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Advice for Building Respect for Husband


In His Holy Name

Dear Respected Scholar,

Thank you for providing this service as a means for Shia Muslims to have access to guidance from the learned ones. I appreciate being able to consult a knowledgeable scholar. Thank you for taking my question.

My husband is a practicing Muslim. He prays, fasts, provides for his family, and helps in our local community. He is well liked and respected by most people who know him. Unfortunately, at home, he displays some character flaws that are very off-putting. He often takes unethical actions and makes unethical decisions. Worst of all, our now teen-aged children have lost a lot of respect for him. He does many things to show people that he is a good person, but he doesn’t feel obliged to behave like a good person. For instance:

He makes promises that he has no intention of keeping without any remorse to me, our children, and others in our family and community. After making the promise, he will be angry at the person for asking something of him, and often blames the asker for the unfulfilled promise. I know it is sometimes hard to keep one’s word, but he gives his word to others, with no plan to fulfill it.

He makes reckless decisions for his own benefit that negatively affect his family, sometimes these decisions put his family at risk. For instance, he will go into debt to make large purchases for himself that our family can’t afford. Or, he’ll secretly pursue other women in marriage without regard for the impact it will have on our family.

He sets expectations for and makes demands of others, but then he disregards those boundaries himself. He makes a big fuss about the children touching his things, despite the fact that he leaves them strewn all over the house. However, he often takes, uses, and even destroys items that belong to others.

He makes a big show of doing good deeds when people are looking, but will easily abandon those deeds when no one else is around.

Finally, and most impactful to our family, he lies to cover up his actions or to manipulate others into doing what he wants. For example, he regularly uses sadness over his mother’s death as an excuse to get out of doing what he promises to do. Or he will do something, witnessed by one of the children, but when I ask him about it, he will deny the action. In the past, he’s allowed me to punish the children for a deed that he committed and lied about.

It is very difficult for me to know what to do in this situation. I have learned many methods to navigate his habits, and I have learned how to keep our children relatively safe from him. However, I worry about his mental and spiritual health. In addition, I find that I have no respect for him. While I love him, I do not feel the respect, friendship, or adoration that a wife should feel toward her husband. His behaviors diminish him in my eyes. They make him seem small, childlike, and unattractive; just not respectable. I don’t want to divorce, but fear that might be the best choice.

I know I can’t make him change, though I often pray for him to change. He won’t seek counseling as I have suggested. What should I do? Are there any spiritual practices that I can employ to help me feel better about him? Or at least feel better about my life with him? I fear I am beginning to spiritually loathe him. Sometimes, watching him behave the way he does turns my stomach. I know everyone struggles, but it hurts to see him behave so. I am at a loss as to what to do. Please advise.

Prayers for you and your family. Thanks so much for your time.


Salaamun alaykum

Thank you for your email.
Thank you for your kind words, it is our duty to help our brothers and sisters in islam. Answering your questions is the least we can do and we hope that it can help you find a way to alleviate your problem InshaAllah.
In these cases, because of lack of details it is very difficult to judge and give a specific answer.
But I would like to ask if your husband always had this behaviour from the time you got married to him or did he change after a certain period of time.
If he has always been like that, then I would say unfortunately there is not much you can do apart for praying for him and asking Allah (swt) to open way for him to realise his mistakes before its too late. Reciting duas on a daily basis helps us build a close bond with Allah and gives us inner peace and tranquility especially during difficulties and also opens up doors of hope for us and also resolves difficulties.
And if he changed at a certain point after marriage, then maybe there must be a reason for this change and you have try to get to the root of it to solve the problem. There can be plenty of reasons, bad company, difficulties at work, or maybe if you try and talk to him when both of you are in the mood and put everything on the plate, that way maybe you will figure out the actual reason for this behaviour. Talking helps solve half of the problems
I hope and pray your problems gets resolved quickly inshaAllah

Zahra Davdani.