Sunday, March 20, 2011

Polygamy

It seems to be a big topic on Muslim blogs lately... I can't even believe how many Muslims are in a plural marriage! It's not just one or two bloggers who deal with this lifestyle, but MANY! I'm always very interested in reading about it. What they go through, how they deal with it, etc.


There seems to be a couple different styles going on.
1) unhappy about it/ finding it difficult to cope
2) dealing with it well, seeing the positive side, having a sense that it's an obligation for them to make the best of it, so they do (because they have to - this part is more obvious in some, less obvious in others)
3) actually fine with it - this is what they would have chosen

I find myself feeling just sad for those living in category 1. I know I would feel that way myself. I would not be able to accept polygamy into my life and I'm not ashamed and I don't feel I have anything to apologize for. Me and my husband talked about it at the beginning of the marriage and even though it's not written and signed on, it was a verbal agreement that there would never be a second wife. And even if we hadn't talked about it (out of ignorance of this even existing), I would still not accept being part of a plural marriage in any part of my future. All to say, I understand how these women feel who are in this situation. Maybe they entered knowingly, maybe they were screwed over when their husband married behind their backs... It doesn't matter, I still feel a bit of their pain and suffering.

When it comes to category number 2, I find myself feeling a bit discouraged for them. I'm glad they are able to make the best out of their situation, but can't help but feel they are living in denial. How long can this go on? In a way, I hope they're able to keep it up forever and not come to the point when all their real feelings flood in and simply ruin them. Although this last part is needed before making a change that can become for the better. Only Allah knows what is best for them in their individual situations. There are more important things than a truly fulfilling marriage so if they are treated well at least and go their own thing in their day to day life, then I'm glad for them. Even if they might ideally want something else. I suppose no one is fully satisfied and happy in every aspect of life.

Category 3... SO RARE! I can only think of two and one of those is a Christian blogger living polygamy in a "big family" set-up with her 2 co-wives and all the children. She speaks of power in numbers for the women, where their opinions and votes are counted in making big decisions. I doubt most polygamous Muslim men would allow their wives to take part in important decisions. The other is Muslim and married to a Muslim and made the decision herself that she wanted her husband to be able to have a wife that could make him children because she was a bit older and unable.

These are the thoughts I have when reading certain blogs, but it's not my place to actually comment on these blogs in such direct ways. It's not my place to go to an unhappy women in a plural marriage and say "RUN! You deserve better!" even if that's what I'm thinking. It's not my place to comment a bunch of the stuff I wrote on here so I keep my comments constructive and helpful when I'm talking to someone, but somewhere these things have to come out!! With all the polygamy talk and my personal feelings on the subject, I had to say it. What better place than MY OWN BLOG!

Thoughts, anyone?

15 Comentários:

jana z. said...

i am group one as you probably well know from my own blog. i made this 1000% clear to my husband even before we married, it was always a huge concern and worry for me. we were going to include it in our marriage contract but a huge fight broke out at the minister of justice office and we (well i forgot, he probably didnt) forgot. i firmly believe to this day he has another wife in washington....anyway.

one thing we have in common, candice, is the fact that im not ashamed of feeling the way i do about polygamy.

though its halal, its my right to have a husband who has only one wife and he cant do that then i would and DID divorce.

something that irritates me...when you speak up for your right to NOT live this lifestyle, some women who are in these relationships just jump you. nearly beat you up. i think those are the category 2 ladies to be honest. the denial ones. they just dont want to admit theyre unhappy..ill probably get beaten up here for saying that but oh well, it wont be the first time

Candice said...

I always love your honesty! Thanks for your comment!

Nikki said...

I completely agree with everything you stated. I've seen firsthand the damage a second marriage has caused with my husband's parents. The children all seem to have less respect for their father now, as well. It happened years ago when he and his wife were having problems in their marriage. As a solution (what the?) his mother suggested he take a second wife.

I will never understand why a woman would make that suggestion...it doesn't take much sense to realize that taking a second wife will NOT smooth over marital issues with the first.

So, this second wife is jealous and believed to be involved in witchcraft/black magic, the children only see their father every other day, the first wife, who still loves her husband soooo so much, always has the nagging thought of her husband sleeping with another woman, legally, every other day, and now the relationship between the first wife and her in-laws (her mother in law in particular) is very strained (gee, I wonder why?).

There are sooo many cons and I cannot see one pro. Especially since he has 4 children with the first wife and none with the second. It's just ridiculous and it kills me because he is a very religious man (sheikh),and a very nice man, but I can't help but judge him for putting his family and wife through so much pain.

We do not have it written in a contract, but my husband knows in no uncertain terms that were he to take a second wife I would divorce him without a moments hesitation. I love him, but I am not going to live with a constant love/hate/resentment relationship and I am not going to have my son grow up in that type of household.

Candice said...

It really makes NO sense, does it?

I see Christians in polygamy and somehow it makes a lot more sense. It's not something I would personally accept to be part of, but these women normally live like a big family, together. And they seem to normally have input on the addition of a new wife. It feels less like cheating (which I find most Muslim polygamy does) because of being part of the relationship the other wife has with the husband. Part of the raising of the kids, etc.

Again, not something I would like, but for those who agree to all that, it seems like the most functional form of polygamy.

jana z. said...

alright, after reading nikki's comment, i have to say this...look at the disaster caused after his mother MEDDLED!!! please tell me what good another wife does a man unless it is for GREED. greed of the man. where is the lack of men, where is the war, where are the orphans, where where where...please tell me what again other than GREED creates that desire in a man to have more women? what is his motive? i keep hearing how some women will never find a husband, cant take care of themselves, their children grow up without a male figure...WTH? we cant take care of ourselves? the children end up having a part time dad anyway and WHY DO WE JUST HAVE TO HAVE A HUSBAND...and on top of it..take someone elses husband? yes he has the right, but let it be for SINCERE righteous reasons, not some bogus reason to cover his greed.

ok...venting done. but im still irritated. sorry if i step on toes, but those things i mention step on MY toes too

jana z. said...

oh god candice, lol, why did you write about polygamy? it just curdles my blood

Nikki said...

I totally agree with everything Jana's saying. It drives me absolutely mad. Especially the men overseas who take a second wife to basically keep them company while apart from the first. Well, what about the first wife sitting back home alone? Is she allowed a second husband? What about her "needs."

Makes me sick it does. I hate it even more when sex is used as a reason, like, if you don't keep your man satisfied he can go find someone who will, WHILE continuing to string you along. It just seems like legal adultery.

Mona Z said...

This is really a hot topic, I like you, know I could never live in a polygamous marriage. I don't care if it's halal or whatever, it feels like cheating. Just as the man has the right to marry, I have the right not to be in that marriage and divorce. It's as simple as that. Alhamdulillah I believe my husband isn't interested in polygamy but he knows how I feel.

I think it's really rare to find the wives who are happy in it. I understand that there are people who like the situation because it's like part time marriage and duties, but there's always going to be jealousy.

There's always the idea that women in polygamy are more pious or have loads of Iman and that may be true for some but really, it can sometimes be lack of self esteem or self worth. Thinking that they can't get a man to themselves if they are older and with kids. I'd rather be alone, quite frankly but I know that there are some who are struggling but feel it is what is best for them.

Candice said...

Jana: I have not seen one polygamous man who did not seem so be doing it for himself at least for some reasons. It's not helping anyone, it's just adding insecurities, hurt, anger to the marriage.

Nikki: UGH, those overseas men make me sick. And these "I have a high sex drive!" guys are just disgusting. Polygamy overall gives me a sick feeling.

Mona: It really really does always feel like the husband is legally cheating. No one can feel satisfied with their marriage for real if they are sharing their life with someone and getting only half of what they give back because he needs to split everything with another.

Self-esteem is definitely an issue, I agree.

I'm surprised no pro-polygamy people have put in their point of views... But I guess I don't attract them much with my blogging style, or they don't have much to counter on what has been said, or simply don't want drama by going against some pretty passionate commenters.

I still welcome alternative opinions.

jana z. said...

please explain to me why women say im doing it because Allah wants me to and its a sacrifice for the marriage and it will mean blessings for me, etc etc etc...i mean, where does it say we have to be miserable our entire married lives so that a man can be happy. can we find blessings another wife, say ohhhh working in an orphanage?

Candice said...

I've had that type advise me and I didn't appreciate it at all. Especially when it was not just advice but it went into judgement when I made my own decision and it was not what they would have done.

This wasn't about polygamy, but other marriage-related issues. Why did I need to suffer in my marriage and tolerate it? Why was this presented as my OBLIGATION?! I am no longer friends with this person. I felt like I was constantly being judged for making my own decisions and putting some importance to my own happiness and satisfaction.

Helene said...

As far as I can tell, many of the women in category 2 see it as a permission given by Allah, for a specific reason. The primary religious purpose for women, is to overcome self centered non-God fearing emotions, like jealousy. The primary purpose for men, is to do what Allah gave them permission to do.

However, after giving a religious explanation, many of these same people go on to give a sociological justification, most of which is transparently weak.

Very few of these women, in category 2, acknowledge that historically, people in power are given more access to sex to those that are disenfranchised. To the extent that they do, they assign responsibility to the women.

I have rarely read a Muslim woman, who supports polygamy, assert that men have the same responsibility to overcome the same base emotions and desires in the way women are expected to. They simply don't see the world that way.

These pro-polygamy blogs are dominated by western reverts.

Candice said...

Thank you for commenting, Helene. I agree with your ideas. I've noticed that the women in polygamous relationships are mostly converts, mostly believe that women have the responsability to keep themselves sexually pure (and as a consequence, the men they are chosing not to sleep with - so all of society really), and generally try to see the "good" of their situation in seeing it as a way to separate themselves from earthly problems, etc. I don't know why none of this applies to the men!

jana z. said...

i want to add again, as ive done a million times i think, that im not against others who choose to do this...but just dont try to tell me that im wrong for not choosing it. i know its halal and its great for the ones who are TRULY happy.

how many blogs ive read where they said they are happy and accepted it yet their entire blog is about how disgusting the other wife(s)are, how he is taking one of her days and giving it that other one,. etc etc etc. doesnt sound too rosey to me...just sayin

Helene said...

I've noticed, by reading these blogs, that co-wives are reduced to a high school mentality, in their relationship with their common husband, and with each other.

But, isn't that the point? To present a condition of permanent childhood as a goal for women?

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