The more the merrier for men but not the wives
BANGI: Men in polygamous unions are happier than their wives, according to a quantitative survey on polygamy among Muslims. The survey showed that 97% of the men felt they were getting enough or more in term of tenderness and love after taking a second wife. For the wives, though, it was another story. Some 42% of first wives felt they were getting less intimacy, tenderness and love after their husbands married again.
“Men are the happiest and the least happy are the first wives.
“Most men who practice polygamy say they married again because they do not want to indulge in sex out of wedlock,’’ said head researcher of the study Prof Norani Othman.
The study that was funded by Sisters in Islam, among others, looked at the impact of such marriages on the family institution including their effect on relationships, emotions and finances. About 1,235 respondents were interviewed comprising husbands, first wives, second wives and children from both marriages in the peninsular.
The preliminary findings were released recently at a public forum at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. It is estimated that between 2.5% and 3% of all Muslim marriages are polygamous and the practice is more prevalent in the states of Pahang, Terengganu and Kelantan. The survey also revealed that polygamy had taken a financial toll on the families of the first wives. A total of 44% of them had to take on extra work as their husbands could not provide for them as they had done before. Most of the respondents in the survey had a household income of between RM1,000 and RM3,000.
Prof Datin Dr Rashidah Shuib, one of the researchers, said the Syariah Courts needed to evaluate carefully whether a man could be fair to his existing wife or wives when considering requests for polygamy.
“Rotation is one of the most important elements in polygamous marriage. However, our survey shows that the husband cannot be fair to everyone as time is a scarce commodity,’’ said the Universiti Sains Malaysia lecturer.