The arguments often assembled against the practice of polygamy by its antagonists is the weak claim that it undermines and relegates the worth of womanhood and promotes inter-family squabbles and rivalries among component members of such families. This is apparently a faulty and weak argument on the concept and practice of polygamy.
After a continued and careful practical research into the practice of polygamy, it is my considered opinion that polygamy enhances societal cohesion and integration and inhibits social pollution occasioned by incidents of single parenthood, indiscriminate divorce, marital estrangements and infidelity. A greater number of women than one are kept within a legal, acceptable bound of marriage without any notion of illegitimacy of children. Within this seemingly relatively complex family orientation, the children growing up within this family world of micro heterogeneity are better prepared to embrace the much complex diversity of the outside world.
We must however not fall into the error of stereotypically taking polygamy as a flawless model of human relationships immune to social maladies, it is not. But we must equally refrain from classifying it as being primitive simply because the Whitemen claim it is.
What about monogamy? It is simply a one man, one woman arrangement. It is a common knowledge that only very few principled men are truly monogamous. Even where monogamy is lawfully and socially enforced without options as they in the West, many men often know to maintain chains of concubines or mistresses secretly or openly. These women and the products of these relationships are often abandoned in the cold to survive away from the protective environment of a complete family or that of a fatherly image; a threat to the society.A legally enforced monogamy as is done in the West is a tacit encouragement to wanton divorce. The rate of divorce/separation in the West is terrifying. There’s hardly a worse social evil than ‘working’ a lady into a marriage only to look for reasons for a divorce because you desire to take another wife or because she can’t give you a child or she has become unable to satisfy your sexual demands. It traumatizes her and set her against all male folk.It’s more grievous when she has children for the man, they become preys of circumstances; a threat to social order.
How can monogamy be conceptualized from this frequent divorce and remarrying? It is rather a hypocritical and a serial form of polygamy.
On the claim that polygamy is unbiblical and inimical to the Christian faith citing the first creation of Adam and Eve, I have this to say; The import of the creation of a male and female at the beginning by God was to demonstrate that human cohabitation for the purpose of procreation is only permissible within the bound of heterosexual union. There was no divine foreclosure to polygamy provided it follows the ordained pattern of union; male and female.
The patriarchs of the Christian faith knew this and practiced it without any divine reprimand. Except you want to claim the OT is no longer of any consequence and so are people like Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon and a host of others.But this order and many other biblical practices were all destroyed slowly by the Romans and replaced with their universally projected laws and culture during their universal conquest and domination.
The Romans were notoriously monogamous due to an inherent exclusivity in monogamy. It was enforced even on their own monarchs and nobles. Even Napoleon the great conqueror who crowned himself could not overthrow this law, and had to divorce his beloved wife, Josephine in order to marry another so as to yield a son. Such facts and examples are clearly evident in European history. They would have one wife but their households were set up as an unofficial harem of servant girls. What hypocrisy!!! The Christianity we have today is still very much Romanized where monogamy is Law rather than being Hebraic in nature where polygamy was well accepted in the sight of God and man.
I do not subscribe to legal regulation of type of marriage. It should be the free choice of the parties concerned to decide.
Akpogwu is a legal practitioner and contributed this piece from Abuja