“I am a mother of 3 kids Alhamdulillah and currently pregnant.
My husband is troubling me a lot and I have lived with him for 18 years now and whenever I ask him to do something for his family he either gives silly excuses or does it after constantly nagging him to do it.
Anything broken in his house he doesn’t even care to bring a plumber or electrician but when he is asked to work for others houses then he does it right away.
It’s like this, he will do anything for the world out there as for sure he is egocentric so that he can get famous and people praise him for his behaviour but when it comes to his own home and kids he is totally different.
I have tried many many ways from good speech to all but I haven’t seen any everlasting fruit. He behaves good for days and then goes back to his old behaviour.
I am very very tired of this behaviour and just hate him for sure.
Please tell me what I can do
~your sister in Islam”
Assalamualaikum Wa Rahamatullahi Wa Barakatuhu Dearest Sister,
I think I would be lying if I say that I understand what you are going through, because I genuinely don’t. It must be very difficult to endure all this while you are expecting a child, with three children already. I pray that Allahﷻ grants you patience and strength. You have spent eighteen years with your husband. Ma sha Allah. It is something to thank Allahﷻ for, isn’t it? How many cases do we know nowadays that break apart within six months to a year of marriage? Subhan Allah!
Before I begin to write this down for you, I would like to clarify some things. As a counselor, I am not here to offer you advice. I am sure, there are many out there in your circle of friends and family that would do the same. They must have many suggestions like putting a bit more effort with your husband, using different methods to convince him, being good to him… and many more. I know how frustrating this can get, especially when you have tried every advice in the book! I do not intend to increase your frustration, so I will try very hard not to repeat any of the usual advices that a woman in your situation might get.
Another thing I want to clarify is that I am not a miracle worker. Simply reading this or trying out the suggestions I give you is not going to solve anything instantaneously, and any lasting change is going to require lots of patience and practice from you.
Now, you must be wondering, “I understand patience… but why practice? What do I have to practice?”
That is exactly what my first bit of insight tackles, sister. You see, one of the biggest truths we, as humans, need to understand is that we cannot change others. We can influence them, get a reaction out of them, advise them, and even force them to do things… but change them? No, that is something that is not quite under our jurisdiction. Allahﷻ has the power to do that. Not us. He can change hearts; He can change people and their actions.
But why is it so important for us to understand? Well, mainly because this will minimize or cut off the efforts we are making to change others.
You have said yourself that you have spent years trying to change the attitude your husband has, you have tried different things and most of them have led to failure. So, I think you already know that you cannot change him. But here I am telling you that you should stop trying to change him. Cease all attempts! Now, I know your response might be, “But why? I am supposed to live with him. He is my husband! Can’t he alter his attitude for me? I have done so much for him!”
Yes, I acknowledge all of that. I am sure that in some part of your husband’s consciousness, he must, too. But it is imperative for you to stop trying to change your husband simply because it is having a degrading effect on you, your mental health and your relationship with your husband. You see, every disappointment, every failed attempt is piling up in your mind making it seem like there is nothing good in your relationship.
Consider this example, there is a smudge of dirt on the window and it is clouding your vision. After a while, because of a rainstorm, your window is filled with dirt, so much so that the sunshine outside cannot penetrate into your room.
We humans have a tendency of noticing the negatives of life, you see – amongst the sea of things, the negative will stand out to us in stark contrast.
I know, you might be thinking, “But Arshi, there’s nothing good here…” and so it maybe, but for once, try wiping the window. Let the sun in. See your husband for the person he is and the little things he actually does for you. And for all the things he doesn’t? Forgive him. Why forgive him? Because, holding on is harming no one but you and your mental health. Don’t waste your time trying to change him. It’s not possible. What you can do is, accept him for who he is.
The second insight I would like to give you is, be aware of your own biases. In psychology, we have a term called cognitive bias – it is an inherent partiality we have in the way we think about or form opinions about a person, place or thing – or even people associated with them. I am not saying that you are biased towards your husband and see only the negatives in him. Rather, I am saying that there are certain habits of him that trigger you and make you feel bad or frustrated about your situation.
So, what can you do about that? First, take a deep calming breath and clear your head. Sit down. Take a sip of water. Remind yourself that anger only sparks further anger and rarely solves any issues. Once your anger and frustration has subsided enough, think about everything with a clear mind not clouded with anger. Secondly, be empathetic. Once you have cleared your mind and have decided that you are going to think positively about your husband, try to see things from his perspective. Maybe there is a valid reason for his behavior? Maybe he is unaware of the way his behavior frustrates you, or maybe he thinks that he is correct in his ways of life? Or perhaps, he just doesn’t know any other way!
Remember, I told you, you cannot change him – but you can definitely change the way you respond to him. Your calmness and understanding may work wonders in a way your frustration couldn’t.
My next suggestion for you might sound a bit cheesy, but I implore you to revisit the golden days. I am sure that your marital life was not always this difficult. There must be a number of times you were happy – blissfully so – and loved your husband in those times. Go back to those times and evaluate how you were with each other – was your attitude and behavior same as it is now? Did you tackle the problems the way you do now? I want you to think thoroughly about the good times and then take your mind to the tough times. Not the times when your husband was being difficult, but the times when you two were united against some adversity of life – an economic problem, perhaps? Or maybe, some illness?
Now, think about the things that made your relationship stronger and deeper. Think of the times when he was there for you, measure it up against his ignorance now… are problems really so severe that you have started to hate him? Is there really no way to salvage this relationship? Was it always this way?
You know the answers to these questions better than I can fathom. I don’t want these answers, I simply want you to be honest with yourself. Completely honest with yourself.
If by the end of this self-evaluation, this honest critique of yourself and your relationship, you find that your relationship is important enough for you to save, I am sure you will find several ways to salvage it. If not, I am sure that you know divorce is an option. But I have noticed that you didn’t even mention it once in your question to me. This means that you are not even remotely thinking of separating. So, consider this entire thing as a minor setback in your relationship – every relationship has its ups and downs. I know you are stronger, and will come out victorious in this struggle.
Here are some thought processes you should try and cultivate to get a positive outlook on your relationship with your husband:
- Love him for the sake of Allah ﷻ.
- Be grateful to him, no matter how little he does. Show him your gratitude, say the words.
- Communicate with him and even if he isn’t responding to you properly when you initiate conversations, respond to him properly when he initiates them.
- Take care of his needs – even though you think he hardly cares for yours – do it for the sake of Allah ﷻ, do it because he is the father of your kids and provides for you to the best of his ability.
- Comfort him when he needs it – simply, be there for him. Do not take the path of “I won’t because he didn’t”. Be the bigger person.
- Motivate him to be a better Muslim – not just a better husband.
- Make time for him.
- Let go of your ego – and hold on to him.
Lastly, I would suggest that you make lots of dua’a and do loads of dhikr. Sometimes, it is the whispers of the shaytaan that creates problems in the lives of husbands and wives. Recite ruqyah to save yourself from evil eye.
Written by: Arshi Dokadia
Edited By: The Editorial Team
© The Islamic Reflections Blog