Becoming a second wife
2 Yemeni women sharing a house
She wanted an understanding and experienced husband
Eman Ali is 25 years old, married and lives in Sana’a. She graduated from University Art College and was an excellent and respected student. She always dreamt of a husband who was understanding and experienced, regardless of whether he was already married or not. She found one of her professors at the university to be such a man. He liked her personality and the way she talked. He respected her, helped her and took care of her.
When he proposed to her, her family accepted him because they knew that Eman wanted him despite the fact that he was already married. Eman was so happy for this marriage, and saw her future husband as much better than other younger men. She was willing to take complete responsibility of her husband and his other wife and children.
She became a second wife so she could be provided for
Fadia is a 30 year old housewife living in Sana’a. She is married and has a daughter. She has an average education and has five sisters and one brother. After her father’s death, her uncle took care of her family. He used to visit them and gave them some money and supplies.
When all her sisters got married, Fadia also wished to marry a man who could be like her father and provide for her everything she had been deprived of. So, when a man, Kareem, proposed to take her as a second wife she accepted despite the fact that her uncle refused. After being married a while problems started between Fadia and Kareem’s first wife, Nada, but Fadia tolerated everything so that the problems wouldn’t increase between her and her husband. Her brothers-in-law were always cursing her and telling people that Fadia wasn’t a good woman. One of them actually threatened to kidnap her and her daughter, and cursed her in the presence of their neighbors with no fear of his brother.
Fadia thinks that if she went back to her family house everyone would blame her for her choice to marry. She cannot go back to the suffering she ran away from. Besides, Fadia loves Kareem so much and loves all his children. As for Kareem, he loves both his wives very much and provides for them all their needs.
She married to escape her brothers’ bad treatment
Sana’a Ali is a 35 years old dressmaker who lives in Sana’a with her husband and one son. She has an average education. Her father died when she was only two years old, and her mother got remarried and left her and her two brothers, Mohammad and Mahdi, at their grandmother’s house. She lived without the feeling of her mother’s love, despite the fact that her grandmother tried to make up for that love. When she reached the seventh grade she left school and learned how to sew because there was no one to encourage her to keep going to school and learn. After a while, she decided to teach sewing and she earned a good amount money besides her sewing job.
When her brothers found out that she earned good money, they let her pay for all her needs herself. Moreover, problems arose between Sana’a and her brothers’ wives. They demanded she do their housework for them, and if she refused their demands, they told her brothers who caused more problems. Her brothers used to take her money and demeaned her in the presence of their wives. They didn’t even give her any food so that she could feed herself. She managed to make a small kitchen for herself in a lousy room in the backyard of the house where the rain leaked in. This situation continued for several years.
One day a man, Naji, proposed to her. He was the only man who had proposed to her. He was married and had six children, and wanted Sana’a as a second wife. Her brother refused the proposal, but Sana’a insisted on accepting it so that she could leave all her family miseries behind.
After a short period of time, she moved into her husband’s house, which was separate from the house of Naji’s first wife. Sana’a give birth to a baby boy and keeps on sewing. Naji keeps on going to see his first wife and children, but Sana’a doesn’t mind at all as she now lives in a much better situation than before.
By Nawal Zaid
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