What Is Wrong With Polygamy?

The recurring reason for divorce in America is marital infidelity by either party. Research shows that men are more likely to cheat on their wives than women. Taking all these together means that men are more polygamous in nature than woman. Let us be real about this and tell ourselves the truth. Which is better: to have more than one wife fully recognized and accorded all her rights or to have one wife with uncountable mistresses or concubines? What is going on in the society today shows that sexual immorality is on the increase, no thanks to the computer/internet age. There are lots children outside wedlock or inside the closet, what happens to their psychology of being rejected by their biological fathers. Also sexually transmitted diseases are on the increase. So why not bring the mistresses home and accord them same respect and status as ‘legal’ wives.

We have many women roaming around without husbands to call their own or to be co-owners. It is outdated and a misnomer in our modern society to say that women are chattels of their husbands. We have women that have reached the apex of their careers but their life is not complete and our society does not accord them any status or respect because they are not married. Some women even sponsor their own wedding since their spouse cannot afford to even pay their bride price. Our society value women that are on top as regards their profession; but only when marriage is icing in the cake of those achievements. Some modern women are no longer worried about the quality of their husbands. Before, they would make the laundry list of qualities they want in their Mr. Right; but now since they could not get even half of those qualities from one person, the have no choice than to lower the bar. That is the reality of life. I have seen some ladies that grew up in a well-to-do family, had quality education and currently work in big banks, oil companies, communication industries, stock brokerages, and even managers in big corporation or government establishments, yet they are not married because the standard they set for their ideal men is too high to achieve. Now some even get some men and try to brush them up to reach that acceptable standard. Some even get married to please the society whether or not they are happy in the marriage, just to change their status from “single” to “married” even though they would do whatever they want as the so-called husband could not exert any amount of control over them. Some even keep themselves from buying cars or buying expensive properties, thinking that it would drive men away from them.

So who would marry all these high performing ladies? With economic realities of our time, men cannot even afford to get married, let alone marry more than one wife. Still there are some that are very wealthy. They are the ones, some of which have retinue of mistresses and concubines since they have money to throw about. They are the ones that I suggest should marry more than one wife if, apart from their economic power, they have the maturity, judgment and psychological stability that go with the polygynous family. If a man has four wives, and contemplates purchasing a BMW car for one, he better be sure that he can afford four BMW cars or better cars for all the wives. Also if wants to purchase a house in Ikoyi or Victoria Island, he must be able to buy four houses for his four brides, otherwise he would be courting disaster.

There was a highly educated lady I discussed with about this issue of polygamy and what she said shocked me. She was as honest as she was blunt. She told me that “all men are dogs; forget all these good boy look of some”! She told me that she has been privileged to have the confidence of older and more mature men who took her as their confidant. She told me that these men told her in all honesty, that there is 80% chance that her future husband would cheat on her repeatedly and that the earlier she gets accustomed to that fact of life, the better for her. She told me that they even told her that all men cheat on their wives but the degree of cheating between one man and another is what makes the difference. Though I totally disagree with her, I admit that there are some elements of truth but that 80% is very high and staggering figure.

Though they are in the minority, some women do not find it strange that a man would have more than one wife. Some even are open to the idea of being married to a polygynous man. In fact, a lady was telling about a friend of hers that was a third wife of a certain rich man. She told me that her friend was living happily as she has her own house, car and houseboys/maids “ministering” to her. Asked about her opinion about that, she told me that she has no problems with that as long as she gets her own due. The only problem, according to her is if she does not have equal access to the man as would the other wives. She told me that she prefers that her husband brings the mistresses out in the open and marry them so that she would know who her official competitors are. Also that way, instead of one pair of eye watching the man’s moves, it would be, say 3 or four pair of eyes.

So my take is if men or even women could be married several times and be divorced the same amount of times, why not keep all of them together since one cannot get everything from a particular woman or man. If a woman can get married to three men at the same time, I do not see the reason why the law would tell her no. The only problem is that in most African society, I do not see a woman that would have the courage to do same or even a man that would be so cheap to be husband #2 or #3. I don’t see a family that would encourage their daughter to marry more than one husband let alone be involved in polyandry. No matter how exposed or educated a woman is, polyandry is adultery in my culture. Abomination some would say!

Solomon in his wisdom had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines (1 King 11:3) but in our foolishness, our law sticks to one man, one wife. Though they turned his heart away from the Lord, it was not because of their number but because they are from other tribes and worshipped other gods.

So in conclusion, I think that the law of bigamy and the prohibition against polygamy is no longer a good law since whatever condition it was meant to solve or arrest is no longer relevant. Prohibition of polygamy has no authority in the bible and Christians should be left with their conscience. People should be free to make their own independent decision as to what kind of marriage they want. It is not the business of the government to dictate people’s personal lives. So knowing the advantages and disadvantages of polygamous family, it is up to the person to know what is good for him. To paraphrase what our great Chinua Achebe would say “he who wants to swallow an apple (“udala”) seed would first of all go and inspect the size of his anus.”

CSN: 39304-2008-14-28


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