Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
marriage advice from muslim women please!(186 Posts)
(and also non-Muslim women if you have any insights!)
Hello/asalam u alikumm and also Ramadan Mubarek. This is my first post, after browsing for some time, so please forgive me for any mistakes in etiquette.
I need some advice regarding my marriage, and from reading some old posts it seemed other muslim women may have dealt with similar issues. I'd be particularly grateful for advice from anyone who has managed to move beyond the point I'm at now.
I converted, by the Grace of God, to Islam about 8 years ago, I got married about 3 years ago, to a Muslim man from a different country, who has a position of authority within the Muslim community. We now have an 18 month old son and live in the UK.
My husband is great in terms of practical help in the house and with the baby and all that, and the bottom line is that he is a good man. However, he has restricted my freedom more than I could ever have imagined. There are a couple of things I do regularly (go to the local shops alone and meet wiht some Muslim women once a month a so) but to do anything beyond this takes a lot of negotiation and is met with much grumpiness and dissapproval. Even a simple thing as taking the baby to the park with a friend. I no longer am able to visit my family for a night without my husband, let along go and stay with friends. I don't attend any Islamic events or lectures (before marriage I was active in the Muslim community). I may occasionally be able to meet a friend or go to town alone, but I find the process of getting him to agree so stressful that I don't really bother asking.
Sometimes he will just say no, and not have a good reason, which is bad enough, but a lot of the time he gets his way by making everything around an event so stressful that I never do it again. Frequently I have been in floods of tears minutes before I'm due to go out, friends to arrive etc. I'm reluctant to resort to the word abuse, but this sort of behaviour makes me feel that way.
I am becoming very isolated, and I'm concerned that my relationship with my non-Muslim family, which has always been positive, is being affected.
On an emotional level I feel that I can't be myself. he doesn't respect my needs or my emotions. If I try to talk to him about how I feel, I get hit with the Islam hammer, and made to feel that my feelings are 'wrong' Islamically.
There was no warning of this before marriage, either in what I had seen of him (he was my teacher before we married) or in the discussions we had before marriage.
Because of the baby I've tried to keep a very peaceful atmosphere despite all this, but I am feeling I really need to take action as it is making me emotionally and physically unwell. I have had several miscarriages this year, and I believe that stress is not helping.
I've tried to be brief here, I can say more if needed. Has anyone dealt with similar issues in a positive way? I would hate the marriage to end and my family to break up, but I really can't imagine living like this forever.
I think all you have to do to know that how he is behaving is nothing to do with your religion is to look at your female muslim friends who are happily going to parks, shops and visiting others without having to negotiate. He is likely to be following the restrictive traditions of his home-country rather than those of islam
You may be reluctant to use the word 'abuse' but many man of all faiths and none choose to control their partners exactly the same way. Bullying, isolating them from friends and family, restricting their movements and actions, depriving them of freedom, being critical. They gamble that you will submit and 'keep a peaceful atmosphere' rather than assert yourself. It is all designed to keep you trapped, both physically and mentally, not sure what is right and wrong any more, not trusting your own judgement.
Coginto is right. This is nothing to do with Islam and everything to do with an abusive man. You may find this useful
I'm not Muslim. Don't let religion be an excuse for abuse
Is this how life is going to be? He's an utter arse
I agree with the others. This is not about religion.
I have a friend who has also converted and sometimes helps others. If you don't get much help here and you would like, pm me and I will ask her if she is willing to chat with you.
Another one agreeing that this is not just a religious issue.
It could be mainly a cultural issue, and if it is then it may be solve-able, if you and your husband are able to talk to one another about it. If it is normal in his family/his home country for wives to have so little freedom, then maybe he doesn't understand that there are many devout Muslim families who don't operate like this. Surely the other Muslim families in your community don't all live like this? Does he not understand that?
If he is completely incapable of listening to you then you have bigger problems, and will need to think about what to do next - certainly, he needs to understand that going on like this forever is not an option.
He is abusing you and hiding behind his faith to do so, if you were not Muslims would you feel he had a right to treat you this way?
He is your husband not your keeper.
If you are not allowed out and not allowed to see your family I really think you need to tell him to shape up or ship out
Thank you for the comments, links etc. It's suprised me how easily people see this as abuse, that's a bit of a wake up call. To clarify RabidAnchovy, I see my family a lot but he's always with me. That would be fine most of the time, but sometimes I'd just like to go and chill out with my sister or something. I think it's partly but not wholly cultural Bandersnatch. It's hard to compare with the way his sisters and other female relatives live as their lives are so different anyway. Interestingly he has asked his older brother for advice and he tells him he is being really silly, that has a positive impact in the short term but then he just goes back to normal.
I think his behaviour comes from fear of losing me. However, the only way that would happen is if he carries on like this.
While I can see that his behavior in this regard is 'abusive' I don't feel he is really an abusive person, as in every other way he's not at all, it's very much restricted to this one issue. He's really kind in other ways.
I hope that means if I can make him see what he's doing then he might be willing to change.
Ah, OK. Look, it sounds as if you've got into the habit of asking him for permission to do things. That's got to stop. Not that you shouldn't ever take his feelings, convenience, wishes etc. into account - but it is not up to him to veto where you go and what you do, and he should also be taking your feelings and wishes on board. That's what mutually loving couples do - whether Muslim, Christian, Jewish, or anything else. Interesting that his brother thinks he's wrong. Excuse me for asking this, if it's way off the mark - but when you converted to Islam and then got married, was there any part of you that automatically assumed that you should start doing things like asking permission to go out? Or did you just start doing it because he made too much fuss if you didn't?
Being controlling and manipulative in this way is abusive, even if it's dressed up as love or care. Being a controlling abusive man isn't a feature of any particular religion but I think you have convinced yourself that an Islamic marriage is like this to some extent and yours is just a bit more extreme.
My stbxh is Muslim and has never attempted to control my social life or how I see my family. Nor do the husbands of his sisters or any women I know. This is not ok. Don't put up with it put of shame or fear of repercussions from the community, it's an awful way to live and not something you want to impart to your dc.
The only person who is restricting you is you yourself.
If you continue to tolerate this abuse you only have yourself to blame. It's nothing to do with Islam and everythinbg to do with recognising your are in an abusive and controlling relationship.
This man is an utter control freak. Marriage (as I see it anyway) is a partnership of two equals, not one controlling and dictating to the other what can and cannot be done. Does he ask you if he can visit his family or take the children out? Then why should you.
"I think you have convinced yourself that an Islamic marriage is like this to some extent and yours is just a bit more extreme".
That's what I was wondering too, Erik.
"a lot of the time he gets his way by making everything around an event so stressful that I never do it again. Frequently I have been in floods of tears minutes before I'm due to go out, friends to arrive etc...
I am becoming very isolated,"
This is universal behaviour of a controlling man
I agree that perhaps you accepted a lot more than you might have done as you felt/assumed it was the accepted way of your adopted religion, but just ask yourself where is the respect for you?
Isn't a husband supposed to respect his wife?
Not control her isolate her and make her feel bad.
If he is high up and a teacher, he may respond to other (men) people he respects calling him on it.
Would it be acceptable for you to discuss this issue candidly with his brother or brother's wife?
Some really helpful insights and all along the same lines which is telling! To the couple of people who suggest that my perception might be that this is normal and our situation is a bit more extreme, I think that's very possibly true. I do have friends in multicultural marriages who have similar but not so severe issues, which has made me think his behaviour is on some normal spectrum. And yes Bandersnatch, I did go into the marriage 'asking'. I had so wanted to marry him, and so wanted to be a 'good Muslim wife', I think I conceded far too much in the beginning.
A couple of you asked if he asks me if he can do things? The funny thing is that he does, and he hardly does anything anyway. Just this month he decided to stay after the tarawi prayer until fajr in the mosque, which made perfect sense to me, but he was very considerate about asking if that was OK, if I would manage with the baby, feel scared in the house alone etc. So in this regard I don't really mind 'asking' in the sense of just checking it's ok, not clashing with his plans, etc etc. But I really mind having to fight for a justify the most simple outing.
Quietly suggests, I'd love to discuss it with his brother, unfortunately he doesn't speak English and I don't speak enough of his language to communicate something like this. However, I had an idea that I might approach him and suggest mediation, and ask him to identify someone male who he trusts and respects, and I will take someone as my representative. I think he really needs a wake up call.
OP, are you a lot younger than this man? Were you born in the UK?
Slug and windsock, just had a chance to look at the links, many thanks.
I am very slightly older than him, however, the way we met (I was his student) may have created a power imbalance.
I was born in the UK. Part of his need for power over me is that in reality he is very reliant on me at the moment, as he is learning English and doesn't really understand how things work here. I have to do a lot of practical stuff that he would prefer to do and I think that might contribute to him wanting to control me in other ways.
I don't see this as abuse. I see it as a man brought up in a culture which does things differently to the one the OP has been brought up in. They must sort this out in a rational way between themselves.
"If I try to talk to him about how I feel, I get hit with the Islam hammer, and made to feel that my feelings are 'wrong' Islamically."
An improvement in his understanding of English and UK culture is not going to change things then.
Thanks Viviennemary for the different perspective. While I think I need to accept that this aspect of his behaviour is having the affect of an abusive behaviour in our situation, and so I need to deal with it in that way, knowing him as I do I don't feel I could fairly label him as an 'abuser', though I think many who have posted may disagree.
Hmm, I was going to suggest couples' counselling as a possibility, but that could be tricky if there is a language barrier. Not impossible, though, and you could keep it in mind as a possibility.
"And yes Bandersnatch, I did go into the marriage 'asking'. I had so wanted to marry him, and so wanted to be a 'good Muslim wife', I think I conceded far too much in the beginning."
I think it's easily done, HEH - and of course, the assumptions that get set up in the early days of a relationship do tend to set the tone for the future. The thing is, you really can be a good Muslim, and a loving wife, without the drastic break with your old life and identity that it sounds like you might have assumed was necessary. I think that realising that for yourself might be very valuable as a first step. Once you feel clearer about that, you'll already be in a much better position to sit down and talk to him.
Re his enforced dependence on you, and the effect it may be having - it's understandable that he may be finding that very difficult. And it's fine for you to be sympathetic towards how he feels about that, and to support him. But you also need to be very clear that it's about him, and his anxieties. Be firm - it's not up to you to work around it. It's up to him.
Could you speak to the leaders at your mosque at all? (I'm sorry I don't know the proper terms) Perhaps they could help reassure you that your feelings are not "wrong" in any way and help you find a way to resolve this issue. Perhaps they would talk to you together.
Thanks Bandersnatch, your advice is really helpful. I feel I need to get across to him that things have to change, and begin a process of mediation, whatever that might be. I need to get across to him that I can't live like this (and won't) without threatening to leave, which is what it might sound like.
Bertiebotts, I feel slightly wierd talking to the Imams (that's the word you are looking for I think!), as he works with them on the same level, but I think if I can get him to talk to one of them that might help.
Salam alaykoum dear sis,
Don't have much useful advice but I think this is fairly common in multicultural marriages. I had similar issues with my husband (although to a much smaller extend) at the beginning of our marriage. I'm also a convert, from a very liberal, atheist family, and he is from a conservative background, born abroad. The women in his family tend to prefer staying home and visiting relatives in their houses and rarely go out, and your husband I suppose is just reproducing what he witnessed growing up, so I feel a bit unconfortable labelling him as abusive if you say he is a good man in other respects. I think you need to make him realize how badly this is affecting you and how unhappy you feel. Mediation would definitely be good, maybe you could find someone from his country but who has a better understanding of Western culture and the way you were brought up? Also maybe you could bring him ahadith about the importance of maintaining family bonds, even if your parents are non muslims, and tell him how beneficial it is for you to attend conferences or the masjid, to work on your iman? There's a hadith that tells us to not prevent the female worshippers from attending the mosque. And remind him that the best Muslim is the one who treats his wife the best! I hope you are able to resolve your issues inshallah, feel free to pm me.
ummunono, thanks, your and your husbands respective backgrounds sound very similar to ours. And the females in his family do as you describe. You said you had similar but lesser issues at the beginning of your marriage. How did you resolve them?
Walaykum salaam sis.
Firstly as a muslim woman, there is nothing wrong with asking your husband's permission to go out.
However the situation you describe is not acceptable. It is obviously having an impact on the health of you and your child if you cannot even go to the park.
Also it is your right to see your family, and your duty to maintain family ties in Islam, if he is preventing you from doing so he is sinful.
You need to learn about Islam. Tell him the best of men are those who are best to their wives,, and that a woman is like a rib if you try to straighten her she will break, and that the fitrah Allah gave you is to be emotional, so obviously if you are not happy it will effect you.
There is a book called winning the heart of your wife which is good, also a book called like a garment.
There is also [www.solaceuk.org] which is an organisation to help reverts, they have an advice line with sheikh haithem hadad and support and advice services and would be used to these kinds of situations.
Also I suggest you post on a muslim forum as you will get views from brothers which could be helpful to understanding your husband.
Remember sabr means patient perseverance, not just in actively sitting and waiting, but trying to better your situation and actively taking steps to do so and being patient in seeing results.
Also this is ramadhan. Make dua, write down all the Duas you wish to make then in the hour before you break your fast read them.
Feel free to pm me if you want to talk any time.
Sorry. There is something wrong with asking anyone permission to go out.
Why? If your Dh wants to go out does he just walk out? My husband always checks if I need him for anything first, if kids are playing up etc.
If he just went out as he pleased without consulting me it wouldn't be much of a partnership.
Op most muslim women don't ask there husband's for permission every time they go out. They have a mutual.general understanding of what is acceptable in their individual relationship for their circumstances. It comes under the ruling of general permission. I generally inform my husband of my plans only if it is something out of the norm, but park, toddler group, shopping, halaqa, friends, day trips for kids, relatives etc I don't unless he is there and awake when I am leaving.
is it to do with your dh's personality OP? my dh is a real homebody, he works long hours and when he is at home just wants to stay at home with me. i can do whatever i like when he is at work but when hes home he just wants my company - even if just to sit without talking much!
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Well I suppose communication and compromise! For example I generally don't go out after Maghrib, don't visit non-mahrams, I let him know what I am up to (without "asking permission, but if he felt unconfortable with something I would probably not go). I have a daughter same age as your son and he understands I have to take her to playgroups and the park for her own good (and for my sanity!). It took time though for us to work it out as I was used to be out at all hours and working late at night before I got married. Now if we disagree we will go back to religious texts and discuss. Crescentmoon makes a point, maybe he is the one feeling isolated and he wants you to stay with him? For how long has he been living in the UK? Surely if he had a busy social life himself he wouldn't feel the need to control what you are doing?
I've read and re-read this thread before replying as j don't want to sound negative...
I was married to a Muslim man. I loved him dearly and stayed with him 8 years. He became increasingly controlling and did not allow me to be myself. I had to stop drinking and going out with my fiends in order to avoid rows.
Eventually I came to the conclusion that he didn't love me, but loved the idea of a different me. I believe religion was a big part as well as his culture, but it was also the fact that he thought his background was more important than mine hence I should be the one to change.
I became very resentful until one day I packed my bags and left. I never once looked back.
I believe marriages can and do work with mixed religion and culture but there needs to be a mutual respect and a lot of give and take otherwise it's always one person giving things up.
I would try to talk to him and make your point clear. How would he feel if you suddenly demanded that he eats pork and drinks wine daily? You would not dream of that as presumably these things matter to him- so it's needs to be the same for you!
Good luck x
Not got much time to reply at the moment, and will reply properly later, but these last few posts from people who have been in the similar positions have really helped. Cresentmoon, you just described exactly what I did, same books same everything. And he is a homebody, he has some friends but he doesn't really socialise very much. It's different when we visit his home country as he loves hanging out with his brothers. Thanks Lolcbcb for thinking before posting and it didn't come across as negative. I think it helps that we at least have the same religion.
He is controlling. Maybe the woken in his family act like this, through interpretation of religion or culture. Either way, he lives is this country and is married to you.
I know many muslim couples from different parts of the world. His is not normal behaviour, or acceptable. My DH may voice concern if I say I want to go out by myself into central london at night, but I would say the same to him! He would never forbid me from going anywhere.
I have found that in some parts of the world, the culture is that of treating the women as 'jewels' (ha - keeping them out of sight locked up more like) but this is cultural practise, not religion.
In pure Islam women have a lot more rights than people imagine. And husbands are judged on how they treat their wives. In fact, in most muslim households I know well, the women rule the home, most work, and the husbands treat them as equals - no question of 'god says this, so you must do that'. The only women I have met who have said 'my husband has said that I can't...(add your own rule here)' have been women (often converts) married to men from (generally) specific parts of the world.
He sounds like he doesn't respect you, and possibly he is one of those who has little respect for 'foreigners and non-muslims'?
Nailak, the 'general permission' that you describe, is definately what I had imagined would happen within my marriage, although I did expect it might take a bit of negotiation to work that out, being from different cultures. In reality I have just ended up giving more and more activities up, to avoid a bad atmosphere.
Frontpaw, like you I know many Muslim women in many parts of the world, and they don't live like this. What you said in your last sentence is exactly how I feel on a bad day. On a good day I feel a bit more sympathetic and understanding towards him, we've been through a lot since we got married, and his life has changed enormously, it's alot to get used to for both of us.
Shaitan comes to people in different ways, and so knowing my husband would never look at another woman or anything like that, I think this is his way of coming between us.
All the comments have been so useful, thanks to everyone for taking the time to respond. It's helped my determination to sort this out and not back down, a process I intend to start after Ramadan (with much dua in the meantine, as you suggested Nailak), with the help of other people, as I don't think we can fix this alone.
Please pray that we manage to save this marriage. What I haven't mentioned is what a great dad he is, and I would hate to have to break up our family.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Remember the wives of the prophet sas argued with him, disagreed with him, etc and they were the best of wives. This idea of a wife being a sycophant is not from Islam.
Thanks crescentmoon, you've touched on so much that is familiar to my situation. Alhamdulillah, because I was Muslim for 6 years and had lots of opportunity I was able to travel and study Islam and felt confident in my beliefs when I met him. This is one of the things he liked and respected about me, and in front of other people he still does, for example he'll say 'ask my wife about that, she's studied that' and other such things. However, within our marriage he has changed from the lovely open man I met, who was very straight in religious matters but also very open and approachable, to someone with a very 'closed' attitude, it's almost like he's gone into a funnel, the further he gets down this path the narrower his views become. It's very frustrating and of course all I get if I question it is 'how can you question me, I've studied Islam all my life' etc etc.
I'm interested in the tactics that you have used, and also what you said about things meaning different things in different cultures. One example from our relationship is that he is very helpful in domestic matters, until we have guests (muslim or non-muslim inlcuding my family) at which point he sits down and expects to be waited on! This leaves my family thinking he never helps (presumably, though they've never said anything), but from his point of view this is something to do with not wanting to embarrass me by making it look like a can't cook a meal by myself.
It's so good to know you have overcome some similar issues, although you did say they were less severe.
Crescentmoon I would really like to know about your 'manipulative' behaviour, as it sounds like actually quite a wise way of resolving the issues without creating too much of a storm. I'm not very good at being 'clever' in that way so could do with some tips. If it's to personal to talk about on here perhaps you could PM me?
Very good point Nailak.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Crescentmoon, in terms of what you said about following different opinions, own teachers, I do all of that, and am open about it, the problem is getting him to accept that it has any validity - that's where mediation might help I think
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Salam, some good advice. If it helps I'm in a similar boat but more I dont have any friends in this town as I moved here after marriage and husband doesn't help me to venture out. I think it's cos I'm more of a social creature than he is. I want to make friends and when I do I will have them over, go for a coffee when he has a day off especially so he can have our son. I think you have to stand your ground but also deal with him with wisdom which is something I forget. I can throw a right wobbler out of frustration. End of the day you have to answer to Allah and if you're not going against Islam then you should just do it. He needs to learn that he could lose you if he doesn't give you a social life. The wives of the prophet were not going out to work but were very active in their communities with other women. Thing is if he genuinely believes the people you want to hang out with are bad people he can stop you from seeing thembut he needs to justify himself first. Some men just have issues with women having their own life. They feel threatened. You shouldn't stand for that. I went to a mosque and met some lovely revert sisters, I'm not revert myself but my husband wasnt keen cos it's Wahhabi (don't ask) mosque, I just went cos i want to meet other practising sisters and i got on with them really well. in Islam he can't stop you from having a sisterhood. He cannot justify it with religion. I may be repeating what others have said but get a practising muslim person with good standing who is a NEUTRAL who will sit you both together and discuss. Thats the best way. My husband throws a fit at the idea of me getting someone else involved and I ask him 'are u scared that they will say I am right?'. If I lost patience with him I will get someone involved as a last resort with the hope of sorting it out but I hate to say divorce is allowed but be patient Some men just dont deservemuslim wives. Just look at how Muhammad saw treated his wives, a stark contrast to how men treat their wives today, of any religion, or no religion. Apologies for my bad typo, silly iPad auto thingy.
Sorry to hijack the thread but just wondering how long you all have been married for? I've been for three years but it's just been so hard. Does it get easier? I was always a spoilt brat at my mums but have had to grow up since but feel exhausted mentally. I see too much good in my husband to leave him plus we have our son so think I could live like this. I think loneliness kills me more than anything. I love being a sahm and wouldn't change it unless we needed the money but feel that by becoming a sahm I've somehow indirectly told my husband that means literally stay at home. I wanted to be a cool mum who takes he son out, mothers n toddlers, educates him and meets up with her friends. He's nearly two and none of that has happened. I don't want him to be antisocial like my hubby. I keep telling him kids needs to go out I go to my mums just so I can have abit of a life. All I spend doing all day is moping around, do abit of housework, read abit to my son but when u spend most days in doors you can feel really unhealthy and things you would enjoy become mundane.i go out with husband and we have a good time but I want to go out with girls too so I can talk about makeup etc hehe I talk to him about makeup but he doesn't really get it (mind u I'd be worried if he did!)
Cattyness your marriage sounds really oppressive. You know it's wrong but what are you going to do about it? You can't keep a toddler indoors with only you for company day in day out, it's not good for him, or you.
I know. That's why in on here trying to find people in my area who could tell me where to go. There's a mums group at the church but I'm worried they might not accept me for being Muslim. I Like people of all backgrounds but I have moved to a little northern mill town where people are not that tolerant apparently. Who knows they could be lovely. Im just not very confident as I'd want them to like me. I sound silly now.
I doubt a church group would exclude you, is it a playgroup? I think you would be surprised.
sis, is the issue you dont know where to go, or that he doesnt let you go?
do you not meet people in the park? at the shops etc? what about the nieghbours, or local school fairs etc?
have you tried meeting other people in your area through forums and face book etc?
Try the groups, definitely! Go to all of them, and see which ones you like.
Most people don't ask or even think about religion at toddler groups, it shouldn't be an issue.
My ex was a muslim, i was with him for 10 years, 3 in his country.
I can tell you your marriage is no different to how mine was.
I ended up with agoraphobia, from the literal weeks and weeks of not being able or allowed to get out of the house. The longest period indoors, without setting foot outside, was 10 weeks, and only then because i was bleeding to death with a mc. Only just made it.
I was a good wife, respectful, fearful and loyal.
Please understand that the way it is, is the way it always will be.
The abuse is still abuse, no matter if you do it in the name of islam, or because that's how your dad treated your mum.
I attend counselling, a domestic abuse support group, and have done the freedom programme.
This man is dangerous to you, to your dc, and your sanity.
Don't try to negotiate, there's no point, he sees this as his right to treat you like this. You've got no chance he'll ever change.
Don't stop until you are out of there, don't do counselling, don't seek help from the imam, they'll only push you back down.
You chose the wrong man, cut your losses, get out and go back to doing the spiritual things you used to, that made you happy and fulfilled.
I can't tell you how many stories I've heard that are identical to yours; active muslim sisters stripped of all their valid and totally legitimate social activities, some that were forced home, thousands of miles away, leaving their children with his mother.
It broke my heart to see the cruelty perpetrated in the name, or more accurately, under the guise of such a peaceful religion.
Save yourself the therapy, save yourself the pain, please get out.
Meant to say, my poor son was stuck indoors with me too, I'm lucky he came out of it ok, but i had to choose a very different kind of nursery, to ease him into playing with other children.
We only really started our proper life as mum and boy when we came home. He was 3.5. Before then, we were cell mates.
" I was a good wife, respectful, fearful and loyal. "
All I'm going to say here is that no wife should fear her husband (or vice versa.)
Respect, yes, provided he earns it; loyalty, goes without saying; fear?
Cattyness, thanks for joining the thread, it sounds like we have some similar issues. Hope the advice on here helps you as well.
Highjumphissy, thanks for your post and for sharing what you've been through. I don't feel I can take your advice, though I understand why you gave me that advice from what you've been through. If I ever leave, I'll need to feel I've done everything in my power to save the marriage, and at the moment I couldn't say I have.
InshAllah after Ramadan I'll be approaching my husband about getting some mediation. I'll post any progress on here!
Cailleach, agree with you. I was wrong, but what i lived made me fearful. That's how you're expected to be.
Op, a billion NO's to your mediation!, please don't disregard my words, i spent 3 years, totally isolated, kicked, shouted at, humiliated.
I tried to find a way, ANY way to make my 'Marriage' work. The goal posts get shifted just to weaken you further.
Whatever yo do,say, think, don't think, it won't matter, its his right to treat you like this.
I would beg my H to not be so mean, i didn't even ask him to be nice, but he DIDNT WANT TO. Your H doesnt want to either, he'd sooner eat Pork than give you YOUR FREEDOM BACK.
Please read Why Does He Do that. By lundy bancroft. It'll help you see what the dynamic is.
This is supposed to be a marriage, not a sentence.
Don't put yourself through this, you won't 'win '
You poor love, having had 'several' miscarriages already this year. I do hope that he's allowing you enough time for recovery before impregnating you again.
If not, then he is also sexually abusing you, too.
Erik: yep it's a playgroup. I've found their number so will call them tomorrow. Who knows, I may even make friends there though I don't want to come across too desperate.
Nailak: it's abit of both. If I had somewhere I wanted to go I don't think he'd stop me but he wouldn't be keen which after three years isn't something I care about. I'm a reasonable person, I expect the same from him.
Problem with where I live is everyone knows my in laws and some of the women that have approached me make a point of bitching about her. I dont like that and feel people like that can really ruin your relationships. You know, narrow minded, uneducated, indian drama watching types which personally i dont have much in common with anyway. If they were into religion then I would hug them. I think it's this town, honestly, it shelters them and they lose basic manners. Whenever I've asked people about Islamic events I get the usual blank stares. I promise you I'm not exaggerating. It seems that the normal educated women go out to work even as mums and naive me has chosen to be a sahm. In some areas of the country it is seen as a privilege but over here they think you're too thick to work as most of the sahm are women from back home. I have a good degree from a decent uni but I don't want to leave my son and I just don't need the money but i have realised very slowly that the only way you get a life is if you work. Most sahm over here spend their time going to each others houses and gossip etc but I want something abit more productive for us. Playgroup sounds fun. We had an appointment at the docs and he was playing with all these other kids. I was so happy cos I could see he was.
Hardlyeverhoovers: thanks, you seem very wise and your husband doesn't sound like a nasty person tbh just needs to understand a few things. Crescentmoon is giving really good advice. I'm picking up some good tips so thanks.
Tb that's terribly presumptuous of you
And naila k and ummuno, loads of great advice I'm catching up on now. Thankyou ladies.
I am becoming very isolated, and I'm concerned that my relationship with my non-Muslim family, which has always been positive, is being affected.
I am in a cross-cultural marriage, and while I haven't had anything like the issues that you have, OP, I can empathise with the above.
We live in my wife's country and now live with her extended family - an arrangement which will come to an end soon. While they are all very nice, having their culture so in-my-face can be unbearable. I only recently moved in here, and nearly all my friends live a two-hour train ride away. I can speak the language, but not quite to the point where I can relax in it. So over meals, they speak to each other at breakneck speed, and I have to concentrate very very hard to join in. After a few minutes, this becomes exhausting, and I opt out, only joining in if spoken to.
This has meant that every so often I absolutely long for an evening out with everything in English. However, the train ride meant that when I arrived to meet my friends, I'd have to up and leave about an hour and a half later to get back. Hence the thorny issue of staying overnight with friends and coming back the next day being raised, which utterly mortified my very conservative mother-in-law, who became convinced I wanted a bit on the side. My wife was much better about it. It took quite a lot of convincing the mother-in-law that I needed some escape time, and this was mostly done by my wife. I don't think she means to be difficult - she is old, conservative and has never even met a foreigner, and she wasn't doing anything wrong, so I didn't enjoy telling her. But she came through, and now it is a non-issue.
You definitely need to tell your husband how you feel, or get someone else to if he won't listen to you.
catty defo go to playgroup, for me childrens centre is what keeps me sane.
I would agree keep away from the type you decribe. but what about the girls in late teens and early twenties? they are normally quite aware?
I also understand what you say about work and totally get where you are coming from, I went to work for a while to keep myself sane.
But what I realised is that paid employment is not neccessarily the only way to do this. I know at the moment it might be a bit like telling someone who cant walk to run, but the same satisfaction you get through work can be got through community and voluntary activities.
So maybe find the childrens centre and playgroups, become involved in the advisory panel of them, or become a community governor for a nursery, look up muslim organisations and volunteer for them, such as www.solaceuk.org if they are not active in your city ask them if they would be interested if you coukld finf others in becoming active, once you meet 2 or 3 people have circles in your home, just discuss issues or go through tasfir orr anything, you will probably find there are others in same boat as you.
Also Muslim charities, if you do fundraising etc it is a good way to get to know people, and it might be silly but i did avon for a bit, and i really got to know the neighbours that way, the muslims invited me and the kids in for tea and everything,
go to playgroup religiously, make it priority to find out all the kids activities in your area and get out at least every other day, increase your own esteem and confidence through interacting with other mums.
if anyone mentions your in laws just tell them to stop. imagine someone was bitching about you to a family member, would you rather them sit and listen or say something. even if you dont get on with in laws, just tell them that you rather they didnt create fitnah in your marriage.
if you pm me and tell me where you live, i could see if i can find some sisters in the area to help you out. stuff like circles etc in peoples houses you only get invited to through knowing people, otherwise you dont know they exist.
Also personally i didnt start making friends until my oldest dd was in nursery, and i was mixing regularly with the other parents, i think the time between 0-3 is very lonely, then after that it gets better.
a good sister once gave advice that 90% of your emotional needs you should take care of yourself. and 10% shared with your husband, if you give me your email, i will forward you the marriage circle emails they are very useful, even if not to fix your marriage, to help yourself, also if you are on fb there are some helpful groups i can add you to inshallah.
get in touch sis, i will make dua for you.
hardlyever the same advice and offers of help goes to you too, or any other sisters reading this who are in the same position.
as well as solace there is also this charity nour-dv.org.uk/ that can provide help and support. just incase anyone searching this topic or lurking needs it.
Hardlyever you said this:
A couple of you asked if he asks me if he can do things? The funny thing is that he does, and he hardly does anything anyway. Just this month he decided to stay after the tarawi prayer until fajr in the mosque, which made perfect sense to me, but he was very considerate about asking if that was OK, if I would manage with the baby, feel scared in the house alone etc. So in this regard I don't really mind 'asking' in the sense of just checking it's ok, not clashing with his plans, etc etc. But I really mind having to fight for a justify the most simple outing
You said you were well travelled before your marriage. Why would your husband be assuming that you would be unable to cope with your baby or scared in the house.
I guess it rang alarm bells for me because my exh used to undermine me in the care DS (telling not to carry him on the stairs as I'd drop him.. or that his Mum was better with DS than me etc. He also used to do that gaslighty thing of saying 'does it not worry to travel alone/go out after dark/be in public where people might hurt you? )
You need him to understand that you are still the capable strong well travelled woman he married and that is part of what will make you a 'good muslim wife'
In fact not letting go of your 'self' is what will make you a '
good happy wife'
Incidentally exdh claimed to be a Muslim and quoted all sorts of nonsense at me that has nothing to do with Islam...I also think it was more about him being an arse than about his religion
Not much time to reply at the mo, just want to make it clear there has never been even a whisper of physical or sexual abuse of any kind.
Salams catty i only saw this thread now. I will post later this morning about some of the methods I used but I will say at the outset it's not holy Islamic marriage advice nor romantic marriage advice!
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Wow. Thankyou. Totally get it and all of what you said is something I am working on. It's sad, when I met my husband (arranged) I told him I wanted to base our marriage on Islam not culture so he better clue himself up if he wanted to marry me but that was a waste of conversation. Should've just drawn up a contract. I was so naive. My parents blame me now for not being clever. I just trusted he wouldn't abuse my god fearing vulnerability. I don't think he abuses it deliberately, he's just comfortable.
Crescent may I message you as I really could do with a confidante especially as you know the score? I just don't want to let the cat out of the bag on here plus don't hijacking threads. Please let me know as just want to tell you my story and see what you think?
Thankyou nailak. I'm sorry I only just saw your post. Will message you now.
i wish i had drawn up a nikah contract as well cattyness for different reasons! please feel free to PM me inshaallah.
my parents also had a go at me for being foolish catty i was so desperate to please. best thing was for DH to think he won you from your family, not that he rescued you from your family there is a big difference. the controlling and throwing weight around comes from perceiving you have lack of options than him - so he has more 'weight' in the marriage.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
I am the daughter of a muslim/western union, so i understand a little of your angst.
My mum converted to Islam and was completely dominated by my father- socially, economically, spiritually- she became a shadow of a what women should be- her will was no longer hers, she was utterly supressed. She became afraid to voice an opinion, to see her parents, ect, ect, ect.
My sister and I were raised within a strict islamic structure, we went to mosque and were instructed in the ways of his religion.
I was always told by my father (my mother was silent) that i would be sent abroad to be married- i remember knowing this from age 7- and i knew then, that i would kill myself before i would submit.
Ours is a happy story, of sorts. We ran away (I was 12) changed our identities (it was necessary) and I am now a happily married 37 year old.
My mum has a wonderful life, she travels, she has a great career, she has friends. She is a person in her own right.
To look at me you would never guess my background. Blonde hair, blue eyes, but the scars, the horrors, are embedded within me.
So, my advice. You worry about the impact upon your children not being socialised- i would worry more about the devastating impact that having a powerless mother has. It transfers on to your children, like a posion.
My husband and I do not play games, I donot 'manipulate' him, I am not 'clever.' We are best friends, equals, and we look after each other. How did your pre-muslim self feel about relationships, freedom of expression and personal power?
I wish you the very best of luck.
Having started this thread (and cattyness you were more than welcome to 'hijack', it's nice to have company, I'll PM you inshAllah), I feel I need to make a few things clear about my own situation and perhaps the situation of some of the other quiet voices on here.
Some people have posted who have been through horrendous experiences, which are unquestionably abusive. Many have posted who have been from a different religion to their husband, or perhaps pressured into converting in some cases. It's been really valuable to read these posts, and changing these situations has obviously taken a lot of courage. Arrgh, it was really good to read that you and your mother had escaped a horrendous situation.
I have experienced both a Muslim marriage and a non-Muslim long term relationship, before I came to Islam. My experience was not like yours Arrgh, unfortunately in my previous relationship I was the one with the power and when I look back I feel very sad about how I treated that person. Maybe that's partly why I went the other way so much in my marriage.
I had been Muslim for many years before I set eyes on my husband. My marriage was not arranged (no-one to arrange it) but was 'traditional' in that we had very little informal contact before the marriage.
The thing I have learnt from posting on here, is that where ever my husbands behaviour comes from, the impact it's having on me is that of an abusive behaviour, and I need to make it clear that I won't tolerate it. Like crescentmoon and others, I think I made the mistake of being too 'eager to please' at the beginning.
But I can't with a clear heart label my husband as an 'abusive' man (even anonymously!). A man who has made it his priority to help me complete my studies no matter what, a man who has been making sure I get a nap every afternoon in ramadan, I could go on and on.
I feel very apprehensive at the moment, as having decided on some boundaries in my own head, I'm not sure what the result will be of me making these known. But I do know that if ever the marriage fails (may God protect me from this) I will feel sad that two decent people couldn't make it work, not that I have escaped an abuser.
I really have appreciated everyones advice, especially to be willing to share thoughts about such a personal and sensitive issue.
sis you sound very brave and intelligent mashallah. May Allah guide you to whats good for you.
Thank you for your good wishes.
I hope that the situation improves so that you can be happy.
I am saddened that in the era in which we live, there are still women struggling to negotiate enough power in order to live.
Very best wishes.
Wow - OP and others. I have to admit to certain 'prejudices' about muslim women (Islam in general really) but I have to say, the dignity, the grace of you women really comes through. Maybe it's because you call each other 'sister' or because you really have faith, i don't know.
But i think it's beautiful.
but seriously captain if you would like to discuss your prejudices with us we would be happy to have the opportunity to try and correct or explain some of them from our perspective.
Naila and crescent I have written u an essay. Sorry!
Hardlyever I can sent to you but feel I'd be burdening you. I've gone mad.
was it good to get it all out sis! lol
thanks captainmummy. i really thought hard about posting here in public but reading your message im glad i did.
please send it to me catty, I feel left out!
captainmummy, that's a lovely thing to say thank you. It's probably bizzarre to admit but I think even I had prejudices about Muslim women before I came to Islam, and even for a little while when I was Muslim.
I'll never forget when I first started wearing the headscarf, catching a glance in a restaurant of a Muslim woman dressed in black, and having a vague impression of an oppressed sort of person. It took me a couple of seconds to realise I had caught sight of a mirror!
I've always thought being a Muslim woman is very different from the inside than it looks from the outside.
im glad you posted this topic OP, i think we collectively have had a seige mentality for so long that its hard to reveal our vulnerablility or ask for help. but inshaallah things are changing now here in the UK and beyond.
If you don't speak his language well and he is just now learning English, how do you communicate? Sorry, I'm curious.
walaikumasalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu
sister, i too am a muslim revert of 12 years masha'Allah. i completely understand exactly where u are coming from. i hear alot of revert sisters talking like this. and i think sometimes the husband forgets that the wife is a person- with feelings, intrests and above all 'needs'. its ashame because this is not the the way a muslim man should act towards his wife. i cant quite put my finger on what it is with these men from the east that marry women from here. (my husband is arab). it niggles at me. anyway, my advice to you would be to make lots and lots of duaa, especially in these last few days of ramadan, and start making tracks to get a life that you deserve. islam gives us rights- no one should take these rights away from us!!! I think it is a HUGE thing when ur husband is not letting you learn the deen. its an obligation of every muslim and the fact that you want to and hes not allowing you is bad. and its easy for me to say go and get a khulah but its never that easy-.... especially for us reverts.
i would definitely say go to ur family and tell them whats going on. but also make them know that this is not islam and that you will remain steadfast in your faith, bi'idnillah. that may make him understand and then only go back to him when hes agreed you a little bit more freedom. its hard when you love a man and he treats you bad... and its even harder to let people know how hes treating you and having to deal with the dissaproving of the man you love... but this is serious... sounds like a case of emotional abuse.... but im a spoiled cow and if i dont get my way i feel im being victimised, its jus who iam. i am trying to be more open minded before anyone judges me. (its his fault- he spoiled me).
then when uve made him realise (and he will) by ur abcense- then he will either agree to some compromise or go off like a fire work. inshaAllah u get the compromise. but if he does go off like a firework the i think u should write it down in history and move on... u can live a sigle life, find who u are again, learn some more islam, strengthen ur eemaan and then hopefully inshaAllah a brother that deserves you and will treat you right will come along. Allahu Alim.
but first and for most before any advice, make duaa, pray istikhara and seek counsel from Allah SWT.
love from you sister in islam x
Crescent moon, I agree it's been really beneficial alhamdulillah.
Cote, normal day to day stuff we can talk about quite easily, but we struggle more with the deep and meaningful stuff, which really doesn't help with this issue.
ColourMe, wali kum asalam, yeah, it's wierd how universal this problem is. I certainly feel ready to go forth and make some changes, inshAllah the outcome will be positive.
i need to aswell.. so make duaa for us both n i will too.
I recieved an email containing these links today, and I thought these were very relevant to this thread. This is Sheikh Habib Ali Al-Jifri, responding to some questions about Muslim women. This may give me and some of the other women on here struggling with similar issues strength and certainty, and it may help non-Muslims to understand the real place of women in Islam. They are very short, and well worth listening to. Hope the links work, I've never done this before.
I've not read the full thread but yep I agree. This has nothing to do with Islam but it is a culture issue.
How was he brought up?
Did his dad do all the 'out of house chores' probably yes.
To him it may be the norm but to us it's not.
He needs to understand 'our way of living'
My dh is from another country and he couldn't understand at first but once he got the hang of things everything is now mashallah better.
Pm if you would like to chat
Just read your full post too.
It doesn't really help much as he was the dominate one when you met but he needs to realise your not his student, your his wife
Isitme, it's nice to know you managed to sort it out. His family is very traditional. I must admit the women are honoured and respected, and his mum is certainly the head of the household, but their autonomy outside of the house is virtually nil, for practical reasons as much as anything else.
Do you have any advice on how I can get past this?
May God reward you OP. i just listened to both lectures hardly, brilliant words. he is talking about the big white elephant in the room. we look at other communities and we say at least we don't have alcoholism in our community, at least we dont have gambling addiction, at least we don't have absent fathers, at least our children are protected from sexualisation - though there are those problems to some degrees but we just act like we don't have them...
but what is a phenomenon amongst we Muslims, not just small isolated cases here and there but has been a phenomenon - is the way women are mistreated. not because of islam, but because of the muslims. im glad the sheikh called it. im glad he said it. it takes a honoured sheikh to make it have impact and shame our men - and us - into action.
in the second talk you linked to i just held my head in my hands. in the time of the prophet pbuh women used to enter the mosque through the same door as the men, used to pray in the same hall without partitions. now we have to enter through separate entrances, go upstairs or to the a side room - often smaller. many mosques don't even allow women to go inside and pray at all, whether five daily prayers or the friday prayer.
why did we impose on ourselves these restrictions when those early muslims didnt? why does the Qur'an say believing men and women are friends to each other but we barely even acknowledge each others presence, either at the mosque or otherwise.
i wish that we had those pre marriage counselling services that churches provide to couples. that would be so invaluable in the Muslim community - that ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. the closest iv seen are these 100 pre marital questions on a muslim website.
some of those questions, you look at and you think thats stating the obvious. but how many sisters walk in blind not knowing what their rights are or taking everything on trust?
most mosques in the UK now require couples to have a civil marriage before an islamic marriage because they have wised up to the fact that, without those civil protections, the woman is completely vulnerable if the man says 'forget about being religious, i don't feel like it'. you can quote hadith or ayahs from the Qur'an, but there is nothing to make it impact except shame. and if someone is not shamed by the verses of the Qur'an or hadith of the prophet pbuh, then of course you have to seek mediation or recourse through the authorities.
Alhamdulillah there are still ulema like this, and alhamdulillah for modern technology and travel so we can get to hear what they say!
I completely agree with you crescentmoon. The funny thing is, I thought I was prepared. I did a marriage course before I got married, I knew my rights, I knew all about the contract etc. What they don't tell you is that however well you know your rights, have stated in your contract, know what a husband should be doing to make this a good marriage, if he's not willing to do it, you can only ever make it 50% better, as in, you're the only one trying to change so it will only ever get so much better.
And subhanAllah I can't believe I'm saying this about a man like my husband, who really believes he is following the sunnah (for example, will happily mop the floor while reminding me how the Prophet pbuh used to help his wife).
There just seems to be a complete lack of awareness of my needs, and this seems to have been echoed by other women on here. I think the men need help as well as the women!
Mashallah. It's nice he helps out!
I think he needs a bit if a push to realise what he's doing is wrong.
In the end I said to dh I'm British your not and that's our difference. You don't understand my way of living and I don't understand yours but I accept it and you have to accept mine others there's nothing left with us.m
He kinda clicked on. Slips up sometimes but males there have all the dominance as they have seen that happen with their own families and for them it's normal. For us it's not.
Hth but don't do anything too extreme as I don't want the gunnah on our heads. Try to reason with him.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Salaam hardlyever, I cannot view those videos on my device but I am intrigued. Why not show the videos to your dh? Maybe it will get him to think. If I can view this on my dh desktop, I will leave the window open and hope he has a look and then maybe talk to him about it. It's just an idea...
Crescent, I've been exactly as you describe. Time for a change in tactics. Allah knows our intentions. They drive us to become this way. We are not being unreasonable. They just need a push as isitme1 said. Happy mum...happy baby and all that. We do it for the greater good.
Crescentmoon I would love more info on how you changed him as at the moment in time I went one step forward at 2 back.
In a bit of a tiff over a bed he thinks I should ask my dad as he's not with us which really got to me.
The bed is close to nothing now and I know dad will just say fix it
salaam sisters, firstly some fantastic advice here, its so nice to hear marriage advice from an islamic perspective as its so much more about compromise rather than just leaving when things get tough. unfortunately i have no more tips to add. i myself am having trouble and also feel that dh has become very controlling and i too feel isolated and scared. its worse as i am now no longer working so mainly at home. i am also afraid of his temper as he can be violent and abusive. just feel as if every day is a struggle and the only affection and hugs i get are from kids when wish it could be from him.
sorry to hijack but so good to share. someone mentioned up the thread about finding out local groups and things, how do i do this?
op i hope you will be able to discuss things with your dh and come to an understanding. he should respond if he sees how much it upsets you not to go out etc. good luck!
I am sorry about what you are going through. You shouldn't have to take violent and abusive behaviour. Has he always had a temper or just more recently? Do you think he could be stressed about something you're not aware of like work or his family? Are you able to speak to him? Sit him down and gently talk to him about how he's making you feel. Is he a religious man? If so, if you make him aware of his behaviour I am sure he will feel guilty. If he wont speak to you about it and carries on regardless you need to ask for help. Do you have family who could intervene and find out what's going on? Sorry for all the questions. My dh is very controlling etc and i am working on that (see the above posts by some very wise sisters) but I wouldn't stand for violent behaviour as there is no need for it.
Following sister crescent's advice, I have joined netmums online and it tells you about all the playgroup and kids' activities in your area and i have also placed a 'meet a mum' ad. or you could do a search on mumsnet or even just a google search and see what comes up. Or email your local council, library.
transcription of first lecture sister hardly posted
to the men, especially those who are religious - before looking right and left, look at yourself. how do you view women? your night prayers, your daily fasts, your memorisation of scripture, your charity, your pilgrimage, your knowledge and your teaching, your struggles for the sake of God...
everything you do won't get you to a point where you are something before God if you don't let all of that pass through the gateway of benevolence to women.
these arent the words of human rights activists, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said that 'the best of you is the best to his family. And I am the best to my family'. the prophet pbuh made the measure of goodness in this life tied to your goodness to women.
there are people who still teach things that are falsehoods that they brought with them from their home cultures - where they treat a woman like she is just a commodity.
we have to stop running away from the reality of our problems. there are muslim women being raped inside their homes. there are muslim women being raped by their relatives.
and it looks like the mistreatment is changing from isolated cases to a phenomena. is this true or not?
but our communities try to run away from these problems. they hide their heads in the sand. and when a woman speaks out to demand her rights she is silenced. when the scholar in the mosque finds himself in a position where he cannot actually do anything to stop what is happeneing to her, she goes to the courts to get her rights. and the community looks at her like she is betraying them. is this true or not?
and so the victim becomes the criminal. and the person who gives the stamp of approval is a scholar of faith. why then would we find it strange that a generation would come out that would leave the faith? why do you find it strange when a muslim woman goes to get her rights from other organisations? you haven't given her any protection. you haven't given her dignity. you haven't given her respect. and you want her to carry on accepting this?
And the biggest crime is that you justify this, saying that it is a command of God???
if the Muslim community doesnt take serious steps - starting from the mosque before anywhere else - in executing God's command and the advice of the prophet (pbuh), in giving women their rights - if that is neglected and overlooked, if people do not want to acknowledge it and treat this malady, people will stand in God's presence on Judgement Day and God will judge them not just for them, but He will judge them for the generation that has lost faith because of them.
Enough of this talk about Islam giving women their rights and freeing women - yes, Islam did that, but the question is not whether Islam did that or not, the question is why are we not implementing faith in that regard? Why is it just left to sermons or as a means of self defence in the media, against those who criticise us from rights organisations?
oh scholar, put yourself in the shoes of the girl who is abused. when she comes running to you, you only speak in defence of Islam and what it says about the rights of women. but when she goes to the rights organisations, she finds that they are defending her. so who do you think she will turn to?
I'm sorry for the long sermon, but after what i heard from the sister , i cannot be quiet about this. the wound has become septic, and it needs to be opened and cleaned. and we want you, the women, to start with that. i want to see women's rights activists who are islamic jurists, and who understand the law.
they will stand and they will take their rights, with the command of God and His prophet (pbuh).
(of this lecture, but iv missed out part of the beginning)
I would hope that nobody on this thread would advise you to 'compromise' with a 'violent, abusive' man who scares you. If he is abusive then you should make plans to leave. No religion or culture Justifies staying in an abusive marriage.
crescentmoon, may Allah reward you for transcribing the talk, mashAllah.
Yummymummy, welcome to the thread, I'm so glad you've found it useful. You mentioning him being violent is very worrying though, not sure if you meant towards you, or does he throw things round the house and stuff (also horrible but at least not directed at you).
In the introduction to 'the surrendered wife' there's an important distinction the author makes, where she outlines men who shouldn't be surrendered to. One of those if men who are physically abusive. Interestingly, she says that emotionally abusive men have the potential to change. I suppose because by changing our behaviour they may change theirs, as crescentmoon illustrated.
But if he's violent towards you yummymummy please seek help from family, friends or the Muslim community if you have access.
Mashallah that was very empowering.
if that's the right word lol
That's right no woman no matter what religion should have to stick with a violent man.
Mashallah dh isn't violent just hmm what's the word... Needy. He's had a lot to deal with in his life and has had to raise his siblings with nothing in a 3rd world country. He doesn't know how to deal with the stress anymore.
He doesn't agree with oppression and all that but he doesn't want to see the hard ships he's seen in the past again.
Writing that has kind of made me realise that mashallah dh isn't a bad guy, he's just a little lost and confused sometimes.
Inshallah things will get better and God does not give us more than we can bear
Back to my own situation, I slipped up last night and ended up having the conversation I had been intending to save until after ramadan. I had overheard my husband talking with my friends husband about 'keeping women in their houses' (friends husband looked suitably appalled), and couldn't help asking him later if he really meant it. That led to everything coming out. It was horrible, a horrible conversation, a horrible confrontation, a waste of one of the last 10 days of Ramadan. I don't think I've ever cried so much, and was still crying at 5pm today.
We decided to go and have iftar on top of a mountain, and that had a calming affect. Although it felt awful, I can now pick through it and see that it wasn't all bad. He was shocked by what I was saying, and that's good because that means my message came across. Out of the 4 main points I raised he agreed to all but one, and that one is probably the easiest to forgo. I remember thinking last time we had a similar confrontation (very rare, as we are both passive aggressive types and avoid confrontation like the plague) that however awful it was and not nice things got said, in the end we felt better for it. Is that how arguing is??? (anyone who does it more often?)
In terms of mediation, the only thing he would consider is us talking to his brother. While I'd be happy to talk to his brother, who is much more sensible, it would mean being in my husbands home country, and I would have no one to speak on my side, so I don't feel happy with that. I think I am going to have to push further.
We agreed today that we would talk more after Ramadan when we were both less tired and upset, and he promised he would try and be better. I know he's scared of losing me, I can see it in his eyes, and I think I need to play on that.
I still feel bruised, scared and fragile from the confrontation. Any advice, words of comfort appreciated!
OP - religion or no religion your husband's behaviour comes across as sounding like someone who is increasingly insecure and unsure about his place and status in the world. His asking you if you are OK alone, worried about managing etc. could easily be unconscious projection of his own insecurities.
If he is a good and supportive partner, he will let you do whatever you need and want to do, if he does not, as far as I am concerned, he is hiding behind his religion and culture to cover up his own inner doubts and fears - therefore bringing you down rather than giving yourselves both the opportunity to grow together. For instance, it sounds like he enjoys helping around the house but fears to show visitors this - if he had more confidence in himself, he would be able to not fear judgement.
It's not easy at all to change countries and to live somewhere where you have to learn customs and language rather than growing up with innate knowledge, have moved countries several times myself. The best thing you can do for the both of you really is to act with confidence, to do what you judge best, to go where you need and want to go.
Cross posted with you OP - I see now that you bring up his fear of losing you. If he is full of fear, don't "play on it" the more fearful he becomes, the more likely he is to become more angry and controlling. Think of a scared threatened animal, what do they do? They attack. Be confident, be firm, he married you as you are, he has no right to expect you to change to give him his little corner of power in the world.
It's good that it's out in the open as now you've got the worst bit out of the way and by the sound of it you've got through to him to (think baby steps though)
Inshallah everything will get better
And Eurostar is right. The fear is a good thing but don't give in to it
Eurostar, thanks for that wisdom, and you've really hit on the truth I think. I really feel for him for what he has gone through in adapting to living here, and that was following having a very bad experience in his last job in the country we lived before, so he was emotionally drained when he arrived. To be honest, while I know all this I've got fed up of making excuses for him and being patient. But I think what you said about not playing on his fear is true, thank you.
He is VERY worried what people think, and I find this really hard to understand as I've never cared, and care less and less the older I get.
Actually it's funny because when we visit his country, and I feel completely at sea and don't know whats going on, I understand much better the way he behaves when he's here.
i think its good you had it out with him, its good he saw how much it upsets you. honestly, the things iv posted on this thread iv said to my sisters, cousins, in laws and beyond. its to learn from my experience, i had a 'difficult' husband and now he's a lovely man who gets embarressed when i remind him how much of a 'stuck in the mud' he was back then.
i said before make him unsure of you but not too unsure - its a delicate balance. he needs to know you are not in the palm of his hands but not be completely insecure of you either. you love him, but it is not unconditional - i mean sure in sickness and in health but not through unreasonable behaviour/ demands.
don't make out that you can cope, let him know that it threatens your happiness and commitment to the marriage when he acts like that.
and ignore. ignore, ignore, ignore. your dh, like my dh, are quiet men who express their disapproval/ displeasure through long drawn out silences. your sensitivity to that makes you refrain from your goal, but i say to you be oblivious and carry on.
most muslims come from 'guess' cultures, not 'ask' cultures. and its not just based on culture but upbringing as well and how your family are. so although you are white anglo OP but im guessing you also had a 'Guess culture' type of family too...
read more here....
but heres a quick copy paste:
In some families, you grow up with the expectation that it's OK to ask for anything at all, but you gotta realize you might get no for an answer. This is Ask Culture.
In Guess Culture, you avoid putting a request into words unless you're pretty sure the answer will be yes. Guess Culture depends on a tight net of shared expectations. A key skill is putting out delicate feelers. If you do this with enough subtlety, you won't even have to make the request directly; you'll get an offer. Even then, the offer may be genuine or pro forma; it takes yet more skill and delicacy to discern whether you should accept.
All kinds of problems spring up around the edges. If you're a Guess Culture person -- and you obviously are -- then unwelcome requests from Ask Culture people seem presumptuous and out of line, and you're likely to feel angry, uncomfortable, and manipulated.
If you're an Ask Culture person, Guess Culture behavior can seem incomprehensible, inconsistent, and rife with passive aggression.
Thing is, Guess behaviors only work among a subset of other Guess people -- ones who share a fairly specific set of expectations and signalling techniques. The farther you get from your own family and friends and subculture, the more you'll have to embrace Ask behavior. Otherwise you'll spend your life in a cloud of mild outrage at (pace Moomin fans) the Cluelessness of Everyone.
whether men or women, alot of us Muslims rely on subtle cues or hints in social situations and are very sensitive to those 'unspoken' parts of conversations. because we generally also had 'shame' based upbringings, as opposed to 'guilt' based.
women, being generally more empathic, are then even more sensitive to those cues so your husband expects you to respond to his grumpiness when you want to leave the children with him or say you want get involved in a new project somewhere. (not your husband specifically OP, but generally)
im telling you to turn your sensors off OP and others, thats what i did. because that also acts as a restraint/constraint on us as well. base your actions on what he SAYS, not how he acts. because often, they are too embarressed to actually say 'no you cant go to your mums'. they just rely on you picking up those non verbal cues so that you will then say 'ok fine then i will leave it'.
when your dealings are in private - it suits him, when it is in public - it suits you. making him have to say it out loud 'no you can't do that', even if it is just the two of you, is public and can be enough to shame him into keeping quiet. be oblivious and impervious to dead silences. they will slowly, over time, finish quicker and quicker.
i am sure the husbands of my convert friends hate me because their wives come to me wide eyed and they go away from me narrow eyed lol. tell me what you guys think
Very interesting re ask culture vs guess culture.
Mine is a guess culture, as well. I would understand that most Muslim places have a guess culture, since the ummah is such an important part of Muslims' lives. No Muslim (or even anyone else in these countries) is an island, everyone lives within a tightly knit society where all their actions are observed and judged as appropriate or not.
I'm curious about the ratio of men vs women who convert to Islam. Are there many men who convert? And if so, did any of you consider marrying one of those rather than foreigners alien to your way of life, some of whom don't even speak English well enough to communicate beyond day to day stuff?
Thanks for the interesting post crescent.
Cote, definately more women than men, by statistics and my own observations. Hence these men are a bit like gold dust. That said, convert women often feel they would benefit from marrying someone from a Muslim culture, not sure how they feel about that once they've done it (!).
I know a few couples where both are converts, and have a pakistani friend who's just married an English man, with the support of her family despite the fact that he is older, divorced and has children. Think that's quite rare though, and often convert men can struggle to get married because of prejudice.
In regards to the communication issue, as I most definately fell in love, as did DH, we were rather oblivious to obstacles, even ones as huge as not speaking the same langauge. We both felt that this was something that could be fixed with time. From my point of view I'd met so few men that I felt even remotely fitted what I wanted, I felt it might take more work but would be worth it. It was the easier than I thought in the beginning, but has taken longer than I thought it would to get to a stage where we can communicate in the way we need to. I'm still praying it's worth it in the end!
Language is a big issue for us, but I think culture is bigger. I would never tell anyone not to marry someone of a different culture, most people I know are in mutlicultural marriages, it's kind of the norm, but I would tell someone to think VERY carefully because you are basically entering the unknown.
And hindsight is a wonderful thing!
Long answer to a short question, sorry!
i know alot of women married to English convert men and where i live there are quite more married male converts than married women tbh. but i think it depends on which cities you are in the UK, some have more female than male and in other cities more male than female.
First I have to say that I know very little about Islam as a religion (and have been very very pleasantly surprised by the discussion on here).
But I am in a bi cultural/lingual marriage. And this is the angle I would like to take.
Coming from someone who moved to the UK, there are a few things that are really essential imo.
1- the language. You say your DH is a teacher and that's how you met. How much english is he using in a day? Are you the only person he uses english with? I thin it is essential for him to get a good grasp at english and he should have been able to do that in 2 years+ as long as he is actually surrounded by english speakers. It is really important, not just to be able to understand each other but also to be able to watch TV, listen to the radio, talk to other (non muslims?) people, incl your own family. It has a major influence also on family relationship. My DH doesn't speak my language, understand now quite a bit of it. But not enough to follow full conversations. That means he doesn't want to go back to my home country with me as he can't be part of what is going on, feels isolated etc... Now we do that only once a year (and I actually end up going on my own) but you can imagine how it would feel if it was your everyday experience.
Also how are you doing in learning his language. Again, my experience is that it is quite essential with a bilingual child so that both parents can understand them/what is going on whatever the circumstances (eg: child speaking about school in english or you going back to his country on hols as a family)
2- The culture. You obviously have done a lot of effort to understand his culture (above the religion side of things). What about him? How much understanding does he have of the english culture? This is not an issue of accepting it or finding it but trying to see where you are coming from. eg: children need intellectual and social stimulation. It is crucial for their development to go to playgroups/parks etc... If he is more or less always surrounded by people from his own country, perhaps because the language barrier, perhaps because it feels weird and unsettling (and no one could blame him for that), he is missing on some opportunities to understand the english culture and yourself/your pov better. now being a foreigner, I found the english sometimes difficult to 'get' (I mean all the social rules etc...). I have upset a few people by not following these non written rules even though I am fully bilingual and have been there for more than 15 years. A good book I found about the unwritten rules is this book. Again this is really about finding ways to understand each others better but also for him to understand the society he is living in better so he feels more at ease and not isolated.
3- Respect for each other: I do believe very strongly in respect and taking each other into account when you are living together. After all marriage is supposed to be a partnership. I have been in the situation where DH didn't agree/didn't want me to do X or Y (issues with changing schools, teaching the dcs my own language etc...). I have to say, when I thought there was a need to do something, have done it, regardless of what DH was saying (Of course after having discussed the issue together in the first place!). I am known to have told DH 'well I will take the dcs to have some language lessons so they can also read and write in my language'.
This is not an issue about imposing your pov to the other (I would always try and aim for a win-win situation). But if my DH doesn't seem to have my best interests in mind and only his on a certain subject, then the best I can do is to have my own best interest at heart. Does it make sense?
Most of the time, you can find a solution where both parties have made an effort and found a compromise but if one isn't playing balls, then you need to take care of your own interests first (whilst keeping in mind your DH's).
Unfortunately, if you don't, then you end up being run all over, the power force shift from equilibrium to being one sided and it is to your detriment but also to the detriment of the family, the children and the relationship.
This is a long post but HTP.
this thread is so helpful, thankyou op for posting and i hope your situation can resolve with more discussion. i just wanted to ask though, dont know if anyone here would know, but wrt dh. now most years he has fasted but this year he hasnt, he finds it hard with work etc and i have tried and tries to convince him but to no avail to the point where he will shout at me for nagging him. now is there any sin on me as i didnt convince him?
also not only that but when i have been fasting he taunts me and says "look at the state of you, you are so weak i am glad i am not fasting" and things like that and that i cant look after the kids. yes its harder but i have done my best. also i have done every sehri and iftari alone. sehri as he isnt fasting so doesnt wake up and then iftari he doesnt see point of sitting with me while i break it.
and its so late so cant go to mum in laws to have iftari either as too late for kids. but rather than support me he has made it harder for me. but alhumdulilah i have kept them all apart from the few break ones. have i done right or should i have listened to him? so confused atm.
am sorry to hijack op but ladies on here mashallah so knowledgeable it really helps
You've done really well mashallah.
There's no balme on you for his actions.
He doesn't wish to fast, his cghcoie, why is he taunting you for going ahead and fasting? Is he always so delightful?
Yummytummy he is awful what kind of husband is he, let alone what kind of Muslim? How unpleasant he is. And he's undermining your religious beliefs, you are really not obligated to stay with him.
he has become a lot worst since i had second dc, not sure why. i know i may not be obligated but isnt divorce haraam and hated by allah? its also culturally it is just not done, even though he really has made me suffer a lot in so many ways but i am running out of patience now.
Look, I'm not Muslim but married to one. I have a lot of love for Islam but cannot accept that a wOman should stay with a violent abuser.
I am separated from H and my ILs still love me. My SIL is divorced from her abusive h and lives back with her family.
No divorce is not haram, what makes you think that?
There is a chapter in the Quran called divorce, read it in English translation if you like it's quite short.
Islam recognises that not all people are compatible and that people change over time and has provided a way out.
Divorce is permissable and a right for both men and women since the time of the Prophet (saw). There's a story of a woman who told the Prophet (saw) she wanted to divorce her husband for no other reason then that she just did not like him nothing to do with his manners or character, she was permitted a divorce.
Asalam u alikum dear Yummytummy, I'm so sorry you've had this experience. Of course you are not responsible for whether your husband fasts, rather he will be held responsible for this, and also the fact he had made it difficult for his family.
Remember that every sehri and iftar you took alone, Allah was with you.
Followingthetao, many thanks for your long and thoughtful post. Your advice is very helpful. I agree with the language issue. While DH has come a long way with his English, not nearly as much as we would have hoped. I'm not sure why this is as he speaks several other languages which he learnt very quickly. He's quite frustrated by it, so I don't want to nag him, and he is constantly attending classes etc so will get their in the end.
It's a frustration of mine that he doesn't seem to try to empathise with the culture here, not to agree with it if he doesn't want to, but you need to understand where people are coming from.
For example we were at the market one day, and a man accidentally bumped into me, and when he apologised he put his hand on my arm. DH was furious, but I was trying to explain that in this culture that was a normal thing to do, and also quite nice. So while I don't like being touched by strange men, I understand that persons intention was good.
Another person who posted on here described him as a scared animal and that's how he seems to me, just lashing out at everything.
A positive example was when we had my family over for a barbecue. As this involved cooking meat on a fire and ensuring my family ate as much as is humanly possible, my DH was in his element, smiling, laughing and being a good host. Normally if we have them to dinner he would be polite but quite quiet, not really being used to the English 'dinner round the table format'.
I love the look of the book, I'll buy it for him in a few months when he'll hopefully be able to read it!
Genuinely curious, if neither of you speak each others language very well how do you communicate on a day-to-day basis?
Don't discuss or ask him first, just go out. If he calls just say I'm with a friend I'll be back at x time.
If asking first (although why would you be?) causes problems then don't do it, just go, he will have to get used to it. Text him to let him know where you and baby are etc so he doesn't worry but other than that be firm and stand your ground.
think a huge percentage of AIBU threads are to do with people who had 'guess culture' upbringings and people who had 'ask culture' upbringings. the ones who advise 'no that will not be possible' without any more explanation i always think are 'Ask culture' people. whereas
i think Cote, and i don't know whether this is a construct of islam or a feature of the cultures Islam spread to, the individual in muslim society has alot more restrictions on him than in normal western society. sometimes thats a bad thing - the "just say no" that i read sometimes on mumsnet is agonisingly difficult if you grew up in a 'guess culture' household! we twist and contort ourselves when a simple 'No' will do. but sometimes its a good thing.
in the case of dealing with 'difficult' men my sisters, seeing you as someone else's daughter, someone else's sister, that other people have rights on you, that you are a fellow traveller on the path to Allah, can help your status more than his seeing you just as a lone female whose sole purpose in life is to be his wife. likewise, whilst the accountability to Allah the All Seeing and All Hearing should be enough on a man to treat his wife well, it is still WISE to seek other channels when the husband is acting with dictatorship tendencies.
one shouldnt care about whether her husband would be embarressed or not. this is the main reason women don't go for mediation "my husband might be embarressed by it". thats why its good not to love your husband so much that you 'cover his sins' and by that oppress yourself.
really liked reading followthetao's post especially,
"If he is more or less always surrounded by people from his own country, perhaps because the language barrier, perhaps because it feels weird and unsettling (and no one could blame him for that), he is missing on some opportunities to understand the english culture and yourself/your pov better."
"But if my DH doesn't seem to have my best interests in mind and only his on a certain subject, then the best I can do is to have my own best interest at heart. Does it make sense?"
"Unfortunately, if you don't, then you end up being run all over, the power force shift from equilibrium to being one sided and it is to your detriment but also to the detriment of the family, the children and the relationship."
Stunt, we do speak eachothers languages, just not fluently, so day to day stuff is no problem.
Krumbum, although I see what you are saying, I don't think I would ever really want to go out without checking it's OK, because that's only what I'd expect from him in return. It's not the asking I mind, it's getting a reasonable answer that's the problem. I don't even mind the 'no' if there's a reason for it.
I think as Muslim women the 'asking' is quite important, but it's also important to get a reasonable response.
Having said that over the last week I have done things like pop to the shop etc without asking if he's sleeping, whereas before I'd have prob waited til he got up, so small changes are happening!
I am british Christian married to a North African muslim, we have been married for more than a decade and live in the UK. Our children are being brought up as muslims.
I have to say that some of the marriages described here do not sound like Islamic marriages. My understanding (please feel free to correct me) is that a Muslim husband must treat his wife with respect and kindness. Any husband who taunts his fasting wife is not a good husband nor a good muslim (its obvious to me and I am not even a muslim). Any husband who puts his own interests first without considering his wife's interests is not a good husband nor a good muslim. They have failed in the requirements Allah has placed on them and they will answer for it. Yummy it is your husband's duty to fast, if he has turned his back on his duty, he is the one who is answerable.
Amongst my DH's family and friends the women don't ask permission to act on an everyday basis. Their husband's and families trust them to make the right choices and to behave appropriately, just like my DH and I trust each other to do so. They do not need advice or guidance, (unless they ask for it) because they understand their religion and they know how to behave.
In DH's home culture (rural North Africa) women tend to be SAHM although more are working now. But the women do go out when they need to or if they want to visit family, they are not expected to remain in the home unless they choose to. I think some of the restrictions that some husbands try to place on their wives are cultural norms rather than religious requirements and so it is reasonable for you to challenge them because they are not given by Allah but created by man.
BTW one way I have found of challenging DH if he is ever being grumpy or disrespectful that seems to work is to ask him "which bit of the Qu'ran permits you to speak to me like that?" It makes him stop and think about his behaviour because he is a nice man but like us all has the odd bad day.
Yummy I meant to add I think the reason your husband taunted you for fasting was because your observance reminded him of his own failure and he turned his shame into anger against you. He was weak and you were strong.
I understand that checking with someone is nice but if they are not giving you suitable, reasonable answers then sometimes you must resort to just doing in order to send a message and have your own freedom.
If you checking with him isn't working then a different tack is needed. It is not worth making yourself unhappy when he is being unreasonable.
I should make it clear when I ask my DH that killer question he doesn't answer because he knows full well that no bit of the Qu'ran permits him to speak to me like that!
Eid Mubarek everyone, may God accept our fasting and our worship and forgive us our shortcomings.
Yes Krumbrum I see what you mean.
I think you summed this up perfectly Chazs...
"Their husband's and families trust them to make the right choices and to behave appropriately, just like my DH and I trust each other to do so. They do not need advice or guidance, (unless they ask for it) because they understand their religion and they know how to behave".
As for me, things are rather nice in my house at the moment, though I am aware that it may be a bit of a calm after the storm of our big discussions, and things tend to go back to the not so good normal after a while. I'm quite determined to be assertive and make sure this doesn't happen.
At the moment though, we are enjoying Eid and looking forward to a few days camping holiday later in the week, so I feel this is a nice time to 'nurture' the relationship.
This thread has been a lifeline to me this Ramadan, thanks so much for all the contributions.
eid mubarak to you all. hardlyever i am glad things are calmer for you thats great. unfortunately it looks as if shaytaan is most definitely released now as ramadan is over and my husband has become his usual nasty self. i know somewhere its not right but surely it isnt normal to be called a stupid cow over little disagreements? i am reaching my limit and dont think can stay being called a different thing every day. its usually stupid or fat or lazy.
i just want to ask if anyone knows how to do a divorce islamically iykwim? i think its easier for the man but am unsure how you do it as a woman.
every day i lose respect as he is mean in a different way and it is no longer a partnership.
Oh yummymummy you poor thing, it sounds awful.
I'll PM you what I know regarding divorce, but I'd try and go to a local Imam and ask for help with this.
Hello all, I am sorry to barge in here, with something which is totally irrelevant and off-topic...but I just wanted to express to you all, how wonderful it is to read this thread.
I apologise to the OP and others, as serious personal issues are at stake here and what I think about this thread in general is so off-topic, but for some reason I feel very much at peace and very soothed (for lack of a better word) reading all this.
It is such a 'different' marriage and relationship advice, it seems to be addressing these issues with such complexity and differentiates between individual personalities, couples dynamics, religion, culture, tradition, etc. in a way, I have rarely encountered on other threads.
Especially without pointing fingers, aggression, or blame...very touched by all this here.
Yummytummy you poor thing No this is no way to live. He's a nasty bully.
worldcitizen, thanks for your very welcome contribution, and your lovely words. Actually it's really nice to hear that, I was more than hesitant about posting about something like this on an open forum, not least because people already have negative views about Islam and Muslim men (not all people I realise), that I worried about just adding to the stereotypes. It's nice to know that through the thoughfulness of everyone who had contributed, something better than this has come through.
hardly thank you very much for the welcome. My respect for you having gone ahead and have chosen to post here. This thread with all these kind, thoughtful and sensible posters, in my view, has all the 'ingredients' to dispel these negative views.
Anyone, honest and fair enough, would read this and couldn't deny to be somehow touched by this peaceful atmosphere on here. It's hard to describe.
Yummy I am sorry to hear that you are having such a difficult time. Your husband's behaviour is not acceptable.
This might give you some background information
A woman can divorce her husband for cruelty (for example) without his permission. Name calling, taunting you for fasting etc may well fall within that sort of area.
I found the link to it here
It might be worth checking with the Muslim Womens Network if they can direct you to any advice.
Hi ChazsBrilliantAttitude - can I PM you?
tzella of course you may
Salam alaikum/ Peace be upon you worldcitizen. Thanks for your lovely posts. OP I have to admit I cringed when I first saw your thread title as I thought ''why do this to yourself and us (Muslims)". But I think if there's any female sisterhood on mumsnet it's seen more on the relationships boards than anywhere else, even when dealing with difficult subject matters. I read your opening post and couldn't help but feel drawn in and try to give my thoughts. I have really learnt through other peoples messages as well. I am gobsmacked at how well people have taken this thread, I really stare at the screen and hover over posting messages each time wondering if I am...well....letting the side down! But these issues need to be addressed, discussed, hammered out. For myself I Really appreciated oter insights especially Chaz's take as a Christian woman married to a Muslim man. I also like your simple but cutting point when your DH is having a rare off day and will add it to mine too!
crescentmoon Thanks very much, may peace be upon you, too.
I also find Chaz's posts on various threads wonderful, as in usually very thoughtful, sensible, informative, helpful, and educational.
Hi everybody, I wanted to give an update of my own situation, and check how everyone else is doing.
After our difficult conversation during ramadan, and the less confrontational ones that came from that, things have improved greatly, although I am aware that there tends to be a period like this following an argument, and that if I don't stay on top of it, things might slip.
My DH has kept to his word (about 90% of the time at least) in that he agreed to change some of his behaviour and he has done. In the last week I've had what I would class as quite a busy week, and done social things that I haven't felt able to for a while, without having to tolerate the comments and moods that would normally accompany such things.
But what seems to be the biggest change is in my own attitude. From the advice from people on here, and some insights I have gained through attending counselling (alone), I have changed the way I think about his behavior, and because I am thinking differently, I am reacting differently. For example rather than shrinking away from his bad moods, I have teased him about being a grumpy old man, which has made him laugh. I even did an impression of him one day, which he found really funny.
I have also been conscious about having confidence in my decisions, and showing this, which makes it more difficult for him to question things and make me feel like I shouldn't be doing things. I wore a dress he's not keen on despite his comments, and the next day he suggested I wear it again. These must sound like small things, but when you have been feeling a victim of conrolling behaviour, they feel huge!
I hope others on here that have shared their difficult experiences have managed to move on in some way, it would be lovely to hear from you.
Thanks everyone for your help.
That's really good news.
I am glad you have found the strength and confidence to live your life in a way that feels right to you. I am pleased to hear that your DH is reacting in a more appropriate way to you. May this be the start of a more positive future.
hardly what wonderful news. I don't think, it sounds like small things at all, rather the opposite.
How wonderful to come back and give an update. I haven't said anything helpful here, and yet I saved this thread as it is my favourite one so far.
It is so uplifting to hear how much strength and confidence, in deciding your next steps, you have gained from this thread.
Great news! Small steps... You want to have your identity as you, not 'the Muslim wife of xx'.
It sounds like you do really love each other and are 'finding your feet' a bit. This happens, and if approached with the right attitude, you can work most things out, and compromise where necessary.
I wish you a long and happy marriage - it sounds as if you are both working at it!
Mashaallah hardlyeverhoovers I am really happy for you. Hold your position, strengthen it then move forward again! It seems like you can already get DH to laugh about his 'old' ways - inshaallah to be consigned to the past never to return. I bring things up in a lighthearted way with my DH as well sometimes- designed to make him cringe! I'm really happy for u please update. Dont let things slip back and you shall make a new 21st century man of him in no time - or as much as is possible (or as you like!).
It's wonderful you have more confidence in your own choices and decisions- this will be obvious by your demeanour alone. DH used to huff and puff about so many things and now I leave him with the children and go out just to 'relax' and he is so cool with it.it will take time but have your plan, you can only leave it upto Allah once you have tied your camel securely!
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Oo, how nice there's still people here!
Crescentmoon, yes I think you're right about staying on top of things. I'll try and make sure I do at least one thing a week to keep him on his toes! Interestingly though, given the freedom I want I don't actually want to do loads of things. I like having a peaceful and organised house, and I'm not one of those superwoman types who can do it all (I know a lot of women who are though!), and I'm happy in the house. It's more about choice really, having the choice to go out and get some space if I need to.
Worldcitizen your previous comments were very helpful in reassuring me and others on here that it wasn't wrong to discuss these things in an open forum, so glad you like what has been said here.
Frontpaw/chaz, it would be lovely to think it was just teething problems, and to be able to look back in a few years and laugh about it. Lets hope so!
hardly thanks. I do like it a lot and I have this now on my watch list so it doesn't disappear.
I have actually learned a lot myself and received lots of conformation for my beliefs and my views. I have also taken mental notes of the suggested websites and organisations, as there might be a possibility of an exchange with my country and hometown. I am here in Germany.
worldcitizen, that sounds interesting, what do you mean my 'an exchange'?
Sort of a community exchange..lots of money being available from the EU for that sort of thing.
I couldn't help but read this thread from the beginning, and I am so pleased that I did. I hope that it is okay that I comment, I am not Muslim and I know next to nothing about your religion however I hope that the feelings of calm and patience I feel stay with me and that one day I may be as gracious and dignified as you ladies here. Thank you for being open with your beliefs and views on relationships, it's really got me thinking about my own and what I might do differently.
OP I am very pleased to see your positive update, and for the other ladies struggling I hope that you can find a positive way forward.
Welcome Santuarymoon (what a lovely name), thanks for taking the time to read and I'm so glad you got something from it. It's interesting you used the word dignity, all the time people ask me why I came to Islam, it's very hard to give a short answer, but the one word that I always come back to is dignity, which is what I saw in the Muslims I knew. I thank God if I've managed to take any of that on myself, and I suspect that I have a long way to go!
Worldcitizen that's a really good idea. Do you mind me asking what your background is? English/German/Other/Muslim/non-Muslim. No probs if you don't want to say.
teething problems can take awhile to sort out, when i first got married my mum told me 'if you finish one year together then you are fine'. at the end of that year an auntie said 'if you finish THREE years together then you are solid' and i carried on. then at the end of that another auntie told me 'no, no, no its when you finish FIVE years that you know you have sorted though everything' and i thought 'why do the goalposts keep changing?'. but actually i realise the wisdom of those ladies i went to get advice from, because what i had thought going into marriage was that if you are meant to be together - whether by love or by kismet- then it shouldnt take so much hard work! some people settle into happy compromise quickly and some people take longer. i employed lots of trial and error and results took longer than with your DH op but i am so happy with DH and my life right now. my sister read this thread and told me i barely mentioned DH in a positive way so i just had to put that in! though neither of us are perfect life is so much better 8 years on than when it was 1/2/3 years in. half of it was getting DH to lay off being such a hard arse about everything, but the other half was also gaining more confidence in my self and my abilities to make my own contentment/happiness instead of relying on DH.
another thing i learnt was to disconnect from the children a teensy bit in order to get DH to connect with them more! i have a rule that from bedtime until the next morning i am not a mother. it used to be that if they woke up in the middle of the night DH would wake me up and urge me to go to them. i decided to do 'controlled crying' with ds2 and steeled my heart with the 2 older ones in order to get DH to deal with them himself! thankfully as he cant bear to hear them cry and also wakes up quickly it has now developed that DH always settles the children at night, not me. and that little difference has made my life so positive - and have a better mood in the morning!
as for sanctuary its great you enjoyed the thread. please give any advice and tips too!
crescentmoon how lovely of you to share this with us. Marriage is really a journey together, it seems.
Aw that's lovely Crescentmoon, and fills me with optimism.
I think in this society we are short changed by ideals that are fed to us about what love/marriage should be like, leading to dissapointment. But the harmonious coming together of two souls is bound to take work, so good to hear that you stuck it out and got to a place you're happy with.
I must say that the parenting side of my marriage is the one place I have no complaints. DH does about 50% of the parenting I'd say.
I like your idea about not being a mother after 7. Despite taking on lots of elements of not so western parenting, bedtime at 7 is something I've stuck to, also with the use of controlled crying, as I really need that few hours 'adult time'!
I am afraid I have no advice - on the other hand, I have learned a lot from what you have shared and the discussion here. I'm feeling very dissatisfied in my marriage at the moment - my husband is a lovely man and an amazing father, but I feel so unfulfilled and empty. It has been helpful to read how you have approached the challenges in your own marriages as it helps me to see that I've been selfish and angry and trying to place blame where really there needs to be patience and kindness. It will be a challenge for me as I am possibly the least patient person on the planet, but I realise I have to take responsibility for how I am feeling and make the effort to make this marriage work as there are certainly no deal breakers (unless you consider his ever increasing book collection ).
Sanctuary I am the book
hoarder collector in our household. I've solved the problem by buying a kindle. Perhaps you could get your DH one for Eid or his birthday.
Following on from what cresentmoon posted. Marriages are dynamic and they will go through good and bad patches even when they are generally good. Whilst we have been married both DH and I have lost our last surviving parent and DH has lost two siblings. Sometimes you are in the boat rowing together smoothly and other times one of you is rowing like mad whilst the other is barely able to row at all. I have found with my DH that he is not so good at recognising how I am feeling so if I am struggling because I am upset or grieving I tell him exactly how I am feeling and what I want him to do (e.g. I am feeling sad right now I want you to give me a hug). Unless I tell him I need emotional support he often doesn't pick up on it but will offer lots of practical help like shopping and cooking.
My one big thing I have learnt is not to step in and take over, especially with household stuff and childcare, if DH changed a nappy in a different way to me it didn't matter because he had changed the nappy. DH likes shopping more than I do and he buys most of the children's clothes. Sometimes he buys things I wouldn't have chosen but he likes doing it and its one less job for me. It is healthy to let him do his fair share, he will be a more connected father and you will be more equal partners.
Chaz I love the idea of the Kindle, but my hubby loves books for aesthetic reasons - and he can probably tell you when and where he was when he got every book he owns - over 1,000 by now. Some are collectable, some he has whole the whole series, some he reads regularly and others he just wants to keep. He used to have a fit if I read any of them because he doesn't even crack the spine
I do love the analogy of rowing a boat together though I am sorry to hear of the losses experienced by you and your husband during your time together.
Right now I am struggling because I feel overwhelmed generally by life - we have a 17 month old daughter, and hubby and I both work full time. The house is usually a tip, I just can't seem to keep on top of the housework. The worst part is we have too much stuff for our small house - so it's really hard to keep it clean and tidy because there is stuff everywhere and most things don't have a 'home'. Hubs will help but I always have to ask, and often give clear instructions. I should be more patient, but it does get me down. Yes honey, the bin bags are under the sink, where they were the last billion times you asked. Yes honey, we have to vacuum again. Yes honey, the bathrooms do need cleaning again.
Sorry - I've completely hijacked your thread ladies - as you can see, a lot of resentment and anger to work through. I'm embarrassed that things like the state of the house get me down, but it really does!
Sanctuary - I am very like your DH about books. I have whittled down my collection to hundreds (Ok probably 600) now because of space issues and I have read them all at least once. I use my kindle for those books that are books I am likely to want to read often more than once but don't feel the need to physically own / collect. I felt it was a bit selfish of me, when we were short of space to take up quite so much of it with my books e.g. I cleared out enough books so there are two shelves for the children's books and I notice that they do go and help themselves to books now.
Too much stuff and lack of space is a common problem and it is really difficult to keep on top of things with a toddler helpfully undoing all your good work. I think you just have to do the best you can for now, things will get a bit easier as your daughter gets older as she will need less direct supervision and will help you with putting toys back in the box etc.
Sanctuarymoon, sorry you're having a difficult time. It's so nice that you have decided to try and work at it. I think there is a real problem in this society that if people don't feel 100% fulfilled in their marriage they feel they can walk away - the problem is they would probably just find themselves in the same situation with someone else 10 years later, as marriage is just like that at times, from what I can gather!
I hope that with patience and and a bit of work you can feel happy about your marriage, as it sounds like your husband is a good person. Now, as the OP and so clearly not someone with a perfect marriage I probably shouldn't be attempting to give advice, but in my current position of optimism, here goes!
Although it's not a very fashionable beleif, I do think there are fundamental differences between men and women, and one of the implications of that is that women have to make more effort to sort problems like this out - men just don't seem to be so aware. I've also noticed that I seem to set the tone of the marriage - if I'm OK, we're OK, if I go off the rails, so does the marriage, the house, and everything else. Your husband probably needs you to spell out what you need, and may even be relieved when you do!
As for the house etc, you have my deep sympathy! I only study part time, and still find it hard to keep on top of the house. I declutter regularly and get rid of things we don't need, and we're lucky to have a bit of space where we can store things we don't currently use (always seem to be rearranging things as DS moves into different stages). It seems to be a bit better these days, I spent a bit of time trying out different routines for cleaning etc, you can find them online, I really liked flylady (you can google it) but ended up writing out a plan for myself, with daily, weekly, and monthly tasks. I don't always stick to it but it does help.
Giving everything a home also helps hugely - it took me a while to learn that it doens't have to be anything grand like a specific peice of furniture to store things in, it can be as simple as 'DS's toys live under the coffee table', 'wallets and keys go in a dish near the back door'. It just means when you come to tidy up it's a simple process of returning things to their assigned placed.
Tidying up in the day seems to be almost impossible at the moment though, as DS follows me around whining and getting everything out!
In terms of help from hubby I find the same as you (he has not yet even learnt his way around the wardrobe, and asks me where his trousers are everytime he needs a clean pair!). I find it less stressful not to expect too much help and think of it as a bonus when it happens. I've also had really amusing conversations where my husband asks me why I'm always cleaning (and by the way, my house is very far from spotless), and I'm like 'would you like to see what happens if I don't?'.
As you both work full time, would it make sense to get a cleaner, at least just to give it a blitz once of week or so?
What a refreshing read. Marriage is hard work and require constant work and compromise from both parties. i have found some of the advice given to you OP very helpful to my own situation (christian marriage 3 children super busy working household). Why is it the Muslim community can support marriage in such a pragmatic way and i struggle to find that support in my own religion and culture. i hope you and your husband find a path through what life throws at you. Something no on etells you on your wedding day is what utter hard graft it is.
Very good advice ladies, thank you. Hardly what you say about walking away from a marriage is just right. I have a burning desire to run (I'm from abroad, hubby is from the UK, so I miss my family etc) but it's not as easy as that and I know deep down that I'll only have the same feelings, but with different scenery!
Chaz, any tips on how to declutter when it's books we are talking about is welcome! The baby toys aren't so much of an issue, and tidying up after my daughter is easier than tidying up after my husband
I must check fly lady out - I really need to come up with my own plans and do a bit each day so I feel as though I'm getting somewhere near to keeping a decent house. I feel like I do everything half as well as I ought to - being a wife, parent and employee. It's harder than I expected! We investigated getting a cleaner, and I know this sounds silly, but the house is too untidy to have someone in! The amount I have to move around to actually clean is ridiculous. We just seem to accumulate more stuff than we need. For me, I think it's been about having possessions after moving to the UK, for hubby it's just part of his genetic make up along with eating chocolate and spending every evening with his nose in a book!
I will take your advice on telling him what I want to happen. I need to do this more regularly rather than waiting for the anger and frustration to kick in and being unreasonable as I know this happens a lot. He's probably left walking on egg shells. I'm not a very nice person, am I .
There is a flylady thread which might give you some ideas
As a large bonfire doesn't sound like an option for the books, I'll give you a serious answer. For me, the key to getting rid of the books was to start with the ones I wasn't really emotionally attached to or were clearly out of date. So I got rid of novels I didn't like and travel guides that were old and had no sentimental attachment. If you really want to tackle it I would start with any books like travel guides and the like that go out of date and don't relate to the trip of a lifetime. I recently donated my baby related books to a charity shop as my youngest child is now in school just keeping the one where I had noted down dates and appointments.
Santuarymoon you sound like a lovely person, just reacting how we all do to lifes difficulties. It must be really hard when your family is far away (should also probably have that sympathy for my own husband!).
Raindrop, yes the advice on here has been lovely, so glad you have found it useful.
Thank you for the support, it means so much. Part of the problem with having no family or friends nearby is that there is nobody to vent to
Raindrop I didn't see your post earlier but you are right, this approach to marriage is something that I would love to see in my community.
I have made the bonfire joke to my husband a few times now Chaz but he doesn't go for it for some reason... The advice on where to start to thin things out is gratefully received. I will check out the fly lady link too.
Iv been wanting to say this from the beginning hardly but mashaallah your DH at least helps a lot with the house. My DH has many wonderful qualities but child care or housework are not them. I became strict about 'clocking off' at 7pm because he made such a deal that when he was at home from work he wanted to relax with no responsibilities. I lost rahma (mercy) for him and decided to be the exact same. He saw me as 100per cent devoted to the children so he didn't need to be. So I disconnected from them in order to make DH connect with them.
If your DH does 50 per cent child care- which makes me so happy that changes are happening in our community even though I'm not feeling it!- my DH barely does 10 per cent. The one day he takes care of them Saturday is more than he does all week put together! Don't get me wrong he !loves his children- loves to play with them, throw them up in the air carry tem on his back cuddle with them. But as for batheing, feeding, keeping clean that is on me! But cosmically in the grand scheme of things iI feel we are equal because The children go to bed early ad I have my time in the evenings. And DH also goes to them when they wake up at night but i has to make my heart very very strong to force DH not to rely on me for that.
As for housework not even 5 per cent!. But I just became pragmatic and got a cleaner. Islamically on me is to care for the children but I refused to be the default person for housework. DH also has the mentality that a man provides 'help' for his wife by getting her a cleaner but not doing it himself! That is what he saw from his father and what he took as being a good husband. So I decided to take what I could get, was the principle to make sure HE did it or the principle to make sure that I didn't do it? I took the latter opinion!
I would leave many many things before my circumstances would be bad enough to stop having a cleaner. I would rather give up meat, stop going swimming, not buy any new clothes than to nt have a cleaner. Having one cleared up so much resentment and anger between DH and I- it would help you as well sanctuary. don't feel embarrassed that your house is too messy for one, I used to think that too but the key is to look for someone who doesn't do little old lady's houses but young family homes!
I have hardly ever said 'leave your husband' to someone but I have often said 'don't rely on your husband'. Some people have that best friend relationship with their DH and that's lovely when it happens but I don't. Can u have a happy contented marriage without that? Yes? It's about what your expectations were going in. DH and I don't get emaan / faith boosts from each other - we share what we get from other people. Likewise, I get boosted from being around people and that makes me a happy person iliving with DH. So I agree with you OP that 'when I am great my marriage is great'. Not 'when my marriage is great I am great'. You are giving too much POWER to the man in the latter. I enjoy my DH and his company because I have a lot of other things going on. And so trivial things do not get a chance to be blown up into big things.
Another few tips off the top f my head since my posts so far have been taken well! ...
If you see people who can be allies to your marriage and specifically your position in the marriage - then cultivate them. So with me religious couples where both the man and woman work has changed DHs mind about my working. And given me the encouragement that it's possible. Couples where te man helps with the children also good in my case. So look out for Reasonable well adjusted couples that have good equilibrium - or ideally couples where the husband defers to his wife! If you see people in your husbands family tha you get on with and can take your side then be good to them. You never know when you might need their influence. Don't talk to them too much- that way lies ruin! - but find other ways to connect. Send cards, gifts, make sure they know it's from you not your DH. If you see people who are detrimental to your relationship specifically couples where the man thinks he can do whatever he likes and the woman should just put up- avoid them. If they are in your in laws it's harder but you can do it if you are clever about it. But sometimes a sister might need your relationship example to nfluence her husband so look out for those and help them if they need it.
Between your family and DH. Let them be close even if they are not muslims. Its The ties that bind and all that. The only exception is if your family are dysfunctional because in that case familiarity breeds contempt so better to keep a little distance because First and foremost you need him to respect them so cover for them Allah will cover for you. Do tell DH how well they think of him - so that he has something to live upto. Even if slight exaggeration. And tell your parents how well he thinks of them so that they feel respected by their son in law.whenever I buy gifts for my family I always tell them that they are from Dh - who doesnt even buy gifts for his own relatives let alone anyone else! And when my mum packs boxes of food for ME To take home after a visit I tell DH that she packed it especially for him- so again creating a feeling that nether want to let down the other. This is all so that god forbid there are problems you are in a good position on all sides.
Hit? Miss? Maybe?
Crescentmoon, once again so much of what you said sounded familiar to me. Someone gave me some advice while I was in the process of meeting potential husbands (long, painful, soul destroying process!), which was only to discuss make or break issues, not every little matter that might come up in a marriage. Therefore, I stuck to asking his views on the things that really mattered, I didn't ask about how much he wanted to be involved in childcare, whether he would help in the house, as they weren't make or break for me.
Then I decided to pretty much accept what was on offer. I was surprised how involved he is with DS, I think maybe he's surprised himself with that one! I don't mind doing most of the housework, even though I know I don't have to. As he is the main breadwinner it feels pretty 50/50.
In terms of the help I do get, it isn't always exactly how I would like it, in that he might clean the floors a different way from me, but that's where another principle comes in - which is to accept the 'gifts' as they are given. I think that is from the Surrendered Wife book, where you see help, and other things as 'gifts', and if you received a gift from a friend would you give it back and say it's not quite the right thing? No, you would accept it gratefully with the intention it was given in. So that's what you do with DH's attempts to help. Otherwise he might not bother again. That one makes a lot of sense to me.
Like you Crescentmoon, I don't have that marriage based on friendship that I thought I would have, though there are elements of that. But I know people with that sort of marriage, and their marriages are not without difficulty either. Like you, I seek things outside of my marriage in order to strengthen my marriage.
Back to the more difficult aspects of my marriage, things are still going OK, though after a couple of weeks of the calm after the storm, I can see the moodiness creeping back in. I know I now need to find the strength to ignore them as much as possible. I also wanted to let him know how happy I have been with the last couple of weeks with being able to go out and about and have a bit more of a normal life. I wanted to keep channels of communication open, but I knew that bringing it up would cause him to be defensive. I tried to say it in the best possible way, but he did respond quite defensively (you do what you want I'm just happy with God, type comments). Not sure how to get to a point where we can have some kind of ongoing positive communication about this. Maybe that's expecting too much?
no that isnt expecting too much but inshaallah all in good time. i will comfort you by saying you have ONLY been married for 3 years. don't you know it can take upto 5 years for everything to settle? your marriage and mine didnt follow the love marriage trajectory of meet, date, live together, then get married. the meeting/dating/ live together can take about 5 years altogether for many people before they think to take the next step of deciding to commit forever. but with the traditional/arranged marriages, we meet... then get married haha. so virtually all the getting to know each other as living partners happens AFTER marriage.
when you marry out, whether it is out of your class, your religion, your ethnic group, etc there is another pressure as well to make it work - to prove it to the naysayers who had shaken their heads. and thats not a bad thing unless it is keeping you from leaving an abusive man, in which case discretion is the better part of valour lovelies! when i realised how big a hole i had dug myself by being so deferential, i really wondered if there was a way to get back from that with the same man. should i quit and say 'i learnt from this relationship never to be so eager to please again' or should i work with/ around/ through him to improve it.
i love DH, and adore him, and admire him, and that has only become greater in the years we have been together - but i hide the strength of it from him. because i dont wish to be taken for granted. i know im his closest confidante by far - he doesnt feel comfortable talking deeply with other people - but i look to my female best friends to meet my emotional needs and so i can be more solid with him.
its hard to take a position knowing it might make your DH moody and uncommunicative for awhile, but he needs to come out of that. don't be anxious about something reasonable - your not looking to leave him holding the baby everyday!
Crescentmoon you are so right about the 'getting to know' thing. With us it is an even slower process due to language.
I'm so glad you stuck it out and have reached this point alhamdulillah, I hope in 5 years I'm saying the same thing
Join the discussion
Please login first.