Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sticky Marital Stuff...When Hubby's Wrong and Trust is Gone

As salaamu alaykum wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh.

In marriage, and relationships in general, I think many of us face situations where Allah does not guide us to walk away and yet we don't know how to cope with the situation well. The woman's perspective is different than the man's, particularly because of her role within the marriage relationship. Most certainly, us wives have many faults and sins of our own. The difference is that Allah has given men authority over women, hence if the husband faces such issues with his wife, he must correct them. But what about the times when our husbands give in to shaytaan's whispers? This may be in various forms, such as:

- doing something that is, at best, doubtful Islamically
- doing acts hated by Allah,
- being disobedient to Allah, or
- falling into major sin.

Many sisters struggle with their emotions and how to cope with  a husband (or anyone close to to them) whose errors, makrooh actions, or sins affect them deeply.

In these cases I have to separate myself.  In a nutshell, the part of me that loves a person truly for the sake of Allah, and is torn apart when they do wrong, becomes desensitized over time. A protective coating has built up over my heart and with every sin, the coating becomes thicker. A little of the love and respect may be diminished and it is replaced with hatred for the despised action(s) and an aversion to the person when they commit those deeds. It often leaves me dreading any repeat offenses. This is particularly difficult when the person involved is your husband.
It is reported that Sufyân Al-Thawrî – Allâh have mercy on him – said:

If you loved a man for Allâh and then he innovates in Islâm and you don’t hate him for it, you never [truly] loved him for Allâh.
Abû Nu’aym, Hilyatu Al-Awliyâ` 7:34.
I remember the words of Allah in the Quran, "You will not be asked of what they did." I separate myself, because I cannot cope with such close involvement - it hurts me. I also separate myself because I hate what Allah Hates. I do not want to fall into the same sin or to be one of those who supports another in their sin. I'm sure it sounds cold and not supportive, but if I don't look at it like that, then I cannot function.

As for day-to-day life, how do you think and conduct yourself when you have these strong, negative emotions? Try to continue with life as usual without saying anything. I say, "try" because I am not a person who easily disguises feelings, so it is an effort that may not completely succeed for many of us. Harping on the issues will cause a problem and you may be blamed. If you are at a stage where there is little point in any speech, ask Allah to rectify your affairs and show both you and your husband the truth of the situation and make a clear path for you to His pleasure.

All this horrible stuff in marriage is why I wrote Trust after Betrayal, Hold on to your Hijab and The Road to Healing Rifts, inshaa'Allah. Try very hard to smile and focus on all the positive things; there are still many of them. That is how you can still enjoy your life and relationship.

Remember, you have your own faults, failings, and sins. The negatives don't go anywhere...they are there and that is part of the test so don't expect things to ever be exactly the same. The more the person errs, the more the healthy heart is repulsed. It is impossible to feel the same about someone if, or when, they do what is hated by Allah.

It is quite sad because many couples have a wonderful relationship where they enjoy many interests and laugh a lot together, but there is always the "dark side" that undermines the respect and trust. Sisters, don't expect to be able to trust him in the things he has a failed track record in. Try to focus on those things you can trust him in. An outlook that can help with this is to hate the actions and the cause of the actions - shaytaan and his wicked whispers - not the person.

As I tell all the sisters, find a smile from somewhere and try to be happy within yourself... with Allah and without your husband. Then just behave that way while he is around as well. He doesn't need to know that he isn't the cause of your smile or contentment. Compartmentalize, if you can...and I'm not saying it is easy at all. Me finding my happy place with Allah is how I don't end up being cold and resentful when something in the relationship is ruined.

You can be pleasant, laughing, affectionate, but the damage that is done means that part is real and part is an act. Remember that the act isn't really for your husband, it is for Allah's pleasure and to fulfill your obligations as a wife.The more you dedicate yourself and your love to Allah, the easier it gets to find happiness and separate yourself from the less pleasant aspects. Never forget, for every action there is a reaction. If you are happy and contented, it will have a huge effect on your husband and home.

Here's my analogy of the day. What happens when you have an unwanted guest? You know, someone you struggle to allow into your space. If you give them a bad reception, you will make them feel  unwelcome, uncomfortable, unwanted, which usually brings out the worst in them. Whereas, if you give them a good reception, then you give them ease and, inshaa'Allah, bring out the best in them. Our husband's are our most important guests, even when they err. It is our job to try to bring out the best in them bi ithn Illah, ta'ala.

Sisters, you are not alone in these struggles. Although our husbands may all do different things, many sisters go through this in varying degrees and are seeking advice on how to cope.

May Allah guide and help us all - ameen!