Lately, I have been too worried if the man my parents chose for me already have a secret wife or what if after marriage he marries again a woman of his choice since polygamy is legal where I live. I am suffering from sleepless nights and a lot of trauma since I have seen how polygamy has destroyed the lives of women around me. My parents tried to counsel me in this topic and assure me that they will do good research on the man they will suggest me, but still, I fear what if he marries again after marrying me.
I also read somewhere that it is not right for the wife to seek a divorce from husband if he marries another woman since it is allowed. My parents also tried to convince me that I should not get stressed about it since nothing bad has happened yet, but I afraid that due to my insecurity I may destroy my life with my own hands. Due to this, I have been warding off the suitors since I have made up my mind to remain single forever. This upsets my parents.
I don't know what to do as I cannot under any circumstance share a husband and prefer to stay single instead. It is causing a lot of tension between me and my parents. Please help.
In this counseling answer:
• Islam allows the man to have more than one wife if only the man keeps a balance between the two or more wives and keep them equally well. This is a huge challenge many men, unfortunately, disregard when they think of marrying a second wife.
• Look at the situation from an aerial view and try to understand how this particular fear is going to impact your present and future. Don’t fall into the trap of self-fulfilling prophecy.
• It is important to differentiate between healthy fear and irrational fear. Irrational fear is when the fear starts affecting your life and relationships.
• Do not make a decision about marriage until you make sure that you trust the person.
• Be aware that you have complete right to separate from your husband if you are unhappy in your marriage because of any reason at all.
• Keep a strong relationship with Allah and make du’aa’ to Him that He grants you a suitable husband.
As-Salamu Alaikum Sister,
In your post, you have shared your fear and worry that your future husband may already have a secret wife, or may marry again.
You have mentioned that you have seen a lot of families getting destroyed because the men choose to marry again. From your post, it is apparent that you are quite agitated and stressed.
Sister, yes, Allah has allowed men to marry more than one wives in Islam. However, Allah has also prescribed them to treat all their wives equally and justly. If they fail to do so – they will be answerable to Allah.
In the Quran Allah says,
“…then marry from among [other] women such as are lawful to you – [even] two, or three, or four: but if you have reason to fear that you might not be able to treat them with equal fairness, then [only] one – or [from among] those whom you rightfully posses. This will make it more likely that you will not deviate from the right course.” (4:3).
And in another place He says,
“And it will not be within your power to treat your wives with equal fairness, however much you may desire it; and so, do not allow yourselves to incline towards one to the exclusion of the other, leaving her in a state, as it were, of having and not having a husband. But if you put things to rights and are conscious of Him-behold, God is indeed much-forgiving, a dispenser of grace” (4:129).
Therefore, Islam allows the man to have more than one wives if only the man keeps a balance between the two or more wives and keep them equally well. This is a huge challenge many men, unfortunately, disregard when they think of marrying a second wife.
You have mentioned that your fear about your future husband having more than one wife. This prevents you from thinking about marriage. I am wondering if you had seen someone very close to you affected in such a way and that you have internalized the fear and trauma.
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I can absolutely understand and relate to your fear. In some ways, every woman has the fear that her husband will marry someone else.
However, it is important to differentiate between healthy fear and irrational fear. Irrational fear is when the fear starts affecting your life and relationships.
While you are right about many men having second marriages or secret wives, you also dismiss the fact that lots of men chose to have only one wife.
Here are a few tips to help you come out of your fear and take a different perspective on marriage.
Try Not to Dwell On the Negative
Sometimes we develop irrational fears regarding things. This usually happens when we are exposed to negative events in our life or in the lives of someone very close to us.
While I absolutely do not dismiss your feelings or say that your fear is unreasonable, it is also important to realize that your fear is not healthy.
Therefore, look at the situation from an aerial view and try to understand how this particular fear is going to impact your present and future.
Understand That We Have No Control Over Our Fate
Sister, understand that as human beings we do not have any control over our fate. Whether you get married to a person who is loyal, or a person who cheats, or a person who does other un-Islamic acts is beyond your control.
Similarly, you cannot say if the person you will marry would be interested in polygamy.
The future unfolds with time, and sometimes, you just have to accept that you are powerless. The One who is all Powerful is Allah, who knows all our fears and weaknesses.
In the Quran Allah says,
“Allah does not burden a soul beyond that it can bear…” (2:286).
Just have trust that Allah will not test you more than you can bear.
Take Your Time to Select An Appropriate Spouse Who You Can Trust
It is your right to ensure that the person you intend to marry is honest, religious, loyal and trustworthy. Do not make a decision about marriage until you made sure that you trust the person.
I strongly suggest that you and your future spouse seek pre-marital counseling before getting married. This article tells you why you need pre-marital counseling for a successful and happy marriage.
Be aware that you have complete right to separate from the marriage if you are unhappy in your marriage because of any reason at all.
It is also important to understand that the lack of trust between spouses literally eats away the relationship. So, it is vital that you are aware that if you continue to have this fear after marriage it may affect your relationship. It may even send your husband looking for another wife!
This is because if you would not trust him, it will show in your behavior (such as asking nagging questions if he gets back home late or goes away on business trips etc.)
Such lack of trust can be detrimental in relationships and can make a man “block” you out or look for comfort outside the relationship. Hence, then the fear may turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy – as you also mentioned.
Ask Allah for Guidance
When selecting a spouse, do an Istikhara and ask Allah for guidance. Allah is All Hearing and All Merciful. He knows what is best for us, and does not test us more than we can bear. Supplicate whatever your heart desires and InshaAllah, Allah will give it to you.
May Allah guide you and make things easy for you.
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