Pros and Cons of Polygamy

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Polygamy is the practice of having more than one spouse at a time. While a lot of countries consider polygamy illegal and criminalize its practice, there are some places where it is legal, particularly in Muslim countries. Some countries (such as India, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Eritrea) that have Muslim residents allow those residents to practice polygamy.

HBO aired a series called Big Love from 2006 to 2011 that focused on what seems to be a typical suburban husband and father. It’s revealed that he has three wives, nine children and is maintaining three homes. The series received good reviews but also sparked conversation about polygamy. Should someone be allowed to have more than one spouse?

There are varying views on polygamy and here’s a look at two sides of the argument:

List of Pros of Polygamy

1. It gives people a freedom of choice.
Some argue that infidelity would be a non-issue in a polygamous relationship. After all, each spouse is aware that they have to share the person they love with someone else. Rather than have a relationship end because a partner has begun a relationship with someone else, polygamy allows couples to still stay together despite the spouse being with another person.

2. It creates more support.
A polygamist family is often times a large community. This creates more chances for members to receive support when they need it. For instance, one child can go to another adult to get comfort when they feel their feelings have been hurt by their own parents. Plus, they have lots of options when it comes to building friendships.

3. It spreads responsibilities.
Maintaining a home and taking care of children is a huge burden on one person. In a polygamist setting, that responsibility can be shared among those who are in the relationship. For example, one wife can ask the assistance of another when she needs someone to watch over her child while she has other errands to attend to.

List of Cons of Polygamy

1. It creates jealousy.
Feelings are hard to deal with. It’s not a secret then that jealousy is one of the most common issues that polygamist families face. A man who decides to have more than one wife must provide equal attention to all of them. Otherwise, there will be feelings of resentment when one wife feels more focus has been paid on the other family compared to hers.

2. It allows children to suffer.
Equal attention is difficult to give. How do you divide your time in a day let alone a single week among your family? Finding time is even difficult in traditional settings, how is it going to be possible in households with more than one spouse? This kind of setting allows children to suffer because they couldn’t spend a lot of time with their parents. And this may cause issues within the family.

3. It makes women feel unhappy.
Polygamist settings often put the man in charge of the household. And that often leads him to abuse that power. He makes the decisions and sometimes, those decisions will not make every wife happy.