Shaykh Munajjid provides some excellent advice for a sister in such a situation:
‘…There is no true alternative except to turn to Allah. For, He is the One Who makes a way out of every difficult situation.
The following are a few points of advice:
• Your husband needs someone to advise him - look around for a suitable person to do this.
• Avoid making him angry. Again, avoid making him angry as much as you can.
• Whoever sees the problems of others will see his or her own problem in perspective. There are husbands who beat their wives on the face, injure them and break their bones.
Some kick their wives out of the house in the middle of the night and lock them out; others do not give their wives a penny, and even take their money and jewellery from them.
Some husbands eat outside the house and never bring food home for their wives and children, leaving them to beg from their neighbours.
Others drink alcohol, take drugs, and bring prostitutes to the house. Some do not recognize Allah at all; they do not even know the direction of the Qiblah.
I myself have dealt with these and other cases involving the problems suffered by wives; these examples are not made up. Perhaps looking at the problems of others and putting things into perspective will offer some consolation and make you feel better. For surely, your husband won’t have all of these bad qualities.
• Think about your husband’s positive aspects - his religion or his relationship with you or his spending, or the fact that he does not hit you on the face, and so on. Perhaps this will help to reduce your negative feelings towards him.
• Remember that what you are suffering is a test, one of the trials that Allah decrees for whomever He wills in this life, to see how people will behave. So face it with patience and the hope of earning reward. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
"How wonderful is the situation of the believer, for everything is good for him, and this applies only to the believer. If something good happens to him, he gives thanks for it, and this is good for him; if something bad befalls him, he bears it with patience, and this is also good for him." (Reported by Muslim, may Allah have mercy on him, in al-Saheeh, no. 2999).
• Think about the tragedy of divorce and what would happen to the family in this case. A wise woman may put up with something bad in order to avoid something even worse, because some evils are less than others.
• Write him a letter, reminding him of the Prophet’s advice concerning women, e.g., ". . . Be kind to women, for they are your prisoners and you have no rights over them other than that. If they are guilty of clear immoral misconduct, then avoid them in their beds, and beat them, but not severely. If they then obey you, do not seek means of annoying them, for you have rights over your wives and they have rights over you. Your rights over your wives are that they should not allow anyone you dislike in your bed, and they should not let anyone whom you dislike enter your house. Their rights over you are that you should treat them well with regard to clothing and food." (Reported by al-Tirmidhi, no. 1163; he said: this is a saheeh hasan hadith.)
• The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Many women have come to the family of Muhammad, complaining about their husbands. Those (husbands) are not the best among you.” (Reported by Abu Dawud, no. 2146). If he becomes angry and hits you hard, wait until he calms down, then provoke his pity by saying words, with great wisdom, such as "Is this how you treat the mother of your children and the one who is closest to you?" and showing him the mark left by his blow, so that he can see with his own eyes what his hand has done. Also, remind him that oppression is haraam, and that Allah is able to deal with him. Show him your tears and pain; then disappear and leave him to think things over. In most cases, if the husband has any shred of decency and real character, and religious sensitivity, he will apologize.
• Some marital problems can only be resolved with the passage of time, as the number of children increases and they grow up, and the husband grows to love them even more. This makes the wife more precious to him too, as he sees her as the one who is bringing up and protecting his children. As he also increases in maturity and in his understanding of the realities of life, he will realize the evil of what he has done and his behaviour will improve, so he will stop doing some of the things he used to do. Hoping for improvement is a good thing: people live on hope.
• Supplication (du‘aa’) is the refuge of the believer. How many times, I wonder, have you prayed to Allah to reform your husband? Persist in du‘aa’ and seek ways of making Allah respond.
I ask Allah to improve your situation and to guide you both. Aameen.