Dealing With A Husband Who Cheated

Question

I hope this finds you well in spirit and in health. My question is a bit compplex and I apologize if it is hard to follow. I have been married for almost eleven months. I love my husband very much. But he lied to me about a major issue. When we married he assured me that he was divorced. Soon after the marraige he told me that in fact he wasn't divorced and that she is living with his kids in his country. I am an American woman and I grew up christian. I know that it is halal for a muslim man to have up to 4 wives, however I have always known that I just couldn't handle that situation for myself. I cannot share my man. I do not know what this means about me; I dont know if it makes me weak. I simply know that it is killing me inside. I LOVE ALLAH and I love my deen. I want to be as pious as possible. I pray about this all the time. BUT it is not getting better, infact it is getting worse. I dont know if I should stay in the marriage. Please help me.


Answer

Based on what you wrote your husband has done something that goes against not only Islamic values but also Islamic law. If he has entered the contract of marriage with you with a false information then he has basically cheated you into accepting that contract. The contract is of course valid, but it is based on false grounding.

This is my suggestion:

The human psyche is a complicated one. You need to study your emotions and thoughts carefully to see exactly what your feelings are. Which one is the fact that bothers you? The fact that he lied to you and you feel cheated or the fact that he has another wife?

If it is the first, then maybe you can find it in your heart to forgive him for that. In that case I think you need to let him know that how you was hurt by his lie and that how lying can seriously put any marriage in danger.

If however it is the fact that he has second wife (and he pretended he hadn't) that bothers you, then I think you need to think this through. I think you need to imagine yourself in different phases of your married life and then study what will be your feelings if you are one of the two wives. You might find it not that difficult to accept to be the second wife. However if you really found that it is going to be out of your zone of tolerance and that you will not be able to remain as a happily married wife in the presence of another wife, then given that he has lied to you from the start, I think you have every right to seek divorce by the court of law.

Let me assure you that if you feel you do not want to share your husband, this has nothing to do with you being weak in personality or belief as a Muslim. The permissibly of having 4 wives in Islam was to take care of the issue of orphans at the time. Although by law a Muslim man may still marry up to four wives, by default God has made the foundation of a family based on one man (the husband) and one woman (the wife), otherwise He would have created 4 Eves for Adam!

As explained above, I encourage you to think carefully about what exactly is bothering you most before deciding what to do about it.

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