Muslims and marriage counseling

Muslims and marriage counseling

Is your marriage in trouble? Have the virtually endless fights and arguments led you to a dead end? Are you seeking a solution?

One option offered to couples trying to save their marriage is to see a marriage counselor.

A marriage counselor advises couples with emotional or other personal difficulties. Counselors help them work out their problems by encouraging them to discuss and think about their problems. They also to try to find solutions that will help the couples deal with their problems.

On the surface, this seems like an arrangement that can work. But there are a number of considerations Muslims must keep in mind before seeking the help of a marriage counselor who does not have an Islamic orientation, whether Muslim or non-Muslim.

Dr. Akthtar Raza is a psychiatrist and medical director of the Piney Ridge Center Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri.

In an interview with Sound Vision, he gave a general account of what happens in marriage counseling in the mainstream social services structure.

First, the marriage counselor talks to the husband and wife together, as well as individually.

Raza notes that the person who usually seeks counseling amongst couples in marital disputes is the wife. In come cases, husbands do not want to come in so the counseling cannot obviously take place.

During a session, if the counselor sees the couple?s marriage as salvageable, and both the husband and the wife want to commit to making it work, the counselor will continue the counseling, moving on to the next step.

If however, the husband or the wife shows indifference and s/he does not care if the marriage lasts, the counselor will drops the case and will make no further attempt at counseling. If the couple both agree, counselling starts.

The stages of marriage counseling

There are three main stages in marriage counseling.

1. In the first five to six weekly sessions, the couple openly express all negative feelings about each other. They can sometimes be very hostile to each other.

Raza notes that this can be shocking for one or both partners, since they never realized the other feltt so negatively.

2. The next stage is extremely difficult. As the couple has openly conveyed negative feelings to each other, they are usually very angry with one another. In a number of cases, they may completely end coming to counseling.

3. If the couple survives the second stage and remain in counseling, the counselor asks each of them if they are still committed to maintaining their marriage.

If they are, the rest of the sessions (about 10 to 15) are focused on that. Muslim couples face problems when seeking marriage counseling in the mainstream

One major problem for Muslims who seek this type of counseling is its immediate emphasis on divorce.

Raza notes though that a counselor who is well-trained will never recommend divorce. S/he will only present it as one of many options.

This approach to a marital conflict poses difficulties for Muslim couples seeking counseling from non-Muslim marriage counselors or even Muslim counselors trained in the mainstream counseling system.

"Over and over again the complaints that I have heard from these couples when they are sent to so-called Muslim agencies is that these people are trained in the mainstream. They see a family or marriage and domestic violence case and their advice is divorce," says Shahina Siddiqui executive director of the Islamic Social Services Association of the United States and Canada (ISSA). She has been a counselor in the Winnipeg, Canada Muslim community for over 15 years.

"Couples have said 'Sr. Shahina, if we wanted divorce, we would go to lawyer, why would we go to a counsellor?,'" she adds. Siddiqui explains that when most Muslim couples seek marriage counseling, it's because they want a resolution to their disagreements, whether they are minor or even if they involve abuse like domestic violence.

The difference in approach when it comes to Islamic marriage counseling versus the mainstream one is that the former makes a serious effort to find what is positive in the couple's relationship before dismissing it as a divorce case.

"We will try our best to take whatever silver lining there is in the cloud and work on it and work on it and help our clients work on it, because the majority of them do not want to break the relationship but they are helpless," says Siddiqui.

"They are now in a situation where they cannot see that silver lining, we find it for them. We help them see it and we help them try to keep that marriage together. Not at any cost but if they are both willing and we see that there is good in this marriage, that something can be worked on, we encourage that" she adds.

 

Comments

Salam, I have been married for almost 4 months but me and my husband have been quarrelling since our nikah day. I have been feeling very insecure as there is a girl involved which I was aware of but my husband kept saying she was just a little girl seeking attention. It has now come to my knowledge that he was involved in a haram relationship with her before nikah and I have found several inappropriate sites on his email. He claims he didn't tell me truthfully at the beginning as he was worried How it would effect our marriage. However I don't feel as though I can trust him.. I don't know what to do!

Sent from Yahoo Mail for Assalamualaikum,
I am a mother of three beautiful children and have been happily married since the past 8 years and have been with my husband for 13 years as we studied in the same college. It all started in the very first month of college when he proposed me and he was after me for the next one year persuading me to say yes in spite of my rude and strict behavior until I said yes. But I made it very clear since the beginning that I wanted to always be the only one in his life and he even promised me several times that he loved me more than anything and couldn't even think of someone else even if I die. And these promises continued though not in written, even after marriage, and even a few months ago. Our marriage wasn't so easy as my parents were not in favor of the marriage as he was degreeless, homeless, jobless and full of debts at the time of marriage. Though, it was a tough job, I convinced my parents and we got married soon after college. Even after marriage, it wasn't easy as he was still jobless until the last year when he got a job in Riyadh where we are currently residing. All these years we were penniless and all our expenses were taken care of by his two brothers and sometimes my parents including my deliveries and kids school fees, food, etc. But, I never uttered a word and was extremely patient and supportive towards him and Allah knows best about this. Our love grew day by day and we can't even imagine a day without each other and also the promises that there can be no one in his life except me ever. Suddenly, one day he came and told me that he wants to take a second wife because he has a sexual problem due to which he isn't even able to concentrate on his career. He says that he wants to have sex daily or more than that due to some problem but, he isn't able to have it with me daily coz he doesn't enjoy it with me if done daily. But, that's not my problem, I'm perfect, but it's his problem. He still thinks that I'm beautiful and he's still attracted towards me the way he was earlier. But, it is some unwanted problem which is not allowing him to enjoy sex with me daily. Now, because of this urge he's forced to masturbate or watch porn or is driven towards haram activities which his friends daily offer to him which he clearly doesn't wanna go towards. But, there is this Egyptian woman in his office who proposed my husband and is ready be his second wife. Now, we're Indians and an Indian woman would never accept this. He wants to marry her only after he's financially stable to take care of two families as he's starting his new business venture as he has left his job and is jobless again, which might even take an year or more than that. Until, then they're still in touch through phone calls and messages. It's impossible for me to tolerate or accept this. I can suffer all sorts of difficulties but this is out of my tolerance power.i can never share my husband with anyone. I even talked to that woman and requested her to leave, coz my husband says that if he doesn't get married to her for any reason like if her parents don't agree, then he would never want to marry any other woman and think it to be Allahs will and try to bear with his sexual problem too. He is even ready to sign a contract about this. But, that woman is least bothered and says she can't leave him as it's not easy to feel the same with everyone.i even told her that if they get married I will have to leave my husband, the love of my life and I will be heartbroken, shattered, my life he spoiled and my kids lives will be ruined. But, she's heartless, stubborn and selfish woman who only thinks about her own interest coz she's not that good looking and also she's old enough to get any good marriage alliance. Now, please advise me how to deal with this and stop him from marrying her. I'm praying day night for this and have complete faith in Allah and no one except him knows what I'm going through. The thought my husband even thought about some woman other than is making me cry whole day n night, so imagine how impossible it'll be for me to cope up if he marries her. Please advice me. My husband says if Ieave him and go, he surely won't be able to live, won even be able to breathe, so he's requesting me to help him as his only interest in this marriage is saving himself from hellfire by not going towards haram.

Location

Riyadh

Asalamualaikam khairiyat...... meri shadi ko 2 years ho chuke hai or mere husband ki mai 2 wifr hu pehli wife se inka divorce ho chuka hai or oske saat ek beta bhi hai .... or mujhe b ek beta hai jo 1 year ka hai .... mere shauhar unki pehle wife ko ab bhi bahot pyaar karte hai or mujhe bas sex object samajhte hai jab unhe sex karna hota hai mujhse bade pyaar ki baatein karte hai phir baad mai mujhe niccha dhikate hai or pehli wife se compare karte hai ..... or humare bich bahot ladai hoti hai ma8 2 year se saber kar rahi hu or bardasht nahi hota mere maa baap bahot gareeb hai mai unkr paas ja b nahi sakti ... mere shauhar abroad mai job karte hai mujhe waha lejate bhi nahi...... apse or personal baatein share karni hai please mujhe email karein.....

Location

Hyderabad

Assalamualaikum
I have come here to discuss my problems related to the person i love. I am sorry that you guys have to read this long story. But this is about my life and death u can say and i only came here for your help.
I met this guy online name shakeel in fact he approached to me. He knew me through my first love, adnan,who i also met on facebook. However i broke up with adnan for good as he had a lot of affairs and was a womanizer. Anyhow so shakeel( my first lover's fri3md) approached to me asking how was i and how was everything. I was straightforward but my replies were not so kind as i knew he was closest friend of that betrayer. But somehow he suddenly began to enrage confessing how much he has been loving me for years and that how adnan and me have ruined his life, he even said that his elder sister in london and maternal aunt blames me for that. I asked him and was like shocked. I asked him what did i even do and i never knew he loved me. He told me that adnan has run away with his money and with the girl who used to like shakeel. shakeel was interested in marrying mE as he belonged to a big respectable political family and he felt i was compatible for him because i am educated medical student. But adnan prevented me from him by telling him a lie that i hate him and that i am not interested in him. From that day ,shakeel tried to move on from me and tied a knot wiith a girl in his city. But sooner he came to know the girl was greedy like adnan they both had their eyes on shakeel's money. So they both ran away. I was surprised and couldnt believe his words. I thought shakeel was just making me a fool and i told him so. He told me that he is not convincing me to be his gf but to marry him and he wants kids with me. Shakeel made me to talk to his maternal aunt and elder sis because his parents had died years ago. He even confessed he is married too but his marriage was forceful. He was forced to marry becausr after his father, his mother died. His elder sis is already married with two beautiful kids and she lives in london whereas shakeel was left alone .so his sis along with his aunt and his elder cousins forced him to marry a girl from their acquaintance. But shakeel was dissatisfied and never even talked to her much nor he has any kids with her. But he had to marry for the sake of people and the person behind his forced marriage was adnan. I even discussed this with shakeel's sis whether it was true. they said it was and they feel sorry that they forced him. They just wanted him to get kids and have a family but they were unaware that there was no compatibility between him and her. In many ways i didnt trust shakeel and his family i thought he was lying to me but his love began to get true to me when he sent his aunt to meet me face to face in fact his cousins and entire family came to see me. Through them he sent to me a lot of dry fruits so that i can give it to my mom. Even more surprising was that he chose a rescue job so that he can convince my mom to marry me. From that day i began to believe his love through his actions. In rescue training he had to stand from 6 am till 5pm under the scorching heat of the sun. His training is still in progress and he has been having a tough life out there, and all he is doing is for me. I began to cry because i cant do much. I mean i dont know how will i convince my mom that he loves me truly, because she will say that he is lying to me and that i met him online. And if i told her about his first marriage i dont know what she will say
I am so helpless i dont know what to do, i know there are bad people in the virtual world but by hearing all this do u guys think he could still be lying? I dont know how will i tell mom? I have already been through a lot because of adnan and now if i tell about shakeel i dont know what mom will do and how will she react Plz help me my brothers and sisters

Location

Uae

I have been married for last 3 months. we are having issues in terms of family and finance. my husband left his job after marriage because i paid my parents bill out of my befor marriage income. he has not been working from last 2 months. i have been working and taking care of all our bill. now after marriage i have around $12,000 debt and i make $5500 still we are not able to save because my husband has one or the other expenses and also i pay half of my in-laws bills. he is on student visa and i am U.S. Citizen. i had my condition before marriage that i will give my half salary to my parents and he agreed to it after marriage he changed his words. he made me take quran in my hand and asked me to say i wont see my parents without his permission and i wont give any money to in family. his visa is in process. he used to work at gas station befor marriage. i have not told my parents that i am working and he is unemployed. my parents don't know his visa is under process. please help me what should i do. he is not even ready to sign post nuptial agreement. and he don't tell me where he goes and what he do. he withdraw money from account and dont inform me. I talked to him about all this but no change. Please advise.

Location

Tx

Please protect yourself. Open a bank account in your name only. Deposit your check there. Put some money in joint account. If possible and your parents are here move back home. Tell your husband flatly either shape up and be a man and get a job and act married and treat you with respect or take divorce and move on. Do not let yourself be used for citizenship.

Location

Tx

This is totally wrong in 3 moths of marriage he's already showing his true colors don't trust him he seems like greedy and selfish if he's doing this now he will be worst once he gets his Greencard just move out of this relationship and go to ur parents

Location

New York

Mere shohar ki 1st wife hai. Use aulad nahi hai. Main unki 2sri bivi hu. Mujhe 1 beti hai. Ab tak mere sasuralwalo ne mujhe ghar nahi le gaye. Hum rent pe rahte hai. Ab sudden meri sautan mujhe apnane k liye ready ho gayi hai. Main kya karo? Main uske saath bacchi nahi batna chahti. Main bahot mantally disturb hu. Pls help

Location

Aurangabad

Salam,

I do not know what your financial limitations are or if English is an accessible language for you (I could understand party what you have written in urdu?) however there is a Muslim sister, Shazia Ali, that coaches wives through Laura Doyle's relationship coaching

http://lauradoyle.org/shazia-ali/

Also, find Laura Doyle's books the Surrendered Wife (this means surrendering inappropriate control of others and only controlling what you can - which is yourself).

This book may be available in Urdu translation.

Also, The Marriage Place is a pro-marriage counselling and coaching service. They offer individual counselling as well http://themarriageplace.com/

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