When my husband told me he had taken a second “wife” I was shocked and devastated. One of the things that appalled me was that the other girl was so young – younger than our daughter even. I was also totally gobsmacked by the kind of girl he had chosen, a girl with no education, no intellectual interests or abilities, no artistic talent – nothing. She was the opposite of everything my husband thitherto had shown a liking to in women. So, he chose two extremely different women, two different kinds of marriage.
The question I have been asking myself is, has he also been two different husbands?
I know he set out to be just and equal in his treatment of us, but that has turned out IRL to be far from the case! Yesterday, I received this question:
…interestingly, while he may have let his respect for democracy, human rights and equality overcome his cultural influences where YOU and your situation is concerned, he has not done the same where his 2nd marriage is concerned. For her and their marriage he has no respect for democracy, human rights and equality and is allowing his cultural influences to totally dictate how he treats her – or should I say mistreats her! Almost everything you are ranting against in other men’s behavior concerning polygamy on this blog, YOUR husband is doing to his 2nd wife.
Does that not cause you some concern about the man he really is? There is NO kind of moderate Islam-based religion of liberalism and equality being shown in their marriage!
The observation is quite correct. So, today I asked my husband: Are you the same husband to me that you are to her? Are you the same husband to her that you are to me?
Answer: No I am definitely not! I have always done my best to share my time and money equally. I think I have managed to do that. But I have never loved you equally and Allah has told us that he understands that and forgives it. I have been very infatuated with my second wife, a feeling I could not share equally. I loved you more than her, and that has not been equal either. These are matters of the heart and beyond my control. I courted her as my new wife, while I was feeling bad and frustrated around you because I felt guilty and you were in such pain.
With you I have felt like an equal, or sometimes like an underdog. With her, I am the head and she looks up to me. Ok I admit – I love being admired. She made me feel strong and manly. With you, I feel proud to have a wife like you, I know you so well I trust you.
And I treat you differently.
I suppose in a way, you both get the husband you want. She never wanted respect, equality or anything like it! She wanted a strong husband and protector, a provider. With you I always try to treat you like a partner, a friend, lover and companion. I want you to love me. With her, I treat her like somebody who needs protection, guidance and comforting. I want her to respect me and need me.
I am never the same husband to you that I am to her, I have never been. I never wanted to be. And as I see it, it’s because you have different needs, and you are fulfilling different needs of mine. So I really am just trying to be just.
I think my husband found the question very uncomfortable. Methinks the man doth protest too much.. I need to think about this a bit and I will definitely talk some more about it with my first husband. Right now however, I need to get back to Graham.