Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Marital relationship of polygamy

Polygamy is a marital relationship involving multiple spouses and occurs in several forms. The most common form of polygamy occurs when a man has more than one wife at the same time, known as polygyny. Polygamy has been a prominent feature in most communities worldwide. It is deeply rooted in the early lifestyles of human ancestors.

Polygamy is legally practiced in various countries in the Middle East, Asia and Africa, although not practiced by all.

While women might initially feel uncomfortable and envious when a new woman enters the household, these sentiments usually fade away to ensure harmonious relationships and the equal treatment of the wives. Socio-anthropological research suggests that the arrival of a second wife is mostly viewed by women in a monogamous union as a threat. This threat may be exploited by the husband to monitor his wife, who has in general no say in this decision

Children can be adversely affected by polygamous marriages. The rivalry between the co- wives more often than not prove damaging to the children in polygamous families. In addition, the thoughts and beliefs children encounter are controlled, allowing them only to learn polygamist beliefs, thus “blinding children from the existence of life outside polygamy”.

Polygamy in sub-Saharan Africa is not only a type of marriage but also a value system. In addition to making the control of sexually transmitted diseases difficult, the culture of polygamy also helps maintain a very high fertility level. It has thus contributed to the explosive population growth in sub-Saharan African countries since the 1950s when the transplantation of relatively cheap and effective health and sanitary technologies from developed countries began to substantially reduce the extremely high mortality level.

Traditionally, polygamy performed valuable social and cultural functions. These included the following, among others: it was a remedy to escape divorce due to infertility, because in African communities a marriage without procreation is incomplete; it was a solution to menopause as there was a cultural belief that some women may no longer engage in sexual activities but men will continue to do so; it was a legal response to address the problem of unmarried women snatching away other women's husbands due to the imbalance in the ratio of women and men.

There are places like Cameroon where polygamy is practiced due to economic factors. The conceptualization of wealth is the heart of this problem. Women and children are viewed largely as labourers and producers. Wives produce children and gardens, while girl children produce dowry, provide personal service, and are valuable for increasing garden income. 
Marital relationship of polygamy

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