

This all sounds very confusing with this other girl giving you mixed signals all the time. It must be very stressful for you to be dealing with this all the time. It is better to keep other Muslim sisters as close companions if possible, but I understand that going to a non-Muslim school probably makes that more tricky. Do have a look out if there are any other Muslimahs in your school that you could hang out with, otherwise, you could seek such friendships from outside of your school in your local area, likely through the masjid. This will help you to stay grounded in your religion by being in good company.

I do, however, understand that this doesn’t resolve the problem you face at school. If this other girl is giving you such a hard time, then maybe it is better that you keep your distance a bit for the sake of your own wellbeing. You do not need to completely block her out, just keep interactions minimal for now. Of course, if she approaches you, it’s OK to talk to her still. This will also give you the space to think about how to manage the situation without being swayed by your current relationship with her. It’ll also give her the space to reflect on how she is treating you too. Perhaps this distance will bring you closer together in a more positive way and you could gently reach out to her in giving her dawah that, in sha Allah, she would become a Muslim. Perhaps things will go the other way and you will realise that your friendship with her is not helpful and you can allow the distance between you to continue and you will take your separate ways without causing any further distress between you both. It might make you feel bad to do this, but if she is causing you so many problems and causing you to go astray from your Deen, then this is for your own benefit.

Applying this strategy to your friendships in general, especially since you are at a non-Muslim school, this branch help ensure that you are around as good company as possible even if its not possible for you to have Muslim friends within the school. Make sure that any non-Muslim friends you have are aware of your religion and respect your choices without coming in the way of you fulfilling your obligations as a Muslim. If they don’t his, and don’t encourage you to do things that are haram, then these are better friends for you to keep in the absence of Muslim friends. As I mentioned earlier though, it is also important that you have Muslim friends too. If there are none in your school, then do look out for them outside.

There is also the issue of getting home in the evening. If you have no friends that you can reliably walk home with each evening, then it’s very important that you sort out some kind of reliable arrangement for your safety. If this isn’t he case, then you should speak to your parents and I’m confident that for your safety, they will help you to organise something, perhaps getting a lift home with a trusted person, or someone who can meet you after school.

May Allah make your situation easier for you a guide you to friendships that will be beneficial to you. May He guide you on a path that He will be pleased with.

Question 3. 2.5 years of not consummating the marriage

I had a love marriage from my husband’s side. We were friends so I knew him for 5 years before our marriage when both of us had a liking for each other and got engaged. We were engaged for 4-5 years before getting married.

During these years of engagement, I understood that he’s not the one for me as he was never able to understand me on an emotional level. He would send me gifts, flowers, we would go out sometimes as well but there was this silence between us which used to bother me. We would talk daily but just about normal everyday life things mostly.

On the other hand, I was going through a hard time during these years due to the loss of a loved one who I was very close to being the eldest child. I lost my father to cancer in unexpectedly suddenly within months. This took a toll on my health mentally and physically & completely transformed me as a person. While I was growing as a person, he being the most loved youngest child was kept protected/ in a shell by his parents always.

While I was going through this, I became friends with my group mate in university. As a friend he always supported me, understood my pain, took care of me, checked on me if I’m eating or I’m ok as he could clearly see I’m suffering. But I also knew that this wasn’t possible as I knew my family will not agree to this. In the meanwhile, I fell for him as well because of all he did for me by literally taking care of me like a baby and I never wanted to cheat my fiancé so I broke our engagement because I realized I need someone who is good for my mental health not with the same family background.

Fast forward, we talked to our parents about this. My mom didn’t like him Bcz of the differences our family had. She really liked my fiancé and always thought that he’s a better match for me. So, she got me married to him and I agreed on marrying to because my family’s happiness for me was above all that I sacrificed mine even when God gives us a right to choose for ourselves.

So, I get married to my fiancé. I start a new beginning, I try to give my best, to take care of him, love him, to fulfill all the duties of a wife. But we didn’t consummate ever and it’s been 2.5 years now to our marriage. I tried a few times but he never did anything. Which hurted me alot because I was giving my all to this marriage. Then there was zero emotional understanding. Some days were good but most of the days I would be crying due to something that my mother-in-law did with me, or the change I was going through which he won’t understand. I felt like I was not getting the love I deserve. He was really distant & moody after we got married. He loved me and did little things for me sometimes. He tried to make efforts for me in his own ways. I accepted my destiny and thought this is how marriages are and with time everything will get better.

After 5 months of my marriage, he moved to another country so we were living long distance. His behaviour was ok, sometimes he would prioritize his parents above me which hurt me but rest was well. He would send me gifts bought me whatever I wanted. Wanted me to move with him asap too because he missed me. We went for our honeymoon meanwhile spent a good time but had 1 2 fights as well. Now, I moved with him and it’s 2.5 years to our marriage. I was really excited when I came to start our life in a new country, I would do everything for him, cook his favourite meals, do the house chores etc. I tried to give my all to this relationship even tried to initiate things but there was nothing from his side. He always had his reasons which he didn’t communicate. It was a big change for me leaving my family behind, having no one around, not having a job etc. I have started getting panic attacks and he would still not understand and wouldn’t treat me with love and care which I crave. He would want everything his way, get angry and pin point the issues with most of the things I did. Most of the time I felt like crying because there was no communication between us. But here I was living a life where I craved someone to listen to me understand me and love me which is not much to ask from your husband. We were living like two friends rather than a couple as we never have real talk. 

So, I realized that I made a wrong decision because my best friend was the one who always stood by me, understood me, talk sensibly, would recognize even the slightest change in my voice, would understand what I’m thinking, and what’s hurting me without even me saying a word. I hurt someone to marry according to my mother’s choice.

I always thought that divorce will never be the option for me as it’s the thing which Allah dislikes the most. In my head I was giving him chances to change and understand but it was the opposite always. So, I discussed this with him finally what was hurting me and he promised to change. The reasons were: I always wanted the best for us I am building a life for us so I get worried about that, I love you and never knew what you were going through because of lack of communication as I don’t know how to communicate my feelings. But even after communicating there’s no emotional understanding between us. I want someone who understands me, listens to my pain. He just made me a patient with extreme stress due to which I have pain in my bones and panic attacks.

Now the thing is he says that he’s trying to be better, understand me, communicate with me, initiate things, wants to have babies too now I can see only a little bit of change as I don’t believe I can change someone’s nature. The past has made me so distant now that my heart wouldn’t open up to him because suddenly, he does or says something that hurts me and it pushes me back again. Sometimes he behaves like a kid and I have grown a lot due to the experiences in my life so I want him to take care of me too. We are living like a normal couple but what I crave is intellect, emotional understanding which I can do nothing about. I have lost all love and respect for him.

I want to know your opinion am I being wrong in this? My heart and mind are so confused right now if I should give him a chance because on the other hand my heart says I don’t deserve all this pain and hurt. I feel like I didn’t deserve this kind of behaviour from him for all this time. Even if he changes how can I erase all the past from my heart. I’m unable to forget things now. It’s not like he’s a bad guy, I think.

It’s so tough choosing between your parents and what you really want because on the other hand I feel like I can work for all the luxuries in the world if they are written for me, I’ll get them with anyone but the love I want and understanding I crave have no replacement. I’m not ungrateful I feel like no one is understanding me not even my family when I discussed my suffering with them. I don’t even have kids right now who end up hurting because of separation so now is the time for me to take a decision. I believe Allah talla wants me to take a decision He wouldn’t want me to suffer.

I want to ask you how important is emotionally understanding each other? Am I being too negative and just overthinking stuff? Please advise. Can someone really change his nature because he acts immaturely sometimes. I don’t have anyone around to give me good advice so I just pray that whatever happens, happens in my best interest.

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh sister,

This isn’t tough situation where you are married to a good man from a good background and have a good life when on the outside it looks like you have everything anyone could wish for. However, on the inside, you are missing something. These things you are missing are those that actually mean the most to you. You are looking for the love and affection, but he doesn’t seem to be giving it to you, at least not in the way that you are craving anyway. It feels like due to this you are experiencing constant misery in your marriage. You have been feeling this way for such a long time now and are wondering if divorce might be the best option, especially since there are no children involved at this point so the additional burden that that could have isn’t present. Your parents however would not be supportive of this choice anyway, regardless.

In situations similar to this my first advice would be to not rush into such big decisions when it comes to divorce and to give things much time and thought first to avoid ever looking back with regrets. That said, you have said you have basically been living like this for over 2 years so you have definitely had plenty of time to contemplate such things. However, it does feel like you have developed a certain mindset and are having a hard time seeing an alternative perspective because you have already made your mind up that you want to divorce. It feels like if your parents supported your decision to divorce then perhaps you would have been more quick to take this as an option.

Instead, given that you really have been in this mindset for such a prolonged time, I’d challenge you to try thinking about things from an alternative perspective first before making any further decision. I wonder whether, like many in a similar scenario would do, when you’ve made a choice, you have a hard time seeing things from an alternative perspective, instead only being able to see the things that your looking for to confirm that actually your choice is the best and right one to make. For example, the main problem for you now is the lack of emotional connection and so perhaps you are only observant of the moments when this occurs and are missing or overlooking  the moments where there is a connection, however small. Perhaps you might try at the end of each day looking back over your interactions with him to see if there really was no emotional connection at all? Or whether there was something but maybe you interpreted it differently, that maybe he was actually trying to make that connection.

I would also challenge you to look at your own actions towards him. Is there a chance that because of the way you feel right now, you are also pushing him away and not giving him the chance to connect with you emotionally. Perhaps it has become a negative cycle whereby you feel he shows no affection, so naturally you don’t shown any back. He then sees you showing no affection so doesn’t offer any at all, not necessarily because he doesn’t want to, but because it would feel unnatural to show affection to someone who is emotionally closed. This may not be the case, but could also explain how you feel now too. With this in mind, I’d suggest that as uncomfortable as it might make you feel, maybe you could try making the move. Show him what it’s like to show affection. Lead by example. Maybe this is unfamiliar territory for him and you can lead the way for him. This may not work either, but it’s something worth trying before thinking or acting any further.

Another thing you can also think about is how things used tone between you all those years ago when you fell in love. There were obviously plenty of things that you liked about him and were drawn to that made you want to marry him in the first place. Of course people change as they age, but maybe there are some things there that you overlook as a result of familiarity.

Ultimately, you are the one that will have to make the decision moving forward but I wanted to offer you some alternative perspectives to contemplate on also before you make such a life changing decision to either stick around and start a family, or go your separate ways.

I know its already been on your mind for so long, but I’d urge you now to approach it with a wider perspective and think about the reasons for and against leaving or staying. You might even take a break away to do this reflection in a quiet space without distractions that may sway you either way. Give yourself enough time to be absolutely certain about your choice. Make a decision and take it to Allah and He will surely facilitate whichever outcome is the best for you.

May Allah guide you to what is best. May your path be one of happiness and success in both this life and the next.

Question 4. Black Magic

Assalamualaikum sister I hope you are well.

First of all, I don’t think I am a good Muslim or a great human but I follow the rule of not harming people to the best of my abilities, so I never understood why my life is such a mess until very recently.

12 years ago my brother got sick and immediately afterwards I got sick. My life of suffering and pain started, actually it started much before but it became apparent at that time, the pain and suffering from my younger days seems like paradise now.

I was an A student I started failing classes, parents started fighting, brother was in ICU constantly, I was always sick, it was a nightmare.

5 years ago I got married, my brother died a few months after, my in laws were abusive my so called husband was a piece of shut to be polite. Anyway, he divorced me 3 years ago. After that during the pandemic I lost my job. 2 years ago, I had a stroke.

Basically I have had a hard life. I have been told my in laws are using black magic on me, my symptoms include constant yawning, sneezing, itching, headaches, depression & anxiety. My question is have I been under black magic/evil eye my whole life? How do I protect myself?

Thank you.

Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh sister,

You certainly have been through a lot of trials in your life with health and loss being amongst the challenges you have faced. May Allah make it easy for you and give you the strength to pull through. Alhamdulilah, you are doing your best to maintain a good character.

There are a couple of ways we can look at this. Firstly, remember that going through such tests, whilst challenging and distressing, especially in the moment, can have their benefits. Remember Allah tests those He loves most and only if He knows they can endure it. Just take a look at those before us, amongst those most beloved to Allah and how they were tested beyond what we could even imagine.  This is the will of Allah and is one that we must accept however difficult or confusing things might be.

As for the suggestion that your in laws are using black magic on you, well, maybe they are, maybe they aren’t, but it’s easier to say they are as it assigns a cause to everything that’s happening. Either way, you can always play your part by protecting yourself regardless. Do this by saying your morning and adhkar daily, saying the specific duas throughout the day for things like leaving the home eating, going to the toilet…etc.. This helps keep Allah in mind at all time and protects you from harm as you go about your daily duties. Try not to focus so much on the thought that black magic has been done on you as this may overwhelm your thought processes and cause you to feel suspicion and animosity towards loved ones.

May Allah protect you and give you strength during times of calamity. May He reward your insurance during these adverse times and bring you success in this life and the next.

Monday, Oct. 16, 2023 | 09:00 - 10:00 GMT

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