There have been some comments in the newspapers here about the problem of social imbalance in Malaysian society - women are now dominating university entrance to a ratio of 60:40, and on graduation, find that men are reluctant to marry women who are better educated than they are, and who are earning more money. [Idiots - don't they realise it is ALWAYS better to marry someone who is earning more money than you are??]
Unhappily, some Muslim women, desperate to marry, then fall to predatory men wanting a second wife. I personally find it puzzling why an intelligent, well-educated, prosperous, independent woman would think marriage necessarily an improvement on her situation, let alone a marriage where she was wife number two and wife number one was still in the picture...that is so insane, my jaw drops.
Anyway, because I know someone who is in this situation and contemplating such a marriage, here are some reasons why you shouldn't be a second wife.
1. You will hurt someone. Terribly. No matter that wife number one has to give her permission for such a marrriage, she often feels she has no choice. Believe me, she will be hurt. Devastated, and so too her children. No matter how lovely a woman she is, she will hate you, and so will her children. Believe me, I've talked to enough number one wives to know this.
2. A man who will marry number two, will later want to marry number three. That's the kind of man he is. Is that what you want?
3. You will never be happy. In fact, unless you are a very odd person indeed, your discontent is guaranteed. You will be sharing your man. When you want him around, he'll be elsewhere. You are sick in the middle of the night? Too bad, he's with wife number one. You will be thrown into a continual state of competition with another woman. Marriage is a partnership; you will have a threesome. He's not a partner. He's invited somewhere; he takes wife number one. If he does take you, you will be shunned by many (I've seen it happen). In fact, you will automatically be despised by a great many women the moment you take this step. Is that what you want?
4. A successful marriage is a constant state of negotiation. So many things can go wrong. You are adding to the number of potential flashpoints tenfold when you have a third person, and her family, to consider. You certainly won't have a partnership. You may have a marriage, but a successful one? I doubt it. You will be married to a strutting peacock, proud of his harem - not the kind of man who negotiates his way through troublespots. Why should he? He can dump you and marry another. That's the kind of man he is. Worse still, he can dump you and not bother with a divorce - and still marry another.
5. You are labouring under a misconception, right from the beginning. A woman does not need to be married to be fulfilled. If you are contemplating such a marriage, then you are marrying for ALL the wrong reasons, none of which should be yours.
You are buying into societal pressure that tries to kid you that you are somehow incomplete/ faulty/ strange/ incompetent, simply because you aren't tied up to a man. Society tries to tell you there is something inherently wrong with going your own way without a man in your life.
That is totally absurd. Rejoice in your liberty - there are a stack of married Muslim women out there who will look at you with envious eyes. Sure, marriage has certain advantages, but so does not being married. I personally know many wonderful Malaysian Muslim women who have remained single, reached the top in their professions, been respected, travelled widely, been assets to the community; who have surrounded themselves with nieces and nephews to fulfil any maternal instincts, and who have ended up the much-love auntie who never lacks for company... There is a wonderful world out there, just waiting for you.
6. If you are a romantic, then consider this - Mr Right is still out there. He's a gorgeous hunk who won't care how much you earn or how many degrees you have. When you walk into the room, his eyes will light up. The idea of sharing his life with another woman won't cross his mind. And he is not already married to someone else. You don't want to be married to someone else when you meet him.
And if he doesn't come along, well, by that time you will be having such a wonderful life, you won't care.
You are a woman. You can do anything.
More about Imbak Valley tomorrow...