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Ask Megan: Dealing with Past Relationships

SISTERS Marriage coach, Megan Wyatt, gives advice on how to handle the feelings of hurt when details of a spouse’s past relationship come to light.

I’ve just recently married a very religious and pious brother, alhamdulillah. Today he left his Facebook account open on my computer and I snooped around his messages a little.

 

One message dating back from 2009 was from a girl he referred to as his girlfriend. Although I was aware that he had had a girlfriend before he had become practising, I was still deeply hurt by this. I have a past as well but it really disturbed me to read the messages.

 

I could approach him and tell him how I feel, but this would also force me to lie and say that I found out from another source and not because I was somewhere I wasn’t supposed to be. I am very hurt at this moment and I want to act out of rationality rather than acting upon my emotions. Please suggest anything to help.

 

 

 

The first place to start in this scenario is to ask yourself, “Am I worthy of being truly loved?”

 

This may not seem like a logical place to start, but it’s an important question for you to ask yourself. You mentioned that you knew going into this marriage that your husband had a previous girlfriend, and since has become a practising Muslim who has turned away from things that are not in line with Islam.

 

Since his actions are from his past, before you, and have nothing to do with your life together, we have to explore where the hurt is coming from. My hunch says that the hurt is because you want to be the only one who is loved, who is special, and who receives the kind of words and ideas you saw your husband exchange in words with this girl from the past. The default assumption, then, is that his love and dedication for you is less special and possibly less sincere because he shared himself with someone else before.

 

The reality is that he is with you, he chose you, he wants you, and you are his wife, and the one he wants to share the rest of his life with. She was from a part of his life where he was searching for love, searching for significance, and searching for a place to feel whole and accepted. This was a lonely phase in his life, a life of hypocrisy, living with double standards, shame, guilt, and agitation in his heart. Alhamdulillah, he returned back from this place to Islam.

 

In Islam, a man honours a woman with marriage, honours her with the Deen in their life, and honours her by placing Allah, I first before his desires and wants. You are the one he is honouring, you are the one he goes to bed at night with, and you are the one who will be a path to true love, spiritual love, and a love that is nourishing. This is because you will begin to understand that love is something beyond words and actions based on desires.

 

Love is the opening up of your heart, it is vulnerability, and it is done with the light of Islam illuminating your path together. You must believe that you are worthy of having that honour and that place in his heart. You must believe that this love does not compare to having a girlfriend or boyfriend. Marriage is not “halal dating”. It’s a greater commitment, and the more you invest in your relationship, the greater you reap in rewards together.

 

In regards to the fact that you snooped around his Facebook messages, I would suggest that you talk to him about it. While I personally think the sign of a healthy relationship is that neither of you feel there is anything to hide in your personal communication, and that you feel free to let each other look, a sign of trust is that you do not need to do so, even if you are welcome and can. Yes, it’s going to be hard to do, but I fear that if you do not tell him, the seed of curiosity will grow even more, and this will not be the last time you read his messages, or begin to wonder about other things to check.

 

Trust is a two-way street. If you want to be able to trust that he is honest with you about how he feels, you must also be willing to be honest with him about how you are feeling. You need to apologise for what has happened, and be honest about the level of insecurity that led you to reading through his messages. If you want a relationship that is solid and loving, you must give him the opportunity to see the depths of your heart, thorns and all.

 

If you are worried about being compared to his previous girlfriend, or that you are busy comparing him to someone in your past, then know this is a sign of a relationship surviving at a surface level, and it’s time to open up more to one another, take more risks with your love for each other in actions, thoughts, and feelings.

 

In the future, when you feel tempted to do something like this again (and Shaytan will try to tempt you), ask yourself, “What am I trying to prove to myself?”  If it is that you are loved and special, you need not look further than your husband for confirmation.
If you are searching for something deeper than that, then know it must come from within you. You must know, as I started out saying in the beginning, you are special and worthy of being loved, and that you are enough, and that no matter what past your husband has had, or that you have had, your future is not contingent on your past.

 

 

Megan Wyatt is the founder of Wives of Jannah, a rapidly growing organization of thousands of Muslim wives who are inspired by the core goal of rekindling marriage as an act of worship. She coaches wives and couples to learn the art of her key technique Fearless Vulnerability. SISTERS magazine, an international publication now online, features Megan in their relationship column where she answers questions from wives around the globe. She is also the co-founder and key trainer for Find Your Mr. Right where she guides single Muslim women in finding, meeting, attracting, and marrying their future husband. She co-authored and published a book with her 13 year old daughter called “How to Get Hijab Ready: A Guide for Muslim Girls Ages 8-11.” A homeschooling mother of four, Megan resides in Southern California with her children and husband Zeyad Ramadan.