// Marrying across socioeconomic status?
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« on: May 01, 2009 05:14 AM »

Salamu alaikum all,

I'm just in need of some advice.  My husband and I are from two different socioeconomic statuses. He comes from a rich background, I from the middle class.  In any case, I realize that there's not much we agree on when it comes to money: i.e., how/where to spend it, etc. Any advice on hope to cope or navigate the married life when you come from two totally different realms?? I know he doesn't mean to speak this way, but lately his views have come to me to make me feel like he's looking down on me and my family.  He's very sensitive when it comes to my needs, Alhumdulillah, but I can't seem to convey to him why this is such a big issue for me.  Naseeha???

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« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2009 02:44 PM »

As salaamu alaykum

The rich really don't get it. The first point is that they don't realize that all of their provisions comes from Allah swt and by Allah's decree they could be in the poor house tomorrow. The rich don't understand their wealth is a test. What and how they are going to do with it as well as how they treat others in lower economic levels.

I speak from experiance. I grew up in a well to do family. Then i married a doctor and lived a pretty lavish lifestyle. Not like the rich and the famous...but enough to have a doorman, nice jewelry, a fur coat and eating out in nice restaurants a couple times a week times a week.

I didn't understand the poor- why didn't they just get a better job? Why did they dress that way? How come they didn't just take out loans to get a nicer car? Why are they living in apartments- why aren't they in a house? Why was she wearing that outfit again...it's Eid. Her hair, nails look raggedy- why doesn't she take care of herself better. How come she is fat- can't she go to a gym and buy fresh fruits and vegetables? Why is she dressing her kids that way? She can get much better clothes at Macy's. Why doesn't she get some help around the house- her place would be much easier. She has never invited me to her place- why should I invite her to my party? Why does she only bring rice to community dinners, doesn't she get foodstamps? I can go on and on. None of this was vicious thoughts- just really had no clue about the life of a poor person. Looking back I actually believe this. On the other hand their are the types of people who actually do look down on others as a superiority issue.

Then I got knocked up the side of the head. Lost the Doctor, the condo on Lakeshore Dr, and his salary! But I was still ok as i was making enough on my own to be comfortable. So not much of my thought patterns changed

Then i got hit with a brick. I remarried a bro with little money, very little. He only made $150 a week...  Can you imagine? All of a sudden this high brow gal... was all of a sudden eligable for full stamps. Then OMG... he said I couldn't have a credit card unless i had the money upfront! Alhumdullillah! Alhumdullillah??? Yes... Alhumdullillah. I learned what it was like to be poor, i learned the struggles, I saw how your friends change, I saw the lack of respect community Muslims treated me with, I actually heard the comments of people questioning my outfits, my apartment and I stopped having the all so culturally important lady luncheons. I started taking buses, shopping in generic food stores, going to consignment shops and opening my own doors! lol.

I then learned more about Islam and Riba. So now i knew why some Muslims did not have new cars and homes. I realized unless they took out loans.. there was not going to be any further education to better themselves.

So one by one I started to understand how stupid I really was, as well as not having a clue to peoples struggles. Now i understand why the poor has canned fruit and not fresh, I understand that they need to clothe their children verses getting a new Eid outfit, I understand why they bring rice to potluck, and why she doesn't entertain. I remeber how much this sis dissed me when i refused a generous offer of hers to buy a baby set of furnature for $300. A steal- a deal of a life time... but my refridgerator was empty.

Actually, now that i have lived in both worlds, for me, Islamically- I think i am a much better Muslim. I think I give more charity now- than I ever did when i was wealthy. I don't go on vacations filled with beaches and the haram. I am not involved with any ribba, I have no debt.  I am so grateful this happened to me. i was so blind and with out mallice.

So advice? I guess you have to determine the real deal with your hubby. He may have no clue. If he is doing it with superiority- warn him. Let him know that it is by Allah swt decree that he is at the station he is. Most Prophets were poor. Speak of being humble and greatful. There is nothing wrong with being rich- just don't attribute it all to your hard work. Volunteering or mingly with the poor is always an eye opener. Especially when you are asked for solutions. It is easy to dis...much harder to find a solution.

Actually if you just sit him down and explain that you feel this way- may very well clear everything up. Even if he feels this way- he may be more careful of his words. I have found by talking and bringing things to the surface, instead of under the rug, you can then deal with the white elephant in the room.

I have a sister who is wealthy and just really doesn't get it. I don't think she ever will. For the life of me I can't understand why she is so judgemental of my lifestyle- especially when I have no qualms about it and am grateful to Allah that I have been given this test.

Who is superior? It is the one with the better eman, deen, piety. It is warped human nature for many of us to look down on the poor. They make us feel uncomfortable- on purpose. Because it is a test. When some people are uncomfortable they take a superior derogatary position, some laugh about them and others do something about it.

So your husband may never understand or change. However, he has the teachings of Islam. InshaAllah,  Allah swt will open his heart to understand he is not better because of money.

"Allah surely knows the warmth of every teardrop... " Jaihoon
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« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2009 06:48 AM »

Asalaamu Alaikum  bro

In any case, I realize that there's not much we agree on when it comes to money: i.e., how/where to spend it, etc.

I appreciate this sounds terribly simplistic but the two of you need to sit down and agree how to spend it, who should spend it, when to save it, what to spend it on, what not to spend it on etc etc etc.

Sr Kathy's post highlights the point that we all come from different backgrounds and sometimes its hard to see beyond our own frames of reference. Whilst that may be fine if we live by ourselves, it certainly can cause friction if living with others.

InshaAllah I hope you guys resolve the issue and get back to more important things like who can beat each other in a race Wink

Say: "O ye my servants who believe! Fear your Lord, good is (the reward) for those who do good in this world. Spacious is God's earth! those who patiently persevere will truly receive a reward without measure!" [39:10]
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« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2009 02:43 PM »

The socioeconomic thing is a struggle for me too... except I come from a very well-to-do family, and my husband does not.  The whole budgeting and watching receipts, phone bills, and personal expenditures is a completely new concept to me. 

I think Br. Khalid's advice is correct .. you need to sit down and just chalk it out.  While I found this to be really odd at first, it helped tremendously. 

Beyond that... because I (very grudgingly) gave in to some of my husband's financial rules in the first year... I find he supports me more in front of his family now (one of my pet peeves was that they discussed every day to day expense at the dinner table).  He'll casually brush of my expenses (like say... getting a haircut at a salon and not by my MILs best friend).

With my husband, he doesn't say mean things intentionally... I just interpret them that way.  You know...like jokes about silver spoons and platters...they really DO hurt, but it wasn't until I TOLD him that he needs to quit... did he actually quit.  So just bring the issue forward.  I'm sure it will be for your benefit, inshaAllah.
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« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2009 03:19 PM »


I don't understand.

What are your conflicts about money?

Does he not allow you to spend where you want to?

Does he spend it frivolously (in your opinion)?

Sit down and discuss a budget for you. Suggest the things he spends frivolously on may not be well thought out expenditure, explain why in your opinion this is so.

However, you have to remember he earns the money, if he allows you unfettered expenditure, than be very gentle and diplomatic in telling him you think his own expenditure is frivolous, otherwise you're asking for a world of trouble.

We grew up incredibly poor, no toys, no new clothes, hand me downs from better off relatives, or mum would sew us outfits, our food budget would be accounted for within the penny, my mother once had her purse stolen, luckily it was after she had done the grocery shop, the thief dropped her purse just yards from her in disgust when he realised the purse was completely empty!

Alhumdulillah, for humble beginnings, I find charitable donations to be incumbent upon me, my reasoning, if I'm making the donations, that part of my income was clearly never mine anyway. I want to die before money becomes the be all for me.

As an accountant I would never ever spend on a credit card if I could not repay the balance on a monthly basis, and sorry but good lord $300 for baby furniture, the lady was out of her mind, we only buy the crib, children grow up so fast they do not need dinky wardrobes (which wouldn't fit all the baby paraphernalia anyway). I used washable nappies too, and am now looking to give them to a charity which will benefit, as they're clean and white as the day I bought them, and could benefit at least two/three more babies if not more!


And when My servants question thee concerning Me, then surely I am nigh. I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he crieth unto Me. So let them hear My call and let them trust in Me, in order that they may be led aright. Surah 2  Verse 186
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2009 07:13 PM »

peace be upon you

All very good naseeha above. Perhaps my two cents are not needed. Still:

Most people have a tendency to find something that makes them feel they are superior, be it their lineage, their looks, their education, jobs, housing, ...., and dare I say it: even their piety.

If your husband gives you an allowance for your needs and beyond and does not ask questions, donate some from that to sadaqa. I do hope he pays zakah.

Direct talk helps sometimes, and sometimes it does the opposite. You have to judge what your husband;s reaction would be.

Buy some books with short stories of the Prophet (saw) and the Sahaba (ra), whic will show their backgrounds and their attitude to worldly possessions. Leave these around for him to see, and pray thay he picks them up with interest.

Make dua for yourself and your husband, to keep you on the right path.

In the end it is only Allah (swt) who gives hidaya to a person.
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