I have been married to my husband for eight years now, and we have three daughters, praise be to Allah. Sometimes, my husband and I face marital problems, which makes me sad. I am an American who converted to Islam nine years ago. Due to how I was raised in my society, I never saw what marriage looks like. I feel like I always fail at everything as a wife, no matter how hard I try. For example, I try hard to keep my house tidy, but it never looks like I do because I am not good at it. I feel like my husband hates me because he ignores me a lot, and I cannot communicate about anything with him. I feel like my husband hates me so strongly that I often lose my temper with him. The other day, my husband threw something at me, and I got so mad that I screamed at him and threatened to throw something at him too. I wanted him to feel how I felt. Then my husband’s parents took my husband’s side, and I felt attacked by everyone. My husband told me that he is only with me for the sake of our children. When I look at my husband now, I try hard not to cry, because I feel that he hates me. The worst part is that I feel hopeless about trying to fix it. I feel like I will never succeed and also feel that my husband will never learn how to spend quality time with me. I feel alone and hopeless. I want to stay with him because he is the father of my children, and I honestly have nowhere to go. I have no family to go back to. My family is not Muslim, and they do not even have the values of normal parents. My husband is the only person I have. I have to make my marriage happier. What can I do?
Assalamu alaykum wa rahmatullah.
May Allah bless your marriage and keep you steadfast. Your situation is something that is often encountered with converts, so be patient in rectifying it, and it will be easy by the Will and permission of Allah.
As you said, you did not know what marriage looks like. People always have an ideal picture of marriage that is full of love and compassion and without problems. That is not the case, because we, as individuals, are not perfect. Therefore, relationships are not perfect either. Being a Muslim necessitates that we get to know what is in the revelation – the Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet . It shows us the reality of this life and how to deal with every aspect of it. You need to have two sources of power to be able to succeed: the power of knowledge and the power of action. The power of knowledge is to know what is in the Quran and the Sunnah and then to seek help from Allah and have the determination and the truthfulness to apply this knowledge.
There is nothing extraordinary in your situation. These are normal marital issues that are always repeated. There are two folds to it, one is your husband, and the other is you. What your husband should do is not your responsibility, but you can advise him, etc. What is more important is you yourself and how to deal with the situation in the right way.
There are things which you might think are not related to the problem though they are the root of it, and the cure is to take care of these principles and foundations. Here are some of these things:
1- Never lose focus in your life of the fact that you are created to worship Allah alone and that Allah guided you to Islam to be steadfast and continue in that path till the moment of death.
2- Never be forgetful that the greatest favor that you have received is the religion of Islam. Therefore, strengthen your faith as a sign of being grateful. To do so, you need to do the good deeds in a persistent manner and increase your knowledge.
3- Allah is the Most Merciful; He only decrees what is best for you. Your challenges become the best for you if you understand why Allah destined them for you. The things that we do not like are destined for us to continue to worship Allah, and they add more acts of worship, like patience and seeking rewards, and the heart becomes more attached to Allah and less on the human beings, etc.
4- Life is temporary, and all of your concerns will be behind your back one day, so do not allow them to cause you to lose your focus.
Having said that, here are some specific steps to take for your specific situation:
1- Repent to Allah and increase your istighfar (asking for forgiveness).
2- Pray your prayers on time, and perform the Sunnah prayers and the night prayer also.
3- Learn the Quran and be consistent in your learning and recitation on a daily basis.
4- Encourage your husband to do good deeds together, like him leading you in a two-rak‘ah (unit of prayer) during the night, giving charity, helping the needy, etc.
5- Supplicate a lot every single day, especially during the last third of the night. Your husband’s heart is in the control of Allah, so ask Allah, since He is the only One Who can change your husband’s heart and manners.
6- Be kind to your husband’s family for the sake of Allah; Allah will make the truth prevail.
7- Suggest to your husband that both of you need to ask a scholar about what to do and seek advice.
8- When you feel lonely and no one is there for you, turn to Allah, He is the Most Merciful.
9- Shaytan (the devil) works hard, especially when it comes to families in order to break them, so be firm and never allow the Shaytan to ruin your family life.
10- Never oppose anger with anger as it only increases the problems.
The above needs a lot of effort, but with sincerity and dedication, Allah will make it easy. May Allah bless your family and give you happiness in this life and the Hereafter.