Lost My Loved One to Smoking

Question and answer details
Lost My Loved One to Smoking
I have been happily married to my husband for 1.5 years now. My husband was a smoker before we got married; he promised to stop and he did for the first year of our marriage. Our first son was born and died 9 days later of sudden infant death syndrome. My mother-in-law also died a month later and my husband hadn't seen his mother in 12 years. My husband is stressed at work. He went back to smoking. It's been 4 months since the baby died and I am very concerned. It worries me a lot; I can't stop thinking about it. I hate smoking and cannot live with a smoker. I love him and other than this problem he is a wonderful person. I talked to him about how I feel about smoking and he said he will stop; he just needs space and time. After talking to him repeatedly about how much I can't stand it, he got angry and started saying things like I knew he was a smoker from the beginning, so why did I marry him? And that he has too many problems now and I shouldn't discuss it again with him, or else he will leave me and I can go back to my father's house. I feel very angry and sad, but I know he doesn't mean it. He might stop smoking but I'm worried that the more he does it the more difficult it is to quit it. As a good wife, my question is, what should I do? Should I keep asking him to quit or ignore him, which I can't? He respects me, so he doesn't smoke in front of me and he does it behind my back, but I have my ways of finding out that he does it. Please help me. It seems to me his work is just fine; he has some exams coming up, but that is no good reason for smoking. No one in my family smokes and I told him so many times that I can't stand it and it’s very bad for him.
Abdullah Abdur Rahman

First, we cannot imagine how difficult it must have been for you to lose your child and then your mother-in-law. May Allah Most High make it easy for you and grant you comfort and solace. You have been and are being tested by Allah and we make du`aa’ that in sha’ Allah you will continue to persevere. You are angry and you have a right to be, but we urge you to be patient in sha’ Allah and make du`aa’ to Allah to help you through these times.

Second, this challenge you are facing in dealing with your husband will take some time to resolve, and you should pace yourself so that you do not become impatient and resort to some drastic action. Your husband did his best to stop smoking as you said, and he has suffered a setback and has started smoking again. There could be a number of reasons why he suffered this setback, and your goal should be to identify and explore those reasons much more than just focusing on getting him to stop smoking. What you do not want to do is to give him an ultimatum such that in haste he does or says something irrational which both of you will regret. In addition, try not to encourage the behavior whereby he smokes behind your back, because such an atmosphere is unhealthy and is not conducive to increasing trust between spouses. You do not have to say to him that he can smoke in front of you, but you should not also make it difficult for him to do so.

Third, encourage him as much as possible to seek counseling, because it is possible that he needs help to process some of the intense grief he is feeling from the loss of your child and the loss of his mother, whom as you mentioned, he had not seen for twelve years. People resort to smoking sometimes as an escape from their reality more than just for the sake of enjoyment—although some do smoke as a pastime. You need to help your husband understand that he does not have to deal with all the stress and the grief by himself. You are there for him. And if necessary, he can also see a counselor. If you can be patient and be supportive of him during these tough times, we believe you will find him much more amenable to stop smoking on his own. The more you make ultimatums about what you will do if he does not stop smoking, the more he will react with threats to leave you. Focus on what is important right now and that is that you want to help him through these difficult times in sha’ Allah.

Finally, we urge you also to seek counseling to help you process the feelings of grief of having lost your child. In sha’ Allah, together you and your husband will bounce back and move forward with great strength and resolve. Make du`aa’ to Allah to help you and your husband get through these difficult times.

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And Allah knows best.