Can My Wife Divorce Me Because I Did Not Disclose to Her Before Marriage That I Have Anxiety?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: I had my marriage contract about 8 months back. At that time, I had been taking anxiety medication after experiencing symptoms of extreme restlessness. My anxiety is not severe and the medication I am taking has no effect on marital relations.

By not informing my wife prior to marriage, have I committed an injustice towards her, and does she have right to seek divorce?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah make things easier for you, and grant you the best possible outcome.

Anxiety

The first year of marriage is a huge adjustment, even in the most ideal of scenarios. I am sorry that your honesty with your wife has led to a rift in your marriage. May Allah reward you for being truthful with her, and may He soften her heart.

Reading between the lines, it sounds like your wife is unhappy that you did not tell her about your anxiety before you married her. On one hand, mood disorders are difficult to disclose to prospective spouses. There is too much stigma attached to them. However, the path of excellence would have been for you to discuss it with her, and to let her decide. Some people are compassionate and patient enough to take that on, while others are not. Wives who support their husbands (or vice-versa) through anxiety, depression, bipolar, and so on, are greatly rewarded. However, not everyone has what it takes.

I suggest that both of you see a compassionate marriage counsellor to help you work through this issue. If you disclosing that you have anxiety is enough for your wife to want to seek divorce, then you have bigger issues to deal with.

I encourage both you and your wife to complete this course Islamic Marriage: Guidance for Successful Marriage and Married Life. This course will teach you about the spirit and the law behind a successful marriage.

Support

I pray that Allah grants you complete healing. Have you considered seeing a therapist, counsellor, or psychologist? Medication has its role in treating anxiety, but other strategies such as mindfulness, progressive muscle relaxation, hypnosis and so on can also support you on your journey of recovery. Please consider consulting a naturopath who can assist you in improving your diet. There is a strong link between gut health and overall wellbeing.

Please perform the Prayer of Need regularly in the last third of the night and ask Allah for help. Reach out to trustworthy friends and family members who can help you.

Be honest and kind with yourself. Having anxiety is something that you will need to manage, until Allah grants you complete healing. That may happen quickly, or it may not. During times of stress, it is normal for your anxiety to flare up. Marriage is full of up and downs, and childrearing, even more so. I pray that your wife softens her stance, and is able to have sincere concern for you.

There are many, many Muslim spouses around the world who are supportive, loving, and forgiving when their loved ones struggle with mood disorders. This is but a manifestation of Allah’s Mercy for His creation. Please remember that you are more than your anxiety – this is your trial, but it does not define who you are as a person.

Istikhara

“And obey Allah and His Messenger, and do not dispute (with one another) lest you lose courage and your strength depart, and be patient. Surely, Allah is with those who are As-Sabirin (the patient ones, etc.).”
[Qur’an, 8:46]

If your wife’s loss of trust in you is something that cannot be healed despite your best efforts, then perform the Prayer of Guidance to help you decide if divorce is best for you. Even though it is hated to Allah, it is still permissible. Look for what is made easy: if Allah turns her heart towards you, then it is your sign to stay married to her. If she remains unwilling to move forward with you, then seek advice from a trustworthy local scholar before deciding to divorce her.

This trial is painful, but also a way for you to attain patience. I pray that Allah facilitates whatever is best for you in both worlds, and rewards you abundantly for being patient with His Decree.

Please refer to the the following links:

A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah
Positive Spiritual Thinking: Choosing Mindfulness (taqwa) and Embracing Trust (tawakkul) by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
What Are Some Prophetic Supplications That Can Help Me Deal With Trials in My Life?
Coping With Tragedy – Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah

Wassalam,
[Ustadha]Raidah Shah Idil

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers through Qibla Academy and SeekersHub Global. She also graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales.