What advice would you give for marital struggles and family pressure?

The Details of the Question

- Marriage struggles, family pressure and seeking guidance on a new marriage proposal: A Muslim man’s request for academic advice...
- Dear Islamic Scholar, I hope this message finds you healthy. I am a Muslim man who married 9 years ago and is currently facing a series of challenges. During this time, despite my sincere efforts to create a harmonious and fulfilling relationship, I reached a point of deep fatigue and frustration. My daily routine includes regularly calling my wife, but unfortunately every conversation ends in frustration due to a significant disparity in our mental harmony.
- What makes matters worse is that my marriage was forcibly arranged by my mother. As the only child in my family, my mother was determined to bring her niece into our home, using the financial difficulties her sister underwent as an excuse. Although I persistently resisted the marriage for 4 years, my pleas were fruitless. The burden of these conditions weighed on me so much that I found myself surrendering to bad habits and attempted suicide, which I regret deeply and have given up ever since.
- My mother’s insistence on this marriage led to our separation and serious alienation. We now find ourselves barely communicating, often months without any interaction at all.
- There has been a recent development. I had the opportunity to meet another Muslim woman who is currently doing her PhD. I openly and honestly shared with her the details of my marriage and the difficulties I faced. She surprisingly proposed and expressed her willingness to accept me as I am.
- Given the complexity of my situation, I humbly seek your scientific guidance and assistance.

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Sometimes parents are unfortunately involved in many decisions of their children, especially the marriage decision. However, what needs to be done is to guide them, and to support them only in their children’s vital decisions. What their children need to do is to stick to their own decisions in a matter such as marriage, which is about the happiness of the two worlds, no matter what happens.

As far as we understand, you are an academic. You were subjected to pressure from your mother; you resisted first but you finally agreed to marry your cousin. So, we think you have a share in the result as much as your mother.

Therefore, if you first remove yourself from the position of being a victim and put yourself in a position of equal responsibility, it will be easier to get out of the blame and passive position.

Since we do not know your spouse, we cannot exactly know where the main problem is in your relationship and how much of it is yours and how much of it is hers. However, we can only give you advice.

Our primary suggestion to you is to focus primarily on your own share, based on the principle that “if there is a problem in a marriage and in all bilateral relations, both parties are responsible for it.” In other words, if you are ready for change by saying “What is my share in this marriage problem? What can I change to make this marriage better?”, and if your spouse focuses only on herself by asking herself the same question, the problems will be transformed into a solution incredibly.

One of the main problems in marriage is unhealthy communication style.

Generally, the disappointments experienced in the years after marriage, adaptation problems, power struggles, and attempts to design the marriage in line with their own understanding of life and temperament cause arguments between spouses.

As the husband and wife try to solve their problems by criticizing, blaming, and humiliating each other, they may eventually become unable to talk.

Our advice to you is this: If similar things take place in your communication, it will be useful to review them again because no person can change with criticism, accusation and humiliation. Change can happen only through speaking softly (respectfully, moderately, without offending). In the Quran, Allah commands Moses “to speak softly to Pharaoh, hoping that he will change.”

Some women can be angry, irritable and grumpy when they do not get the love, attention and care they want from their husbands. The same holds true for men.

Maybe your spouse also thinks that she does not get the love she expects from you. You can talk openly about it too.

As for the lady who proposes to you even though she knows that you are married, it is unethical, not goodwill, pure-heartedness, love and affection, for a woman to whom you have mentioned your marital problems in good faith, to propose to you by taking this opportunity.

We have a typical female model before us. Since we do not know this lady, we cannot question her intentions, but according to this model, ladies can look like angels, accept anything until they get what they want. However, after marriage, everything can change. Therefore, we advise you to be careful.

Divorce and remarriage of couples who cannot get along with others is definitely a solution. However, it is not appropriate to bring up the issue of meeting with someone before divorce and talking about marriage; and it does not bring peace.

We advise you first go to a marriage counselor or therapist, evaluate your relationship from the perspective of an independent expert, see if it can be saved, and then consider divorce and second marriage.

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