The role of the second wife in making (or marring) polygyny cannot be overemphasized. Where the first wife takes the coming of her co-wife in good faith and the second not playing along the same line, the home, from start, will be greeted with chaos, schism, vendetta, hullabaloo, brouhaha, bugaboo, etc.
Women generally – and naturally too, do not like their husbands shared with another woman. If the second wife were the first, she could do worse because she would equally prefer being the only queen in the palace irrespective of the largeness of the kingdom.
The second wife should put herself in the shoes of the first. She should be sympathetic, compassionate, human, humane, rational, sensible, etc. And this should start from her pre-marital relationship with her would-be husband. The way and time he calls or chats him up matters a lot. Calling the man or engaging him in WhatsApp or Messenger chat when he will be in the company of the first wife may trigger off unintended hate. The first queen should be assisted by doing away with this polygynous exuberance. Even if the man is unreasonable and gets blinded by lust, the second, assuming the shoes of the first, should help restore his lost reasonability by refusing to talk to him. Some men can be intellectually lazy, you know, yet they claim to know it all.
Where the second wife is calm like or unlike the first, the unsalaried teachers among her friends, relations, etc. will not allow her to exhibit that goodness to the latter. She gets fed with how some first wives are intolerably bad: that she should not take peace for an option. And she being a gullible idiot too will take the vicious tales and advice hook, line, and sinker.
The intellect, according to biologists, is one of the things that distinguish man from animal. That’s why bedding adventure isn’t exercised in the open as dogs do. Common sense, which is an integral part of the intellect, should therefore tell the second wife that her “senior colleague” isn’t to be outsmarted or outshone, especially at the start of the relationship. That she too would never take if she were the first.
If the pinch and the pain from the pin are first applied on oneself; if the shoes of the first wife were rationally, compassionately worn by the second wife; the chances that she would be calm and her fate faithfully accepted are high.
But where the second queen claims equality (even though they are both equal as wives) and/or superiority (which is synonymous with arrogance) – especially from the outset of the union – chaos will be birthed and the build-up regrettably insurmountable.
Can we start talking sense to existing and would-be second wives to calm down and be less egoistic? Your husband is yours like he is to the first queen. Just try and be compassionate and allow peace a haven in your home. Give your senior colleague that consideration like you will want same accorded you were you in her shoes.
Where a would-be co-wife would call the man indiscriminately, especially at night (just to say “I love you”, for instance) when he would be with the existing wife, that’s a signal that all might not be well with that marriage when solemnized. Where the man would sneak out at night to receive calls, and the caller’s identity eventually known to the wife, that’s a sign that all might not be well with that marriage if eventually solemnized.
May I quickly say that our men too should be reasonable, sensible during the process of actualizing their polygynous dream? They should respect their wives’ emotions by not being irrationally mesmerised by the coming of another woman. There should be a limit to their interactions with the would-be wives. They should fear Allāh and do away with what may crumble their homes and cost them their Jannah. If a would-be wife cannot do without calling or chatting with you at night – a time your wife shouldn’t suffer your attention – such a woman, in my humble opinion, is not good for you. If she truly loves you, she should respect your wife the way she would love to be respected by her. I’m open to debate on this.
Dear second queen, kindly give no listening ears to anyone – parent, friends, neighbours, relations, etc – telling you to claim superiority with your senior colleague. Such people don’t mean well for you. If you were the first wife, that’s how they would teach the second against you. They are freelance home-destroyers – devilish teachers with no paid salaries.
Allow the king to play his role. Let your husband decide the equality, equity, and equitability in the marriage.
Sanni Kay Yūsuf