To have a successful polygamous marriage you must teach your husbands to behave and to respect you and each other. Women must learn to take command and make their husbands submit to the wisdom of polygamy.
Polygamy is a permitted marriage in Islam and there is no question about this. The rules also clearly state that you must love for others what you love for yourself. If you struggle with this fact, it is a problem with your own faith, not your wife’s action.
Do not feel guilty. If you feel guilty you are suggesting that there is something wrong – so be clear that this type of marriage can be and can flourish on condition that the wife is fair and honest with both of her husbands. (If your wife is badly behaved after the new marriage – that is a problem with her and not polygamy).
1- Remember that your actions reflect the personification of this sunnah and it is the priority of every Muslim to protect his faith. If you do not work towards making this sunnah succeed, you show faith in a bad light.
2- The wife should declare her marriage without fear to enable each husband to get used to the reality of the situation. Covering up merely prevents the husbands from coming to terms with the reality of their new life.
Once the wife is married it is not right to have an ‘adjustment period’ for either husband. As soon as the wife is married, it is the right of her new husband to have his time. If the wife takes these rights away to give previous husbands time to adjust – this is not fair (since it is all about a matter of faith). In supporting this “adjustment” idea, the wife takes the rights of the other husband and they will both be answerable for this wrong-doing before Allah.
3- The greatest gift one husband can give to the other is not material; rather, it is simply to give him, his rights and live his life as a free man.
4- The wife is a free woman; she does not belong to one husband more than the other so the competition for time is pointless. Your wife does not necessarily love you more because she spends more time with you – it may be simply that you are more controlling and she is not strong enough to argue.
5- Remember while you take someone’s right now – can you take the punishment for that wife in the next life? If you are taking time that is not rightfully yours – on the Last day you will have to account for this. So do not think you have succeeded if you do this. If you want more than your right – ask yourself “Is this worth taking the Fire on the Last Day?”
6- Give your brother his time with his wife and try not to call or interrupt their time together but at the same time show some flexibility. If there are little habits that make their relationship special and there are things they have always done/ or are doing if they are newlyweds – don’t cut them off and you will feel by time how blessed your own relationship is.
7- The division of time is related to nights not days. In the day the wife is free to do as she wills in regard to her personal and professional jobs. But this does not mean it is acceptable for her to spend days with a specific husband and not the other simply because she goes there at night.
8- If you feel you are seeing your wife more than ‘expected,’ ask her how much time she is spending with the other husband and ensure she is being just. Love of another person is a test as with anything and when that love exceeds the rights of others – we fail.
9- Your allegiance is to your wife, not to each other. You should prioritize your own relationship with your wife. It should not be the case that if one husband is arguing with his wife the other should also argue. Of course if there is a problem that is shared with you then it is important to encourage a return to good relations not to encourage anger and a separation. It is clearly bad to cause separation between wife and husband in any way, shape or form.
10- Respect the other husband as your brother in faith, as a man in his own right. Understand that he has as much right to be happy as you do. If your aim is to win your wife’s respect, live justice, do not abuse it. As long as Allah is pleased with you, that is all that counts.
11- Agree to maintain some form of practical and personal boundaries. Consider the sunnah as the best example and be aware what you share in discussions and how you live practically. There is no sunnah in sharing the same room and this is bound to cause problems. There is no sunnah to discuss your private details with each other either.
12- Do not ask your wife what she does with her other husband and do not ask your brother what he does with his wife. Allow them to keep their marriage private. The faithful, we are told, does not ask “Where did you come from and where are you going.” Focus on your own relationship not on the other husband’s. There is no need to lie to stop hurting the other person’s feelings; unnecessary lying only leads to mistrust and a lack of respect. It is simply best to keep silent and remind the husbands that the other relationship is not their business.
13- Be flexible about time but not if you feel your right is being taken. It is Ok to take your rights, do not feel guilty. But remember sometimes as human beings, a husband may need his wife to support him if he is having a difficult time. Be generous and Allah will reward you, as will the other husband.
14- Do not replace the wife’s responsibility. The marriage was her choice and so it is her job to fulfill her social, financial and practical responsibility – not the job of the other husbands to stand in for her. It is injustice by the wife if she puts the responsibility of one husband on to the other.
15- Encourage your wife to deal fairly with the other husband and he will similarly encourage her to deal fairly with you. If he is unjust to you – do not be unjust to him. Using haram to combat haram simply means you are both in the wrong side.
16 – There is no obligation for you and your wife’s other husband to be best friends but it helps if you can at least meet occasionally since this is also from the faith. This can ease any difficulties each husband may experience as a result of the wife’s other relationship.
17- Do not listen to friends who have a problem with your type of marriage. They are simply reflecting their own insecurity. Avoid discussions about the other husband with such people because these discussions can cause problems for your relationship with the other husband and indeed your wife. A good friend will be helpful in keeping your marriage together and not encourage you against the rights of the other man.
18- Do not allow men to feel sorry for you if your wife re-marries. You are not a victim and it in no way means there was something wrong with the previous husband. This is just an excuse made by men who are unhappy with the fact that their wife has re-married.