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Author Topic: Brother Dealing with an Intelligence Gap in His Marriage  (Read 2338 times)

anonymous786

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Assalamu alaikum,

I am a Muslim who got married overseas and currently has 2 children, alhamdulillah.

For years now the feeling that my wife and I are not compatible has been growing and I have been struggling in my relationship with my wife and on bad days contemplating divorce. Although my wife is obedient and really loving towards me and my kids, I sometimes feel I have trouble reasoning with my wife due to a gap in intelligence. My wife also lacks some skills that many in the west would take for granted, such as English speaking and comprehension. Although my wife did sign up for English classes and does speak better English now, she does not fully understand everything she hears and often needs help from others in understanding what is being communicated.

In terms of deen, my wife does not have any goals for herself in terms of wanting to improve but she does the basics such as prayer, Qur'an and keeping up with the Fard. I also feel at times that my wife can be very small-minded in that she talks a lot about events and people rather than ideas and initiatives. When I ask her to spend her spare time reading, she sometimes does so but without any goals or direction. For instance, she'll just pick up any book and start reading (without any goal for what she wants to get out of the reading).

Where I struggle is that I feel I can't reason with my wife let alone rely on her to know what is best for our kids and herself. I tried to sign her up for online Islamic classes but she lacks the self-initiative to take the courses. Her lack of motivation yields some excuse to not take the class and this bothers me because without motivation to learn, how can we improve our current state? And without learning, how can some of the bad habits of idle talk and backbiting be addressed?

I wanted some advice from others who may have had this experience of having a spouse who is difficult to reason with and lacks motivation to grow in terms of deen.
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Al-Qamar

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Re: Brother Dealing with am Intelligence Gap in His Marriage
« Reply #1 on: Jan. 06, 2011, 10:20 PM »

Assalamu alaykum wa rahmatuLlah,

First, with regards to contemplating divorce, Umar bin Khattab was once told by a man that he wanted to divorce his wife. Umar asked why, and the man said because he was no longer in love with her. Umar told him that family ties are not built only on love, for if they were, then no marriage would continue!

Please don't divorce your wife for this reason, especially if she is good to you, and strives to be obedient to you and Allah. There are many many who are worse... this is but a small trial in the grand scheme of things.

You have to bear in mind, it's difficult to teach and old dog new tricks, and you can't resent her for her upbringing. You had the choice at the time of marriage, and now she has two of your children. Is it her fault that you've now changed your mind?

My recommendation would be to not send her off for classes, etc, but rather try and find something you both like doing together. This isn't her problem, she's happy with you! This is *your* problem, you need to put the time in to resolve it. There is no quick fix. Rather than make her read books, take her to events. I'm not sure whereabouts in the world you're from, but I'm sure there are a lot of Islamic events and conferences within a reasonable travelling distance. Not only that, there is a lot of media you can watch together (e.g. "Occupation 101", and "Peace, Propaganda and the Promised Land" if you want to learn about the Middle East crisis).

You need to slowly expand her mind to other things, and raise other topics of conversation with her (and she needs to put the effort in to pay attention too!)

Also, be careful with her friends... if they're not interested, they'll drag her away. Try and encourage her to be with people who are more like how you want her to be. I'm not sure how you'd do that because I don't know your situation, but insha'Allah you might get some ideas.

But please... please... please... do not divorce her! You have absolutely no idea what it'll do to her, what it'll do to you, and more importantly, how it will affect your children! You're the man, be a man... deal with it! Treat her with kindness and guide her, and just be thankful that she is good to you. There are many many women out there who openly abuse their husbands and have trials greater than yours.

And fear Allah most of all.

Assalamu alaykum wa rahmatuLlah
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jannah

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Re: Brother Dealing with am Intelligence Gap in His Marriage
« Reply #2 on: Jan. 07, 2011, 06:43 AM »

wsalam,

Seems like we singles here are always striving to find an ideal person to marry and here you are trying to make your wife an ideal when you are married!!! *irony indeed :) But really no one is perfect, and a wife that does so many things good is a good wife! Just because she can't debate you or take intellectual classes like you'd like her to doesn't mean she isn't a great wife even!!  If you divorced her, who's to say your next wife isn't great at jeopardy but totally horrible at everything else.

I think the way you should think about this is along the lines of Howard Gardener's 7 Types of Intelligences. Read more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory_of_multiple_intelligences For many Muslims sitting down to a 3 hour Islamic halaqa is torture. Others love it. Others love Islamic nasheed, others love reading Quran or praying or fasting or helping out at their masjid or the local soup-kitchen. Not everyone likes to take classes or finds learning Islam fun. But they may like doing other things. It's interesting how there's so many ways for us to be good Muslims. Every person will have their own path.

Anyhow I like the previous suggestion of doing things both of you like together. Maybe something like taking your kids to a Muslim fun day or doing something as a family together. Maybe find some other couples with kids that you could hang out with as well. 
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anonymous786

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Re: Brother Dealing with an Intelligence Gap in His Marriage
« Reply #3 on: Jun. 23, 2011, 04:40 AM »

I like the suggestions but with 2 kids now, its hard to go to events (especially since one of the children is still nursing and at a very young age). We do visit nearby friends and relatives and go out with the kids.

The other thing I wanted to mention - not all the problems are related to knowledge. I will give a small and recent example...

I repeatedly asked my wife not to put on music for my children - weather it be musical kids toys, music in the car, or any music. We both have the same opinion as well that music is haram and not permitted in Islam (not looking for a debate on this topic, if people disagree with me and my wife, that's fine, but my wife and I don't disagree and are aligned that music is not permitted in Islam). She recognizes at an intellectual level that music is not permitted in Islam.

Now, if both me and my wife are of the opinion that music is haram, you would think she would keep my kids away from it. However, she heard from someone that music helps develop the brain of children (from non-Muslims of course). Then, going against the wishes of myself and (even worse) going against what she thinks Allah would want, she decides to purchase numerous toys that have music and deliberately turn on the music for my kids who are both very young and impressionable. Its these type of things that really get me upset and eat me up inside. I asked patiently and politely many times for my wife NOT to turn on any music for them. I ask for her to have them listen to Quran. After witnessing my wife exposing my kids to music again, right in front of me, I just lost my temper and we ended up arguing in front of my parents about it. And by the way - to people who know me and to my friends (especially with those whom I have a compatible mindset) I may be opinionated but I don't have a temper.

Again, this is just a small and recent example (that maybe some Muslims think is silly) but almost every period of a few days is filled with examples like these. Also, if we show a deeper level of understanding with things like this - it uncovers very big underlying issues. For example, if someone feels that Allah does not like or permit something, and then someone from the creation of Allah suggests otherwise - going with the likes and suggestions of the creation as opposed to those of Allah is wrong. Who knows better? The creation or Allah?

The more I try to convince myself that I can make the marriage work and eventually be happy, the more my wife does things regularly to remind me that its a compatibility issue. I feel we are just on different wavelengths (even though she does love me very much and my children). Whats scary is that my kids are still young and these issues with raising them as Muslims and not exposing them to haram are coming up - what is going to happen when they grow up and more complex issues arise? To me, this is foreshadowing big problems for my family in the future. I am feeling that the only two things keeping me away from divorce are my two kids. I don't want them growing up with a broken home... but will growing up in a house with a lot of conflict be any better?
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Al-Qamar

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Re: Brother Dealing with an Intelligence Gap in His Marriage
« Reply #4 on: Jun. 25, 2011, 08:55 PM »

Allahu musta'aan.

The music thing is ajeeb. Do you have any qur'an players for her as an alternative? If you provide something for her to put on instead, then as far as I can see, she's really got no excuses left to be playing music.

Aside from that, I really don't know what else to suggest other than to go to a proper marriage counsellor.

I don't think the music thing is deliberately done in disobedience to Allah... it's just an easy convenient option that everybody does. I doubt she's thinking of Allah, etc, when she's putting it on... she's probably thinking "let me put something on for the kids" and nothing more than this.

With regards to events... they don't happen every day. Can you get a baby-sitter? Or help out with the kids... make an effort. Life isn't easy, and they're your kids just as much hers.

I think it boils down to finding something that clicks with her and wakes her up (in a metaphorical sense). You'll just need to search until you find what it is.

And make dua
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jannah

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Re: Brother Dealing with an Intelligence Gap in His Marriage
« Reply #5 on: Jul. 31, 2011, 04:49 AM »

salam,

we can only understand this problem from your side of the story, so it's hard to get the whole picture. but maybe your wife feels like you're imposing your religious views on her. or perhaps as mentioned she forgets or just does it because there's nothing else. maybe you should sit down together and discuss how you want to go about raising the kids together? both of you bring your issues and talk about it?

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riteshnarula

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Re: Brother Dealing with an Intelligence Gap in His Marriage
« Reply #6 on: Sep. 12, 2011, 06:48 AM »

I think both of you should give the time each and and taking about your issue and try to understand each other feeling i hope insha allah every thing will be fine .
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humararishta

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Re: Brother Dealing with an Intelligence Gap in His Marriage
« Reply #7 on: Oct. 25, 2011, 08:45 AM »

I can understand your problem.
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SalwaR

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Re: Brother Dealing with an Intelligence Gap in His Marriage
« Reply #8 on: Nov. 25, 2011, 04:31 PM »

Asalam waliykum brothers,


Well i know what the diagnosis is.... welcome brother to marriage. Seriously everyone has squabbles, every mariage dont let any on fool you into thinking there are marriages where arguments happen once a year.
Plus you been married two years, these are the toughest years. She is learning english, it takes time.. where is your sabr?

marriage has its ups and downs. even though you marry someone on same intellectual level there are still arguments.

Me and my husband both educated to same standard and both in same proffession, both similar age, small age gap. Yet we still argue, we still disagree on religious and everyday things, the point is to deal with it, talk about it, reflect on it and learn from it. Your never going to be 100% compatible with your spouce, men and women are very different so its impossible to ask you get on all the time.

My parents are living testement to this, they disagreed on mine and my siblings up bringing my dad being more religious in some respect, but that doesnt mean divource, jsut you have different view on how the kids want to be bought up.... in the end we grew up well balanced individuals, with religion always in our life. Even we had issiues of birthdays, music, christmas.
All of which my father ws against, my mother was more relaxed. But now i am a woman, i dont practice those celebrations and i reject them. Just becuase you hear music desnt mean your kids are going to grow up as MTV mad teenagers who want to play guitar. You can not protect your child from everything... but you need to give them islamic knowladge so when they are confronted with this they can turn away.

I grew up with music, all sorts of music, hip hop etc etc but i now i listen to quran and some nasheeds. your not doomed if you grow up in a not 100% halal environment, in some cases can prepare you for the outside world. as long as you educate your child, let them know its wrong, give them evidence and most importantly you dont be a hypocrite then inshallah khier. In the mean time talk with your wife, if she has kept the recipts return the musical items and try start afresh.
marriage is hard work.... iv been married 4 mnths and i have accepted it. just remember the good things about your partner and you can work through the bad times... no one is perfect. Your temper to her may be a bad thing, but its one aspect of you, not you entirely. so remember the same for her. inshallah khier
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