Monday, February 24, 2014

Agony Aunt: No Hand-Me-Downs

Asalamu Alaykom,

Some problems seem smaller than others.  This one is not a huge issue but it still has become a big problem for a family.  Take a look.

Salamu Alaikum Yosra,

Wallahi my husband does a very nice job taking care of us.  I don't want to say differently.  He does buy clothes for the two kids we have.  We have one girl and one boy.  The problem is that they grow out of their clothes so quickly.  Or I'll buy something and it won't be good quality and it will rip and look bad.  

My sister can give us some nice clothes from her kids because they're bigger but my husband says no.  He says that it's his job to get the clothes for them and nobody can put clothes on his kids except him.  I don't want to hurt his feelings but the truth is that it's hard to keep them in new clothes all the time.

What can I tell him to make him understand the problem?

Wa Alaykom Asalam wa Rahtmatullahi wa Barakatu,

Sadly, we can't, "make" our men understand anything.  I wish we could!  I wish there was a vitamin supplement we could slip in their food to release their ability to accept different opinions.

Basically, you have to be logical and not emotional when you discuss this privately with him.  Make sure you don't include anyone else in on the conversation.  He has a huge need to save face publicly.  If you involve anyone else, he will dig his feet in and insist on providing for his family since he's the man.

Explain that you will not be accepting your sisters' old clothes and wearing them yourself.  You understand the difference.  You know that you have enough clothes and you're not going to change size inshahallah.

However, the kids change size so rapidly.  It's hard to find high-quality clothes that fit them.  It's difficult for you to go shopping and it's hard on your family financially to keep spending the money.

Money is a blessing from God.  He has to agree to this.  If a person like his boss or one of his customers gives him money, the money is not really from them; it's from Allah.  Allah SWT has issued all the blessings in the world for us to circulate and share.  It's actually mandated for Muslims to share; it's a pillar of Islam.

To throw away those children's clothes would be the same as throwing away money or food.  It would be haram, a sin.  So, those clothes need to be reused.  Someone else needs to get wear out of them.  They have been on your sister's children so he knows that they are clean.  To refuse her offer is like saying your husband doesn't think her kid's clothes are good enough and shames her.

He understands about saving face, as I said before.  Use this understanding to help him feel like he must not shame your sister.  Your sister benefits because she gets rid of unwanted surplus goods and she gets hassanet for donating it to you.  Your children benefit because they get a constant supply of good fitting garments.  You and your husband benefit because that time and money you used to spend on new clothes can be redirected towards other activities like buying a family dinner out sometime.

You have had the right idea.  I do agree with you that you make sense.  However, the trick in a marriage isn't "Who's right," but rather "Who can help the other."  If you help your husband understand, you can help your children get the clothes they need.

Remember:  it might take months to affect this switch in thinking.  Don't push your agenda.  Be persistent not annoying.  Inshahallah, you'll help your family better this way.


iremi nisces said...

Do you know what Tamlik is?

Thanks for sharing

Muslimah Delights said...

That's sweet that the husband wants to be the only one to clothe the children but as the agony aunt said, the money could be put elsewhere. Maybe towards their education?

Yosra said...

Asalamu Alaykom Iremi,

You're welcome :) Thanks for reading.

I don't know what Tamlik is. I googled it but that didn't help.

You telling?

Asalamu Alaykom Muslimah Delights,

You're absolutely right about saving for important matters. I tend to only save for things that I want so maybe a dinner out sounded good to me.

Either way, money that you don't have to spend it a blessing to be used elsewhere. I don't think that the only money in the house is the money coming in through work. Being thrifty and KEEPING the money in the home is another job.

Love and Light!