Why is it so hard to accept polygamy? Why is it so excruciating to share my husband? When will I be able to feel OK about my husband having another wife?
One reply to these sorts of questions I came across really struck me: you first have to accept you don’t own your husband.
‘But of course I don’t own him!’
Well, we ideally don’t want to admit this, but there is often a sense of ownership there – ‘He’s my husband’, ‘He’s my other half’. ‘He’d never take a second wife, he wouldn’t dare!’
When we feel we own something, we have power over what happens to it. But no one owns anyone – Islam promotes abolishing slavery – and we are only owned by Allah (SWT), we are His slaves.
Our husband is not our possession, our children are not even so; they are a trust to take care of from Allah
What we do possess is a relationship between us and our husband – and no one can take that away, bithnillah, even another wife entering the family. What may spoil this relationship is the resentment a husband might possess from feeling owned.
It’s understandable to feel threatened by another wife, by the imaginings of what your husband thinks of you because of his polygamous desires, but if he makes the effort to show you he still loves you as much as before, that your relationship has not changed. He deserves to be respected and not treated in a controlling way that pushes him away.
‘If you marry another wife, I’m leaving,’ or ‘If you want polygamy, I want a divorce.’ These threats will be seen as controlling and manipulative, and if there is no other valid reason to end the relationship, they are best avoided.
When we recognize that only Allah (SWT) has the power to allow your husband to get into polygamy and whatever we say or do will not change the outcome, there can be a sense of peace, especially for those whose husband seems to be pursuing a subsequent wife on a regular basis. Of course, we can communicate our feelings and hurt about the situation – maybe there is something a husband can say or do to ease the pain.
When we relinquish ownership of our husband, we also gain the freedom ourselves to accept polygamy. We then realize our husband chooses to come back to us, not because he is chained in a relationship, but because he wants to and he wants you.
I know being in this situation is hard, and can feel painful to your core – you just want it to go away. I hope some of the perspectives I am writing about ease that pain a tiny bit.
This article was first published at Polygamyunpicked.