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Marriage falling apart

As Salam aleikum. I am female – 30 years old. I got married six years ago and have two beautiful kids. In these six years, I moved to the US from the middle east about three years ago while my husband stayed in the Middle East. I moved because of my job ( I am an oil and gas professional ). Before moving, I discussed in depth with my husband who supported my career and the move because it would be beneficial for our future. He hoped to join me once I got a greencard – the process was supposed to last three to four years. I also prayed isthekara and came.

In all my marriage years, I have never been close to my in laws, they have never made the effort to know me and neither have I. We were cordial, but my mother in law was always ( I felt) against me. She would say things like these children are mine not yours leading me to be quite insecure. I was honest with my husband about my feelings about her and I said I was glad I lived so far away from her.

Anyway, long story short – three years later my husband wants to separate. He says his parents are everything. I do not think he is having an affair, but I believe I should have made more effort with his family.

Not sure now if I should just quit my job, move back to the Middle East and try to save my marriage. Or just let my husband go.

AaSalaamu Alaikum,

It is a very difficult position to be in trying to juggle work, family, children, in-laws, and living long distance from one’s spouse. I applaud you for putting your family first. In my experience, however, there is typically far more than just one or two contributing factors that lead to a desire to separate. Speaking with an experienced therapist would help you and your husband sort through all of the different contributing factors that may have led to your and your husband’s current feelings about each other and the relationship.  

Making any drastic changes or decisions in haste may be detrimental for you and your family’s future. Take small steps. It took all 6 years to arrive at the situation where you are now, allow your relationship proper time to heal. If it is possible for either you or your husband to take some time off or a leave of absence, I would look into some sort of intensive marital therapy. If this is not possible start by looking into online marital therapy where you and your husband can be present in session from where you are currently located. In these sessions as many of the contributing factors to martial dissolution are deeply rooted and some unconscious, it will be important to discuss family histories, expectations of each other (as spouses, parents, in-laws etc.), and negotiating appropriate relationship and boundaries with in-laws. Decisions about quitting your job or divorcing will only be appropriate after therapy and a thorough discussion of aforementioned topics. Above all, please continue asking for guidance from Allah especially during these holy nights in the month of Ramadan. 

Your sister in Islam, 
Fatima “V”

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I would like to first say that you are a very brave and strong woman as you are able to live apart from your spouse and be a contributor to the finances of the family. This must have not been an easy decision for you or your husband to make. Another thing I would like to appreciate is the fact that you did istikhara.

I cannot even imagine how difficult it must be for you and your husband to be in this marriage with the distance that is between you two. I would highly recommend to seek out marital counseling if you both want to work through the issues and conflicts and to make your marriage strong and healthy. Marital counseling will inshAllah help you both to identify and address the areas of conflicts and work together to overcome and resolve those issues. Working together is the key! A marriage is the most sacred and intimate form of relationship in the eyes of Allah (swt). Performing istikhara and asking Allah (swt) for guidance in this difficult time will inshAllah be also helpful.

The decision to move for your job is made and looking back with regret will not do any good. Look forward and do not blame yourself. You and your husband made the best decisions given the circumstances and situation. May Allah (swt) guide you in making the right decision (ameen).

Your sister in Islam, 
Fatima “U”

Note from Admin: If you would like us to help you find a Muslim therapist/counselor in your area, please complete the Contact Us form at the footer of the website.

3 thoughts on “Marriage falling apart

  1. qalb healer_25

    Salam sister! I believe the above opinions are very credible and helpful. Marriage counseling is often overlooked but it can tell you so much about the relationship. Maybe even a Islamic marriage specialty counselor could be more of help. Inshallah, I really believe Allah (swt) will guide you in terms of what you need and what’s the best decision to make in the future. You sound strong in your words, and iA if you believe that the marriage can still work, (easier said then done, but try to work collectively with him). But both sides need to work towards a compromise in order to make it work in any case. If you’re holding back from seperating only for the kids, consider that the kids can see through everything. Children can see past things, I know because I have experience. I think a close friend and a counselor can go a long way in helping you see what is beneficial for you, but holding Allah close to you always is a whole other lifeline. I wish you the best and I’m praying for you and your family. Inshallah everything will work out in Allah’s merciful will. 🙂

  2. Salaam sister,
    May Allah bless you for having the courage to reach out for some support and suggestions. Fatima has made an excellent point that a Muslim counselor would likely be helpful for you to discuss the various aspects of your relationship so you can inshaAllah more clearly determine the best way to proceed, given your personal situation.

    I’m so sorry to hear that your in laws have not been very supportive in the health and well being of your marriage and happiness. I’ve actually heard many of our scholars indicate that unfortunately in our community these days, often times the in laws cause more stress on the relationship than helping it out. May Allah bless everyone to work towards maintaining happy healthy marriages. I think Mufti Menk has some pretty good talks on marriages and specifically in-laws on youtube, including one titled Relationship between Parents and Children, if you or your husband are interested.

    As far as having children and the impact of a potential divorce on the kids, it might be worth considering what will be the impact on the children if you stay together in an unhealthy unhappy marriage, what kind of environment will they grow up in and how will that affect their well being.

    InshaAllah I pray you and your husband can go for marriage counseling (maybe via skype or something if someone is open to it), and inshaAllah working with a Marriage therapist will help you both find a way to have a happy healthy marriage. However, I would like to say if both of you are not able to commit to creating a loving healthy marriage, then please seriously consider the positive and negative impacts of staying together “for the sake of the kids”. And please realize that BOTH partners (and involved parties, including in laws in this case since they are impacting the marriage) have to be committed to this; no matter how hard one person tries, if the other is not as vested, I don’t know if that is considered a true marriage and can create a loving healthy marriage.

    Look for all the things you can personally do to help improve your marriage, identify your own weaknesses and work on them because that will help you in any case, take care of your own well being and health so you can think clearly, and then if things begin to change for the better in time, then alhamdulillah, you are all blessed. However, if not, then remember, Allah has given divorce as an option if there are irreconcilable differences, even in the case of Zayd and Bibi Zaynab (R.A) who were both very pious good individuals, but were not able to stay married to one another and divorced during the time of the Prophet (SAW).

    Of course through all this, stay as close and connected to Allah as possible, make dua asking Him to help you see clearly what is the best way for you to handle each situation and to make the situation easy for you and to give you guidance for the best in deen and duniya for yourself and your children, and pray istikhara.

    May Allah make this easy for you and guide you to all that is best, because only He knows what is best for all of us!

  3. I am sad to hear that this is happening to your marriage. I would say don’t let him go. Especially if you have children. Maybe he needs to hear you be firm about your relationship and that you truly love him. Make efforts to visit him more often. Think back to the beginning of your relationship and what sweet things you both would do. Rehash the past and remember that those things existed and now is the part where its time to stick it out and work hard on your relationship and inshallah it will pass, these questionable thought in his head and yours will pass along with this hard time. Your family is with me and my prayers this Ramadan <3 Don't give up!