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Rights - Working Wife

Q:

I want to know my rights as a woman who works and is the sole breadwinner for the family. My husband lost his job. And months before that he had bought a new house on a long installment plan. He couldn't find any job that pays enough to cover the house and living costs. The only solution we had was me going back to work as a nurse since I get paid more. And he would stay at home to take care of the kids. I'm fine with that. I love my job. But that agreement seem to be making him insecure. He tries to prove he's the man of the house by making childish arguments about trivial stuff. Like he made a huge fight once because he asked me to wash a shirt for him and I didn't because he wasn't going out and I needed to wash my own clothes because I was going to work. He stopped me from going out to work for no other reason than to prove that he's the man of the house and I should do whatever he says. Or asking me to bed after a 16 hours shift plus half an hour of commute and then making food for him and the kids. I was tired an all I wanted was to just sleep. When I said no he got angry and yelled at me and called me nashez. He makes proplems out of nothing. About food, about the kids, about everything. He also says the worst stuff about me to his family to make me look like a bad person which really hurt me because I'm an orphan and I consider his family to be mine. Despite everything I never once called him on his unemployment, or bad decision to buy an expensive house or his inability to financially support us. I know the situation is tough on him and it's making him angry. But It's tough on me too. I'm miserable. I don't want to divorce and break the family apart. I just want peace of mind and respect. I don't want to worry about fighting everytime I step inside the house. I want to be treated like an equal partner not a slave that works for him who has to obey or otherwise i'm a bad wife. How is it fair that I carry the family on my shoulders and yet i'm treated that way?

A:

Salaamun alaykum 

Thank you for your question. I think the issue here is less about rights and more about communication. If you throw rights at your husband you will probably make things worse. If he is feeling insecure, try and deal with that by reassuring him and let him open up and talk about the way he feels. He is not happy with the status quo and he doesn’t want to loose his respect in front of you. The funny thing is that he is acting this way because he cares, and you have agreed to this situation and reached out for help because you care too. Confirm his manliness through other ways and in front of the children reaffirm that he is the man and authority in the house. Don’t approach it by making it a heavy conversation, but try to be more subtle. Sometimes we expect one big conversation to solve everything but communication is something that needs to be continuous. Maybe make time for yourselves when the kids are not around and help him also to understand what you are going through too. It is important that he has empathy for your difficulties as well and that you don’t keep them bottled up. The most important thing though is to make sure you are doing what you are doing for the sake of God and to be patient in seeking a solution to your problems. IA with wisdom and trust in God the problem will be solved.

May you always be successful 
 
ZoheirAli