“I hope you don’t plan on doing something like that,” I said.
His smile faded. “Doing something like what?”
“Marrying another wife.”
He was quiet for some time. “Of course not.”
“Good.” I folded my arms across my chest. “Anyway, I read that I can put a no-polygamy clause in my contract.”
He nodded slowly. “I read that too.”
“I hope you know I’m putting it in there.”
We didn’t speak for some time.
“What if I don’t want to sign it?” he said.
I shrugged. “It doesn’t matter to me. I just won’t marry you.”
“You would turn down a good brother for something like that?”
“If he’s a good brother, he wouldn’t mind signing it.”
“Now, that’s not true.”
I shrugged again. “Whatever. It’s what I think.”
“Some brothers I know think it’s haraam [forbidden] to sign it,” he said. I could tell he was trying to use my religious sensitivities to make me back down from the no-polygamy clause.
“So?” I said.
“So I’m not sure if it’s okay.”
“Honestly, I don’t care what you think,” I said. “All I know is that whoever I marry is going to sign that. Otherwise, we won’t be getting married.”
“And if no one signs it?”
“I just won’t get married. It doesn’t matter to me.”
There was an awkward silence.
“You’re really serious, huh?” he said, looking at me with concern, but I wouldn’t meet his gaze.
“Does it really mean that much to you?”
I looked at him. “Would you want your wife with someone else?”
“But that’s different—”
“How is it different?”
“Polygamy is halaal [permissible].”
“I didn’t say adultery. I said someone else. She could divorce you and marry your friend,” I said. “That’s halaal. But would you like it?”
His eyebrows rose as he thought about what I said. “No, I wouldn’t.”
“Then why are you surprised when I feel the same way?”
“But it’s in the Qur’an. That means it’s not the same for you. Obviously, women can handle it.”
“Just because it’s in the Qur’an doesn’t mean everyone should do it.”
“Then who should?”
“Honestly, I don’t care. I just know it’s not me.”
“But how do you know?”
At that I grew impatient. “How do you know you can handle another woman?” Before he could answer, I went on. “You don’t. So why do it? Or, better yet, why not just be patient and see how you can handle just one?”
He shrugged. “You have a point.”
“I know I do. And you don’t.”
A grin formed on his face and he shook his head. “Okay, you win.”
Because I didn’t know what to say and was too upset to smile with him (though I did feel the urge to laugh at myself), I got up. “I should get home,” I said. “I told my mother I’m going for a walk. I don’t want her to think I’m kidnapped or something.”
“Or to know the truth.”
Unwilling to display amusement, I nodded. “As-salaamu’alaikum,” I said, giving him the standard Muslim greeting of peace in an effort to end the conversation. I didn’t wait for his reply.
Later in my room, I reflected on what I’d said and wondered if it was the full truth. I certainly was not willing to live in polygamy, but I doubted I’d turn down the opportunity to marry someone I really cared about just because he didn’t sign the no-polygamy contract.
Still, I refused to get married without the clause in there.
Realities of Submitting to Marriage
In the above excerpt from my novel Realities of Submission, the narrator Renee is discussing marriage with a man who is interested in marrying her, and like many women, she does not want to deal with the possibility of her husband taking another wife. In order to ensure that this does not happen, she is stipulating a no-polygamy clause in her contract.
However, will this stipulation protect her from the endless “unknowns” that are inevitable after agreeing to marriage?
Frustration After Marriage
“I dropped out of school and gave up my career for him. I even abandoned my dreams and became a stay-at-home mom. Now he wants to tell me how to dress and practice my faith! I feel like a sex slave with no rights except picking nice meals and pretty clothes. I can’t take this anymore.”
Many women gush at the thought of finding the “perfect man,” and often this sense of excitement continues after marriage for women (and men). However, after years of living together, it is not uncommon for men and women to face difficulties and trials.
The man and woman knew that marriage would mean sacrifice, but in the beginning stages, it’s impossible to know exactly what that means.
For women who marry while they are completing their studies or before they obtain a university degree, marriage often means letting go of this educational pursuit, at least for a time. If they become pregnant after marriage, many women give up on their education and career altogether.Pages: 1 2