My Wife Refuses Marital Intimacy With Me and I Feel Unwanted. What Should I Do?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: My wife and I have been married for a decade. Since the birth of our first child she makes me feel unwanted. I know that she has invited a man over to her home and she prevents me to come home on weekends. Every time I try to initiate intercourse with her she rejects me. Should I move on?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah grant you ease in your challenging circumstances. I am so sorry to hear that you have been blocked out of your own home on weekends, and that your role as a husband and father has been reduced to a weekday-only babysitter. May Allah heal your marriage, soften your wife’s heart, and grant you a marriage filled with respect, love and intimacy.

Childbirth

It is very common for a wife’s libido to drop significantly after childbirth. Hormonal changes, sleep deprivation and the exhaustion that comes with childrearing play a major role. However, with the passage of time, it is reasonable to want regular marital relations again. It may not be the same as it was before children, but a compromise can be reached. Difficulty in the bedroom is often symptomatic of deeper issues in your marriage. Until you solve these underlying issues, it is unlikely that you will get to have regular marital relations with your wife.

Counselling

I’m alarmed to hear that your wife has been communicating with and inviting non-mahram men to your family home on weekends. May Allah guide her, heal your marriage, and protect your children from harm. This is definitely a sign that you both need professional help.

Please invite your wife to marital counselling, and do so for the sake of repairing your marriage, first and foremost. Focusing on getting marital intimacy won’t get you very far because your relationship has fractured. Please work with a compassionate and culturally sensitive counsellor who is able to help you both express what you want, and how you can both get there together. It will take time, so please be patient with the process.

Education

Please complete the course Islamic Marriage: Guidance for Successful Marriage and Married Life.

Please read John Gray’s book “Mars and Venus In The Bedroom”. According to the book, the challenge for every couple lies in the different make-up of men and women. Women need an emotional connection before wanting to have sex, whereas men feel emotionally connected through sex. This paradox can only be solved through mutual respect and compassion, for the sake of pleasing Allah.

Please read this useful article: Turning On Your Crockpot.

Solutions

1) Wake up in the last third of the night and beg Allah to help lift this tribulation from you. Perform the Prayer of Need.
2) Give in sadaqah, and make dua for ease.
3) Make regular istighfar every morning and evening.
4) Fast as much as you can to help manage your libido. Start with every Monday and Thursday. If you need to, perform the fast of Nabi Dawud (Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) on alternate days, e.g. fast on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, with non-fasting days on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
5) Find a healthy physical outlet for your sexual frustration, e.g. exercise, gardening etc.
6) Every day, do acts of kindness for your wife to help her feel more connected to you.

When to move on

Divorce is hated by Allah, but is permissible as a last resort. Please exhaust all avenues before going down this path, and please perform the Prayer of Guidance up to seven times before deciding what to do.

If you do decide to divorce your wife, please do not say, “I divorce you, I divorce you, I divorce you.” Even in anger, this would count as an irrevocable divorce, and you cannot remarry her except in the unlikely scenario of your wife remarrying, consummating her marriage and then divorcing. One pronouncement of talaq suffices.

If you choose this path and marry another woman later on, please learn from the mistakes from your first marriage. Happy marriages are hard work – it takes continual communication, sacrifice and a spirit of giving more and taking less.

I pray that Allah grants you ease, and guides you to the best possible path.

Please refer to the following links:

What Are Some Prophetic Supplications That Can Help Me Deal With Trials in My Life?
A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah

Wassalam,
Raidah

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.