How to Cope the Marriage Problems?
By: Abdul Adheem al-Muhtadi al-Bahrani
Love has waned in my marriage over time, how can I get it back?
Question: Fifteen years have passed since I got married. These years have been like a countdown of the love between my husband and myself. What should I do to go back to the love that was between us at the beginning of our marriage?
The answer: Sometimes the seed of love exists inside the spouses’ hearts, but accidents of life and discovering the defects and deficiencies of each other throw some dust on that seed and prevent it from growing in the marital life.
If your husband suffers from this, as I believe, then following these steps may restore your love as it was: First, love will blossom if spouses try to water it sincerely with positive acts and if they overlook the negative acts.
Second, the goal of love is not controlling the beloved, possessing or monopolizing him as some women think. If love comes out of heart, it will undoubtedly enter into the other heart. Nothing will disturb it except selfishness and attempts to control the other, which has been referred to in traditions as “the jealousy of women”. In men, this jealousy is opposite to that of women, because when a man becomes jealous for his wife, he will protect her from bad men, whereas if a woman becomes jealous for her husband, she will practice mastery, possession, suspicion, and watching him. This will lead her husband to an aversion for her and then what she does not like will take place.
Third, do not expect much from your husband; for example, do not expect him to speak the same words of love that he used to speak during the period of engagement or the first days of marriage. If he forgets to offer you something that he used to offer on certain occasion, you should not be angry with him. You should know that these things do away with the love between you. Be discerning, easy, and humble because when a husband sees his wife is inflexible, often angry, and complicated, he will begin thinking of another wife or he will treat his wife likewise or he may submit to her unwillingly and then no place for happiness will remain in these cases.
Fourth, do not blame your husband too much because too much blame hurts one’s dignity and causes disputes and quarrels, which destroy the marital relationship. Try to understand his circumstances, appreciate his efforts, and praise the positive sides of his personality, and then refer to what deserves to be blamed in a lenient way, implicitly and smilingly.
If I have divorced, can my family prevent me from choosing a second spouse by myself?
Question: I am a twenty-five year old girl. I have undergone an unsuccessful marriage that ended with divorce. My family prevents me from choosing my second marital life by myself. Legally, do they have the right to do that or am I free to choose my husband?
The answer: Legally, you are free to choose the husband whom you think will be suitable for you, but you would be better off, in order to live free from family troubles, to agree with your family in any way you find will have an influence on them.
Always decide to avoid what causes quarrels in your life, because a life full of quarrels and nervousness is nearer to death than to life.
Man lives happily with his family and relatives when he behaves with them leniently, smilingly, and wisely. It is wrong when man thinks of attaining happiness through violence, nervousness, enmity, and hatred. Those who think so are but moving corpses until a certain day.
Support for your situation in convincing your family of your free will in choosing is a saying of Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.). When he was asked a question similar to yours, he said, ‘She is worthier of herself. She can entrust a qualified one with her affairs if she likes after she has got married to a husband before.’
Imam ar-Ridha (a.s.) has said, ‘The permission of a virgin (concerning marriage) is her keeping silence and the permission of a widow or divorcee is up to her.’
And you should not forget that a family often prevents their daughter from choosing her husband by herself because they do not want her to be involved in another failure, for it is quite often that young girls and women are deceived by the nice words and shapes of men, and then when those men satisfy their desires with these women, they leave them to look for other victims. Therefore, Islam has emphasized the necessity of the interference of a father in the matter of marriage of a virgin because she has not had enough experience in this concern and she may be liable to be deceived more than divorcees or widows who have some experience in this matter.
Yes! There is a special exception that if a virgin is rational and prudent, and her father is ignorant and cannot decide for the advantage of his daughter, Islam permits her to choose a suitable husband by herself even if her father objects to her choice.
Ibn Abbas reports that one day a bondwoman came to the Prophet (S) and told him that her father had married her to somebody while she was unwilling and the Prophet (S) gave her the choice (either to accept her husband or to leave him).
Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) said, ‘There is no problem in marrying a virgin if she agrees without her father’s permission.’
In the light of this, our jurisprudents have given a fatwa that if a virgin’s guardian prevents her from getting married to a qualified man whom she wants, her guardian’s permission will be of no effect.
 Wassa'il ash-Shia, vol. 14 p.201.
 Wassa'il ash-Shia, vol. 14 p.206.
 Sunan of Ibn Maja, vol.1 p.603.
 Rawdhatul Muttaqeen, vol.14 p.214.
 Urwatul Wuthqa, chap. Awliya’ al-Aqd.
I feel my daughter-in-law is lazy and disrespectful of me; what should I do?
Question: My daughter-in-law is one of the laziest people! She does not heed her responsibility as a human being let alone as a wife! Even after eating food, which others cook and serve before her hands, she leaves without even picking up the leftovers on the table or the plates she eats in.How strange this girl is! She lacks a conscience, or so I think. She sees how tired her mother-in-law is, but she does not help her. I kept silent and did not talk to my son about this matter until I became impatient. Instead of reforming herself and accepting the truth, she became angry and stopped talking to us. She has begun paying no attention to us.I wonder at these strange types of youth from this generation. What would you advise me and my daughter-in-law and those amongst your readers who are like her?
The answer: This girl and those like her are the results of bad education in the houses of their families. Bad cultures and some TV programs produce dependent and lazy people who do not feel any responsibility or any value of time and age. This is a general aspect of luxurious societies, which is not an aspect of good and faithful people.
True faith makes man active, generous, merry, loving, cordial, cooperative, and eager to do good whenever he can, and humanity makes man an attractive being with his behavior. If man loses these two elements, what value does he have then?
In Islam, we have moral incentives that make us hurry to serve people and carry out their needs.
Once, the Prophet (S) suggested to his companions to build a bridge over a river to help the weak people cross. Some companions said they would build the bridge the next day. When they came the next day, they found the bridge was already built. They went to the Prophet (S) to tell him that. The Prophet (S) asked who had built the bridge and some people replied, ‘O messenger of Allah, we went before them and built the bridge just for the reward of Allah.’
The Prophet (S) prayed to Allah for these companions for their actions and also for the other ones for their intention. Thus, faith led the believers to accomplish great achievements with which the Islamic civilization was formed. It is the civilization about which the scholars of the West and the East have said that it was the source of the modern sciences and the source of the positive aspects of the Western civilization.
This spirit that the great Prophet (S) had inspired into Muslims has died in most Muslims of nowadays. Some of them are lazy to such a degree that they are indifferent even to their personal affairs and what brings happiness to their marital life. However, this does not mean that it is not possible for that spirit to come back to them or for it to be revived in the souls again.
This is on the level of Islam, civilization, and life, but the same can also be said for individuals and their families.
As for the problem presented in the question, it can be treated through the following steps:
1. Attract this young wife by showing her more respect and encouragement so that she can undertake some responsibilities without becoming angry.
2. Give her some books that discuss concepts like cooperation, undertaking responsibilities, purposefulness, and the importance of winning the love of others in the family by performing domestic affairs.
3. Avoid forcing and scolding, whether implicitly or openly, for these things will lead her to resist.
4. Your son (her husband) should teach her the Islamic teachings concerning the moral sides, part of which is the wife’s work in the house such as cooking, cleaning, and other things; though they are not obligatory like prayers and fasting, this work nevertheless is a moral duty that has a direct influence on the happiness of the marital life. She should know that intentional cooperation increases love, which is the basis of the marital life.
As there are certain duties and responsibilities incumbent on the husband, there are certain duties and responsibilities incumbent on the wife too. Without mutual cooperation, their life will be full of troubles and then it may reach a painful end.
5. The husband should also help his wife by performing some household affairs whenever he has time and is ready, for he will be rewarded for that.
6. The household affairs can be forced onto this wife in a clever way. For example, those who usually perform the daily affairs in the house may travel and leave this wife in the house so that she would be obliged to work in the house. I hope that she will not be cleverer than you like a certain lazy wife whose husband and mother-in-law planned to involve her in the household responsibilities as follows:
The husband and his mother would compete for the broom; each of them would try to sweep so that the wife might feel shame and come take the broom from them and start sweeping herself. One day, she came to them and surprised them by saying to her husband coldly and with a soft voice: O dear, there is no need to dispute. One day you can sweep and the other day your mother can sweep.
After this witticism, I would like to recommend this dear wife and those like her of some things that have advantages and rewards for them:
1. Work has a virtuous value that raises man to a high position and makes him respected and beloved.
2. He who exerts himself becomes healthy, while the lazy ones are often sick. Work activates the circulation of blood, joints, and muscles while laziness does the opposite.
3. Willpower is a power that works miracles. It must be used in constructive ways.
4. Humbleness is a quality of those who sit on the top of the good life, so wherefore is this haughtiness, which throws man into the abyss of meanness?
5. Man must have practical experiences in his life. In life, there are many sudden events that a woman may fall into, and then she can rescue herself based on her knowledge from previous experiences.
6. In order for the difficulty of the household affairs to become easy for you and in order to get rid of your laziness, you should think of the rewards of the afterlife. The infallible Imams of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) have narrated, ‘When a woman gives her husband a drink of water, it is better for her than the worships of a year spent in fasting during the day and praying in the night. For every drink she gives to her husband, Allah will build her a town in Paradise and forgive her sixty sins.’
 Wassa'il ash-Shia, vol. 14 p.123
I feel that my life is disorderly and not in control and my wife and I have no energy to solve the problem and discipline our chidlren; what can we do?
Question: The state in my house is not as I would like. I am tired when I come back from my work, I find my wife tired of the housework and my children let loose and noisy, I beat them but with no use, etc. I feel that my marital and family life is disorderly. I hope that you can guide me with what may illuminate my way and save my life from this disorderliness.
The answer: There are five educational facts you have to comprehend in order to get out of your troubles: First, whereas when any one of us exhausts his powers in the problems of life and then looks for comfort in peace and quiet away from noises, children, on the contrary, feel pleasure and joy with disorderly movements and with making noises that annoy adults, though children do not mean to annoy others of course.
You expend your energies in working outside the house, but have you ever asked yourself where your child expends his energies?
In the past, houses were big with wide yards where children would spend their energies while their noises and cries would not reach their parents’ resting places. But nowadays, since houses are small with narrow yards, children should not be blamed for disturbing parents.
Second, a man, throughout the week, works outside the house while his wife works inside the house. On days off, the man likes to rest in the house after being tired outside it all week, whereas his wife likes to go out on her husband’s days off after being tired of remaining in the corners of her house all week.
This difference, if it is not treated with leniency by the two spouses and especially the husband, may become a cause for disputes and quarrels that also bring pain and boredom, of which children pay the costs.
Here, it would be better for the two spouses, who are different in their wishes, to understand and agree with each other, and then they can teach their children how to understand each other and agree with each other when their wishes are different.
Third, beating children without certain rules and criteria encourages them to commit crimes and repeat the same act they were beaten for. Let us be very careful not to lead our children to commit crimes in their childhood and adulthood through excessive scolding or severe beating.
Fourth, the father may say something harsh to the mother in front of the children, and this word may leave bad effects on their mentality and life while he is unaware of where these effects may have come from. For example, one day the wife might cook some extra food and then the husband would shout at her loudly in front of the children, “you have not tasted poverty to know the value of my efforts and the money I bring you!”
These words, which can be said in other ways and in private to the wife, can plant a fear of the future inside the hearts of the children and cause them mental disturbance and anxiety of the unknown. There is no doubt that this matter will be an obstacle that stops the progress of the children’s learning and affects their efforts to build their futures besides the fact that it will make them desperate and absent-minded all their lives. All this leads to disorderliness in life.
Fifth, try not to tire yourself with work outside the house, for your duty towards your wife and children is not only to satisfy their material needs. Psychological, educational, and spiritual needs are also important. These aspects require you to sit with them, look after their different affairs, and make them feel that you love and pay a lot of attention to them. It is reported that Imam Hasan (a.s.) said, ‘I wonder at how one who thinks of his foods does not think of his mentalities!’
Dear brother, man is a compound of body and spirit, the material and immaterial, the outward and inward. The food he eats satisfies the two elements, but the spiritual side may be the most important. Therefore, you should assign a certain time for your family. You should sit with them, enter their life, play, laugh, and be indulgent with them. The happiness and delight that you will get in this side, you will not get in the material side regardless of how much you tire yourself and regardless of what money and material needs you offer to your family.
My wife is sick. In fact, she is handicapped, and I want to get married to another wife, but I am confused as to what the consequences of doing this will be
Question: My wife is sick. In fact, she is handicapped, and I want to get married to another wife, but I am confused as to what the consequences of doing this will be. I cannot tolerate living with her forever. Whenever I think of my state of continuing to live with my wife versus getting married to another one, I find so many difficulties gather in my heart, which seems like it is about to stop beating. Please, guide me to the right way, and may Allah reward you with goodness!
The answer: Dear brother, take it easy! Let your mind think, and do not put dams of illusion before yourself! Every problem has a solution by the will of Allah the Almighty. This world, with all its defects, has good people yet; otherwise, it would have sunk with its people.
Things are not dark, and life is not melancholy as the Satan shows it to you. You asked me to guide you to the right way, and I say that it begins from the following: First, pray to Allah to guide you to the right path and to not allow you to follow your desires at all!
Second, consult with reasonable people about the steps you should take!
Third, treat your sick wife with kindness and mercifulness only whenever your circumstances allow you to do that!
Fourth, assure her that your marriage to another one does not mean that you will ignore her, and tell her that her cooperation in this matter will make you love and respect her even more!
Fifth, in your dealings with her, be understanding and lenient in all situations and expect your reward from Allah, Who rewards good-doers, and the reward of whoever does good will not be lost!
Finally, if you decide to get married while your first wife is unwilling in spite of all the previous steps, and your second marriage has legal reasons, try to get married without letting her know in order to not increase her sickness. If temporary marriage can solve your problem, you may prefer it to a permanent marriage. And then if she finds out about you and becomes angry, you should not reply to her angrily or harm her for it has been mentioned in traditions that it is not a habit of generous people to avenge immediately.
Nevertheless, I think that you would be better off being patient if observing patience is possible for you.
What is the right behavior to adopt if one of the spouses is polite and high-minded but not religious and pays no attention to lawful or unlawful things, purity or impurity?
Question: What is the right behavior to adopt if one of the spouses is polite and high-minded but not religious and pays no attention to lawful or unlawful things, purity or impurity?
The answer: If this does not cause a conflict, it will be better for them to live as two spouses and continue loving each other, hoping that Allah may guide the unreligious one to be religious and then they may live happily according to the principles of Islam. But if this attitude will cause a conflict between them, for example, if the husband forces his religious wife to take off her veil before his friends or to serve drinks for his guests or to give up prayers and fasting, first, he must be advised either directly or indirectly by other persons. If this is useless, then the rupture of relations should be followed. Sometimes, the rupture of relations is in the form of a separation to force the other side to reform himself/herself and sometimes in the form of divorce. It is better that these stages should be carried out under the supervision of a religious and wise family counselor. The objective is not to give up the religious obligations, for no obedience to a creature is worth disobeying the Creator. What is the value of the creature for whom man disobeys his Exalted Lord?
A religious wife has to take the Pharaoh’s wife as her example, as has been mentioned in the Holy Qur'an, and a religious husband has to notice the example of Prophet Lot towards his wife. Man will withstand if he looks forward to the happiness of the afterlife, for this life with all its sweetness, which is mixed with the bitterness of problems, is evanescent and not eternal. Sudden death often happens in our present age. Do you not see how our youths are surprised by death and swallowed by graves without a prior notice? Being caught up in the pleasures of this life, which may be for a short time, is followed by deprivation of eternal pleasures in the bliss of Paradise, which Allah has prepared for the pious.
Can you advise how a young woman married to a very old man should behave to observe his rights and explain what her rights are and what she should do when her husband passes?
Question: have a young friend whose husband is very old. Sometimes, she asks me: what is a suitable conduct that meets the rights of the husband in order to please Allah? Then what are the rights of this young wife with a great ambition on her husband? What will her fate be after the death of such an old husband? I am not able to answer my friend’s questions except in general points, which are not sufficient. Would you please say what could persuade her and those like her? Thanks.
The answer: First, we should say that she has married willingly. She has not been forced to accept an old man as her husband. If it is so, she has to accept the consequences of her choice and be a good wife to her husband without comparing him to young husbands. The first one to compare and perish, and cause others to perish with him, was Iblis, and Allah has warned us of following him.
As for death, people’s ages are in the hand of Allah. How often it is that young people die and old people participate in their funerals! Let us suppose that her husband dies as others die, whether she is young or old at the time. Then, she has to do as widows do. She must wait for a new prospective husband or become patient as most widows or as spinsters do who accept reality and adapt themselves to its requirements. This kind of marriage does not mandate worrying about the future or being melancholy. A polite and religious old man is better than a reckless young man.
The important thing is submission to fate and then to behave according to the Islamic morals. Satisfaction, as stated in the traditions, is a treasure that has no end, and contentment is a rest that discontented people will not taste.
Due to marriage, I live far away from my home and family and even though my spouse and children are wonderful I need to know how to get over my constant heartache and longing for home and family.
Question: I live with my husband in emigration. He is very kind and does not deprive me of my rights as a wife. I am proud of him and of the sound children Allah has given me through him. Praise be to Allah. However, being in a state of emigration away from my relatives and country troubles me. I have been deprived of my relatives and country because of my husband who is one of the political oppositionists to the state. This matter causes me continuous worry. I do not know how to convince myself of the reality around me while my heart is aching with memories and longing for my country. I fear that my state may affect my relationship with my husband. Please, show me a solution to my case and accept my thanks!
The answer: Dear sister, First, thank Allah for the faithful, mujahid husband you have! Those who have such qualities are few. As a part of thanking Allah, you should continue being patient with the difficulties of emigration and requirements of jihad. You should always remember that Allah has promised the mujahidin great reward and virtue, and they will enter Paradise without any reckoning.
Second, man has the ability to adapt himself to all environments. He can grow accustomed to whatever is around him, but it is culture and willpower that lead him to either happiness or wretchedness. Try your best to strengthen your willpower and culture but in a way that pleases Allah the Almighty!
Third, you may read the biographies of those who have preceded us in faith, emigration, and jihad for the sake of Allah, for history has great, useful, and inspiring lessons!
Fourth, you should be certain that life is unstable. It does not remain as it is; a wind brings the tide and another brings the ebb, and Allah has the power to do anything at any moment.
Fifth, you should read a lot about the decree of Fate, because believing in this great concept cures many of our psychological and material problems.
Sixth, you should put your griefs and ambition in the frame of your marital life and darling children and make their happiness be the first and last goal in your life. It is this that will benefit you in this life and the afterlife. Let other matters and that which concerns other people be in the second and third degree. Do not mix up what is more important and what is important, because preferring the second one to the first will make you fail.
Seventh, you should know that the problems in the present age have spread in all countries, and your mother country is different now from what it was in the days of your memories. Conducts, morals, new generations, imported cultures, the types of economical and social relations, and whatever else you can imagine have become different and have changed since your emigration. It is not right, in evaluation, to dream of life in the past criteria and then walk behind their mirage.
Eighth, in your spare time, you should occupy yourself with social relations with your neighbors and with families who are in the same situation as you. The feeling of emigration disappears when man mixes with people of identical sufferings.
Ninth, you can assign yourself a mission to work for, according to your circumstances and intellectual level. Being busy with a certain goal closes the gaps of tiredness and exhaustion and brings one closer to success.
Tenth, you should always remember that life is short and a reasonable person is he who takes advantage of it to choose the best fruits before he misses the boat. Many are those who have emigrated and lived with their faith and then died (while in emigration) and will be in Paradise; whereas, if they had remained in their countries, they may have been among the people of Hell. How often it is that living in the motherland country for some believers, and even for those who have lost their faith, is bitter and difficult while it is not so after emigration.
 Mujahid is the one who fights for the sake of Allah.