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Recently, I have watched a documentary about whether polygamy can be a solution for single parenthood, and singles in general, or not. So, it caught my attention and made me curious to know more. For me, one thing was certain: in all societies, polygamy is one of the most controversial issues for which no one has been able to find any definitive solution. Indeed, when it comes to this topic, people’s reactions differ. Some are completely against, others are for and some believe that polygamy is the solution to some family problems. I got confused, so I decided to look for someone who would answer all my questions and clarify things for me. Actually, the first person that came to my mind was Ms. Karima (my uncle’s wife) because she is a Sociologist and has extensive knowledge. In addition, she is a child of polygamy: her dad had three wives, including her mother, which means that she has enough data concerning this topic. Ms. Karima is also a sympathetic and helpful person, so I could not think of anyone else besides her to help me find the answers. On a sunny day, we went to a cozy café near the beach and ordered a delicious breakfast. After finishing our meal and our discussion on this and that, I started my questionnaire. In fact, the main questions I asked were: Are you for or against polygamy? What can you say about your personal experience as a child of a polygamous father? Do you think that polygamy could be a solution for single parenthood and singles?
Right after I asked her, Ms. Karima was deep in thought, took a deeper breath and then began to respond by saying: “Well.…, Of course, I’m against Polygamy. I will not talk only about my personal experience or myself, but also about the social, economic and psychological reasons.” When she mentioned the psychological and economic aspects, I became more interested in the topic so I asked her to start by explaining them. Then she said: “Polygamy has been practiced since time immemorial because even in the Old Testament we do read about it. But with the revolution and the development of human life, these things change. Thus, even if our ancestor used to practice polygamy comfortably, we must take into consideration that the setups and the conditions of their generation were completely different from those of our generation. In fact, they were better off, if we took into consideration the economic and the financial levels.” She continued her discussion by giving me the example of education and said: “Education was not even as expensive as today, our grandfathers had many lands and their wives were living comfortably, in addition to this, women empowerments nowadays are making things harder for men. Having a lot of lands will not be enough to satisfy the women of the 21st century.”
After giving me more arguments than I was expecting concerning the economic level, my uncle’s wife Ms. Karima, move on to the psychological aspects and reasons and said: “In the past, people were not taking care or analyzing the emotional stress they live in, women in our society by then were naïve and accepted things as they come. Thus, even if the economic conditions were favorable in the past, the psychological conditions were not. And to answer your question about my personal experience, I will say that because of polygamy I have lived in a distant relationship with my beloved father. He has not been able to maintain the same relationship with all his wives and treat them equally. I have often watched my mother crying silently and struggling with me as well as my brother alone. The worst thing is that I have never seen her complaining about it or trying to change her situation, but instead, she was sacrificing herself for her children and suffering alone. To tell you the truth, I don’t think that polygamy could be a solution for anyone. I think it’s better to stay single and to raise your children by yourself, than to make them share a father with others.” To be honest, what Ms. Karima told me touched me a lot, and helped me with my researches on polygamy. It also, makes me aware of the conditions and the effects of such a phenomenon.
Polygamy has always been related to the social status of the polygamous men. According to the Good Men Project: “In most cases, people who were economically stable would marry more than one wife, while the poor ones would go for a monogamous marriage for economic stability.” “It was actually, regarded as a symbol of realizing economic success.” That, actually, confirms what Ms. Karima told me about our grandparents, and their economic situation. On the other hand, Polygamy has many awful effects on children and families. When men cannot treat their women and children equally, conflicts start within the family, either between the children and their father or between wives. Living with many partners at the same time can’t be an ordinary thing to do, especially when the concerned man is not able to maintain the same relationship with everyone.
Furthermore, Polygamy can also be a beneficial thing for women, and according to Psychology Today: “Polygamy might benefit the women involved, who may come to enjoy one other’s company and share out the burdens of housekeeping and childrearing.” Indeed, this is a very interesting point because we should not only pay attention to the negative sides of sharing a husband and a house, since it might also have many great effects and consequences. To tell the truth: that was the only point, I do not agree on with Ms. Karima.
In conclusion, I think that people can consider polygamy as a form of marriage, but not as a “normal form” of marriage. Polygamy is, and will always be, a harmful element in the “child of polygamy” life. It affects their social life as well as their student life and professional life in a very dangerous way. These kids have no control over what is happening in their life, so parents should be careful while taking decisions and planning for their future.
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