Single parent or triple parent?

I stood in for my PS yesterday as he couldn't make it to be the guest of honour at one mosque's forum on a better family life (keluarga bahagia dan diberkati). The forum itself is run of the mill with the panelists advising the audience that couples should as usual be nice to each other, respect each other etc kind of thing. But during the Q&A sessions, out of the many, two questions stood out.

The first questioner was asking about the position of a colleague of his whose wife has just passed away leaving him with their two children ages 1 and 2. He wanted to know whether it is wise for this newly widowed husband to get married. He did not state the reasons but one can guess what the reasons are - physical, emotional etc. The answer given by the forum panelists were not very clear. All I got was at the end of the day, you have to decide for youselves. I am not sure whether that's the answer we were looking for but then I am not sure whether that was the right forum to raise it. But it does set one's mind thinking from both the male and female angle. Should he and if he should, why? What happened if it's reverse? Should she and if she should, why?

A second questioner was asking about the position of a polygamist practisioner. I guess this is related to the above. The hypothetical person decided to take the plunge and got himself another partner. The questioner was how can he achieve 'keluarga bahagia' when most polygamists in practise find it difficult to maintain harmonious relationship between the two partners. When I heard that, to me one of the easy way to have keluarga bahagia is not be in that situation in the first place. But then to each his own. Again the panelist's answers were a bit off the mark but I think it was deliberately so. They were focussed on the need for that particular individual to be 'adil' or just to all his spouses. I wish him luck.

These two situations are apparently quite common in Brunei. Road traffic accidents apparently is the 10th biggest contributor of deaths in Brunei Darussalam. There are a number of children whose parents have died due to car accidents and these tended to be very young families. So there are a number of cases where the husband or the wife has to decide whether or not to remarry.

But even if not for accidents, single parents due to divorces are also rising. In 2001, there were 306 divorces among Muslims but it was 380 by 2004. Surprisingly out of that number, 92 divorces occur among couples who have been married between 10 to 14 years. I know of a couple who had been together for umpteenth years suddenly divorcing and the wife recently remarried. What will happen to the children? Will the husband or the wife takes care of them? So this is becoming to be a real issue for children who are affected by deaths and divorces. Whereas polygamists raise another issue altogether which I would not like to go through. All these issues are polarising issues and I am sure may readers out there have their personal opinions.


p o t a t o said…
I am personally against divorces. When hatred comes in, it doesn't mean that the relationship is doomed. When permanent indifference sinks in, that's when it ends. There is very few in relationship that can't be solved. For those cases (only) a divorce is best.

Polygamy, on the other hand, is an issue I'm a fence-sitter of. If I'm the first wife, I'd be furious/sad that my husband (hypothetically) would want to marry again. But it does give me some more time for myself. If I'm the second wife, I don't think I can live with the label "Pencuri Suami" given that the madu gives no consent. But then again, love is consumed through marriage.

Death of a life partner is another issue. If the person seeks to find companionship, why not. Some people can live without life partners, some can't. Other factors such as age, status, financial well-being & existing family structure are likely play a central role.

Love can be found & nourished. But it can never be forgotten. Ada yang menunggu untuk bertemu semula di pintu syurga, ada yang move on. But love can never be forgotten.

Note: I've never been married/dimadukan/experienced the death of a life partner, so my arguments are based on observations.

Let's hear it from the Married Ones. =)
Anonymous said…
Not to get into the grim details and arguments about polygamy.. just remember Islam allows man to have 4 wives- as long as the wife or wives know and bless the relationship. It would just mean that the Husband would have to work twice as harder to maintain both relationships and treating them fair and equal with each lifestyle aspect he provides them with.

There is nothing wrong in marrying again after the death of your partner, if for the right reasons i.e. my child needs a mother. But there is a time period before you are allowed to marry I think.. and about the divorces, in Ugama or shariah law it is said that the mother should take care of the child and should always have custody no matter what. However the husband can also have sole custody but must also allow for the wife to take care of the child unless the wife is unfit to be a carer.

Same here akatsuki, these are just my opinions of what I have known, observed and learnt. Nice post Mr. BR, it will definitely raise more opinions/debates on this issue.. which would be interesting. Cheers. God Bless!
m o g L i e said…
It gets worse if emotions run deep into the problem. Unfortunately the Kids get trapped in the crossfire more often when divorce is seen as the last resort.

Give time to be reflective of the situation and come back another day to make the decision. By then you'll be grateful that you didn't fall into the trap of making undue rash decison.

Bear in mind that it's only just one decision to take to change the whole perspective of your life, so be wise and like I said take time to decide.
Anonymous said…
This might be off topic (sorry about that!) but I am confused about Islam and its views about taking on second (etc) wives.
Islam permits second, third and fourth marriages. Does it also condone the act of adultery? How does a man not cross the line of adultery yet take on a second wife?
And I have read (in literature published in the West)that Islam permits these marriages in the past because it was a harsh time and that men were allowed to do so to protect unmarried women (and not for the reasons of "young wife *wink*wink*nudge*nudge*" that we have so often today). Is this true as well?

Thanks Mr BR for letting us confused people out there to have somewhere to go to get unbiased opinions about cloudy issues.
Anonymous said…
before you get confused, adultery can only happened if you are not legally married. since islam allows more than one wife (but all have to be legally married) so the issue of adultery does not arise. if a muslim man only has one legal wife and he then has a sexual relationship with another whom he has not married, then that is adultery. But if he married her, then it isn't.

for a muslim to have one wife, he must be fair to all of them according to the quran. if he cannot be fair, then he is advised not to marry. even in Brunei, before one can marry a second wife, a judge will convene a hearing whether or not you can afford one. if you can't then permission will not be granted.

yes, you are right. polygamy was originally allowed in the past because of the situation especially during the wars. there were a number of widows and the men were encouraged to take more than one wife so to help protect the widows and their families. today, unfortunately many choose to marry because of other reasons.
Anonymous said…
Its a very touchy issue. Sometime Partners (Husband & Wife that is) stay married for the sake of their children although there is love lost between them long time ago. Who's to blame? Certainly not the children. But the arrival of young ones thus strain a relationship. Why? Probably each others have the tendency of thinking that each other are not carrying an equal weight and responsibility. Perhaps. Or probably they just cannot stand each. Why? Is it because of modern times where men and women has an equal opportunity in developing their academic credentials thus women has a lot tos say in a relationship and each others responsibility. Is this the way to go? I do believe that women / wives can achieve anything academically and be successful career wise. But when it comes to marriage, men / husbands should have the authority in running a family. The modern times now are different. More and more women / wives are more aggressive which makes men / husband loose face when their authority are challenged. Is this the product of modern times? Shall we embrace as it is?
This is one of the factor that divorce rate are getting hire every year. I bet they are probably around 50% in Brunei endure unhappy marriage in their life time that they hang on to till the day they died. Its a reality not all marriage are happy ones. Who's to blame now? Is it men are just different from women? Or women have so many hormones issues that need to be dealt with?
That makes me wonder. Why do men / women fell in love on the first place? I know at first they love each other and they want to consumate the relationship. But why get married and be miserable for the rest of your life? Incompatibility issues? Personality clashes? I think there are a lot of issues to be dealt with to get to the bottom of failed relationship. Nuff Said.
Anonymous said…
Talking about Divorce! It's just a quick way to escape the problem. Thinking that after divorce everything will be nicer. WRONG!! Judging Pro and Con of divorce, Pro is more than Con especially for the Children. The children might take the same approach for his/her future marriage. The effect will go on for generations.

What about love for the spouse? There are many different types of love.

At the beginning, when we are younger, the romatic love and homone played major part. As we aged and the children come into the scene, romatic love still there but we have to WORK on it to make sure that it's still burning, cos time is limited and divided between spouse, children, family and work (if any) especially for the woman, after going through the hormonal changes with childbirth and monthly PMS. Husband and Wife have to be nderstanding and accept the facts that situation changes, it's different now. Hot and passionate LOVE changes to LOVE with understanding and acceptance. Both parties have to put in special effort and open COMMUNICATION is the most important. Willingness to try is extremely important as well. Running away or getting another woman are not the solution.

Grass from the other side of the river might not be greener.

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