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Advice on a wife who wants divorce and a husband who refuses counseling?

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  • Advice on a wife who wants divorce and a husband who refuses counseling?

    Context: The husband and wife have been married for 20 years(both are in their mid-forties). The wife grew up in America, the husband grew up in India and moved to America once he married her. They have 4 children, ages 18 (me), 11, 7, and 5. Both are practicing physicians, him working full time and her working part time. Both are devout Muslims.

    The wife was not very picky when choosing her husband. He was recommended to her from extended family. He had a career and a good family, so she thought that would be sufficient in a spouse. For the first two years of marriage, they were separated because of their studies. They met occasionally, but were not really living together. According to the wife, they never developed the close bond that a couple should in the beginning of their relationship- it was very superficial.

    After their first child was born, they lived together. After around 6 years of marriage, they began to frequently argue about different things, such as his habits from back home.3 years later, they moved to a different city. The husband worked in both cities for a year, and for that time the fighting stopped because they rarely saw each other. When the husband came back into the picture, the frequent fighting has continued, off and on, for over 10 years (up to now). The eldest child has grown indifferent to it, the younger children are worried by it.

    The wife's issue is that although the husband is respected, responsible, and has a good career, he is emotionally unavailable. He is unsentimental and does not spend quality time with her. He does not compliment her unless she asks, and rarely smiles. He works over 80 hours a week, and still has work to complete when he comes home. It is not necessary for him to work this hard, but his reasoning is that he won't be able to work at this level when he is older. He also has a temper and is prone to shouting. They share no common interests or hobbies, and the wife feels as if they are two roommates as opposed to two partners. The wife has brought up divorce multiple times in the past 5 years. He does not take her seriously about this but also refuses to grant the divorce. After a month of considering divorce, the wife always has doubts and accepts that she shouldn't expect any emotional intimacy from her husband, and she can instead find fulfillment in her children and work. This is a cycle that has repeated itself countless times

    The husband would prefer that nothing changes. The kids are looked after and his family has a good image, so why ruin that? He has stated that is not an emotional person, and he is too old to change his habits. He has done things to try and make his wife happier. His mother is no longer living in their house, as her presence and habits are distressing to the wife. The wife often wanted her husband to buy a larger house in a neighborhood with more prestige- he firmly refused this, so she settled for having improvements done on their current house. However, the husband refuses counseling because of how busy he is and out of principle(he does not see the point in involving others in their marriage).

    The wife has expressed that her aims in getting divorced are NOT to try and marry her ideal man; rather, she would probably continue to focus on her kids and career. The struggle of being in a loveless marriage, constantly fighting, with the kids watching is becoming too much for her. If they were separate, then she would not be obligated towards this man.

    Is there nay advice for how to treat the situation? What can the couple do after so long? Could divorce be considered?

  • #2
    Re: Advice on a wife who wants divorce and a husband who refuses counseling?

    :salams

    This is the issue when it comes to marrying someone with a high end career lawyer, doctors,etc it comes with the package of working long hours and sometimes even beyond the call of duty. I'm not advocating that one shouldn't marry someone in these fields, but these are things one must understand before getting into this. Her husband does have a demanding job, so its understandable in his case.

    I don't think the issue is that big everyone argues, its not going to be any different here, even they lived a good life wouldn't mean there wouldn't be an argument between them. I don't think this is something I'd say is worthy of divorce tbh, because things aren't as bad as they seem.

    Can you children not speak to your father? It's one thing man don't understand as much is the emotional aspect of things and they take it lightly, but its something big for a women.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Advice on a wife who wants divorce and a husband who refuses counseling?

      this is what happens when on paper everything is good but theres no chemistry between the couple. and unfortunately a lot of older people are in such marriages and don't get out because of what society will think or family. both of ur parents should've realized this when getting married so theyre both to blame. i would say ur mom should stay in marriage because it seems only issue ur mom has its a loveless marriage and she doesnt think she can have another love marriage or even wants one. so why cant she stay together for the kids sake and he does take care of her. ur older so u will take a bit better but the youngest is 5 and he/she will be hurt and they need a father and mother figure or they can have issues growing up. ur mom can stay in the marriage and still focus on her career and kids. obviously if he abuses her or tortures her or doesnt provide for her then i would say go for divorce but that doesnt seem the case.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by hassaan561 View Post
        this is what happens when on paper everything is good but theres no chemistry between the couple. and unfortunately a lot of older people are in such marriages and don't get out because of what society will think or family. both of ur parents should've realized this when getting married so theyre both to blame. i would say ur mom should stay in marriage because it seems only issue ur mom has its a loveless marriage and she doesnt think she can have another love marriage or even wants one. so why cant she stay together for the kids sake and he does take care of her. ur older so u will take a bit better but the youngest is 5 and he/she will be hurt and they need a father and mother figure or they can have issues growing up. ur mom can stay in the marriage and still focus on her career and kids. obviously if he abuses her or tortures her or doesnt provide for her then i would say go for divorce but that doesnt seem the case.
        You do know you always write in big walls of texts which are highly off-putting, a little spacing would help.
        You think you know more than my scholar's qiyās? He was more learned than you and all other scholars combined. Yeah, the devil was the greatest scholar too and look where his qiyās of fire being better than tīn got him. Sorry.

        You follow your scholar's qiyās, and I will follow the Qur'ān and Sunnah.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Advice on a wife who wants divorce and a husband who refuses counseling?

          Originally posted by Linkdeutscher View Post
          You do know you always write in big walls of texts which are highly off-putting, a little spacing would help.
          yeah i know. and i also dont capitalize each letter in beginning of new sentences because of laziness and figure whats the point. i'll try working on that. thanks.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Advice on a wife who wants divorce and a husband who refuses counseling?

            Originally posted by Erocla View Post
            Context: The husband and wife have been married for 20 years(both are in their mid-forties). The wife grew up in America, the husband grew up in India and moved to America once he married her. They have 4 children, ages 18 (me), 11, 7, and 5. Both are practicing physicians, him working full time and her working part time. Both are devout Muslims.

            The wife was not very picky when choosing her husband. He was recommended to her from extended family. He had a career and a good family, so she thought that would be sufficient in a spouse. For the first two years of marriage, they were separated because of their studies. They met occasionally, but were not really living together. According to the wife, they never developed the close bond that a couple should in the beginning of their relationship- it was very superficial.

            After their first child was born, they lived together. After around 6 years of marriage, they began to frequently argue about different things, such as his habits from back home.3 years later, they moved to a different city. The husband worked in both cities for a year, and for that time the fighting stopped because they rarely saw each other. When the husband came back into the picture, the frequent fighting has continued, off and on, for over 10 years (up to now). The eldest child has grown indifferent to it, the younger children are worried by it.

            The wife's issue is that although the husband is respected, responsible, and has a good career, he is emotionally unavailable. He is unsentimental and does not spend quality time with her. He does not compliment her unless she asks, and rarely smiles. He works over 80 hours a week, and still has work to complete when he comes home. It is not necessary for him to work this hard, but his reasoning is that he won't be able to work at this level when he is older. He also has a temper and is prone to shouting. They share no common interests or hobbies, and the wife feels as if they are two roommates as opposed to two partners. The wife has brought up divorce multiple times in the past 5 years. He does not take her seriously about this but also refuses to grant the divorce. After a month of considering divorce, the wife always has doubts and accepts that she shouldn't expect any emotional intimacy from her husband, and she can instead find fulfillment in her children and work. This is a cycle that has repeated itself countless times

            The husband would prefer that nothing changes. The kids are looked after and his family has a good image, so why ruin that? He has stated that is not an emotional person, and he is too old to change his habits. He has done things to try and make his wife happier. His mother is no longer living in their house, as her presence and habits are distressing to the wife. The wife often wanted her husband to buy a larger house in a neighborhood with more prestige- he firmly refused this, so she settled for having improvements done on their current house. However, the husband refuses counseling because of how busy he is and out of principle(he does not see the point in involving others in their marriage).

            The wife has expressed that her aims in getting divorced are NOT to try and marry her ideal man; rather, she would probably continue to focus on her kids and career. The struggle of being in a loveless marriage, constantly fighting, with the kids watching is becoming too much for her. If they were separate, then she would not be obligated towards this man.

            Is there nay advice for how to treat the situation? What can the couple do after so long? Could divorce be considered?
            I am not in a healthy mindset to comment on here, but this seems like a typical family issue. Just tell each parent to have pure intentions, pray together and then try to solve things.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Advice on a wife who wants divorce and a husband who refuses counseling?

              If this thread was written by the offspring, it is the wrong place for anyone to comment.

              I am sure that some people will have feelings which if written would hurt the OP.

              No one likes to see their parents argue and face divorce.

              Also the problems are deep rooted and concern matters inappropriate to discuss with the offspring.

              I would advise that this case be taken to people of knowledge, away from such a forum.

              I would advise this before certain posters come and say rash things that are destructive.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Advice on a wife who wants divorce and a husband who refuses counseling?

                u/Winter, when I mean arguments I don't mean small scuffles that are later resolved. Of course that would be expected in a relationship. These are full blown shouting matches that can be heard from outside and end in bitterness and resentment. I know I may be inexperienced, but I don't believe fights every other week is a healthy dynamic. I've spoken to my father once about this. He talks about what he's sacrificed to keep things together so far, but cannot adjust his nature or his temper.

                u/hassaan561, my mom worries that this marriage brings out the worst in her. Spouses should be a complement for one another, but she her values and culture is too different from my father and so they clash. She knows that once they finally retire they'll still have nothing in common. She thinks she might be dooming the rest of her life to this unhappiness.

                u/brothern, like I've said, I don't thing a typical family issue is drawn out for over 10 years.

                u/slaveuk, jzk for your concern. I'm aware that advice solicited from the forum must be taken with a heavy dose of salt, and also that some may see this as frivolous.Unfortunately, me and my maternal grandmother know much about the situation since my mother feels that we are the only people she can discuss this with. I've been looking into Muslim marriage counselors online, but it's slim pickings. There's also the issue that my father would rather ignore all of this. How could I approach this with him?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Advice on a wife who wants divorce and a husband who refuses counseling?

                  Originally posted by Erocla View Post
                  u/Winter, when I mean arguments I don't mean small scuffles that are later resolved. Of course that would be expected in a relationship. These are full blown shouting matches that can be heard from outside and end in bitterness and resentment. I know I may be inexperienced, but I don't believe fights every other week is a healthy dynamic. I've spoken to my father once about this. He talks about what he's sacrificed to keep things together so far, but cannot adjust his nature or his temper.

                  u/hassaan561, my mom worries that this marriage brings out the worst in her. Spouses should be a complement for one another, but she her values and culture is too different from my father and so they clash. She knows that once they finally retire they'll still have nothing in common. She thinks she might be dooming the rest of her life to this unhappiness.

                  u/brothern, like I've said, I don't thing a typical family issue is drawn out for over 10 years.

                  u/slaveuk, jzk for your concern. I'm aware that advice solicited from the forum must be taken with a heavy dose of salt, and also that some may see this as frivolous.Unfortunately, me and my maternal grandmother know much about the situation since my mother feels that we are the only people she can discuss this with. I've been looking into Muslim marriage counselors online, but it's slim pickings. There's also the issue that my father would rather ignore all of this. How could I approach this with him?
                  Yeah unfortunately nature or personality usually cannot be changed. And if this has been there always then ur mother should've check that thoroughly before but now whats done is done. For her the only reason to stay in this marriage is basically for the kids. Especially since they are young. And if she wants to sacrifice their future and family for her happiness then thats her call. There will pros and cons since nothing is perfect.

                  But she should be sure the pros outweigh the con. I just know that when u go try to get married and ur parents are divorced that will look bad to some families. And ur young siblings growing without a father figure around can also cause issues. As long as she thinks long and hard and knows what shes getting into.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Advice on a wife who wants divorce and a husband who refuses counseling?

                    My mother has no intention of separating us from our dad- she wants us to have a good relationship and alhamdulillah we respect him immensely. And there is the matter of how it looks too...
                    i've been looking into counseling services and came across the Rahma Institute. Does anyone have any experience with them or know if they're reputable? I know from my post it sounds like I am biased for my mother- i may be, since I've had to comfort her when she is depressed and crying about the issue for years. But I know divorce isn't preferred, and I'd like for there to be reconciliation between them. Approaching it is difficult though due to how delicate of a matter it is.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Advice on a wife who wants divorce and a husband who refuses counseling?

                      Good, now tell us the husband's point of view.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Advice on a wife who wants divorce and a husband who refuses counseling?

                        quark, you;re right of course. My dad's side is left out, and I can see from his perspective where my mother is relentless. My mother can be nitpicky. She's very unforgiving of his messiness or if he dresses sloppily. My dad would prefer a peaceful and quiet house, but his wife's badgering makes that difficult for him. He admits that he has a temper and falls into shouting too much, but he'd like to change that at least. He has worked so hard to obtain his position and a good life for his kids. He has an expectation of his marriage that mirrors that of his own parents- his own father was away often and he grew up with his brothers and aunts. His own father was the typical stoic and so he mirrors that. My mother's expectations of marriage were based off of her parents, and that was very different- a close knit family that was affectionate. To my father, my mother has expectations/standards that he cannot possibly meet based on how he was raised.

                        I know this is very incomplete, and both people have their faults that inflame each other. Some constructive advice would be appreciated, or any resources on how to go about this.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Advice on a wife who wants divorce and a husband who refuses counseling?

                          Seems like there are faults on both sides.

                          The only solution I see is that you convince your dad to go to counselling with your mum.

                          As kids you need to reassure your mum that whatever happens you will be there for her. I can tell you that more than anything parents worry about how things might affect the kids.

                          I remember how my own parents used to argue and I used to think gosh perhaps it's better they seperate. In later years I would feel resentment towards them that they deprived me of a happy loving household from their selfish behaviour and I used to feel like they stunted my growth and self confidence.

                          I now wish that I had the courage to tell them to get their act together and get professional help or split amicably and let us have some peace.

                          I blame our jahil culture which dictates that no matter what you don't divorce. Like Catholicism. I know it would be awkward for you reading this but your parents are both still young and both have emotional and physical needs. I knew this as a teenager and it would puzzle me why two people would put up with such misery just for the sake of not losing face. It would lead me to wonder what my dad was up to when he would come home really late.

                          I'm just sharing some private thoughts here because I hope you all have the strength to throw your culture etc in the bin and focus on yourselves and your iman and mental health.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Advice on a wife who wants divorce and a husband who refuses counseling?

                            Also want to add.... What islamic activity insha Allah there in your home?

                            It seems like all the focus is on worldly and academic achievement and prestige.

                            I remember in later years when things between my dad and mum finally improved that whenever there were problems or arguments in the house my dad who was by now extremely practicing would blame us kids for not praying on time and neglecting the deen. And he was right too.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Advice on a wife who wants divorce and a husband who refuses counseling?

                              slaveuk, thank you for your thoughtful answer. It helps to hear from someone's own experience. I guess I do need to get serious and convince my dad to get counseling with my mom. On one hand I'm resentful because they should be able to sort it out between themselves, but I can see how external involvement is necessary.
                              As for the activities in the home, although my family is very success oriented my parents do try to keep us with the deen. My siblings attend an Islamic Sunday school, and they read with a qari a few times a week. My parents and I pray and are teaching the younger children to do so as well. During the summer my dad takes us to jumah prayers, and when he's home we all pray maghrib together. My dad spends a lot of his time, when he's not sleeping or working, memorizing surahs.

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