Assalamualikum warahmatullah. I feel my husband is using me when only he needs me. After our marriage, within 15 days, he left for Germany. So, when he was there, we used to do Skype at late night due to the difference in time. He asked me to do inappropriate things (to show up my body and such acts). During that period, I started watching inappropriate videos which I later felt very guilty and disturbed about. When we were staying together, once when I was having my menstruation, he tried to have intimacy with me. I tried to avoid him, but he got angry. I feel very guilty about this. He also watches inappropriate things. He has never given the honor to me as his wife. He always mocks me in front of his family and once in social media. He never respects my parents or my feelings. He never keeps up his word. He always tries to avoid me and never tries to accompany me. Whenever we have a fight he asks me to fulfill his desires. I used to reject him, but remembering the hadith, I went back to him. Is this considered emotional abuse?
Wa Alaikum Salaam Wa Rahmatullah Wa Barakatuh,
It sounds like you are facing some difficulties with your husband treating you this way. It certainly could be classed as emotional abuse due to the amount of distress it causes you and the sheer disrespect he is exhibiting towards you.
Why does he behave like this towards you?
It would seem like the problem began a long time ago at the start of the marriage. As you have allowed him to treat you this way for such a long time and have succumbed to his inappropriate requests, he probably thinks that you don’t mind. Or if not, he can always be confident that you will oblige and so feels no shame in asking.
Now, this could be why he continues to behave this way. However, breaking out of this cycle could be difficult for you to initiate when it is clear that you already have difficulties in getting him to listen to your requests.
Obey your husband, but not in acts that encourage you to disobey Allah.
There are several points of concern in what you have written which imply going against what Allah has commanded.
Intercourse during menses is strictly forbidden as Allah tells us in the Qur’an.
And they ask you about menstruation. Say, “It is harm, so keep away from wives during menstruation. And do not approach them until they are pure. And when they have purified themselves, then come to them from where Allah has ordained for you. Indeed, Allah loves those who are constantly repentant and loves those who purify themselves.” (Qur’an, 2:222)
You clearly had a hard time refusing him anyway, so maybe you could rephrase the way you decline him. Tell him that you are declining for his own good because if he does it that he will be accountable for the sin in front of Allah. You are saying this because you love him and you don’t want him to face the burden of committing this sin.
You could help him to obtain his desires in other halal ways, either by exploring other options for the two of you or guiding him to control himself in ways Allah guided us to do during a time like this such as fasting.
Regarding turning your husband down for intercourse, the hadith you are referring to is:
Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet (salAallahu alejhi we selem) said, “If a man invites his wife to sleep with him and she refuses to come to him, then the angels send their curses on her till morning.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 5193)
However, what is commonly forgotten here is that if a woman has a good reason to refuse then she can. If he is forcing you into this, as well as other actions that are not permissible, then you can refuse without consequence.
Regarding exposing yourself on camera in a compromising state can come with many negative consequences. Yes, he’s your husband, but unfortunately, with hacking being so rife these days, anyone could get hold of the data and be exposed to your awrah. So, it is arguably best avoided.
Remember that as much as it is difficult to say no to your husband, to commit some of these acts is a sin and you will be accountable for it yourself too. Therefore, you should remember to seek forgiveness yourself. Getting to closer to Allah will make it will easier for you to decline the things he requests of you that are either not acceptable or make you feel uncomfortable.
It might be that addressing these big issues, to begin with, are easier to start with when broaching the topic with your husband as these are the ones that are displeasing to Allah. Use your fear of Allah to motivate you to bring it up with him.
If you respect yourself, then others will respect you.
If you’re not comfortable with something, don’t do it. Especially if it is something that encourages you to do indecent acts that you could be shamed for later – if not in front of family or social media, but in front of Allah. Again, if you find it hard to stand up for yourself in such situations, remember Allah, fear Him and you will find the strength to speak up.
Eventually, he will get used to the fact that you will not comply to such requests. He will begin to realize that you will only behave in a respectable manner and will not oblige anymore, so he will stop asking and treat you with more respect.
It is also important that you take care of yourself generally. You are probably feeling down on yourself which will also make it difficult for you to stand up for yourself when confronting him. Boost your self-esteem by looking after yourself and this should make things easier too, in sha’ Allah.
Improve marital relations
When a marriage is experiencing difficulties like this, it is important to consider your options. The first thing to do in most cases is to try and turn things around and make them work by improving marital relations.
If it is your desire to try and work on the relationship, then working on improving your marital relations could help to improve things more generally. Engaging in things such as date nights and doing fun things together will help to strengthen your relationship and bring you closer together. The closer you become, the more he will respect you and the less likely he will be to ask you to perform indecent acts or ridicule you in social media or in front of family.
If you would feel more comfortable, you might consider inviting friends and their husbands to join you too so that you will not be in a position where he can ask you to do anything you don’t want to.
Furthermore, you could attend counselling together to have a neutral third party intervene and advice your husband on his inappropriate behaviors. It may be that hearing it from someone else will make him more likely to change his ways. It may also be embarrassing for him so may even cause him to stop for this reason alone.
If you feel this is abuse and cannot continue
If you feel like his behavior if truly abusive, or you’ve tried to fix things but nothing works to change his ways and things don’t improve between you and you, therefore, consider leaving the relationship, then make sure to get support.
Make sure there are people around who can support you physically and emotionally. Even if it is that you feel relieved to have escaped the difficulties that you have gone through, change is difficult to manage. It comes with emotional as well as physical baggage that will be more manageable if you have loved ones to support you.
Overall, your husband has pushed you to perform inappropriate behaviors that in some cases are sinful too. It may be considered by some to constitute abuse.
The first thing to try is to break out of this cycle by putting your foot down and refusing to do these things. This can be made easier by finding strength in the fear of Allah.
Boosting your self-esteem will also nurture your own respect for yourself, which will make this task easier and make him see that you are serious.
You might also consider counselling to improve relations. If things don’t work out and you chose to move on, then make sure to have plenty of support from loved ones.
May Allah bring you ease at this difficult time and guide you to do what is best for you and most pleasing to Him.