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What are your thoughts on polygamous relationships vs. monogamous relationships?

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accge | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted June 4, 2013 at 3:22 PM via web

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What are your thoughts on polygamous relationships vs. monogamous relationships?

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kipling2448 | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted June 4, 2013 at 3:38 PM (Answer #1)

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How one approaches the issue of polygamy versus mongamy is entirely a product of one's own beliefs and values and to what degree an individual wants his or her lifestyle determined by broader societal perceptions.

The most prominent example in American history of polygamy as a practice among a large group of people was the early Mormon settlements in Utah in the mid-19th Century.  A central doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, polygamy was widely practiced in Mormon communities.  The practice was so controversial across the country that the then-leader of the Church, Wilford Woodruff, banned polygamy in 1890.  While it is still practiced by a small fringe group of Mormons, it clearly lies outside the mainstream of American, and Mormon, society.

Polygamy still exists in some parts of the world, mainly in the Islamic world, where multiple wives are an accepted practice.  

As the question is pointed in inquiring about this educator's opinion, I can only say that my own belief leans heavily toward monogamy, and I prefer the societal restrictions placed on polygamy.  That, however, is a personal bias.  If some guy wants multiple wives telling what to do and how to do it, that's his problem.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted June 4, 2013 at 3:49 PM (Answer #2)

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I agree with much of what the first answer says, though I think the phrase "multiple wives telling what to do and how to do it" is somewhat of an unfortunate and outdated stereotype of marriage and women.

It does seem to me that a polygamous relationship would, almost by definition, be more complicated than a monogamous relationship.  In a polygamous relationship, there will always be some level of competition for the attention and favor of the husband.  This is not because women are in some way more contentious than men, but simply because there will always be competition when one person holds power that is important to others.

However, this amount of complication and competition does not necessarily mean polygamy is wrong or bad.  Polygamy could be seen as a good thing because it relieves each wife of the pressure of being everything for the husband.  The husband could have different relationships with each wife depending on their personalities.  

Polygamy also does not imply that there is less love between the husband and each wife.  If parents can love multiple children, there is no obvious reason why a man cannot love multiple women.

Of course, it is highly suspicious that there are polygamous societies but not polyandrous societies.  If polygamy is good for men, it ought to be good for women as well...

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