An interesting dialog is going on over at http://www.thefiks.org take a look and tell me what you think. Be sure to check out the comments section where the conversation continues….
Taken from a polygyny group that I’m on… with permission of the owner. A sister asked how to deal with negative feelings and emotions that come with polygyny… very interesting:
I wasn’t going to post to this thread because I usually just lurk happily in the background and the other sister’s answer was very thorough. However, I feel that there is an interesting factor that escapes most sister’s when they enter polygyny. The feelings that you are feeling come from Shaytan firstly and secondly from a pyschological phenomenon that all of us have and that’s the “fight or flight” response. This is briefly and technically described on wikipaedia here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fight-or-flight_response. What this means for us is that we feel threatened but we don’t have an enemy to fight or flee from. I can’t be upset with him because this is his right and I agreed to it and I cant fight or flee from here because basically what she is doing is natural and she is not at fault. So we have all of these emotions and feelings circulating that we can’t combat. Stress must be followed by some action to eleviate the stress. For some of us it is sharing our feelings on blogs or in journals. Other’s of us draw closer to our friends or family members. What I did, and it helped me tremendously, I started to court my husband again. I reinvented our relationship and made up in my mind that we were newly married, too. And in a way we were because I was seeing him definetly in a new light. So I spruced myself up, dressed sexy and made the house warm and welcoming for him. And I just enjoyed my husband. Because he remarried doesn’t mean that he doesn’t still love you and respect you and want to be with you. I looked forward to him coming home on my time. I would go to the hairdresser ( my sister-friend who does hair’s kitchen smile) and get my hair done. And I just did us. I didn’t worry about what he did when he left. He was at work. And I made sure that he had something to remember me by until he came back. Don’t be victimized by polygyny, use it as a reason to breath life into your relationship. Don’t flee, fight!!! Fight yourself, and negativity and shaytan. And continue to love your husband and enjoy your relationship.
I couldn’t have put it better myself.
I am discovering some interesting side-effects to the polygyny experience. I thought once the relationship ended, things just spring back to normal….not! So look out for these side-effects that might take you by surprise.
Relationship Changes: After a husband who has been married for many years enters into polygyny, that relationship is changed forever. Depending upon how your wife looked at you from the begining, it may make her see you in a whole new light. If you were idolized (and I don’t mean shirk people so calm down) she may not look at you so naively ever again. Polygyny highlights your faults and thinking of you as “not as great” as she thought you were may have been the means by which she coped with her hurt feelings.
New Love Awaits: Women who have been involved in a long term relationship may suddenly get the “If he can do it, I can, too” effect. This means that she now feels that she can enjoy a new relationship just like he is doing and may want a divorce even if his relationship in polygyny doesn’t work.
Bye-Bye Baby Blues- Both spouses may go through a semi-depression even if it wasn’t working out for either party. This depression doesn’t stem from lost love or un-returned sentiments. It comes from being on an emotional rollercoaster ride for whatever length of time the relationship lasted and just being physically and mentally (and emotionally) exhausted from the effort it took to try to make it all work out without losing your sanity. This depression can be expressed by either spouse by impatience, frequent arguments, moodiness and other nasty behaviour.
These side effects can be minimized or avoided altogether by men being very careful who they choose as wives, first and any subsequent wife for that matter. A woman who is grounded in her faith will understand the trials that she is going through are from Allah and try to be patient in her test. A woman who is selfish (nafsie) will take it out on her spouse and whoever else is in earshot.
Also, men have to rekindle the relationship with the first wife as well. I liked feeling like my relationship was just as new to me as it was for him and his new wife. My husband did extra special things for me during that time, which made me feel like a newlywed, too. He would take me out to dinner, buy me gifts and just tell me how much he appreciated me and loved me and thought I was sexy and beautiful. And our relationship did not fizzle in the bedroom, it sizzled (sorry for the bluntness) so this made the polygyny aspect not as hard to accept for me. There was no resentment or sense of loss or maltreatment. If a brother wants to have more than one he has to be able to physically and mentally support both relationships.
And a word to first wives: Don’t go feeling sad and down on yourself because your husband has taken another wife. Use that energy (and frustration) and channel it into fixing up your home, taking care of your looks and letting your husband know how great you really are. I never let a day go by that I didn’t look good for my husband. I would make sure the house was clean and smelling nice when came home and that the kids looked nice and were well behaved and gave him something to think about until he came back home on my day.
Polygyny is not the end …. It can be a great begining if the parties involved make it that way.
I have a question. Who says that just because my husband takes another wife, I have to change MY relationship with him. Why do I have to act like he doesn’t exist when he leaves my house? Why do I have to pretend that I am only married to him every other two days and alternate Saturday’s?
This is not what polygyny is about. He is my husband, too (and was for a long time before you came along). If I need him, I will call. I will laugh at his jokes, send him a plate of food and ask you if he is well, in case you answer the phone.
You, dear co-wife are an ADDITION to our humble family. You knew he had a wife and kids. My relationship with him doesn’t have to change, you have to establish whatever you and he will have together.
And that doesn’t mean that I disappear.
I’m fair. I am kind. I am generous. I am your sister-in-Islam.
And I am still his wife.
I am doing this.
I am commited to it.
I will see it through, Insha’allah.
1. It’s the right thing to do. All of the reasons I can think of not to do polygyny are selfish. (who will tread upon the path that is steep?) I want him to myself. I don’t want to open up my life to a stranger. I like things how they used to be. All selfish. But what about giving comfort and security to my sister? Something that Allah has blessed me with. As if to say, once i was hungry and Allah blessed me with food and now I don’t want to share my plate.
2. I want this for my husband. He is a man’s man. And he enjoys striving and being responsible. This has been such a wake up call for him. It has shaken him out of his comfort zone. And he wants to do this fisibilillah. Our situation is not about nafs (desires) but about the needs of others. I pray that Allah will accept his effort and give him Jannah because of it.
3. I love my huband and my family. I don’t want my weaknesses to be the destroyer of it all. I have always been a runner. I run away from anything that makes me feel uncomfortable. To run now, would mean I am basically a chump. Running from the proverbial kitchen because the heat is unbearable.
4. I want this for myself. I want to prove my salt. I am not better than the Mother’s of the Believers (wives of the Prophet) I want to be rewarded for doing the hard work as well. I draw closer to Allah through this. and the focus is no longer on the passion of my marriage (although that is stronger than ever) but more on attaining the pleasure of Allah by not allowing the shaitan to win.
5. I want this for her. She is a good, generous and kind sister. She has had to rely upon herself and Allah for a long time, while maintaining her Islam. She has so many good qualities. How far am I from being in her shoes? And who would help me if the shoe were on someone else’s foot.
I am resolved.
I pray for success.
I’m taking off my gloves and I’m not running away, insha’allah.
Make du’a for us.
Revelations keep on coming. It’s amazing, this process of living and learning. It’s been a month in Polygyny and it’s not just difficult for me. It’s difficult for everyone involved.
I love my husband when he is here and I hate him am confused when he leaves. I don’t want our relationship to change. I got offended the other day when he said I looked beautiful. I know that sounds crazy, but it’s the truth. This is not his pattern of behaviour. If I dress up and put on a little makeup he usually doesn’t notice. But this particular time, he looked at me with this intense, amazed look and was like “Subhana’allah, masha’allah, you are really beautiful.” WHAT?! Excuse me? Now you want to spread compliments? Now you want to appreciate me? His answer? “Don’t belittle the good I do. This situation makes you really appreciate what you have. I want to honor you and express what I should have expressed all the time, but that I possibly, like an idiot, took for granted before. Do you mind?” O.K.
“I feel like a yoyo,” he says. It’s hard work juggling the emotions of two women. My husband’s conviction is not to marry to divorce, he feels that what he is doing is necessary to his islamic growth as a man, handling the responsibilities of another wife and her children. Her kids love him, so know he has more than her feelings to think about if things sour. The honeymoon is over so now he has her insecurities (see below) to deal with. And of course, there’s me. We already discussed my feelings here.
Newsflash: The newness of the marriage wears off quickly and you are left realizing that you don’t know this person. You have nothing established, no real ties like children or history so there’s nothing to fall back on except the knowledge that Allah rewards and punishes. For a man, it’s difficult being in a new environment after you have established a well worked out system at home. And after going through all of your crap for years, it’s really hard to go through crap all over again with someone else. That’s a privilege that has to be earned.
“How do I compete with 10 plus years of marriage?” She feels intimidated by the fact that my husband and I know each other like a twin knows it’s sibling. She feels (in my opinion) that he expects her to basically be me in a different body. “Khair would never do something like that, she knows this and that about me, we normally do things like this..” She hates when i call him while he’s there. If he is late by minutes she assumes that I kept him away. She’s afraid to trust either of us and she swears we don’t understand what she is going through, cuz in the end we have each other to fall back on.
On a more positive note, I have taken off my running shoes (they are still sitting by the door, though) and have decided to roll up my sleeves, be a big girl and handle it. This could be such a beautiful thing if it could work. We cut down the days from 3 to 2 which feel better for me. I have free range to call him as much as I like. We make a pretty big tribe. The kids all love each other and she and I can relax enough to raise them as he is in charge of the bills. I still stand by everything I said before about Polygyny being a societal cure. Now, I’m putting my money where my mouth is.
Okay, I know that last post needs some explanation. I know everyone is like “What? Not the Polygyny champion! Able to leap 3 co-wives in a single bound.” “Not Miss Handle-Your-Business, Miss Real-Men-Have-Four Wives….” Blah, Blah, Blah…
Smart men have only one because us females are crazy.
Who in their right minds would want to take two PMS’ing, emotionally unstable, I will gouge your eyes out if you look at my husband or ask him the time, type women and combine them in one relationship?
Somebody who is either self-righteously delusional, a serious nympho or just plain psycho. (Except Prophet Muhammad who had nine. That’s different. He had the strength of 30 men and well, he was the Prophet for goodness sake.)
I have had some epiphanies about polygyny after surviving almost 3 weeks in the institution.
1. I am not suited to polygynous relationships. I don’t have the commitment values needed to sustain a polygynous marriage. I am a runner. I don’t know how to stick it out.
2. I don’t like women. I never really did. I always felt that my species were prone to pettiness. I have never had more than two female friends at a time in my days as a non-muslim and avoided the rest. I always preferred men for company, much nicer more meaningful conversation. So it makes it hard to accept a woman that I may not care for into my family and my life.
3. Polygyny is a wonderful institution when properly done. It should not be indulged by couples who have been married for years and genuinely love each other. Separation anxiety alone can ruin the relationship. But if a couple is having some issues, have been able to keep the feelings they share in perspective and don’t mind spending time apart, it would definitely be less painful. 12 years is a long time to get set in your ways and suddenly have to change them to fit in someone else.
4. Dealing with polygyny takes seriously strong emaan because shaitan is seriously on the scene. Every second he is away, shaitan is whispering and causing fitnah, in both houses. Audho’billahi minhu.
I am being honest with you guys, it’s really hard. Some days you just want to say “You do you and I’ll do me and later for the rest of this.” Some days it’s hard to see the benefit. I have days when I see how it benefits him and her but I can’t see how it benefits me. Some days I just want my mind to be at peace. There are plenty of sister’s who need a good husband (my commitment issues again here) so why don’t I just go off to some Mideastern country and bury my head in a book while you save the world.
Sounds pretty good to me…