The Second Wife

Most of this blog looks at polygamy from the perspective of the first wife – that’s the role I’ve had and it’s most often the first wife who has issues with polygamy. A second wife should have no problems with polygamy, she chose it after all, right? Really, how can someone coming into a marriage knowing her husband is already married really complain? The words ‘homewrecker’ and ‘selfish’ often come up in conversations about second wives.

Woah! Hold on!

Yes, some of the above is sometimes the case, but polygamy is not an easy option, whatever the ‘wife order’ (which by the way, irks a lot of people because wives are supposed to be treated justly and having the 1st, 2nd etc. gives a sense that the first is somehow superior.)

From what I’ve seen, jealousy is also an issue for subsequent wives. They can feel jealous because of the stereotype in brackets above, or even because the husband has alluded or outright stated his preference. They can sense the green monster creeping up on them when they think about all that time their husband had with wife #1 before he became polygamous, and all the firsts they have together. Jealousy is something almost everyone is afflicted with at some point and just because someone chose to be in a polygamous marriage doesn’t mean they deserve less sympathy than anyone else.

Some second wives may have unknowingly become #2 and had thought they were in monogamy, until the husband plucks up the courage to reveal they have another wife, probably in another country.

Some may have difficulties finding a husband of good deen and character and the only other option is spinsterhood.

Some may want to follow the Sunnah and have overcome their nafs to go for polygamy.

Some may be in a situation such as being a divorcee or widow and also having several young children, which makes it extremely hard to find a husband (through no fault of their own but rather through the ignorant bias of their community.)

Some may just like a bit of time to themselves and find being a ‘part-time’ wife convenient to their lifestyle.

I don’t have the statistics, but going out to be a homewrecker, expecting their husband to divorce his first wife so she can have him to herself is hopefully not as common as it seems.

It does happen, but occasionally I come across stories which alter your perspective on second wifedom. Take, for example that of a sister,  let’s call her sister A, who begged her husband not to take a second wife. He complied and so the lady lined up (who was in a difficult situation, I believe widowed with young children) was rejected. Not long after, the husband died and sister A  found herself in a similar situation to the woman who could been her cowife. And guess what, sister A remarried and became a second wife herself, despite her new husband’s first wife having a hard time accepting polygamy. This first wife overcame her negative attitude to having a cowife, seeing how it could benefit a fellow sister – and of course a wave of guilt overcame sister A.

Yes, have sympathy and support those sisters whose husbands want to or have taken a second wife and find polygamy hard, but don’t assume those who become second wives have it so easy.

They often have all the struggles like anyone else and need support too.

  (Here’s a link to a book showing a different perspective of a second wife, His Other Wife by Umm Zakiyyah -worth a read! Also, check out Polygamy Unpicked’s  Facebook Page and follow us on Twitter!)




5 thoughts on “The Second Wife

  1. im a second wife and I was once on facebook asking for advice on how to overcome jealousy. I had one sister saying how can you be jealous? You knew what you were getting yourself into so you have no right. That just showed her ignorance and lack of knowledge. Jealousy is a natural feeling, we feel it in any situation but it is how we deal with it that counts! I communicate with my husband alot alHamdulillah, I tell him how I feel and just let him be there for me. He knows I would never ask him to divorce his first wife and I would be very disappointed if he did as I would never want her to end up as a single mother for the rest of her life. Divorced women are often looked at as ‘bad women’ so I know she’d struggle to find another husband, so I tell my husband that it is duty to do his best for her and look after her. Everything depends on intentions and if we fear Allah and truly want rewards for our actions, then we must love for our brothers/sisters what we love for ourselves. I’d suggest everyone to educate themselves, even if they’re not in the situation as we don;t know what will happen in the future. Allah knows best. We do not. So we need to do our best to please Allah swt and all our struggles will be worth it when we meet our Creator! Allahu akbar


  2. Alhamdulilkah my husband just married my coco five months ago, its something we talked about long before we got married a decade ago. Its something he always desired, a big family. IN SHAA ALLAH. Eventhough, I was not keep in the dark and I was always informed and invovled in some ways, I still feel myself jealous and fighting my nafs at time. Alhamdulillah I am happy that he got remarried because it was bought my zawj and I even closer, and most importantly me closer to Allah. As best friends n partners. I pray that make us. my zawj, me and coco and my children be in jannatul firdous together as a family. aameen.


      1. Afwan so nych typos. SubhanaALLAH. I meant Alhamdulillah instead, and find instead of feel and has instead of was. I am happy you understood my point with all those typos. lol. waiyaki and baraakaAllahu feekunnah


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