Why you shouldn’t be a second wife,,,

There have been some comments in the newspapers here about the problem of social imbalance in Malaysian society – women are now dominating university entrance to a ratio of 60:40, and on graduation, find that men are reluctant to marry women who are better educated than they are, and who are earning more money. [Idiots – don’t they realise it is ALWAYS better to marry someone who is earning more money than you are??]

Unhappily, some Muslim women, desperate to marry, then fall to predatory men wanting a second wife. I personally find it puzzling why an intelligent, well-educated, prosperous, independent woman would think marriage necessarily an improvement on her situation, let alone a marriage where she was wife number two and wife number one was still in the picture…that is so insane, my jaw drops.

Anyway, because I know someone who is in this situation and contemplating such a marriage, here are some reasons why you shouldn’t be a second wife.

1. You will hurt someone. Terribly. No matter that wife number one has to give her permission for such a marrriage, she often feels she has no choice. Believe me, she will be hurt. Devastated, and so too her children. No matter how lovely a woman she is, she will hate you, and so will her children. Believe me, I’ve talked to enough number one wives to know this.

2. A man who will marry number two, will later want to marry number three. That’s the kind of man he is. Is that what you want?

3. You will never be happy. In fact, unless you are a very odd person indeed, your discontent is guaranteed. You will be sharing your man. When you want him around, he’ll be elsewhere. You are sick in the middle of the night? Too bad, he’s with wife number one. You will be thrown into a continual state of competition with another woman. Marriage is a partnership; you will have a threesome. He’s not a partner. He’s invited somewhere; he takes wife number one. If he does take you, you will be shunned by many (I’ve seen it happen). In fact, you will automatically be despised by a great many women the moment you take this step. Is that what you want?

4. A successful marriage is a constant state of negotiation. So many things can go wrong. You are adding to the number of potential flashpoints tenfold when you have a third person, and her family, to consider. You certainly won’t have a partnership. You may have a marriage, but a successful one? I doubt it. You will be married to a strutting peacock, proud of his harem – not the kind of man who negotiates his way through troublespots. Why should he? He can dump you and marry another. That’s the kind of man he is. Worse still, he can dump you and not bother with a divorce – and still marry another.

5. You are labouring under a misconception, right from the beginning. A woman does not need to be married to be fulfilled. If you are contemplating such a marriage, then you are marrying for ALL the wrong reasons, none of which should be yours.

You are buying into societal pressure that tries to kid you that you are somehow incomplete/ faulty/ strange/ incompetent, simply because you aren’t tied up to a man. Society tries to tell you there is something inherently wrong with going your own way without a man in your life.

That is totally absurd. Rejoice in your liberty – there are a stack of married Muslim women out there who will look at you with envious eyes. Sure, marriage has certain advantages, but so does not being married. I personally know many wonderful Malaysian Muslim women who have remained single, reached the top in their professions, been respected, travelled widely, been assets to the community; who have surrounded themselves with nieces and nephews to fulfil any maternal instincts, and who have ended up the much-love auntie who never lacks for company… There is a wonderful world out there, just waiting for you.

6. If you are a romantic, then consider this – Mr Right is still out there. He’s a gorgeous hunk who won’t care how much you earn or how many degrees you have. When you walk into the room, his eyes will light up. The idea of sharing his life with another woman won’t cross his mind. And he is not already married to someone else. You don’t want to be married to someone else when you meet him.

And if he doesn’t come along, well, by that time you will be having such a wonderful life, you won’t care.

You are a woman. You can do anything.

More about Imbak Valley tomorrow…


Why you shouldn’t be a second wife,,, — 9 Comments

  1. I totally agree with you! except for #5

    I also think that the pressure to get married in the eastern society is very very big.

    My reason for #5, let’s say the society said that you have to have a Mercedez bens to be happy. And to me that’s the most absurd thing. But, for some people it makes them happy. Although, I still think it’s shallow and totally mind boggling to even think…but it’s still a matter of one’s opinion.

    Well thats just my bit.

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  3. Glenda, Dina Zaman is calling for submissions for I am Muslim 2. I think this piece will fit in quite nicely in this collection. If you’re interested, check out her blog at :

    dina-zaman.blogspot.com (31/3 entry)

  4. Strange thing to be writing about in the middle of Imbak!! Such subversive writing will mean bloggers will have to be registered with the Government (major current news item in case you have no access to news). lol 🙂

    Seriously though, very good advice. Hope it is heeded. I visit your blog all the time and enjoy your photos and stories

  5. I just wanted to add what I think is a necessary caveat – Western polyamorists, people from other polygamous cultures, etc all would probably disagree with some of the statements here if taken out of context and applied to them. I certainly would. Marriage in other societies doesn’t work the same was as it does for Malaysian Muslims.

  6. Yes, you are doubtless right, Dave. I was really only talking about what I know – and one shouldn’t even extrapolate it to other Muslim societies. They are all different, and each is heavily influenced by their own local or tribal cultures. Often they will even say some custom is Islamic – but other Muslims from other countries will just scratch their heads and not know what they are talking about.

  7. Hi Glenda, all reasons worthy of consideration. For some women though, it’s a matter of economic necessity. Then there are others who are blinded by love. And of course, those who wish to marry into money. The issue is that it’s become socially acceptable, and the conditions that allow polygamy in religion are all but ignored.

  8. Absolutely, Eliza. Had I been writing a post entitled “Why a Man Shouldn’t Take More than one Wife” then I would have asked: why does he think he is such an angel that he can fulfil the stringent rules that should apply to such marriages? No man short of saint can be that good…

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