Fatwa: # 44874
Category: Jurisprudence and Rulings...
Date: 2nd May 2020


Is it better to stay in this marriage because of the kids or separate?


Sallam. What to do if you love and care about your spouse but are not in love with them?? I have been with my spouse for 16 years. We have 3 children. I have not been happy for many years but have stayed in the marriage for the kids. I don’t think I can bare it much longer. I am fed up with the constant arguing and our personalities don’t match. He is a good person but we clash a lot. What does Islam say abt this?? Is it better to stay in the marriage because of kids or separate and each be happy? I don’t think the constant fighting and arguing is healthy for the kids. We have tried many times to work out our differences but to no avail. Please help.


In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

There are ups and downs in every marriage. You have stated that you “have not been happy for many years”. It seems that in the period preceding this, there was a time that you had feelings for him since you have been married for 16 years.

If your personalities don't match, you will need to think back about how you both got along during the early years of marriage? What happened in the later years that have caused these issues? You have also stated that “he is a good person” so would it not be possible for his good traits to override the mismatch in personalities? Is there a way you can complement one another as a couple without annoying and frustrating one another?

Sister, the grass often seems greener on the other side. So while separating might seem a good option initially, there could be other difficulties you might have to face. No matter what situation a person is in, there will always be issues as life is a test.

Many woman who had good husbands (not abusive, etc.) but separated due to various reasons regret their decision later in life especially when kids are involved.  They later realize that the problems that seemed like mountains at that time was really molehills and could have been overlooked. This is not to minimize the issues you are facing, rather, if your husband is good as you say, and there are no issues with abuse, etc then both of you – and not just you – need to try a little harder to get along.

A mother and father cannot be replaced, and if you separate and remarry or your husband remarries, your children will have to adjust to step-fathers and/or step-mothers which is another challenge altogether.

In short, sister, we advise that you use all avenues available to you (mediation through other family members, direct discussion with your husband, etc.) to save your marriage. You should also earnestly make dua that Allah put love in her heart for your husband and in your husband's heart for you.

One often overlooked avenue is marital counseling. If you have not done so already, you should get in touch with a local scholar who is experienced in marital issues to assist you and your husband.

Yes, if your have tried to resolve the issues but have not succeeded and after making istikharah and mashwarah, the consensus is that staying in this marriage will be more detrimental for you and the kids, then there is no harm in seeking divorce. [i]

If you opt to seek divorce, meaning a khul' and he agrees, then you should both make the transition as smooth as possible for the children and never discuss each other in a way that makes the children despise either one of you.

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best,

Sohail ibn Arif,
Assistant, Darul Iftaa
Chicago, USA

Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.


[i] وإذا تشاق الزوجان وخافا أن لا يقيما حدود الله فلا بأس بأن تفتدي نفسها منه بمال يخلعها به لِقَوْلِهِ

تَعَالَى: {فلا جناح عليهما فيما افتدت به} [البقرة: ٢٢٩]

م: (وإذا تشاق الزوجان) ش: أي إذا اختصما واختلفا، مشتق من الشق، وهو الجانب، فكأن الزوجين إذا تخاصما وتجادلا يأخذ كل واحد شقا خلاف شق صاحبه م: (وخافا) ش: أي علما، لأن الخوف من لوازم العلم، والمراد من الخوف العلم، قاله أبو عبيد (أن لا يقيما حدود الله) ش: أي ما يلزمهما من حقوق الزوجية م: (فلا بأس بأن تفتدي نفسها منه بمال يخلعها به) ش: الضمير في نفسها يرجع للمرأة لأن لفظ الزوجين يدل عليه، وفي: منه، يرجع إلى الزوج بالوجه المذكور والضمير المستتر في: يخلعها، يرجع إلى الزوج والبارز: التاء إلى المرأة، وفي به يرجع إلى المال.
م: (لِقَوْلِهِ تَعَالَى: {فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْهِمَا فِيمَا افْتَدَتْ بِهِ} [البقرة: ٢٢٩] ش: أي فلا إثم على الزوجين لا على الرجل فيما أخذ، ولا على المرأة فيما أعطت فداء من فداه من أسر إذا استنقذ

البناية شرح الهداية، ٥/ ٥٠٦




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