4 Things Polygamy Has Taught Me About Monogamy

Despite having been in polygamy – I myself have never been polygamous, that’s for the husband. I can’t have more than one mate, and I wouldn’t want to either as discussed here. So even if your husband has more than one wife,  you still have a monogamous marriage to deal with and the issues are the same – just with polygamy there are extra ones on top.

So here are four things that polygamy has made clearer to me about my monogamous marital relationship:

  1. Learn his love language, (or maybe even  his planetary culture.)  I’ve read the articles, nodded and sighed over the differences there are between us in expressing our love. But still there is a reluctance to change. Learning any new language is a struggle, and a whole bunch of work and using it as a fluent speaker feels awkward. But as someone usually appreciates you trying to use their native tongue, even if you stumble, trying to use their particular language of love becomes all the more apparent when polygamy enters the scene. You really want them to get how you feel and maybe your lack of communicating  adequately made them feel unloved. And then you interpret that as well, he’s finding someone else because of that (probably not, see here for why men choose polygamy) but then you just don’t want to chance it, so suddenly you are fluent. Gifts are given when normally you’d feel it’s a frivolous expense, and ‘love you’ texts become second nature when normally you’d think this state of love you are in with your spouse is obvious and you might as well text ‘I’m a human’ ten times a day in order to communicate as much new information.
  1. Do that self-care. Suddenly you find the energy and the time to exercise, take care of yourself, shake the cobwebs off the lingerie hidden in the cupboard. That time was always there, but what was it filled with? Facebook or Instagram probably. Real-life relationships are always going to be the most important and nurturing them by nurturing yourself can only be a good thing. Do you want to spend time with someone who doesn’t take care of themselves and always seems grumpy? Me neither.
  2. Having your own life, not living in each other’s pockets.Having time apart seems like  a negative thing, but  absence does make the heart grow fonder and keeps a relationship fresher. There is always something new to talk about, and more excitement between you. Having your own life rather than being in each other’s pockets gives each of you the confidence in themselves and this overflows into the relationship with positive vibes. The fact you choose to come together despite having  separate, hopefully interesting lives, makes the relationship somehow stronger.
  1. Time is precious. With less time together,  you don’t want to waste the precious time you do have bickering over who emptied the trash last or how the food didn’t have enough salt. Things you thought can’t be let go of, can – if you have the motivation. If your husband is leaving in four hours and you won’t see him for a week , you can suddenly catch your tongue and hold back a nagging comment. Maybe you want to do something on the computer but leave it until you are travelling and spend quality time with your wife instead.

So these types of issues become all the more apparent when you are in polygamy, but they are not restricted to polygamous relationships. With your monogamous marriage, they are still relevant and can help improve your marriage, even in monogamy. What has polygamy taught you about marriage in general? Leave your comments below or join the discussions on our Facebook page.

Polygamy and Sex – Shall We Go There?

It’s inevitable the topic of sex and intimacy will come up when talking about polygamy. For many, including myself,  it is a major issue. When I talked about jealousy before (here), giving examples of your husband taking different people out on dinner date rather than yourself,  a cowife is the only one who would be a threat when we’re talking about sex. A mother or son could also be a source of emotional support, or a male friend someone to joke around with  as much as yourself. But sex, no; why is everyone usually happy to have more than one friend,  more than one child, more than one parent, but not more than one sexual partner at a time?

Choosing the image for this post was not so simple so we’ll just stick to fruity, lol.

To me, it is because sex seems like the ultimate level of intimacy you can have with one person;  you are at your most vulnerable and you are physically as well as emotionally the most close. It is also the potential starting point for one of the most significant biological ties – having children together.

It is this sharing of something only between you,  and thank God in Islam it is only between you two,  that has lead me to also rethink the idea of intimacy at an emotional level – which can then help me accept the physical. Because before I found out I was in polygamy, I thought there was nothing my husband would need or want to keep from me,  and vice versa. Of course,  in reality we all have things we don’t want to share with anyone, even our spouse for whatever reason – the mundane parts of life or things we are ashamed of. But a husband’s self-imposed choice to be in polygamy and hence restrictions on complete openness (which are of course helpful in stopping very upsetting thoughts about your spouse being with someone else intimately) are a choice he has made. He’s chosen to have part of his life spent of which he’ll have to be careful not to talk about with me, rather than be free easy and open as it had been. I think this was something which really took me time to come to terms with, and I’m not quite sure I’m there yet.

But with this comes another perspective – that I myself don’t have to share everything,  we don’t have to be living in each others’ pockets. My own life is also separate and if God forbid something happens to him, our lives are not so intertwined that if I am without him, it does not mean I am not whole.

Practical advice

So on a practical level, I have heard time and time again that when sexual jealousy and intimacy issues are brought up as a problem for wives in polygamy, that the best way is to block it off. I am normally against blocking emotions but if we can get to the thoughts before they affect our emotions then I think this is a solution. As Muslims we are advised to seek refuge with Allah (SWT) from Shaytan from such thoughts, as it is most likely it is Shaytan trying to stir things up in our own marriage. Keeping the mind busy, even if it is just counting down from 20 – the mind can not think about more than one thing at once – and putting the energy into something for yourself e.g completing a work project can help, especially if it’s late at night and you can’t sleep. Make sure you are so tired before bed when it’s not your night that you don’t have the energy to dwell on things as you’re lying in bed alone. And I’ll mention again the concept of compersion which I blogged about here. If you have that sisterly love for your cowife and an unconditional love for your husband, then wanting them to have a good time can be the way to getting past the mind-eating problem of sexual jealousy – a high target, but worth aiming for.

How have you coped with sexual jealousy – or is it not an issue for you (I have heard comments such as “It’s just sex” or “This isn’t what bothers me in polygamy”)?

Let’s hear from you in the comments or join the discussions on our Facebook page.