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Long distance marriage

Assalamalaikum sister,
I am a 30 year old female, married for the past three and a half years. I got married when I was doing my studies so i had to stay away from my husband till i completed my course. I stayed with my in laws who were in the same city as mine. My husband would visit me once or twice a month but every time he did my in laws wanted him to spend as much time as possible at home with them.so i din get to go out or spend time with him in person. I never complained about it.
During my course my husband shifted to middle east for work. I was hoping he would call me there but he made me join for work back in my home town. And then he started persuading me to do my higher studies. Even though i was not interested in the beginning i wanted to make him happy and got into another three years course.
My in laws are very insecure that we will stay together and always discouraged him from staying with me. I went and stayed with him for three months and thats the only time in these many years that we have stayed together. even for that they had created issues.
Now I am in a remote place, studying for another three years. Another three years of separation. and things are not smooth between us. He only thinks of his parents and siblings. There are times when he is nice to me. But its always his parents and siblings. I am not given any importance. In turn, he treats me badly in front of them. I love him a lot but right now there is not much talk or discuss. I am worried about it. Worried that Allah wont forgive us for the constant fights we have. And i cant discuss this with him or seek a counselor coz he is ready for neither.
Please advise me as to how i make things work with my husband


Assalamu ‘alaykum,
Being married and living apart is very difficult for most couples. Having a distant living situation right at the beginning of the marriage is even more difficult because it is gets in the way of the couple establishing patterns and habits together.
There are many different ways to set up families and sometimes couples want alone time while their parents envision a family where there is little separation. Sometimes there is even tension between both sets of parents as they manage the shifting family relationships.
When people are not on the same page and have different expectations, often there is tension, conflict, and most of all hurt.
All this is uncomfortable AND normal.
What you are describing makes me wonder how you were introduced, and how the two of you decided to be married. Did you spend much time asking each other questions about what you envisioned a marital relationship would look like? Did you get time to observe the family culture? You mentioned that your in-laws are not confident that the two of you will stay together — I wonder about that as well and why they might think that?
Since you haven’t had much time alone, and it seems like you are frustrated by that, my first suggestion would be that the two of you spend some time together really getting to know one another. This might mean putting aside what you think you know about each other and trying to really get to know how the other feels and thinks in various situations.
When conflict is high, it is really hard sometimes to just be curious rather than critical. 
I would recommend a book called Hold Me Tight that goes into some of the reasons why couples have conflict and how to foster a deeper connection between both parties. 
I know that you mentioned that your husband doesn’t really want to talk about the challenges nor does he want to pursue counseling. I would recommend that perhaps you explore counseling. Being in this situation is stressful and it really seems like it would be beneficial for you to have someone to talk to and to help you figure out the best solutions for your particular situation. Having only one person in the couple coming to counseling can still be very effective because when one person changes how they are managing the situation the other person naturally has to adjust.
Also, never underestimate the power of prayer. It really sounds like it would be helpful for you to consider praying istikhaarah to help you choose the best course of action in this process of continuous improvement and growth. We are placed in situations because we have something within us that really wants to grow so we can become a better person.
Discomfort helps to motivate us to stare deep within us and find out how we can grow. Sometimes that deep self-reflection leads us straight to the conclusion that we needed, and that we wouldn’t have gotten to if we didn’t have the courage to look inside.
I truly hope that you and your husband can be a good team to figure out the challenges in your marriage. And I hope that the journey you walk together keeps you both safe, loved, and growing towards your better selves.
Wa ‘alaykum salaam,
Your sister in Islam,
“Fatima Z”

Assalaamu Alaikum wa Rahmathullah wa Barakatuh,

I pray that Allah helps you and gives you strength and endurance in this incredible time of hardship. Unfortunately you are not alone in your experiences of conflict and challenging in-laws. I want to emphasize on the power and importance of isthikhara and Dua’a, and I also wish to highlight the power of your own decisions and actions as well. It is extremely important that you and your husband create and share the same goals for your relationship, both immediate and long term. Be sure to also discuss your goals in terms of the relationship with his parents and siblings as well as the relationship with your parents and siblings. Your post does not seem to include any mention of your family or support system. It is vital for your physical and mental health that you maintain a strong network of support especially as you complete your studies on your own.

You mention how you have made decisions based on wishing to make your husband happy. This is great as long as there are also decisions made to consider your happiness as well. If there is no balance between the amounts of sacrifices made for the relationship by each partner, it will be met with resentment, regret and depression. We come from a culture where women in the relationship are supposed to be self-sacrificing martyrs and patient during times of adversity instead of voicing their needs and desires in the relationship. If you do not give importance to your needs, neither will your husband. You have to sincerely ask yourself how much of your happiness are you willing to sacrifice for your relationship if your husband is not even willing to talk about it, much less make any compromises for the betterment of the relationship.  

I would strongly recommend that you gently encourage him to seek counseling with you. Remind him that you love him and that you wish for your relationship to work. Tell him that as our physical bodies are in need of physical checkups by professionals so do our hearts, minds and relationships. Ensure him and his family that you do not wish to take him away from his parents or siblings, and that you hope to love them as much as he does. Remind them that the likelihood of all this increases with the closeness and stability of your relationship with him. And if you are blessed with children in the future inshaAllah, the health and well-being of your children will also depend on the stability of your marital relationship and the support of your extended family. May Allah give you strength and guide you to the best course of action. Ameen.

Your Sister in Islam,

Fatima “V”

6 thoughts on “Long distance marriage

  1. Assalaamu Alaikum wa Rahmathullah wa Barakatuh,

    I pray that Allah helps you and gives you strength and endurance in this incredible time of hardship. Unfortunately you are not alone in your experiences of conflict and challenging in-laws. I want to emphasize on the power and importance of isthikhara and Dua’a, and I also wish to highlight the power of your own decisions and actions as well. It is extremely important that you and your husband create and share the same goals for your relationship, both immediate and long term. Be sure to also discuss your goals in terms of the relationship with his parents and siblings as well as the relationship with your parents and siblings. Your post does not seem to include any mention of your family or support system. It is vital for your physical and mental health that you maintain a strong network of support especially as you complete your studies on your own.
    You mention how you have made decisions based on wishing to make your husband happy. This is great as long as there are also decisions made to consider your happiness as well. If there is no balance between the amounts of sacrifices made for the relationship by each partner, it will be met with resentment, regret and depression. We come from a culture where women in the relationship are supposed to be self-sacrificing martyrs and patient during times of adversity instead of voicing their needs and desires in the relationship. If you do not give importance to your needs, neither will your husband. You have to sincerely ask yourself how much of your happiness are you willing to sacrifice for your relationship if your husband is not even willing to talk about it, much less make any compromises for the betterment of the relationship.

    I would strongly recommend that you gently encourage him to seek counseling with you. Remind him that you love him and that you wish for your relationship to work. Tell him that as our physical bodies are in need of physical checkups by professionals so do our hearts, minds and relationships. Ensure him and his family that you do not wish to take him away from his parents or siblings, and that you hope to love them as much as he does. Remind them that the likelihood of all this increases with the closeness and stability of your relationship with him. And if you are blessed with children in the future inshaAllah, the health and well-being of your children will also depend on the stability of your marital relationship and the support of your extended family. May Allah give you strength and guide you to the best course of action. Ameen.

    Your Sister in Islam,
    Fatima “V”

  2. I hope you stay connected to us on this site. Please continue to write back, in response to these comments or as additional posts. We really want to be here for you to support you while you are going through this in any way we can.

  3. Salaam sweet sister,

    I’m so happy you wrote in to this website. It sounds like you are mashaAllah such an amazing woman, being patient in such difficulty so far.
    I faced very similar struggles with my husband and in laws, where I felt their insecurities created huge confusion and sadness (and a lot worse) for me and my husband. I used to feel it was their fault. After much intense struggle, I finally realized that their impact on my relationship and life was only Allah’s way of placing me in a struggle that He had chosen for me, as Fatima said, so He could give me the opportunity to grow into who He knew I had the potential to be. Look at all the struggles the Prophet and all the sahaba had to go through. They didn’t feel helpless and blame others, rather they saw it as an opportunity to grow into their best selves, following the Prophet’s lead of the balance between patient perseverence (sabr) in the form of enduring difficulty vs patient perseverence (sabr) in the form of standing firmly for what was right.

    I wanted to mention a few things that helped me, for what it’s worth…
    1) I definitely agree with Fatima about going for counseling, staying connected to Allah, and reminding yourself that Allah puts us through struggles to help us bring out the best in ourselves.
    2) Focus on your own self worth and what you are doing to care for yourself while you are working through this difficult time in your life. Loving someone else means loving yourself first so you can be secure and grounded to really love them, while upholding the amanah from Allah of preserving your own life Allah has blessed you with. This balance will help you to have true love instead of being dependent on your husband’s love.
    3) iA like any other struggle in life, this will be a means to learn to truly turn to Allah, and make Him your best friend.
    4) Try to breathe and go into a meditative zikr whenever you can, where you forget about your struggles so that you can gain clarity, and then He can guide you from there. Maybe praying istakhara, like Fatima suggested, will iA help as well.
    5) I’m hesitant to recommend something non-traditional on this site, but for what it’s worth, there is a worldwide program called Landmark which has really been helping me significantly in “getting out of my head” so I can get in touch with the reality of the situation, which allows me to authentically communicate, rather than getting upset and caught in cloudy emotional arguments which don’t go anywhere. This has been helping me find that balance of the different forms of sabr I mentioned earlier.
    6) Only once we clear ourselves of emotional reactions and judgement of how things ought to be, we can find our inner Light and strength from Allah to naturally be our best selves, sincerely trust in Allah while doing our best and also making dua to Him, truthfully and effectively communicate with sincerity, and thereby allow others to bring out their own best selves.
    7) Remind yourself of the ayat 30:21 that Allah created spouses to dwell in tranquility with them.

    I would love for you to stay in communication. I know this is a very trying time so you will need all the love and support you can get, and Alhamdulillah, this site is one of the ways Allah has offered you that.

    I sincerely pray Allah grants you a marriage where you and your spouse are the coolness and comfort of each other’s eyes 25:74.

    With lots of duas and love,
    Your sister in Islam

  4. Asalamoalaikum Sister,

    The Prophet Muhammad (saw) told the men who were soldiers during the war to return to their families ( i.e wife ) after 4 or 6 months. In other words, 4 or 6 months is the limit that a man can stay away from his wife. Sister did you know about this ? and does your husband know about this ? Share this information with him. Maybe then he will think twice about making you live far away from him. His stress on you to study seems to be a way to keep you busy. But the fact remains that he is living far away from you for greater than 4 to 6 months. This is against the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (saw).
    May Allah guide us all. Ameen.

    Your brother in Islam

  5. Jazakallah khair sister for the advise you have given me. I will definitely consider a counsellor and also the book you suggested. Ours was an arranged marriage and we get to see the family culture only once v marry and enter the house. I was hoping that once we stay together things will call in place but that takes another many years and was worried about our marriage progress. But your suggestion that having to deal with this will only make me think deeper and better has helped me. Jazakhallah sister again for being there for all us Muslim girls who are faced with marital issues and helping us settle things in a peaceful way.

  6. Salaam sister!

    I just wanted to say that I am praying for you and hoping that inshAllah you are granted with ease in dealing with this situation. I think Fatima made some great suggestions and I also want to echo her encouragement of starting counseling, even if you husband is not interested. You will be doing something good for yourself which I think is the best thing you can do right now in your situation.

    Wishing you the best and sending you lots of love and duas!