Scientists have posited that monogamy is not natural. Increased divorce rate and incidents of infidelity seem to support this view, which has led some opinion leaders and the lay man to conclude that societies would benefit from adopting polygamy!
Supporters for and against both lifestyles are very passionate. It may seem like straddling the fence, but I am not for or against either... like most things in life, they both have advantages and disadvantages. It's up to you to decide which best suits you. To help you make an informed decision, let's look at it objectively.
We all know what monogamy is - the union of two people who share sexual pleasures and intimacy exclusively with each other. Polygamy is the state where a man has more than one wives. Many mistakenly associate polygamy with Muslims, or if you're Jamaican like me, members of the Rastafarian community. However, Christianity also embraces polygamy, with men of God like Abraham and Solomon having more than one wives. Though I wouldn't want such a relationship, I feel it's hypocritical to say I believe in God and condemn or make unlawful, that which he doesn't have a problem with.
Some say polygamy would cut back or eliminate infidelity. But men in my country (and elsewhere, I'm sure) are sex oriented; they see polygamy as a legal and culturally accepted way of getting more vagina. However, polygamy is governed by rules and has criteria. For it to work, there has to be the following prerequisite:
1. The man has to be financially able to maintain all his wives (on this grounds alone, most men wouldn't qualify).
2. All wives have to be treated equally. This extends not only to material possessions/ money, but intimacy and affection also. No favouritism allowed!
Conversations with my male friends yield this surprising information: while a man may have 5 or 10 sexual partners, he invariably gets emotionally attached to 1 or 2. Based on that, I don't think most men would have the emotional wherewithal to treat all his would be wives equally.
From a religious perspective, polygamy was allowed to provide for the maintenance of women and children who were widowed or orphaned when the male population was decimated by war. Polygamy is family oriented, and where a man uses it only for sexual gratification without consideration for his wife and children, it causes strain on the family structure.
A woman should never agree to polygamy if she knows she is jealous, or just to keep a man. Things will be fine once her life partner is devoted only to her, but the relationship will get toxic with resentment if he falls in love with another woman and fathers other children. In this case, she can't say the man broke her heart, as she was complicit in her own pain.
Marriages exist to nurture us spiritually, emotionally, physically and sexually. Sex is a spiritual activity that bonds us in the spirit realm, so it shouldn't be taken lightly. Polygamy and monogamy are the same in that, neither is better or worse for us. There are happy polygamous couples and sad monogamous couples; the reverse is also true. It depends on your personality, what you want in life and what you feel comfortable with.
Haneefah is the creative Director of her recently formed internet station Island Beat TV, and host of Owambe Jam, a cultural event to celebrate World Poetry Day.