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Old 02-05-2004, 07:30 PM   #1
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Polygamy and group marriage

Most people, I think, if asked for their opinion of polygamy or group marriage, they would say that it is wrong. I've always been taught that, but why, if you think it is wrong, do you feel that way?
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Old 02-05-2004, 09:17 PM   #2
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I think it's the basic idea that when one is married to another person and sleeps with anyone outiside THAT marriage it's considered cheating therefore a man with many wives(or whatever) would always be cheating on at least one person or another.
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Old 02-05-2004, 09:19 PM   #3
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But what if they are all consenting?
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Old 02-05-2004, 09:44 PM   #4
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There's no way it could be consenting 100% of the time. Most polygamy marriages is one man and many wives. The wives usually have their own bedrooms and he sleeps with one wife at a time. Let's say three of his wives wanted him on the same night, two of them are going to have to be denied. In that case it's always the man's choice and there is no true consent.
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Old 02-05-2004, 09:50 PM   #5
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I think its wrong because I think its unhealthy. There's always a chance of jealousy and rivalry between the multiple partners. Two or more wives might fight over the husband or become infuriated when the husband pays more attention to one wife than the other. There's always the chance for tension in the marriage.

I think its also unhealthy because there's always a chance of abuse by one of the spouses. A husband could bring in another wife without the approval of the first one. In order to maintain peace in the family and not have so much tension, the husband could become more domineering and controlling towards his wives to keep them under control so their rivalry won't cause any disruption, and the husband won't find himself in the middle of all things. He'll be in charge, and the wives would lose their control over time. I think that the women, especially the first one, would feel that she wasn't a good enough wife when her husband took in another one, and it might damage their self-esteem. I've read about Mormon women who ran away from polygamous marriages, and they talked about how emotionally abusive it was, that they were enraged with jealousy that they couldn't have their husband all to themselves; they had to share him with someone else. To everyone on the outside, they pretended to be happy, but on the inside they were miserable.

As for polygamy being consensual, I think it might make the marriage more difficult because if two people have to struggle to maintain communication and fulfill each other's needs, then how would it be with three, four or more people involved. All of them would have to take care of each other's every needs, not as if they are simply friends, but as lovers and life partners. And balancing the needs of everyone would cause tension since that's a lot of people to take care of. I think polygamy and group marriage would only make things more difficult, then in a two-people union.
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Old 02-05-2004, 10:20 PM   #6
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In many cases, the women in the polygamous marriage are under age at the time of marriage. Then it becomes a case of statutory, and/or actual rape. These girls have been forced into the marriages, frequently by their older male relatives. In other cases, these marriages are clans of people living in poverty, on the dole, with one patriarchal leader and a harem.

Sometimes the marriages "work" and the women claim to like the sisterhood of the experience.

Either way, it's not a partnership of equals, which modern heterosexual marrige has almost become.
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Old 02-05-2004, 10:21 PM   #7
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I cannot imagine the migranes I would have with more than one wife.
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Old 02-05-2004, 10:59 PM   #8
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Re: Polygamy and group marriage

Quote:
Originally posted by bonosloveslave
Most people, I think, if asked for their opinion of polygamy or group marriage, they would say that it is wrong.
I think you mean 'most people in the west'. Its a cultural thing. Some cultural habits make no sense to other cultures. A classic example is violence porn versus sex porn.

The USA appears to rate sex porn as more of an issue then violence porn. I can remember, and this is going back a long way, when one of the Mad Max movies was rated R is Australia and had a lower rating in the USA BUT The Blue Lagoon movie was rated R in the USA and PG (not for under 12s) in Australia. In the culture I was raised in, and still live in, a boob is not at all offensive where as people throwing boomerangs into the back of some blokes head is considerably more distressing.

The Janet Jackson Boob Incident. In Australia, its a joke. Nobody cares and the photo has been printed in our 'family newspaper' here. Not blurred, its just a boob. I think people from the USA would have a heart attack if they watched some of the Australian summer sports broadcasts where the cameras pan around the audience. Boobs galore. I believe some of the European countries are even more 'boob friendly'.

So what Im trying to say in a round about sort of way is that different cultures do things differently and unless people are getting hurt eg female genetalia mutilation or being forced into a marriage (underage or otherwise) I dont think people should pass judgement. (I mean that in a nice way, Im not trying to be nasty - just opinionated and bossy )
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Old 02-05-2004, 11:50 PM   #9
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I agree with beli... of course, I kind of have to, I'm training to be an anthropologist and the whole point of that is to look at other cultures on their own terms.
Historically, polygyny (one man marries several women) is by far the most common marital practice. Of course, historically, most of the time the woman's father, or another important figure in the society, tells her who to marry, and I'm definately not in agreement with that. Usually polygamy is practiced as more an economical arrangement than anything else - western society is one of the only societies known that holds the notion marriage should be exclusively for love. Often a man takes more wives in order to help farm his land, or because of the ties she will give him to important people, to show how wealthy he is because he can support so many women, or simply as a woman to bear his children.
Today I don't have a problem with it as long as all parties are old enough to understand the consequences of entering into such an agreement, and do so under their own free will. There's some polygynous groups (fundamental mormonism comes to mind) that frequently do marry off daughters at 14, and the leader of the group tells her that God said she must marry this man, and if she doesn't she's going to hell. To me, that's wrong.

Dread - the most common complaint from men with multiple wives is that it tires them out

Being that this thread is about polygamy (one person marries several others), I'm curious what some of you think about polyandry (one woman marries more than one man). It's practiced today in parts of Asia.
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Old 02-06-2004, 12:05 AM   #10
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Oh, I just found the gay marriage thread from which this thread came forth.

In answer to your question, Dr LoveSlave, as to why no one answered your question - its a soul searching question. If you have queries as to why you personally hold certain beliefs then you need to look into yourself, and the environment in which you were raised to answer the question. This kind of forum may help, and is a lot of fun (thanks for asking the question) but ultimately you are the only one who knows why you personally find anything right or wrong. </end of disposable advice>
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Old 02-06-2004, 05:40 AM   #11
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I live in a country where polygamy is legal and practiced. Many of the women I work with are first or second wives.
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Old 02-06-2004, 06:21 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by sulawesigirl4
I live in a country where polygamy is legal and practiced. Many of the women I work with are first or second wives.
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Old 02-06-2004, 06:44 AM   #13
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I dont think it's rape as such. I dont really like to see/hear of it, and especially as it is impossible to know how many of these wives are actually happy, but this is life by their terms and I can't decide it is wrong for them. It is, in my view, but they live by theirs, not mine. These are cultures we can't know without living it for a while.

I dont know how possible it is to love (the kind of love marriage requires) more than one person at once. Love takes a lot. To extend it to a few different people...I'd say I dont understand it, more than disapprove etc.
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Old 02-06-2004, 10:15 AM   #14
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It depends on one's culture and beliefs. I don't like the idea, but then I grew up in a culture where it's not allowed. The Mormons had a huge dispute over polygamy because originally their church allowed it, and it went all the way to the Supreme Court. Many Islamic countries allow it. Some of the wives in these countries aren't too keen on the idea. Some of these women do not want to share their husbands.
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Old 02-06-2004, 10:20 AM   #15
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Let's take it a step further. Is polygamy absolutely wrong, or should we leave this to the preferences of the individual?
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Old 02-06-2004, 12:13 PM   #16
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I think it should be left to the individual. Some group marriages can be consensual, so it wouldn't be wrong in that case. It probably wouldn't be a good idea, with all the tension around. But polygamy would be wrong if it gets abusive.

I guess you can't say polygamy is absolutely wrong, it does depend on the individual, and what sort of society he or she comes from, and what they are looking for in a
relationship(s).
From a Western point of view, it would be seen as wrong because its not necessary (economically and status-wise), women have more to say here, and so forth.
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Old 02-06-2004, 12:22 PM   #17
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I agree with beli completely.

In theory I think it should be a personal decisionóthatís the ďlive and let liveĒ part of me talking. But in practice, Iím not so sure it works here in the West. The Westerners who engage in polygamy are usually kind of messed up in one way or another (although even that is no one elseís business unless it is putting someone elseís life in danger). When people from other cultures where polygamy is practiced try to integrate into Western society while living according to the norms of their native country, other social problems emerge, such as in France where this has been a growing concern and the government has had to intervene and force separations, leaving the abandoned wives on their own and unable to make a living and integrate into society successfully. So while Iíd like to take a live and let live attitude, I think itís probably a complicated issue that has a lot of elements about which Iím uninformed.


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Old 02-06-2004, 12:27 PM   #18
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how can some of the same people who support gay marriage in turn put down polygamy? it's an alternative lifestyle, supported in some cases by one's own religious beliefs. so if you support opening up marriage to one "alternative" lifestyle, why in turn would you put down another? just because you don't believe in it? well you slam the people who don't believe in gay marriage, isn't it a bit hypocritical to then slam those who believe in polygamy?


just a sidebar... i believe that homosexuals should be allowed some sort of civil union, and that polygamy is wrong. but i can deffinetly see the argument of those who state that opening up marriage to anyone other than 1 man and 1 woman could cause all the "alternative" lifestyles to come a runnin'.

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Old 02-06-2004, 12:36 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by Headache in a Suitcase
how can some of the same people who support gay marriage in turn put down polygamy? it's an alternative lifestyle,
Polygamy is an action some people engage in--there is a choice involved. Being gay or straight are states of being. You have no choice in the matter and therefore the civil rights for gays and straights should be completely equal. I know that 'alternative lifestyle' has been a popular term for gay relationships but I feel it is one that will disappear in time as people come to accept that it isn't a lifestyle one actually chooses.
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Old 02-06-2004, 12:50 PM   #20
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I think many people living in countries where polygamy is not practised can be quick to condemn it as absolutely wrong, not because they believe it to be detrimental to the individuals involved, but because their own cultural experiences lead them to reject a definition of marriage which differs greatly from the accepted definition within their culture. I would assume most of the people who post here are used to marriage being an exclusive, monogamous relationship involving two people and so tend to reject a definition of marriage which differs from that.

However, people in many cultures would be shocked to see the lack of responsibility some people in the West seem to feel towards their parents, because in their culture taking care of your parents as they get older is considered a vital part of life. That's just one example, other people have already posted other ones in this thread.

So I think the question is really "to what extent do we have the right to define something as 'wrong' because it differs from our own cultural experiences?"
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