Monogamy and polygamy are the two different kinds of marriages that exist in the world today in which the former is regarded as the norm and the latter as the exception to the rule. These social patterns for marriage have differentiating circumstances encompassing their views. Monogamy, common in the developed countries, is whereby a person has one spouse at any one time. In contrast, polygamy, which is commonly favored in the traditional African and Muslim setting, takes place when a single male marries more than one female.
The practice of monogamy has been held in high esteem and is considered as the social expectation of anyone in a romantic, sexual relationship. However, as much as this practice has been ingrained in popular culture, it should not continue to be socially expected, demanded of people. We should rethink this cultural sexual norm. The practice of polygamy has been unlawful in the United States since 1862. However, it has not been enforced strictly. The Mormon Church is well known for allowing this kind of marriage until the year 1980 when it outlawed it.
It is important to note that the practice of polygamy is composed of polygyny and polyandry. Polygyny is whereby a man has at least two wives. On the other hand, polyandry is whereby a woman has at least two husbands. As much as monogamy has been held in high esteem by the developed world, its basic function as the center of civilization has not been understood properly. Most people hold the false perception that monogamy leads to a peaceful social contract, which is the basis for cultural harmony and economic growth. This vague awareness has never been explored intensively. No one has expressed that the practice of having one spouse at a time is merely an ancient compromise whose failure only leads to antagonisms that people have failed to acknowledge for a long time. After all, this practice is regarded as the result of the age-old sexual dance, apart from others whose characteristics may not be so appealing.
Similar to every hard-worn compromise, monogamy is not able to give a perfect result to every person. Closer examination of this practice reveals numerous private dissatisfactions, which remain a form of “deviance” that is generally suppressed and disapproved by most people. Although this “deviance” has proved to be virtually impossible to eradicate, it has formed a nagging undercurrent of displeasure within any monogamous culture. Our society currently is full of children born out of wedlock, sexual infidelity, public prostitution, and an ever-increasing rise in divorce rate. However, if we rethink our sexual cultural norm, we can be able to eliminate some of these evils. This is because some of these evils have resulted since the system of monogamy is unable to make every person happy. It is true that a marked variability exists among people and they often want to be paired with their desirable sexual partners.
Because of these, discontentment will always exist under the system of monogamy. Marriage is considered the best of all human institutions since it perpetuates the human race, lays the foundation of an organized society, and leads to the sharing of responsibilities. However, we are aware that these benefits have been denied to many, especially the women. Even as they have been deprived of their rights, the fault is not theirs. Since they possess the same susceptibilities for love that others have, they would prefer a wedded life. The fault can be traced to the tyrannical regulations and the fashions of the artificial system of social life that is practiced in this century.
The culture of monogamy must be at fault since it is incapable of giving every one on this planet his or her marriage partner. On the other hand, the system of polygamy does not deprive women the benefits of marriage. The fact that women who are ready for marriage are more than men who are ready for marriage further illustrates this proposition. The surplus of women is due to men dying during warfare, violent incidences, and women living for many years than men. This proves that the system of monogamy is in itself unequal and unjust. It has been proven that women generally mature faster than men do; therefore, young women become marriageable at a much earlier age. Even after reaching marriageable age, most men prefer to devote most of their years working before they start to assume matrimonial duties.
The result is that most men wed at a later period in their lives. Therefore, if monogamy will continue to be socially expected, then more women will fail to enjoy a marriage life. Furthermore, it has been observed that many men just do not want to marry even after acquiring the means of supporting a family.
A number of them no longer have their youthful desires. In contrast, some have acquired decided habits of celibacy and others are too gay to think of marriage. More so, some are too busy or too selfish and others have been diseased by the contagious poison of low vice which makes them unfit for marriage. On the other hand, the female sex is less susceptible to these difficulties and few of them are usually unwilling to marry.
This is because they are naturally dependant on their male counterparts. This dependency is more evident in a marriage relationship. Therefore, it is only in marriage that women are able to fulfill their highest destiny in life. However, monogamy is cruel and oppressive and denies many women from reaching this state in life.
Some argue that polygamy is a means of poverty because of the increase of family responsibilities. However, honestly, they fail to notice that a polygamous marriage is more economically secure than a monogamous one. This is because there is an added income, another pair of hands to run the family errands, or perhaps another shoulder to lean on in times of crises. To this end, it is clear that monogamy, which has been held in high esteem for many years, should not continue to be socially expected in our modern world.
Polygamy can assist in holding families together and lowering the incidences of infidelity that are common in the society. In a situation in which a wife is barren, the man, in order to preserve his lineage, can comfortably get another wife without throwing out the barren one. If a wife is suffering from a chronic illness, polygamy prevents illicit relationships from taking place.
In addition, since men are outnumbered, polygamy is able to deter women from engaging in prostitution to fulfill their sexual desires.