- Psychologist Zahraa al-Musawi has developed a program to help women accept being second wives by dealing with their jealousy.
- Al-Musawi's study compared a woman's desire for attention from her husband to a child's desire for attention from their parents.
- Her guide involves teaching women how to "accept" the situation they are in, and accept a man's right to marry more than one wife.
- Her advice includes focusing on self-confidence, getting rid of self-blame, and ignoring criticism.
A psychologist in the UAE has developed a program to help women accept being a second wife, comparing a woman who is angry when a man marries another to a first-born feeling left out when a new sibling is born.
Zahraa al-Musawi conducted a study to figure out why it is that women resist their husbands marrying second, third or fourth wives, putting it down to jealousy. In the study, she acknowledges that a man marrying another would lead to anxiety, depression, and anger.
Her study emphasized the analogy of a married woman being like a child; she craves attention from her husband the way a child craves attention from their parents. If a new wife is in the picture, like a child who had a new sibling, she will suffer from withdrawal symptoms, which will leave her depressed, according to al-Musawi’s research.
Her solution? No, not guiding a woman to decide what she wants, and to walk away if she feels she is being wronged.
It's actually to teach women to “accept” the situation, and accept that her husband has every right to marry another woman.
Al-Musawi created a five-stage program, all of which is supposed to counsel a woman and train her into “loving herself enough to submit to the situation”:
1. Understanding why ‘men need to marry more than one’
The first session is focused on 'debunking' questions that naturally form in a woman’s mind after she is faced with the situation of polygamy being imposed on her. Al-Musawi seeks to address questions such as “is there something wrong with me?” and “does he not love/want me now that he has another wife?”
She claims that this session is supposed to rid the woman of her own bias against polygamy to understand “the man’s” perspective and to respect it.
The second session focuses on the woman’s self-confidence. She urges that a confident woman will be minimally phased by her husband marrying another woman.
In this session, she aims to rid what she refers to as the “irrationality” that leads to women being upset when her husband marries another woman.
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3. Ridding self-blame
The third session teaches women to rid self-blame. She sets to explain to women that her husband has not married another woman because there is anything wrong with her, rather it is allegedly the course of life.
She claims that a woman who truly accepts herself will accept the situations her husband has put her in, and that a real woman will not allow “external influences” to “break her home” by leaving her husband.
With this al-Musawi brings a strong implication that a woman who resists polygamy is a woman who is insecure.
4. Seeking support
The fourth session is about seeking a form of assistance or support when the depression and anxiety get too much while she is in the process of accepting her fate.
Al-Musawi here tells women to find someone to confide in and lean on others for emotional support in the process of “adapting to this life change”.
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5. Ignoring ‘not enough of a woman’ criticisms
At times, when a man takes another wife, the first wife is usually blamed. Rumours may come out claiming that she is not a competent enough wife, or is not woman enough for her husband.
The fifth session is supposed to teach women to ignore such remarks and to continue moving on with her life.
For many reasons, throughout history, polygamy has historically been an attribute of Arab culture.
In August, a hashtag emerged out of Saudi Arabia calling on men to marry multiple women in order to “cure spinsterhood” in young women.
The hashtag, translating to “multiple wives cures spinsterhood” calls for men to marry more than one woman in order to stop the so-called epidemic in the rise of young women not getting married.
There are many reasons behind women not wanting to get married, from not finding a suitable partner, to not wanting a partner, to prioritizing other aspects of life like education and career.
However, according to the hashtag, being a woman and single is a condition in which women must be saved from, and men must rise up to the responsibility of doing so.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
Copyright @ 2020 The New Arab.