Home / Spiritual / Islam / The Family in Islam

The Family in Islam

What not to do when your husband brings home a second wife!

Most women, even the ones who had been married for years take the news of their husband’s intention or attempts to take a second wife badly. Often times the news that their man who had been ‘theirs’ alone would suddenly have to be shared, is something that is taken as a betrayal of sorts, a sign of their incompetence as wives and a show of ingratitude for the years of caring for him and his children and the many sacrifices that she had made to keep her home and family happy. One interesting side to this also is the fact that, not even a woman whose neglectful husband, ill-treats and sometimes even threatens her life and limbs wants to share her ‘marital bliss’.

The news is received in different ways. Some are so traumatized by the fact that, their husbands would even consider the idea that, it begins to affect their psyche. They go from denial, to disbelief, to depression due to a severe blow to their self esteem and sometimes even become psychologically unbalanced. Many others are angered and they express their fury in many ways, which could be on the man, or the woman coming in or both.

Some others, a small percentage of women; receive the news indifferently, sometimes even joyfully either due to cultural or religious conditioning that had prepared them for the eventuality or certainty of a mate or more.

The point is, as Muslim women, we know that Allaah has permitted the man to take as many as four wives, as long as he is able to meet certain conditions as set by Allaah, it is as simple as that. It is the prayer of any sincere Muslim woman to be able to hear and to obey, hence in this case also, we hear and we pray to obey.

But is it really that simple? For some people, the issue of polygamy goes beyond sharing their men with another; of jealousy. For them polygamy is an echo of their past that continues to reverberate over the years, tormenting them with haunting memories and scars that are still as fresh as the day were put there. Naturally the very thought that history was knocking on the door once again, this time in their homes would be enough to do unimaginable things to stop it from happening!

So! When it happens, what do you do? You’ve probably been receiving all sorts of counsel; good and bad on that, since your husband made his intentions known.

Here some things you should not do when he says its time for you to move over!

Don’t shoot your Eemaan and good deeds to pieces by going over and over again on all the things you’d done for him. If you had your intentions right in the first place, then you would know that whatever you did for him, was in reality for yourself. You gave because you wanted the Pleasure of Allaah through the pleasure of your husband. You also want your children to have the best of both worlds, so if Allaah blessed you with such abilities, would you have done otherwise given the present circumstances? So what you did all those years, was to save in the Bank of good deeds, so don’t spoil it now, wait to cash it on the Day that you’d need it most.

Don’t lose your dignity as a person, a beautiful individual who is unique in her own way. You don’t need to throw temper tantrums, threaten, get violent either with the woman coming in, or your husband; beg or make scenes to let everybody know what is happening in your home. Why visit mallams for love or hate magic portions as the case maybe or become a private investigator in your own home, sneaking in on phone calls, hiding his car keys when you suspect he is going to see the other woman, or almost kill yourself trying to lose several pounds of residues of child bearing in an attempt to be more beautiful than the ‘someteen’ year old girl that’s coming in?

You are who are and your honor means a lot. Besides, your happiness does not depend on another person, do you stop functioning as a person because your husband wants to take a second wife? Of course you don’t have to pretend to like the idea but let’s face it, it is really not the end of the world, you know! Get up and go on, if that’s what he wants, then start being more practical and face the more important issues; like sharing of the resources.

Don’t pack out of the house! Why should you leave all that you have laboured for and all that you love, in this case the children, because of another woman? Don’t you think its just a little bit selfish? Would your children understand and forgive you in years to come you left them because ‘you didn’t like the idea that their father took a second wife?’ You are alive and you want another person to be the mother of your children? It is not worth it!

Don’t see the other woman as a villain! Some women would really rather not marry a married man, if they had a choice; nobody likes ‘leftovers’! So rather than making yourself out as some unbearable individual, establish your nobility and command respect with your dignity. You don’t have to become all chummy and everything, but you can be cordial and accommodating. Who knows maybe friendship might come in time.Hey! I said “who knows’! Keep your Hijab on!

Don’t mother him! Don’t pick for him, unless he is an invalid and the doctor says he has to get a second wife urgently or die! You never know with the kinds of ailments out there these days! Seriously though, It is not your obligation to provide for the new wife. He says he has the need to take a second wife, then let him do the marrying, not you!

Finally, understand that trials comes in different ways, if it doesn’t come through a second wife, it will come in some other way. What is important is you pray for strength, to know that it is Allaah that permits a man to take a second wife, whether the man does it genuinely or not by your perception is another matter entirely; for understanding, and ability to accept and make the best out of it; for instance, it could be the wake up call you need to have a successful life both in this world and the Hereafter. May Allaah ease our pain and burden, grant us succor, bring tranquility into our hearts and grant us expiation through our trials, Amin.