I am a 33-year-old married man. I am a businessman, and God has blessed me with success. I have everything except for peace of mind. My problem is that my wife and I are not compatible at all. We have been married for three years and during this time we have hardly spent any time without fighting. My wife and I are first cousins, our fathers being brothers. There was some bad blood between her mother and mine, and their animosity for each other inadvertently comes up whenever we have a problem. Instead of talking things out and discussing our problems, we end up criticizing each other’s mother for their past crimes.
We were not forced by our parents to get married. As cousins we knew each other pretty well, and had very good relationship with each other. My wife is a good person and I am not bad, either. I don’t know why our relationship became so bad. We just don’t deal well with each other anymore. In fact, we bring out the worst in each other. My parents are very upset and so are hers. I have a very calm temperament, but I lose my temper easily when I get into an argument with my wife. My wife is well-liked in our family as she is a very friendly and vivacious person, but she is always ready to blow up when she talks to me.
My mother thinks if we have a baby, things will become alright and my wife’s parents are of the same view. On the other hand, my wife and I think that if we have a baby and still can’t get along it will be bad for the child and our exit from the marriage will be blocked.
Frankly, Professor, I don’t care about her anymore and she also hates me. The thing that is stopping us from getting divorced is that our paternal grandfather left his house to us. It was a wedding gift, and we co-own it. The house is big and very expensive, but we don’t want to sell it and get our respective share because we both are attached to it and cannot bear to see it in the possession of anyone else.
What do you think, Professor Nadine? Should we give our marriage a chance by trying for a kid, or should we terminate this relationship which has been acrimonious all this while? Please give very careful consideration to my problem, because your answer will have an impact not only on our marriage but on other relationships, too.
Dear Frustrated Husband,
The initial years of marriage are often fraught with difficulties. Both spouses try to adjust to the changes that have occurred in their lives due to marriage, and in doing so they often have difference of opinions or outright clashes. You may have known your wife very well as a cousin, but when the relationship changes, adjustments must be made. As you stated, you are both good people, but don’t deal well together. You have compatibility issues, which you both have not tried to address. When there is so much acrimony in the relationship, it is difficult to talk things out in a reasonable manner. Instead of having discussions, you end up fighting over things your respective mothers did. My dear, it’s not a good idea to bring up past grievances when discussing current problems if you really want to resolve your issues.
Going for a baby will not help either, because chances are once the baby is born your fights will resume and along with you, your baby will also suffer. So, having children won’t change anything.
You both have strong personalities, and are not ready to make compromises. So, what exactly is left there in your marriage that needs to be saved? You don’t care about each other and are sticking together because you don’t want the house to go to someone outside the family, which is understandable, but it is not very wise to destroy your life for the sake of this house. So, if you genuinely wish to save your marriage go for professional counselling. Couple therapy can do wonders for the relationship if the spouses really wish to give their marriage a chance. The decision to end your marriage should be the last option if all attempts at coexisting peacefully fail. If that happens, you should not waste each other’s time and consider divorce. As for the house, if you have the money, buy out your partner’s share and vice versa. If you don’t have enough money, just remember that happiness of living human beings is more important than a house. So, even if you don’t want to let go off the house, you will have to bite the bullet and sell the house. Good luck!
Problems that need a solution? You can e-mail Prof. Nadine Khan at firstname.lastname@example.org
Write to Prof. Nadine Khan, c/o Editor “You!” magazine, The News, Al-Rehman Building (5th Floor) I.I. Chundrigar Road, Karachi.