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Why Remain Married to His First Wife?



Reply Date

Jul 13, 2017


My husband is still married to his first wife, but they have not been living together for a long time. He is just keeping the marriage for the sake of the kids. He believes that he pleases Allah more if he does not divorce her. (She is 46 years old.) He is willing to support her even if he would divorce her. However, he is thinking of his children's feelings. Is his reason a valid one for keeping the marriage? Or should he divorce her since they are not living together and love is not present anymore?



Why Remain Married to His First Wife?


As-Salamu ‘Alaykum,

In Islam, there is nothing wrong with the current situation, and his reason is completely valid, compassionate, and responsible. However, on a personal level, the answer to this question depends on the answers to a few additional questions:

1. Is the first wife happy with this situation or does she wish to be given her “freedom”?

2. Is your husband happy with this situation and feel it is the best thing for the family?

3. Is this first union causing great harm to your marriage with him?

There is nothing inherently wrong with someone remaining married without “love”. In fact, the way we define love is usually very narrow. Many people define “love” as that wonderful feeling of passion and adoration that happens when you first meet someone and “fall in love”, or that feeling you have for someone you want to often be with; a feeling that leads to a physical desire for them.

However, love can take many forms. Of the many couples I have known, I don’t think I have ever seen one pair have the same kind of love as the other. Some couples remain married into old age but continue more as friends than as lovers. Some even lead almost separate lives, but there is a feeling of mutual respect and comfort they enjoy by staying together. Other couples grow to feel more like they are siblings than husband and wife, and feel very protective of each other, but no longer feel passion. Some couples feel love for the other one as a confidant and a best friend.

Some feelings that keep couples together cannot even be defined as love. Some of the reasons couples stay together may be out of mutual respect of their history together and the deep connection they feel through that, or out of compassion for another who needs their company, or many other reasons. If you survey the couples you know, you will find that most of them are not together simply because of “love”. There are other qualities that are noble in relationships beyond love, and there are other kinds of love.

There isn’t any problem with him remaining married to his first wife without “love”, as you define it. However, it sounds like the situation may be upsetting to you in some way, therefore, you may want to explore in yourself if there are other reasons why this situation upsets you.



Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.



About Dr. Karima Burns

Dr. Karima Burns has been counseling as a Home-path for over 9 years. From the U.S. she is a doctor in Naturopathy, a Master Herbalist, and teaches with inspiration from the Waldorf school. She uses art, health and education to heal others.

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