I lay awake at night. My heart raced. My sheets drenched in sweat. Sleep deserted me. When I slept, I awoke with pressure and tightness around my heart so fierce I thought I was going to die. Even during the day, I constantly felt like I was going crazy.
This had been my state since the day my husband informed me of his decision to take a second wife. He had very little reason to give me. He didn’t really need any. Our religion permitted it. While actually hearing him say it was a shock, the truth is I had always somehow known this moment would come. I had dreaded it for many years.
In the days that would follow, I walked about like one in a trance. I lay alone in the bed we were supposed to share while he went to be with another woman. I felt as if the home I had spent many years building was collapsing around me. Thankfully, I had good friends. And they told me to keep my head up. They were right. I needed to. My in-laws were watching. Sneering behind my back. Trying to evaluate the damage this situation would do to me. For a reason I never understood, it gave them joy to catch glimpses of any perceived fracture in our marriage. They thrived on it. When we presented a united front, it made them unhappy.
I braced myself when the day arrived and even drove one of the groups of people who went to ask for the new wife’s hand in marriage. I put on a strong front and got through the ceremony. At night, I crumbled. No longer was this man exclusively mine. I shared him now. Openly. My heart ached. Terribly.
Looking back, that day presented a new chapter in our marriage. I matured in a new way. Learned more about myself. Learned to pray for myself and my children first. Learned to watch out for myself. To be more independent. I refused to get sucked into the competitive lifestyle I had often despised polygamous families for. So I defined standards I believed in and avoided pettiness.
Difficult as it was, I soared. I made financial decisions and breakthroughs I could never have imagined. I became a better mum. I discovered new things about myself. The ache got better. Maybe I loved less…a little numbly. I kept my sanity and these days, it doesn’t hurt as much. I found strength I didn’t know I have.
The responsibility of the muslim woman is heavy but Allah (SWA) does not place a burden on any human, except that she is able to bear it with patience. Once we have coached our hearts to accept it and pray for His Guidance, it becomes easy.
Lovely piece. It depicts the honest feelings of a true woman
Hmmn. He who wears the shoe knows where it pinches. Thanks for reading!