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

Assalamuwalikum,

I am seeking advice on how to handle my situation according to Islam.

My husband suffers from Depression/Bipolar but refuses to seek help from any professionals. He had one Psychotic episode 4 years ago and this is how we know what he suffers from. He did CBT counseling and took medication but came off it all within a year as he felt he recovered and knew how to control it. Ever since then he has managed to self help and control his Anxiety and Depression. Of course every year since then at some point he has had a slight depressive weeks but always bounced back to being himself.
Weeks leading to Ramadan I noticed he was showing signs again. I raised my concern regarding his mental health as I was planning to spend a few days away for Ramadan with my parents, and my real concern was he being alone at home as he refused to join me and wasn’t feeling to socialize or be around anyone.
The moment I suggested getting any kind of help it didn't go down well. It was like this new person just came out and he was very angry and very upset that I would even suggest or imply that he has any mental heath issues.
This lead to him deciding that he can no longer live with me and when I asked him why that was as we never had any problems between us and he was very happy before few weeks ago, this change in his personality has only started on the second day of Ramadan, and normally we both are very close have a good bond get on very well.
He feels that life would be better for me if he leaves as he wants no children and there for I can remarry and have a family and everything that he cannot give me. But on the other hand he says everything is happening because of our marriage and that we do not get on. I have tried not to react to his claims and tried my best to complete Ramadan, which felt great, as Allah was my biggest support during this testing time.
During Ramadan I noticed that he lost all interest in anything that he enjoyed, becoming more and more lost in his own thoughts.. His Family has tried to speak to him about what’s been going but he wants no contact with them now as he feels they do not love or understand him, he refuses to see or speak to my family too. Seems to be very in-denial and deluded at the moment. Currently he says Allah has done nothing for him and only crazy people believe in religion. I think he has lost faith but tells me I should have faith in what is happening as this could be Allah's plan, so not sure if he really means what he says regarding his religious believes.
He has not asked me for divorce but plans to move out end of this month June 2018. What do you do when one is not in a stable state of mind to make choices and wants no help? My family and his family advise that I let him leave and move on with my life. My concern is that he isn't well and in need of help, I understand that he doesn't want help right now but should I not wait to see what his thoughts are when he is able to think straight again.
Depressive episode do pass and thoughts will be clearer, obviously this episode is temporary but the condition is permanent and this is probably why families would suggest I take the divorce and save my self the headache.
What do we do when mental health is the issue? Do I ask for divorce or will our marriage be null if he has lost faith in his current state of mind?
Any thoughts / advice would be much appreciated

Many thanks

Location

London

Assalam alaikum, I have been married for 1 and a half year. I didn't live with my husband for more than 1 and a half month after marriage. When he went to abroad for his job his mother tortured me physically and mentally like anything. She treated me like a slave. She threatened me that of I tell anything to my parents or my husband it will be not good for me. After that suddenly my loving husband started fighting over silly things without any reason(on phone). And then I get sick and became weak day by day. Whenever I told my mother in law I am not feeling well she use to give me heavy work and I had to do it anyhow. And also I use to get scared in my room it always felt like something is watching me and when I use to talk to my husband on phone I use to hear weird voice in between the call. And I was attacked twice in my room by something when I was asleep, after that I became so weak that I couldn't walk by myself. I finally told my parents everything and they took me to their house. Even after that as a part of reconciliation my parents had meetings and calls with their family but no improvement. At instances my mother in law threatened me that she will bring another wife for her son, even my husband told me the same for several times. Then we get to know that my mother in law had done black magic on me and my husband. Then I got cure of it and my husband became nice to me as he was right after marriage but only for 2 months. Again all those happening started to me and again I got cure of it. I am still suffering it again and again. Now my husband is back and asking me to come to his house. I asked a scholar before going there he told me there is black magic in that room, I told my husband he got cure of it but I am still scared to go there. I asked my husband to keep me in rented house but he refused. He only listen to his mother. Now he is telling me that if I will not go there he will leave me. I did istikhara but didn't get whether to go there or not. I always feel that if I have not escape from there I would have died. Now I want to know that if my husband calls me and I don't go then will it be disobedient of husband and sin? Will Allah be angry on me? Will it lead to annoyance of Allah? I have heard that if we disobey our husband our fasting and good deeds will not be accepted..Please help me in such a way that Allah will be pleased with me and my life will be secured.
Sorry for the grammatical mistakes I hope you will get my point
Jazakallah khair

Location

India

As Salaam Male kum sis,
If you know and witness black magic do not go back to your husband except he decides to leave with you elsewhere.
Witchcraft it black magic is only removed by strong spiritual people. Our family has battle and save many lives.
Allah won't be mad at you, because you still love your husband and this is not disobedience, it is a safety issue. And remember Allah is all forgiven. Don't be afraid to let things because Allah will grant you a better husband, but please be faithful to Allah and he won't disappoint you. Pray sister , pray when everyone is sleeping (2-3am) Allah comes down to listen so pray . Ask him to guide you and continue to be positive.

Location

USA

Assalamwalikum. I need to speak to someone. My marriage is going terribly and I really need help. Please. Someone.

Location

Pakistan

Salams, i have been married for the past 4 years, i work with my husband in the same company but different branches, from December 2017 i was shifted to the branch where my husband works and it has been hell for me to work there as the office where i am shifted is totally full of men and am the only lady in there, my husband expects me to not talk to anyone at work because there are some people he does not like and wants me to avoid them too.. and if anyone does ask me anything he insists i should be telling them i dont know even if i knew, if there is anything office related i talk he gets angry at me during working hours and refuses to talk to me even at home. normally at office we are required to be social and create a good impression of yourself but in my case am not allowed to talk laugh joke with anyone. there are certain works that he asks me to help him but due to the work load i have i refuse so he threatens me by telling me that if am not doing it for him he should not see me helping anyone out there otherwise its going to be a trouble for me, it has been 2 months now and it is really depressing me am not sure what am supposed to do. i initially started working because he could not cater for my expense as he is taking care of his family, i work and cater for all my expenses without his help he just pays the house rent and our son's fees everything else is on me. he does not help me with any household chores i wake up early morning to make breakfast and food for lunch, i go to work come home serve him lunch go back come late in the evening take care of the house,prepare dinner, be with my 4 year old. on weekends i go to shop for food and stuff alone, he does not want to provide any helping hand. i tried consulting my in laws but they refused to help me, in such a case what needs to be done as i work with a clean heart i know what my limitations are as an islamic woman, my husbands behaviour is just troubling me alot, if i make a single mistake at home am being told that all i think is of work thats why am not able to perform at home and only God knows how much work i do in a whole day. am so sick and remain weak all times something or the other happens to me, all this never used to happen when i was at the other branch. we used to live peacefully.am not sure how to handle this as i cant live my life peacefully and i have no one to talk to.

Location

Uganda

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

I am so sorry to hear about your situation. i'm a woman myself and I can imagine what you must be going through. I would never want to share my husband with anyone either.
I admire your patience and kindness sister. But your husband must realize that once a promise made before marriage is a promise forever. How can he forget about this promise and try to pursue other women? If he really has eyes only for you since the beginning, how on earth did he get attracted to this Egyptian woman? that means he looks at women and refrains from lowering his gaze? this is so sinful.. please remind him of this. it could be that shaitaan is playing tricks on his mind by increasing the fitnah around him, such as this woman.. and being in riyadh, this should be tough but seems like it's not. tell him to try and fast to decrease his sexual appetite.. this could help as per the hadith, where the prophet said that if one cant afford to get married then he must fast. it might seem like a useless solution but there's no harm in trying. the prophet's words can never be wrong in sha Allah. I think you should give him this advice. Also please ask him how he'd feel if you married another man? how would he feel if the same kind of thing happened to his own daughter? it's not fair.. people shouldn't make promises they can't keep! and as for that selfish egyptian woman, if you can get in touch with her parents or anyone, do that! or you can complain to the HR department in your husband's office! relationships between employees in a workplace is strictly forbidden! she's luring him into sin and this isn't right. and you also pointed out that your husband doesn't have a job at the moment so getting married again is out of the question as he'll definitely not be able to do justice! please reply back if you'd like to talk in sha Allah..

also, i hope allah makes this easy for you. don't worry sister. Allah is with you. Just pray tahajjud day and night with the yaqeen that things will go in your favor and Allah will help you sister.

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

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