Ask Marwa: I am married to an ATM machine

Date posted: July 10, 2013

Identity Magazine May

Published in Identity Magazine in May 2013

Dear Marwa,

I’ve been wanting to write to you for a long time, but was too embarrassed to write. My problem started when I got married. I realized my husband thinks that his role in a marriage is only to provide money nothing else. He refuses to take responsibility of anything else, not the kids, house or anything that doesn’t concern his work. I tried my best, sometimes by discussing sometimes by fighting, but in vain. When I complain to my parents or my friends, they simply tell me that it’s normal, since he is providing money and your needs as well as your children, you shouldn’t be complaining. I stopped complaining or discussing anything with him or with anyone to avoid fighting. But now, I feel tired, stressed and a lot of self-pity. I believe that is not what marriage is supposed to be. Be honest and tell me, am I being spoilt and don’t want to take responsibility as well?




Dear Anon


There are two ways to consider when thinking of marriage, home, and kids; you can think in "I owe you; you owe me" kind of way where every role and contribution is carefully calculated and assessed. This manner of book-keeping in a marriage is the fastest road to frustration and misery. The other option is mainly acceptance and appreciation. You accept your partner as he is and you appreciate whatever contributions he makes to your marriage. You are constantly working on your expectations as opposed to working on changing him.


How to choose between the two options?


It all depends on how you feel and how you see your future. If you feel miserable beyond healing, if you feel that you really deserve better, if you feel that you can do better, if you feel that you are really better off, if you feel that his contribution is trivial, or if you feel that you are too good for him, then cut a long miserable road short and get a divorce.


If you love him and if you want him to stay in your life then you have to take the second option otherwise he will be the one to walk away whenever he has an opportunity.


I am not blaming you for how you feel; I totally understand where you are coming from and you have every right to feel abandoned in this marriage but there is nothing you can do to change how your husband functions – you just have no control over him.  This is why my response to you revolves around you and how you envision the future.


Weigh the pros and cons of leaving him and of staying with him; if you decide to leave then do it before your bruises turn into deep wounds. If you decide to stay then adjust your needs and expectations to his capabilities and be happy.


Being happy is the keyword here! Happy women make happy mothers and happy mothers make happy kids and vice versa. What would make you happy? Big decisions are never easy and there is always a price to pay. Think of the positives and see if they are worth lowering your benchmark. 

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