By: Abu Ibrahim Ismail
For better or for worse, I get a lot of emails from Muslims regarding relationships. I try to answer them as best I can, but I know it’s impossible to save a marriage through a little advice in an email. However, this experience has given me a unique insight into what makes a Muslim marriage work. I don’t say I have all the answers; but I do have some of them.
Furthermore, I’ve been married myself for many years and have been through many ups and downs. In addition to this, I also worked with a local Muslim marriage counselor to create a series of videos on how Muslims can improve their marriage.
With all this information, I think it’s important to help you learn what clues to look for to see if your marriage is on the rocks. Quite frankly, if your marriage is in trouble, you probably already know it. But just in case you’re in denial, hopefully this list will help you know there’s trouble looming. Inshallah, you may be able to make some changes to save your marriage and keep your family together.
1. You’re Contemplating Divorce
Seems like a no-brainer, right? But most people that I know who are divorced, were thinking about it for a long time before it happened. These people would make dua Istikhaarah about it, talk to their sheikh about it, and get advice from their friends about it.
So if you’ve got divorce on your mind, then there’s a good chance you’re gonna be divorced within a year or so. At least, that’s what I believe based on my experience.
And if you’re not really looking for divorce, you may want to check out what your spouse is doing. If he or she is looking up the Islamic rules of divorce or watching video lectures about divorce, then it stands to reason they’re thinking about it too.
If you don’t want to get divorced, then the first thing you need to do is to stop thinking about it. Stop worrying about it.And if your spouse is the one thinking about, then do your best to make sure he or she knows what they’re going to miss if they get divorced.
2. No Communication
If you and your spouse are not talking to each other, if conversations are rare, and if there’s no laughter, then your marriage is certainly in trouble.Your wife or husband is the person you chose to live your life with. Do you really want to live your life in silence?
Without healthy communication, your marriage has little chance of being happy. And most unhappy marriages end in divorce.How can you overcome this problem? Just talking to someone who doesn’t want to talk to you is pointless. If you pretend there’s no problem and just mindlessly chat with your silent spouse is if nothing’s wrong, you’re only going to make yourself look and feel stupid.
Respect the fact that there’s an issue. However, you should still try to be the best husband or wife you can be. As they say in customer service, “Kill ‘em with kindness.”Be nice and kind and respectful with your spouse. If there’s still love between you, Inshallah the ice will thaw and the communication will begin again.
3. Lots Of Arguing
The only thing worse than no communication is the wrong communication.If the primary form of communication between you and your spouse is yelling and screaming, then it’s a good bet you’re gonna be single soon.All couples argue. That’s a part of married life.
However, when the arguments become ugly, persistent, and steadily increase in intensity, this is a serious red flag.
There are many reasons why this can happen but I generally believe it boils to down to two things:
1. The husband feels the wife does not respect him.
2. The wife feels the husband does not love her.
If you are arguing too much with your spouse, then you need to work on yourself first. Don’t wait for your spouse to change. Do your part immediately to raise your level of love and respect for your spouse.
4. No Intimacy
This is not always a sure shot. Some couples are just not as frisky as others. It may be due to sickness or age or just personality.But all things being equal, it’s hard to be intimate with someone you don’t like. If you’re not happy with your spouse, then it’s safe to say you’re not going to want to kiss or hug or do anything else with them.
If you’re noticing a severe change in intimacy with your spouse, you shouldn’t suddenly assume you’re headed for divorce. Instead, try to discover why this is happening.
It may be your spouse if dealing with stress or problems outside the home.
It may also be that they’re losing interest.
If this is the case, you might want to think about shaking things up a little bit. Perhaps your spouse is tired of the same old thing.This is not the place to talk about how to spice up your love life. I would suggest you look at these two products for advice on that:
1. Sex In Islam – an e-book that is available from Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.com.
2. Rekindle The Flame – a video course I created with a local Muslim marriage counselor (this is a better deal as you also get the book for free).
5. You Don’t Like Being Around Each Other
If you don’t like being around your spouse much, then you probably won’t be around them much longer.
Western society pokes fun at marriage as being something dreary and boring. Even comedy sitcoms often depict a goofy, hen-pecked husband and a stressed out, nagging wife.But there’s no reason your marriage has to be like that.
You and your spouse have to spend time with each other. You have to make a way, somehow or another, to spend a little time together. And I don’t just mean in the bedroom.
I know it can be difficult in today’s society. Throw in the fact you and your spouse might not be on the best of terms and it’s darn near impossible to spend time with them.So if you’re worried about saving your marriage from the dumps, make time to spend time together. This is one of the best and most practical suggestions I can offer.
6. Islam Has Gone Out The Window
One of the best things a Muslim couple can do to protect their marriage is to fear Allah. Remembering that you will ultimately meet with Allah and have to answer for everything you’ve done and said should stop a lot of foolishness.
But sometimes that isn’t enough.
Very often a husband or wife knows that what they’re doing is wrong yet they continue to do it. Why?
People get angry and upset and resentful and vengeful and nothing else matters except getting even. Islam goes out the window.If you find yourself thinking of ways to hurt or anger or “get even” with your spouse, then rest assured, your marriage is in trouble.
7. Other People Are Concerned
If you get too many inquiries such as:
- How are things going with you two?
- Did you guys work that thing out?
- I know a good single brother/sister if you’re interested.
Every now and then we all get a surprise divorce announcement and think something like: “They were so much in love. They seemed perfect for each other.”
However, most of the time, your friends and family will know when there’s trouble. And most of the time, they will offer their own subtle (and not so subtle) advice. I would always suggest you keep your home business in your home. You don’t want or need the entire Masjid whispering about your marriage problems behind your back.
But if you start hearing these kinds of statements, and you’re not sure why, it may be time to do some investigating.
Final Reminder To Muslims
Before wrapping this up, I’d like to remind you of something.
Divorce is generally, not a good thing. It’s definitely a negative in society. But it has its purpose.
Sometimes two people just can’t get along and all the roses and Quran verses in the world can’t help.
There’s a common saying among Muslims that a divorce shakes Allah’s throne. However, this is not an authentichadith.
Nonetheless, husbands must always strive to treat their wife with kindness and overlook their faults as Allah said:
And live with them in kindness. For if you dislike them – perhaps you dislike a thing and Allah makes therein much good.
Chapter 4, verse 19
And wives must remember to always obey their husbands and treat them with respect as Allah has said:
So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in what Allah would have them guard.
Chapter 4, verse 34
I know you’ve heard it before but it’s still the best marital advice in the world.