http://ummadam.wordpress.com/2007/12/21/polygyny-inconsiderate-proposals/#comment-3933

 Women throwing themselves at a sista’s husband.  Why?  Well, they figure since he’s white he can do better.  They’re going to give him the chance to dump his black wife and their children together so he can get with a woman with less melanin.

UmmAdam is more patient than I. Masha’allah.

A message to all the women trying her:  have some taqwa. (I’m going to keep my less pious comments to myself.)

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Women, What Would You Do?

October 11, 2007

infidelityYeah, I’m gonna talk about polygyny again.  Today it’s about what would YOU do if your husband went behind your back and married someone else. This article has some tips and ideas which may help some:  http://bigfaith.wordpress.com/category/coping-with-polygyny/ in sum, remain calm and hold fast to your faith. 

I was discussing the topic with my husband, saying that some people thought this sort of behavior was not necessarily grounds for divorce.  He disagreed, as did I. 

Here is my reasoning:  marriage is a big decision.  The decision to enter into a polygynous arrangement is even more so, because there is an existing marriage and possibly children at stake.  IMHO, for your husband to make such a huge decision about something that affects you so profoundly, without discussing it with you at all, is indefensible. (Assuming you are not in a coma, mentally retarded, etc.)  Like I said to my dh, if he can do that, what else does he feel entitled to make decisions about without consulting the wife? “By the way honey, our daughter is going to boarding school in Bulgaria, I put her on the plane this morning”?  “We’re moving across the country next week.  Rent a truck and pack up the house”?

There is supposed to be some level of trust, security in a marriage.  I don’t see how you can have either with a man who will marry again behind your back.

scarlett.jpgThis post is inspired by my instant and visceral reaction to this post: http://bigfaith.wordpress.com/2007/04/17/second-wives-have-emotions-too/ about the feelings and struggles of second wives.  

My reaction was colored of course, by the fact that I am a first (and only) wife.  Reading the post and the comments I really could not wring out more than a thimble full of sympathy.  As I continued to think about it I realized that this emotion is not directed at second wives generally, but only at the ones who enter into secret marriages.  From where I sit, they acted selfishly–much like Ms. O’Hara– and then expect those around them to give a hoo when reality bites them in the rear.

But ill-tempered blustering is a waste of time.  It is also a not-so-favorable thing to have on my permanent record.  So let me turn this into something useful, insha’allah with a few thoughts.  First off, Peaceful Muslimah has a great post on her blog:  http://peacefulmuslimah.blogspot.com/2007/01/psa-public-service-announcement-if-you.html  for those thinking of being wifey #2.

Let me add to her points with some musings of my own: 

-marriage has it’s own challenges, and a polygynous one just adds to that.

-if you think that polygyny is ideal for you for whatever reason (you don’t want a man around all the time, you prefer lots of alone time, whatever) that’s great.  Do yourself and everyone else a favor and find a man with a wife that shares your ideals

Insist on meeting your prospective co-wife, even if she lives in another state or clear across the world.  If this man can afford to support you and her (your right, remember) he should be able to pay for a plane ticket.  This way you have some idea what kind of family you are marrying into (and make no mistake, that is what you are doing) and no one can say that you snuck and got married behind her back.

-Discuss beforehand and have some guarantees regarding how you are going to handle married life, especially if you live in the U.S. or somewhere else that polygyny is prohibited by law.  For example, wife #1 and the kids are likely on his health insurance, and she is recognized by the state and society at large as his wife.  What is his plan for making sure that you and your kids have coverage?  Does he plan to keep taking #1 and those children to the annual company picnic, while you and your children stay home so he can pretend to his co-workers and boss that you don’t exist?  And are you ok with that?  In the event of a divorce, again wife #1 has standing with the court.  If the two of you get divorced he can walk away from you with legal obligations for squat (unless you have children).  Some would say that the fact that one wife having standing which the other is denied makes equality impossible, but allahualim.  Be VERY sure about his character.  You may want a sizeable mahr as well.

-Consider well the implications for your children.  Depending on where you live there will be ramifications inside as well as outside of the muslim community.  Does his mother have a close and loving relationship with wife #1 and how will she treat you?  Can she put aside her possible negative feelings about you and treat your children with as much love as the other grandchildren?  What about the rest of his family?  Are his sister’s and brother’s children going to treat your children well, or will they turn up their noses in solidarity with their original cousins whenever there is a conflict?  Are you and they going to be welcome at family reunions?  And if polygyny is frowned upon by the muslim community where you live, don’t think the whispers and stares won’t affect your children. 

Do your due diligence and proceed with caution, honesty, and respect, and most reasonable muslims (I like to think I am one) will not have a problem with you or your marriage.  If you don’t, then expect neither sympathy nor assistance. 

I just discovered a blog written by a muslima who is wife #1 in a polygynous marriage.

OK so I am not against polygyny on principle (obviously).

But when I read that her husband had taken a second wife without informing her I was FURIOUS. FURIOUS!  For crying out loud, how can you justify keeping something like that a secret from your wife for ANY length of time?  Anybody got an explanation? What could he have been thinking?

 If my husband did that to me (may Allah protect me from such a thing) I would be emotionally crushed but I would also be spitting nails.  If you are having sex with someone else I have a right to know damnit! How could a man do that and then his wife finds out after weeks or months? She has been sleeping with him all this time not even knowing that he has been exchanging bodily fluids with someone else, possibly exposing her to an itchy rash or something worse!  At the very least you’d think a sister would be entitled to a blood test from a possible additional wife before the wedding!  Damn!