I often wonder what kinds of vows are made by men getting into polygamous marriages.“…I promise to love only you and Jane until death do us part..or until I meet Anne..Whichever comes first.”
Marriage comes with so much sacrifice and hard work. It takes a lot of patience and humility to be married. And that is a great, great challenge. Why would any man in their right mind want more than one wife? And why would any woman want to share their husband with another woman?
Some people argue that with polygamy comes a larger workforce and more income – relative if you ask me. Other people argue that the ratio of women to men is quite large, which makes it necessary for men to take more than one wife. Otherwise most of us women would die lonely old spinsters. For some, the fact that polygamy is part of our cultural heritage is a compelling argument.
Granted, polygamy has been a tradition in many cultures. And it may once have made a lot of sense to be polygamous. Men went off to war and were killed, a lot of field hands were required to cultivate the acres of land owned by families, widowed women and their children could be cared for in a period when women could not fend for themselves, wives from different communities gave men political mileage.
It seems that polygamy was more of a survival tactic back then because men and women had clearly defined roles and personalities. While men solved problems and protected the family, women nurtured children and kept the house clean. Today, women and men cannot be defined by these traditional roles. Today, most women believe in individual freedom and personal responsibility. Women are no longer passive or voiceless but rather assertive and confident and independent. Women’s social roles have expanded greatly. Women have been drawn out of the home and into the corporate world; into public life. Marriage has seized to become a means of survival for women; it is now an optional means to have companionship and legacy.
So what is the justification for polygamy today? Some people feel pride in having large nuclear families; others are seeking sexual gratification with a variety of mates. In other cases men live their wives in the rural area and travel to the city to look for jobs and while in the city, marry again. Are these valid reasons to practice polygamy? Is polygamy a deterrent to infidelity?
While some may argue that polygamy is better than unfaithfulness, serial marriage or divorce, nothing beats the core relationship of one woman to one man. It is impossible for a man to love each wife equally and to commit to each wife equally-unless of course each wife is cared for less than adequately.
Polygamy today is about ego and over sexuality. It is no longer obligatory for anyone to marry more than one wife. It is an archaic practice in this era of equal opportunity and a dwindling economy. It is a barbaric practice carried out by some in the name of tradition, and by some, in the name of religion. Female genital mutilation and ritual killings were cultures practiced (and are still being carried out) in some cultures but have been openly denounced as morbid and heartless acts. Polygamy should be denounced as baseless and immoral and psychologically abusive to women and children.
Polygamy has been said to conform to man’s natural instinct for more than one woman. This only serves to reduce the human race to that of wild animals where heinous behaviour is excusable. This argument is a poor and desperate excuse for people seeking to hold onto prehistoric ideals.
While different cultures continue to embrace polygamy, it is not enough to practice it just because one can. The fact of the matter is that, there is no single valid reason for the practice of polygamy today.