Polygamy is very much condoned within the Islamic faith provided that each wife is taken care off equally in all spheres of life. However, in most instances the man is often more accommodating to the needs of the newest wife as she is probably younger and more beautiful than the other wives and in most cases the man forgets about his responsibilities towards his first or second wife thereby causing tension and arguments within the household. A few weeks a go a middle aged woman arrived at the hospital suffering from severe anxiety and virtually on the brink of a nervous breakdown. Her husband of thirty years brought home a second wife who is the same age as her eldest daughter. She was use to living in a mansion with her family without having to share the house with another woman. Her husband instructed her to vacate her belongings from the first floor to make space for the second wife. This whole situation was a bitter pill for her to swallow and hence she landed up in the emergency department.
I am not a big fan of polygamous relationships and I guess this stems from the fact that I am the only daughter and was brought up in a manner where I never shared anything with anyone. I am also very possessive of my dad. Within my immediate family there is only one case of a polygamous marriage and hence when news of this relationship went viral it was pretty much a shock for the family and only with time did everyone come to accept the situation.
Whilst many people out there are under the impression that all Saudi women are for polygamous relationships the truth is a woman is a woman any where in the world. In general no woman who loves her husband can swallow the idea of him sharing a bed with another woman. In some cases, the jealousy is so great that the first wife goes through extreme measures to prevent her husband from taking on a second wife. A few weeks ago a Saudi man was deprived his right to a second honeymoon after the judge sentenced him to nine months in jail along with a hundred lashes after his wife reported his pre-marital illicit relationships to the police. The frustrated and hurt woman wanted to take revenge on her husband after he informed her that he would be traveling to a neighbouring Arab country to acquire a new second wife. Unable to bare the torment of his actions the woman handed over DVD's and sex tapes to the police depicting her husband engaging in sexual activities with various other women prior to his marriage to her.
The most gruesome story of revenge occurred a few years ago in Kuwait when a jealous first wife set the wedding tent on fire that was packed with revellers celebrating her husband's marriage to a second wife. 57 people were burnt to death in this incident and the court ruling demanded that the woman be sentenced to death as well for her merciless action. Many western women who land up marrying a Saudi men make sure that a marriage contract is drawn up with a clause that prevents the husband from taking on a second wife. These women become extremely possessive of their husbands to the point where one blogger within the Saudi blogosphere wrote a post " A letter to Saudi women- Please leave my husband alone" . I wonder if her husband is a Tom Cruise or Shah Rukh Khan look alike for women to be ogling at her husband. I always believe that it takes two to tango.
On the flip side of things, I came across an article in a local newspaper with the title ' Sharing is caring- why many Saudi women don't mind polygamy". The article brings to the fore a serious issue within the Kingdom and that is spinsterhood. There are approximately two million unmarried Saudi women thus far and this number is most likely to increase in the future. Many of these spinsters apparently do not mind being in a polygamous relationship out of fear of being alone without kids for the rest of their lives. With an evident shortage of unmarried men, there are some Saudi women who have considered polygamy as an option. I have come across women that are quite happy to be in polygamous marriages. A colleague of mine is married to two women and they all live together in one house. They look after each others kids and also travel together. A few months ago I seen a Saudi man arriving at a hotel in a bus with his four wives and 26 children. The wives were quite happy to be in each others company and took turns to oversee the children.
I have also come across Saudi women who do not mind if their husbands take on a second wife and will actually go through great lengths in finding a suitable second wife for him . Usually the second wife is someone that is closely acquainted to the first wife, most probably a cousin or a close friend. I guess its a case of 'rather the devil I know, than the devil I don't know'.
Whilst there is always two sides to a coin, I am personally not comfortable with the idea of being in a polygamous relationship with anyone. No matter how wealthy or powerful the man could be, I can not be the cause of breaking up someone else's home. I have had proposals from many Saudi men asking me to be a second wife and my answer has always been the same. NO..NEVER....To the women out there, how would you react if your husband rocked up with a new, younger, sexy woman on his arm and asked you to vacate the first floor of your home in order to make space for her? If there are any men out there who are in a polygamous marriage situation, I would like to know your thoughts and opinions with regards to this subject matter.