Accepting a second wife

Date: September 23, 2009
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My husband is unemployed but he fixes television sets here at home. Sometimes if he is not too busy, he joins us in the fields, to plough, so that we can provide food for the family.
Although I knew that my culture permits polygamy, I never thought I would share a man with another woman. However, due to problems we faced as a family, I took the decision to accept that my husband marries a second wife.
We were struggling and things were not going very well in the house. For example, my husband would get sick constantly and after some consultations with traditional healers, they advised that my husband marries a second wife, and we sat down together and discussed the whole issue.
I decided to support him in the move to marry another wife because I understood that the problems we faced were related to him not honouring his mother’s family. And with proper consultations with traditional healers and the elderly, it was deemed relevant for me to allow him to go marry another wife so that his mother’s family could be honoured by giving the maternal name to the second wife.
He left to look for another wife. It was only after a year that he came back to me with the news that he found a wife of his choice. I then took a leading role and made sure that I meet his second in-laws. My husband gave me the lobola and I went to the second wife’s home to bring her home.
Now that she is married in this family, she will use my husband’s mother’s surname. In that way, we will be honouring the family so that our things can fall in to place. And since she came here, we have not had major problems because polygamy has been our culture since then.
Even though I see that sometimes my husband shows more interest to the second wife, I have no problem at all because I am the one who gave him the go ahead to look for her. I absolutely have no have problem with it also because she loves my kids as well. For example, when I’m away she takes care of them, gives them food, bathes them and gives them love. But I have not idea whether that will change once she starts having children. I am not sure if she will love them the same way as now or not. Also, I’m not sure if my husband will show different love between my kids and hers’.
Sometimes she does things that hurt me, but if that happens, I sit down with her and talk about it. I also understand that even if I was alone there would always be problems, and talking is the only solution.
A person who wants to be a polygamist must sit down and discuss it with his first wife, because if there is no agreement, there will forever be problems. Therefore, for this thing to work out, the second wife must receive blessings from the first wife because not only would she be married to the husband but also to the first wife.
Zabele Mirole writes from South Africa. This article is part of the Gender Links Opinion and Commentary Service, which offers fresh news on every day news.

6 thoughts on “Accepting a second wife”

Thenjiwe says:

My situation is, I’ve been with my fiancé for 18yrs ,proposed two years ago .we tried having children but unfortunately we lost them thru ectopics .we both have a child each from
pervious relationships ,we couldn’t raise money for ivf .his been asking me to get a second wife so that he at least have children .I allowed him to look for one .recently he came back n told me he’s found one .my problem I can’t get to accept this yet I understand his need .I’m confused

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Rebecca says:

Hi this is similar to the husband had to huorner his mother’s we discussed it and agreed that we’ll both look for one.then one day jst couldnt stand this feeling that my husband has found somebody and he didnt tell me abt it.and i decided to confront him and it was true.he admitted it and told me that we discussed it.i was so heart broken and didnt accept this second wife with all my heart jst pretended to be fine while inside me is killing me.i was pleasing him more than its still hurts.and sometimes think of leaving him with my problem is i love him and we’ve been together for 23yrs its very hard.

Mica says:

Hi m in the same situation i can’t seem to comes to to terms with the fact that I’m about to have second wife in the marriage. I want to do this for my husband so that I find peace .will this give me closure??

Shadi says:

Hi…i caught my husband cheating on me more than twice,we have been married for 15 years now..and I came to the realisation that any man is not monotonous but polygamous..I have accepted the fact that things are no longer the same as before butterflies are no longer there but we love each other…I talked to him that he should find someone he loves and introduce her to me so that he can take her as the second wife to try and close the gap of the troubles that we r already experiencing in our marriage.i would love to have a sister wife but the big issue here is that my husband is just a working class he is not rich…does it disqualify him to have a second wife? Another thing is that we are both Christians and I am afraid it may bring confusion to our kids and other family members and friends.pls advise

Dipolelo says:

I am facing the same problem the thing is we are not married but because it’s his tradition to take the second person to be with us i don’t know what to do about nd he says he can’t marry me until he get another in our relationship, so can someone advise me on how to deal with this matter because i love him and i am not ready to loose the man i love, i want to accept so i can have peace in my home

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