In this counseling answer:
• If your husband is seeking another marriage, it is appropriate for him to discuss this matter and be transparent as his decision will affect your family.
• If you do not accept this practice for your own personal reasons, you will need to make a decision as to whether divorcing him is best for you and in harmony with your understanding of Islamic values.
• I encourage you to have an open discussion about it with him. Both of you need to understand the reasons and implications of such a decision and be honest in evaluating the pros and cons of such a family.
As-Salaam ’Alaikum sister,
The topic of polygamy is a broad discussion that varies based on context and situation. In Arabia, it is legally accepted, thus more likely for men to engage in this practice. However, there are different opinions about this and I would encourage you to research this topic to become more informed. I will do my best to give you balanced advice.
It is totally understandable that you feel hurt by your husband’s interest in marrying another woman, especially since you two have a beautiful family life, as you described. It is natural that when we are in love, attached, and bonded with another we feel vulnerable and let down if we are perceived as secondary. While it is difficult to understand, sometimes a man does not love his wife less when he marries another woman, nor does it mean the first is inadequate. Rather, for some men, it increases their sense of masculinity, vitality, and purpose. Perhaps this has to do with the fact that two wives (and families) are more challenging and increase motivation to succeed and prosper. God (swt) knows best.
The reality is that every individual is responsible for the choices they make and with that responsibility comes acceptance of the consequences. If your husband is seeking another marriage, it is appropriate for him to discuss this matter and be transparent as his decision will affect your family. If he is honest with himself, he should discuss the impact of such a decision with you. Those that marry behind their wives’ back are not in harmony with Islamic spiritual value, in my opinion, as part of being a good Muslim is to be trustworthy and sincere to God (swt) and those they care about.
If you do not accept this practice for your own personal reasons, you will need to make a decision as to whether divorcing him is best for you and in harmony with your understanding of Islamic values. He must also decide if he wants to bear the consequences of marrying another woman and potentially losing you and diminishing his presence with his current family.
It is important to also consider the fact that men who seek second marriages can do so according to Islamic law. However, the reasons that each man has for this practice varies and affects the outcome of this experience. Some men marry other women to escape from their first marriage because they do not have the patience to improve it. Others are seeking a second marriage to increase their reward to support other sisters in need. Others do it as a way to hurt their first wives or merely for legitimate sexual relations. Ultimately, men and women will need to hold themselves accountable before God (swt) for their decisions and have good intentions.
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You need to ask yourself what kind of man your husband is and if you believe he is sound in his judgment. If he is good to you and your children, as a mother of five, you must also consider the damage which divorcing him would cause. Women are not expected to “like” when their husband marries another; yet, that is not necessarily the only valid reason why men should not do it. If you feel that seeking a divorce for his interest or decision to marry another woman is sound, then you can do that as long as you understand the practical and potential consequences in this life and the next. The same advice applies to him.
In conclusion, you are not wrong to feel upset or worry about his interest. This does not make you a bad person or a Muslim woman. It simply means you are human. Humans have attachments and their relationships are rooted in commitment and trust, so it is understandable that you question these pillars with his interest in a second wife. Yet, it is not always a case of dread or betrayal.
I encourage you to have an open discussion about it with him. Both of you need to understand the reasons and implications of such a decision and be honest in evaluating the pros and cons of such a family. There are cases where sister wives work well together and bring more blessings to the family. In other cases, it does not work well and the harm outweighs the benefit.
May God (swt) give you both sincerity and wisdom in this matter and make your decisions aligned with Islamic principles.
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.