Can We Be One Family in Polygamy?

ThreeringsI hurried home from work today to be able to spend some time with poor Mark before I went home to Graham. Mark is still running a fever and has a terrible cough so he doesn’t get much sleep and I wanted to be with him a while, cheer him up.

Mark had texted me at lunch telling me I needn’t bother about bringing him food today, but I picked up some snacks from M&S anyway on my way home.

So I stormed into the kitchen with my parcels and was quite surprised to hear shouting in the living room. Had to go and have a look.

And there were Mark and Graham watching rugger, beer cans in hand and black olives, crisps and hummus all over the table. =0

I must have looked really gobsmacked because they both laughed and cracked like 1000 jokes about me, polygamy and the whole shebang. Fine, I can take it.

Is this the way it’s going to be now? How do I feel about this? I need to give it some thought. Right now I’m happy just sitting here in the sofa with a beer can, laptop on my knee, watching the two men I love shout insults at a poor referee in too tight shorts.

24 thoughts on “Can We Be One Family in Polygamy?

  1. Fiona, this post made me so happy. Who knows, things come and go, but one needs to grab any happiness when it is availalbe. Maybe we even have the capacity to make more of it.

  2. I sure hope so Dale! πŸ™‚ The calm and happiness of this evening made me feel a warmth I haven’t felt for a long time!

  3. Fiona,
    This post really made me smile….
    Mark and Graham are two very lucky guys. And you, my dear, are one VERY lucky woman πŸ˜€

  4. Maybe this is silly of me, but I wonder if somewhere in his mind Mark thinks or imagines that since it can be this way with him and Graham on some level, if he can have it be this way also with you and his other wife. I don’t know Mark, but I imagine most people would feel like “If I can do this, so can you”?

  5. Maybe.. πŸ™‚ Difference is, he chose polygamy. I was forced into it. Makes a world of difference!

    May I ask you Amy, and I mean no offense I just really wish to know: Don’t you consider it immoral, or amoral even, to have a rule allowing one partner in a marriage to become polygamous without the permission of the spouse? Or even the knowledge? Don’t you consider it amoral to allow a husband to marry again without even telling the first wife? I know it’s allowed, and I know some claim that a woman can safeguard against this in her marriage-contract – but don’t you find the basic principle of allowing the husband to marry again without even informing his WIFE of the fact against humans instinct/ natural law, and intrinsically amoral?

  6. πŸ™‚ We had a wonderful evening! I felt so relaxed, it’s sad really how unusual a feeling that has become to me…

  7. Yes I do believe it’s ethically (though it may not be “legally”, according to shariah) wrong for a man to enter polygamy without the wife being comfortable with it, or doing it behind her back. I’ve already expressed that in my previous comments.

    Speaking for myself, I was briefly in polygamy, but it was not because my husband did it secretly or without my consent. We both actually thought we were divorced from one another at the time, and he remarried thinking he was remarrying into a monogamous union (as did she). We found out soon after that my marriage with him was still valid, so we were all thrust into polygamy unwittingly.

    However, while we thought we were divorced, and he was courting this woman for marriage, he never told me. He also never told me when he was marrying her, though I did ask once I found out about her. I thought even THAT was wrong of him -despite the fact that we thought we were living separate lives- strictly because we have a child together and I felt that the right thing to do as co-parents is to inform one another of changes in our respective lives that could affect the wellbeing of our child (remarriage being one of them).
    So as you can see, since I feel that way about that issue, of course I think married couples who may engage in polygamy should all be in agreement and open about it.

  8. I have no idea if Mark was trying to send you a message with his BFF-like behavior with Graham or not, but even if he was, it’s irrelevant. I mean, it’s great if Mark and Graham can hang out and watch a game on tv and have a few beers without eyeing each other like a couple of Mastiffs (Fiona, I absolutely loved that when you drew that comparison during Graham’s move, btw LOL)….but I don’t recall Graham sending Mark nasty emails/pics and making demands on Fiona to divorce Mark, or wailing that Fiona’s being unfair, blah blah blah. Other than the fact that Fiona is in polyandry with Graham and Mark and the natural sense of rivalry/jealousy that brings out, neither of these guys has any reason not to be at least civil with one another. If they find they can have a good time in front of the telly over munchies and a pint, all the better!

    Fiona’s co, on the other hand, is an impossible, petulant, bitchy, whiny, immature brat with entitlement issues and I see absolutely no reason for Fiona to attempt any kind of cordial relationship with her. Miss Yemen is NOT a female version of Graham, and you can’t establish a decent rapport with someone who wants nothing more than the destruction of your marriage, after all. How is that even possible, Amy?

    I speak thus because, if for no other reason than to keep things peaceful (and yeah, look good in the eyes of my husband as well as drive #2 batty), I wasted a lot of time and energy and yes, money, trying to make peace with my #2 and it never worked because there was no genuine “like” factor between us. Any civility we managed was as genuine as a 3 dollar bill and it showed. I imagine if Fiona and Miss Yemen ever get to the point of civility, that’s about as far as it’s going to go for them.

  9. Hi jamylah!
    Thank you very much for your honest answers. Your integrity always kames me respect your posts even when I vehemently disagree.

    Just a question: Isn’t it a conflict for you to find a religious law of yours intrinsically unethical?

    I do appreciate all your posts here, trying to make me/us understand more of islamic rules.

  10. @unchained:
    Well I wasn’t meaning it in the sense that Mark would be thinking it in a conniving way, more like wishful thinking. Of course it couldn’t be the same just by virtue of the fact that his other wife is in another country and can’t really return to UK except for visits anyway. It was just a thought that had crossed my mind, nothing more.

  11. @fiona:

    I don’t think you’re asking an unfair question. It’s very reasonable to look at it as you are.

    I can say I would definitely have a problem if sharia or Islamic law had a statute that said specifically that men must marry in secret or must keep their first wives out of the decision making process. If it was that specific, it would be undeniably antithetical.

    But the issue that arises is not because sharia dictates one way or the other, but because it is silent. There is no law saying that a man MUST involve his wife or tell her, and in Islam silence is interpreted as permission or consent. So the issue is not one of shariah’s rules, but silence on this matter.

    And that of course begs the question as to why sharia is silent? Why isn’t there an injunction REQUIRING men to have permission from their first wife to take a second or what have you? And I think the best way to understand the answer to that is to also understand that religious law, unlike secular law, is given to followers under the presupposition that the followers are trying to better themselves, and become the best human beings that they can.

    Think about it. Following a religion -any religion- is not mandatory. It’s a voluntary process. People become religious or commit to a particular religion because they understand it to be a means to reach their highest potential and draw closer to something greater than themselves. Rules or laws in religion are already factoring in that fact, so the idea is that the person following the rules/laws already has a desire to be compassionate and kind and fair and doesn’t need to be told or ordered to be that way.

    Shariah law was given to a community that was already believing in something, to people who were already trying to perfect themselves. They didn’t need to be micromanaged. That’s ideally how it’s always supposed to work, but of course in any faith over time legalism does set in, and people who would rather pursue their own desires than something greater end up perverting the whole setup.

    Consider what happened at the time of Jesus. He himself said he didn’t come to do away with the Jewish law, but to uphold and fulfill it. So what then was his problem with the pharisees of his time, since they were the body legislating religous law to the people? His issue was that they became legalistic, and became more focused on the details of the letter than the spirit. He had issue with them because they allowed their selfish desires to infiltrate the administration of the faith on a social level. They were no longer leading the people and encouraging them to get back to the heart of Judaism, but oppressing people with their technical and subjective interpretations.

    In Islam today, unfortunately the same thing is happening. Many of the scholars have become too legalistic, and have spent less focus on helping Muslims understand and practice things lthat would help them reform their inner character. They have become pharisees, and have made the focus rules and bending rules, finding loopholes to suit the base desires of those who aren’t following Islam with sincerity.

    So because this is what I understand to be happening, I don’t hold the law itself at fault and I don’t personally feel a conflict with it. If you gave a set of 10 rules to people who were inclined to follow themselves, and their selfish desires, those folks are going to pick the rules apart, judge one another, and try to find ways around them. But if you gave 10 rules to a group that cared about what kind of people they were and wanted to go above and beyond the bare minimum, they would not only follow the clear rules outlined but go above and beyond them by treating one another with dignity and compassion and ensuring they did NOTHING that would offend or hurt one another. The rules (or even where there are “no” rules) are not to blame, but the intent of those following the rules is, in my opinion.

  12. Thank you for a very detailed and empathic answer.

    Problem with that kind of law is it only works in Utopia.

    And as long as one group of people have rights over another group of people they will use these rights to fulfill their own base desires – unless we’re in Utopia.

    If all people aren’t perfect – this system will lead to hell on earth, as indeed it does today. And who will rule? Well, Nietzsche gave us a clear answer to that one didn’t he – an answer that history has proved true.

    The only solution is a system where every right is balanced by everybody else having the exact same right.

    And you know, any omnipotent god would have known that this doesn’t work. Such a god would have known that these utopian laws would lead to hell on earth for women in muslim countries. Why would any god want that? Why would any god want sharia courts whipping women for going to the grocer’s, or allowing men to beat their wives without being punished, or allow polygyny without consent or allow child marriages? And what kind of god finds it more important to make rules about how to part your hair, cut your beard or wash your feet than to make a rule saying a husband can not marry a second wife without the consent of the first???

    No. If there were such a god I would not be able to believe in her. And I will never be able to understand why people do.

  13. If I understood you correctly, you are refering to a system basically where all the laws and rules account and cover for every facet of human intention and behavior, and as a result every aspect of justice is meted out in this life in some form or fashion- whether it be by compliance of rules or consequences when they are not followed.

    But as you know, religion is not merely concerned with this life. There is the concept of justice in the next life. So if all justice were to have already taken place here, then there would be no need for reward or punishment or judgment in the next.

    Some may say that these seeming indiscrepencies are tests for men to prove their intentions- not because an omnipotent being wasn’t already aware of them, but to show man himself who he really is here and hereafter. There’s an idea in Islam that you may or may not have heard of, that every human being pledged their allegience to God in a time before this existence. We were all told that our pledges would be tested here. I realize that may not be something you personally believe in or accept, but it is an explanation to the dilemmas you outlined to those who do believe it.

    One of the core tenets of Islam is that there is no compulsion in religion. So even if someone chooses not to follow a faith, or chooses not to believe in a Creator or God at all, that’s their right and should be respected just as equally as those who believe in something. So I know you and I won’t always see things from the same angle Fiona, but I don’t mind. I may not always have a response that is acceptable or makes sense to you, and vice versa. I think that’s all ok. I don’t think any of us are here (hopefully) to make enemies but just to share our respective views and experiences for whatever they’re worth to anyone else.

  14. But I do have to say I do disagree with one thing you wrote- that as long as someone has rights over another they will abuse that power. I don’t think everyone in power is motivated to abuse it. I think there are people in power who have good intentions. Granted it may not be the majority, but I believe there are people who are driven by other things than lust and greed. They may be in power or have power, but to them it means nothing because they are focused on something more noble. I don’t believe every human being is innately driven to corruption and selfishness. Many are, but several are not. Religion is often the proving ground for the good to become better, and the sinners (if they decide to sign on) to reform themselves.

  15. πŸ™‚

    No you’re right – we won’t always agree. But I too am all for freedom of religion. But only as long as religion doesn’t interfere with basic human rights. I can respect any religion that accepts that religion should never ever be involved in civil society – not in law, not in education – but only in matters that are private. And I can respect any religion that also signs off on the UN declaration of human rights. If not, they are not ideologies I can respect – they are tools of oppression.

    You may believe whatever you want, as long as that belief does not infringe on another person’s rights. This is why we must have a separation between religion and state. Civil law must be based on human rights and equal rights, responsibilities and possibilities for all. We must also make sure the law safeguards these rights for all children no matter what religion their parents are, and that all children are brought up knowing that all people have the exact same rights, duties and obligations.

  16. I’m sorry, I was unclear.

    I have tried to explain this earlier, you can find the post here

    Power must always be earned – not given!! The huge problem with islam is that it grants power (that can not be criticized because it comes from god!), to people not because they have intelligence, experience, empathy or a good will. No, it grants power to men simply because they have a dick. And tragically, it doesn’t come with either intelligence or empathy!

  17. I would never leave Graham. Mark knows that. I love Graham and my chidden love Graham too. He knows I would never leave him. That was partly why he fell in love with me even knowing I was polygamous – he knew that whatever happens, I stay.

  18. You know jamylah, another problem with this way of looking at things is that it equally justifies slavery.
    Slavery is allowed in islam.

    Slavery in America could be good for the slaves. Some of them got better treatment from their owners than they’ve ever gotten from society. Today, many black americans live below the poverty line, the percentage of black Americans doing drugs, ending up in gangs, in prison, on death row is horrifying.

    If their owners had just followed the law of the bible, treated them well, guided them in christendom, only admonished or betaen them when they were rebellious, everything could have been better for many black Americans who would have had a job guaranteed, room and board and people to care for them – even love them which was quite common if you read stories about American slavery. We could also argue that god proves that this was the plan since both the bible and the quran allows slavery and he made some people so they would be easilty recognized as slave, and he gave them more muscles to be able to work the farms. And we could make them wear face veils so nobody would be aroused by them! That would be massive protection – isn’t it a good idea?

    And if any white person took advantage of his or her superiority or transgressed against a black person, they would be punished in the hereafter, so that is not a problem.

    This would sure be a test on all whites and all slaveowners. Great idea! That must be why it’s in the bible and in the quran!

    America abolished slavery because the idea that racism and slavery is heinous became natural to mankind once they accepted the thought of human rights.

    Islam hasn’t accepted human rights. And this is why this kind of thought lingers in islam. They who were given slaves (women) by god are not willing to give them up. And women are brainwashed from birth – or suffering from Stockholm syndrome” and aren’t able to leave the cult.

  19. Jamylah
    Are you the same person as Amy, and that you are also a Life Coach? I’m responding to you as if you are this same person. Please correct me if this I’m wrong.

    I get the sense from your writings, that Islam is a set of ideas, that can put one on the right course, and coordinate all the parts of the self into a whole, with a purpose. There is that secular agenda of course. And I assume, that for you, as with any Muslim, the purpose is God. So Islam is the life way that puts you in compliance with God’s Will.

    You are talking about a set of ideas and say things like: “one of the core tenets of Islam is that there is no compulsion in religion.” Someone with even the most superficial knowledge of the historic spread of Islam knows that it didn’t play out this way.

    And you said:
    “There’s an idea in Islam that you may or may not have heard of, that every human being pledged their allegience to God in a time before this existence. We were all told that our pledges would be tested here. I realize that may not be something you personally believe in or accept, but it is an explanation to the dilemmas you outlined to those who do believe it.”

    I for one certainly know this. Not only is this believed by Muslims, but it is put forward as an explanation for why bad things happen. And this is why so many women put up with their deprived situations; they believe their suffering will improve their characters, and they will be rewarded in the afterlife for being righteous.

    I do not personally believe that God is interested in religion. God does not care if you mix meat with milk, whether women cover, or whether men cover some stringy piece of hair on the top of their head. It is people who care about these things, and there is a reason for doing all these things. I did not say, it is RIGHT to do these things. I’m saying people are not mysteries, and their choices can be explained. God is a mystery. And to suggest that we know what God wants, what God intends, what God said is the height of arrogance. Religious people are the most blasphemous people around. Especially Muslims, and Christians, and especially Muslim men.

    If reversion to Islam has helped your life, I’m happy for you.

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