What Should You Know About Polygamy?
Updated December 07, 2018
Reviewer Richard Jackson
The first thing you should know is that polygamy is against the law throughout the United States. It is legal in some other countries, however, and it is considered a normal tenant of some different religions that are practiced within the country. For those who don't practice polygamy there are some different preconceptions about it, but those who do practice it has entirely different views. Those are the views that should be passed around because no one can understand the benefits and drawbacks of the practice unless they participate themselves.
What Is Polygamy?
Polygamy, to put it in simple terms, is when an individual (generally a male) has more than one partner (generally females). Some religious sects, including Mormons, believe in having more than one wife and in many other countries they participate in that practice. In the United States, however, the law allows for only one man and woman to be legally married. What this means is that the individuals who do practice this type of relationship do so without being legally married to more than one woman, but instead being married in the eyes of themselves, their community and their god.
Why Do People Practice Polygamy?
There are many reasons that people engage in polygamy, but the main one is because of religious reasons. Some religions state that a man is entitled to have more than one wife and that having multiple wives is a way to get into heaven. They believe that their god wanted them to do this to become more numerous, to increase their family dynamics and to become better prophets of his word. Today, many people still practice polygamy for these reasons or other religiously inspired reasons.
The Rules Of Polygamy
Just like any other marriage, polygamy has rules that must be followed. In nearly every religion the relationship is considered polygamous, which means a man with multiple wives. Polygamy, in general, could refer to one woman with multiple husbands (though this is seen far less frequently). It is also not considered group marriage, where there can be multiple women and multiple men in a marriage together. This is one of the first rules, and it is an important step for many of those who practice.
The Prophet within a religious group is considered God's messenger and their blessing are required for the individual to marry the person that they want. In some instances, the Prophet may arrange marriages between different men and women within the community. These marriages are not required to be permitted, however, and the Prophet has the right to refuse a man who requests to marry a woman, whether that woman would be his first wife or an additional wife. For each marriage that the man wishes to engage in, he must make a request from the Prophet who will give him the word of God on his marriage.
To be allowed to marry at all, whether for the first time or after, a man must be considered righteous. He must continue to be in good standing with the God of his religion and, if he is already married, his current wives must also be in good standing with God. If not the Prophet can refuse a new marriage or reassign the wives and even children that he has to another man that is considered righteous and able to take care of them, though this is a rare action.
Finally, the man and his wives must continue to have children. The main purpose of polygamy in a religious group is to be able to have more children, and that means the man and his wives are expected to continue to procreate as much as possible. This is considered as an important tenant in being able to go on to heaven and to the rewards that the man will have when he gets there. Though other specifics may vary depending on the religion or where the family lives, polygamy does require all of these rules.
The Family Dynamic
In these types of relationships, the husband has obligations to each of his wives and to all of the children that they share. In some, the wives may have separate homes that they keep with their children while in others the wives and children may share one home. The husband is expected to spend equal time and attention on each of his wives to ensure that they feel the love and affection that is considered their right in the relationship. The wives are then required to work together for the better of the home and to care for all of the children, not their own.
What It Means For You
Polygamy is a relationship style that is not for everyone. While some people believe that this type of relationship is perfectly acceptable (whether for religious reasons or not), there are others who believe that it leads to problems for the women as well as the children raised in these types of households. If you are leaving a polygamous relationship and feel uncertain about your experience or if you are in one and don't know what you feel or think about the relationship itself you can seek out professional help to work through your experience.
Just like anyone else, there are chances for relationship trouble within a polygamous relationship and getting help for yourself, and your partner can be more difficult in these situations. That doesn't mean you shouldn't reach out to someone, however, and you will find that the professionals at BetterHelp can make things even easier for you. With this service, you can get online and speak with a professional about anything that you're going through. What's nice is that you can do it all online, without ever having to visit an office and that can make it easier for you to make your appointments no matter what is going on in your life.