Libido? Cupidity? Power (Clout) and Control, Social Status, Shortage of men, or simply because they can and the women allow it?
Your answer is as good as mine.
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Polygamy is the act of marrying multiple spouses, simultaneously or sequentially, without first divorcing the other spouse.
Sociologists have different terms when the man marries multiple wives. The act is called polygyny; and polyandry when the woman marries multiple men.
The term globally used though is polygamy and it is widespread among men; rather than women. This blog prefers the term polygamy to polygyny.
Where is Polygamy Practiced?
While polygamy is illegal in most countries, it is still an act practiced in parts of Africa and Asia.
Polygamy was practiced up till 1993 in France! Click here for a list of countries’ current statuses on polygamy.
Religious reasons permit men to marry several wives. For example, the Islamic religious tenets permit men to marry a maximum of four wives, with a caveat that they can afford to take care of the women and treat them equally. However, I know tons of moslem men who can’t afford to marry one wife let alone four, but nonetheless indulge in polygamy.
Likewise, I have known devout moslem men, though rare, who married only one wife till death.
What is disturbing though is that Christian men also marry several wives! Granted that the Quran/Koran (Islamic sacred texts) permits the moslem men to engage in polygamous acts, there is nowhere in the Bible where it is written that a man can marry several wives. Some might want to exemplify Solomon or David or Abraham and his sons. Before you do, first, it was not a religious permission; the men chose to do it of themselves, and secondly, that was Old Testament (pre-Christ); and thirdly, please note that God did not sanction their actions.
The Mormon is another religion that allows polygamy.
To avoid mistresses
Some men justify the act of polygamy by claiming that it is better to marry the women rather than hiding to have mistresses outside the home. The sad truth is that the men still have mistresses anyways.
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Another factor is that some women simply like to be “kept” women and be splurged with money and things. The men often pay the women’s rents or mortgages and everything else the women want and need.
History tells us that men married several women in order to have help on the farm and in their businesses. Such that the children also were put to work prematurely.
Certain cultures pressure the man to take on other women for various reasons which include:
- if the woman suffers from infertility and is unable to bear children, or
- if the woman bears sole sexes (that is, all boys or all girls), or
- simply and wickedly to force the woman to succumb to the man’s family pressures to let her know that her in-laws still control the man and/or relegate the woman to an inferior position in her home!
Should the men alone be blamed?
Maybe the onus should be on the women? Why would any woman agree to be number 2, or 5, or infinite? Why would any woman, knowingly, still agree to marry a married man? What makes the woman think that she will be different? It is often a matter of time. Seems once the woman bears the children, the man is out fishing again for a younger or more beautiful woman, and the cycle continues.
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While some younger women marry into polygamy because of wealth or fame, others do so because they believe that their marriageable years have eluded them.
I believe that there is a man for each woman. The gender ratio; that is, the ratio of male to female, according to world records is still insignificant. In 2019, female world data was 49.58%,, compared to 49.97% in 1960!
The above world data link is interactive. To compare the numbers for any given years, simply change the base year (in the picture below, it is 1960) and the comparable year (here it is 2019).
Polygamy is not a positive or progressive lifestyle. There’s a hypocritical living style where everyone claims to be happy, loving, and cordial with one another. The truth however is that none is as happy as they claim and everyone is fighting for the love and attention of the Patriarch who is often the glue holding the family together.
Even with maternal siblings (those who share the same mother), true love often seem to be lost or uncertain. Children are tagged as belonging to (or favored by) one parent rather than both parents. With this stance, the siblings are pitted against one another or against the other parent.
Is there any Derived Benefit(s)?
Frankly, the only beneficiary of polygamy is the man. He gets to have any woman any time he wants. He also tends to put the women on their toes competing for his attention, love, and/or money.
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Seriously, though, there might be some benefits derived from polygamy. I do not however advocate this form of marriage.
A few derived benefits, if true love were possible and exists within the home and its members, are that each member of the family has unique strengths, gifts, and skill sets that can be (or should be) shared and would be beneficial to all. Rather than looking outside, family members can depend on one another for those resources they would otherwise pay for. Bottomline, there’s ample help to go round.
Downside of Polygamy
I sincerely believe that men who indulge in polygamy are inconsiderate and can be described as both selfish or self-centered as they only live to satisfy their libido regardless of the feelings of their wives or children. They are unable to love the women equally or unconditionally. It is a loveless full house! They also are ignorant of the possibilities of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). The children become their mothers’ responsibilities as they do not have the full attention of their dad. Unfortunately, the mothers find themselves becoming “forced” single parents as they, not both parents, are responsible for the upkeep of their children.
There’s chaos where the man, wives, and children all live under the same roof. I often wonder about the sleeping arrangements and who gets to sleep with the man daily. Would it be on a rotation-basis? Or would it solely be the youngest wife? Again, your guess is as good as mine.
There’s also immense and unhealthy competition among the wives and the children. Should one woman’s child or children succeed (or be more successful), the other wives and children become jealous and envious. This often leads to the Joseph-saga (in the Bible where Joseph who was loved by their dad became the envy of his siblings. They plotted to sell him as a slave and lied to their dad that an animal killed him – some of us will remember the story and its ending). Some households resort to occultism and fetishes against one another. This is barbaric.
In addition, the first wife, who often is the oldest woman, sadly has to live in silence watching her husband daily exhibits his machoism with the younger women. What mental torture!
Many homes have been split (if not destroyed) on the demise of the patriarch of the family.
Whatever the reason(s) men choose to marry several women, or women choose to marry an already-married man, just as technology presently is to the world and is still evolving, the idea (or act) of polygamy is archaic should be eradicated in this modern world and its future.
Women should resist the urge to be second or nth fiddle, as well as the pressure to marry an “already-married” man. Don’t give up ladies, your man will surely come. No marriage is without continuous work. There is a saying that goes, “one wife, one trouble!” Marrying multiple wives therefore equates multiple trouble irrespective of the family front that appears in public.
Men ought to know how to love and love well. There are abundant resources to help those who need the help. Love is a continuous work.
Women are better off marrying monogamously than polygamously; just pray that the right man seeks you out.
Men, on the other hand, should do their part to curb their libido and control their appetite for more. Resist the urge to jump in-and-out of love and beds!
My two cents. Thanks for reading.
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