As Salamu ‘Alaykum sister,
Thank you for writing to us with your very important concerns. I am sorry to hear of your issues with your marriage concerning your husband wanting a second wife. It must be confusing to you as he stated he was happy with you and that you are “exactly” what he wants. There may be other factors as to why he would like to take a second wife that do not have to do with you directly. You said that you have „an amazing relationship based on love and trust”. Therefore, his wanting another wife sister has nothing to do with you or your relationship directly, nor with you being unsuccessful, or unattractive, nor lacking in wifely appeal. I am sure you are a wonderful wife to him, attractive, intelligent and pious.
You stated you have been married for 8 years and have no children. Perhaps he does desire to have children? You did not mention why you do not have children. I am not sure if it is because you both decided to put it off until you are both finished with career preparation, or more settled financially as some couples tend to do; or if it is a medical issue on his part or yours. Whatever the case is, perhaps sister you need to discuss this with him in more detail. I suggest this as you stated you asked him ‘ Are you missing anything and he said no everything was good with our relationship? He said it was something he wanted.” This could possibly indicate he wants a child and for whatever reason, there are no children yet.
I would suggest in sha’ Allah that you sit down with your husband when things are calm and ask him if he desires a second wife to produce children. If you were against having children and he desires children, you may want to reconsider your position on having children. If it is the case that you have been trying to conceive but have not in 8 years and have not sought medical advice, I would suggest that you both see a fertility specialist to see if there is a medical reason as to why you have not become pregnant yet. Please remember dear sister, it could be a medical issue on his part, or yours.
Once you find out his position on having children, in sha’ Allah you can either rule this out as the reason, or address it if it is the reason. At any rate, it is vital that good communication regarding his wanting a second wife occurs in order so that there is no confusion or misunderstandings. I would encourage you to keep an open mind, especially if he desires children and for whatever reason it is not possible for you both to have children together. The only exception would be if there is a medical reason on his part as to why he cannot produce children, and in that case, sadly no matter how many wives he takes, it will not fulfill that desire.
As you stated that he knew from the beginning that you wanted to be the only wife, I am not sure if you both agreed and signed a contract regarding this prior to your marriage, or as a part of your marriage contract. Regarding the wife wanting to be the only wife in a marriage, AboutIslam states that ‘It is also permissible for a woman to make this as a condition of marriage that her husband will not take another wife during his marriage to her. This pre-condition is permissible according to most jurists. If a husband accepts this pre-condition, then he has to abide by it. In case he fails, the wife has a right to seek divorce according to her contract of marriage”. Therefore, you do have the right to seek divorce sister, even if you do not have a stipulation in your contract (though a stipulation makes it clear to both parties). While I am not an Islamic Scholar, AboutIslam scholar states: “A woman may ask for divorce if she cannot tolerate her husband taking a second wife, especially when she was brought up in a monogamous milieu where the issues was not raised to her at the time of marriage. In Islam, one is bound by the terms of marriage contract; these terms are not necessarily written down; they can even include conditions that are tacitly agreed or assumed in a certain milieu or culture”.
In a marriage, there are many obligations and rights for both the wife and the husband. One of these obligations is to ensure your husband is cared for, feels loved, and that his emotional needs are protected and secured within the marriage. It is also your husband’s obligation to ensure you feel cared for, loved, and that your emotional needs are protected and secured within the marriage. If he is going to take a second wife, then you both need to decide which is more important: your marriage or him taking a second wife, because obviously this is causing you much emotional distress.
Sister, as a woman, I totally empathize with how you feel. I know this is a painful and distressing situation. While most women do not want to share their husbands (as our husbands would not want to share us!), it is an Islamic right, however there are extremely strict conditions which you both may wish to review in order to ensure he can adhere to Allah’s commands.
I have seen sisters in polygamous marriages wherein it worked out and was a blessing to them. They were close as sisters and did things together as a family as well as provided support to each other and the children. I have also seen cases where it caused much harm. While I will not state my stance on this, I will advise you sister to talk with your husband, make a list of your fears about his taking a second wife, and ask him to address these with you. Also, in sha’Allah, please do consider that you both love each other and have a good marriage. It would be sad for both of you to lose this blessing due to his wanting a second wife. Find out why, address your concerns and fears and make du’aa’ to Allah over this situation.
Lastly, I ask that you do not make any fast decisions dear sister. Think things through rationally, and take your time as this is a most important decision you may need to make.
You are in our prayers dear sister. Please let us know how things turn out.
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