Husband Wants a Second Wife Because I’m Infertile

18 January, 2017
Q I'm married to a very good man for 10 years now. We are not blessed with kids because I have some health issues. My husband loves me very much and he used to say that he is happy with our life and that kids are not a big issue for him. However, I know very well that he loves kids very much and he is very attached to his nieces and nephews. Recently, He started talking about the issue and he asked me if I'd leave him if he decided to get a second wife in order to have kids. I said it's his right but I can't stand the deep wound and pain I'm feeling since this discussion. I love him and can't imagine him with another woman, the mere thought drives me crazy. On the other hand, I can't imagine my life without him if I leave him and I think this would be selfish also. What shall I do? shall I leave him or stay in a polygamous marriage?

Answer

Answer:

As-Salamu ‘Alaikum dear sister,

This is understandably a very difficult scenario that you are facing. As humans, it’s in our nature to desire to have children. Women and couples who can’t have children or face difficulties in doing so face great pains being denied this opportunity.

You are now also facing the added pain of the potential that your husband might marry another wife in order to have children. Like you say, he has the right to do so, but at the same time, you know this will cause you great pain. Even though polygamy is acceptable in Islam under the right circumstances, many women do have a really hard time if their husband chooses to take another wife. So, the feelings you are having whilst thinking about this as an option are perfectly normal.

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If he does chose to go ahead with this, at least you are clear on his reasons why. It’s not because he loves you any less or values you any less, but because of his natural desire to have children. So, don’t be hard on yourself that you have done something wrong or that you are inadequate for him. If he has another wife, he still has the same obligations to take care of you and love you in the way he always has. He is obliged to treat you both equally. So, even though you might be sharing your time, he must still give you the same level of attention and affection. He clearly understands that it would be difficult for you and that is why he has respected you enough to ask you about it first and involve you rather than just going about it behind your back. Legally, he is not obliged to talk with you about marrying another woman, so I think you can take this as a positive sign that he loves and cares for you very much.

If you still feel like you could not cope with the situation, talk to him about it before he goes ahead with anything. Let him know how you feel about it. Perhaps, he doesn’t know how much it would hurt you, and if he knew, then maybe he would support you more through it. Perhaps, if you talk more intimately about the situation, you might come to an agreement together; that maybe he will only marry a spouse you feel you will get along with. This is the best situation maybe which will have a role in supporting and raising a child with another wife.

Marriage comes with plenty of challenges, each unique to each marriage. This is yours. To this point, you have probably both made sacrifices for each other, some of which will have been very difficult. Understand that having children is very important to him and perhaps the only way he can achieve this in a halal way is to take another wife.

If he should choose to go through with it, and you chose to stay and try to make it work, there are plenty of support groups available online for sisters in your same situation that will be able to support and help you through such a difficult time. Sisters who have been through it will have useful tips on managing the situation effectively because there can be many benefits to being in the situation that you might not see right now as you anticipate pain.

If you genuinely feel like you could not manage and chose to leave him, then ensure that you have the support of your family and friends during such a difficult time and take care of yourself as divorce is also be another painful option.

It’s a very important decision to make and one you need to think long and hard about. Weigh up the potential consequences of staying in a polygamous marriage and those of leaving him. Talk with him about it and what you are going through; let it be something that you work through together as husband and wife that you can support each other. Be open about your feelings and he with his in order to make the best choice. Maybe he will not go ahead with it at all if he is aware how much it will hurt you to do so, but he won’t know this is until you don’t talk to him. If he chooses to take another wife, pray istikhara about your next step and let Allah (swt) guide you to the choice that is best for you.

May Allah (swt) bring you ease during this difficult time and guide you to make the best decision that will be pleasing to Him and most beneficial to you in this life and the next.

Salam,

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About Hannah Morris
Hannah Morris is a mum of 4 and she currently works as Counsellor and Instructor of BSc. Psychology at the Islamic Online University (IOU). She obtained her MA degree in Psychology and has over 10 years of experience working in health and social care settings in the UK, USA, and Ireland. Check out her personal Facebook page, ActiveMindCare, that promotes psychological well-being in the Ummah. (www.facebook.com/activemindcare)