I have been discussing marriage with a brother. He seems to have everything I’m looking for in a spouse, and even though we’re still getting to know each other better, feelings get deeper on both sides. The problem is, he doesn’t oppose polygamy, and said he could have more than one wife at a time. Although I understand that it’s perfectly “legal” to have several wives, I personally would not want it for myself. I’m facing a dilemma: should I consider being in a potentially polygamous marriage, even if the guy seems to be perfect for me?
You are feeling conflicted because you think this brother has everything you’re looking for except for his beliefs about a particular issue. Sometimes, while getting to know a person for marriage, we learn something new about our love interest that makes us reconsider the whole matter. For you, this happened to be your potential partner’s views on polygamy.
The real question here is this: Can you accept the possibility of sharing your husband with another woman in marriage, or is this a deal breaker for you?
If you can’t accept polygamy, then that’s your deal breaker, and this man is not the right person for you.
Since the brother has made clear to you his feelings about polygamy, he is basically alerting you that polygamy is a real possibility for your future with him. He has been clear with you about his views, and you must not minimize your concern in an effort to move forward with the marriage. It would be unfair on your behalf to know this, yet choose to marry him with the intention of changing his mind. If you do so, you will be setting yourself up for a volatile marriage. Marriage should be built on a foundation of trust, transparency, and full disclosure. You should share with him your concern, and if he respects and accepts your preference, then you can add this to your marriage contract as one of the conditions for divorce. However, you cannot force him to commit to a monogamous marriage if he does not want to.
Bear in mind also the legalities of such an arrangement in countries that do not allow for polygamy. Are you comfortable being married to a man who could potentially be breaking the law? And how can you ensure that your individual rights and the rights of your future family will be preserved in a polygamous marriage?
It is important to ask the difficult questions now instead of having to deal with the repercussions later. Self-awareness and honesty with yourself and with the other person are essential to helping you make the best decision without sacrificing your personal values and beliefs, and without minimizing problems in the relationship.
WebbCounselors is a collaborative advice column produced by two WebbAuthors, Amal Killawi, a Clinical Social Worker with a specialization in mental health and marriage education, and Munira Lekovic Ezzeldine, a Marriage and Family Therapist, specializing in premarital counseling. Please note that our counselors are not religious scholars and will not issue religious rulings.