Polygamy Essay, Research Paper
What exactly do you mean by “polygamy”?
“Polygamy”, as referred to on this site, is meant in its popular usage, where one husband has more than one wife at the same time. This is technically known as “polygyny”, but you would have to be really keen to know that. On this site “Polygamy” does not refer to “polyandry”, where one wife has more than one husband at once. That is a practice which has never been prevalent in human societies and which major world religions condemn. It is also a practice that the site administrator feels personally unable to support.
But surely polygamy is illegal!
Ah yes, well spotted! It is illegal, if you are the sort of pedantic person who insists on registering all their marriages in the standard legally-binding sort of way. However, if you’ve decided to be a polygamist and put Multiple Marriage into practice, then you’re hardly the sort of person to let social conventions about registering marriages get in the way. You can have a perfectly pleasant and happy marriage without the tedious requirement for bits of parchment. And you can have a better marriage than provided for by modern states, because signing up to their view of marriage means signing up to their view of divorce. Proper Polygamists don’t see such a big need for divorce. If you want to start a new marriage, that’s fine, but you shouldn’t have to wreck an existing marriage to do it.
In fact, to be absolutely accurate, it is bigamy which is often illegal. Bigamy is the criminal offence of registering a second marriage when a first marriage is still recognised. Polygamy can be practiced without breaking the law simply by registering no more than one of the marriages.
Where bigamy is illegal, polygamy can often be lawfully practiced.
But shouldn’t it be illegal?
Yes – registering multiple marriage in today’s society should be illegal, as long as people have the understanding that marriages are monogamous. If people break the law, then they deserve to be punished, for often they are deceiving the state, and also deceiving their wives. Brides should understand they are entering a polygamous state. But if they understand that, and if they don’t break the law by registering the marriage, then they can be polygamists with a clear conscience.
Practical Aspects of Polygamy
Here are a few words on the benefits polygamy has for women and the controls it places on men.
Automatic childcare in a sexist society gives women more effective choice to have a career without devaluing the role of homemaker.
Being able to marry men who are already married means that women can marry men who have already proved themselves, therefore minimising their risk.
Being able to marry the men who attract most women means they don’t have to settle just for what’s left after other women have the best pickings.
Having the possibility that a husband can remarry without divorce extends practical security to a woman. She needn’t worry about losing her husband and income as she loses her looks, because if her husband is attracted by a younger woman, he doesn’t even have to think about leaving his wife.
Polygamy removes the pressure on a husband to commit adultery, and removes damaging deceit from a marriage.
Polygamy provides a method where a woman can have a female friend for life as well as a husband.
Polygamy therefore provides more people and a better chance of meeting diverse needs.
Polygamy provides a potential for at least three adult incomes, reducing state dependance and the fear of unemployment.
If a man wants to have another sexual partner in a polygamous system then he has to meet his responsibilities – pay for any children produced from all his relationships without priority being given to those from a ‘legal’ relationship.
Polygamy removes or reduces the seduction of innocent young women – If a man promises to marry her, he cannot use his existing marriage as an excuse for not fulfilling a promise.
Polygamy reduces the number of women who are available. Currently, with more women than men, this ‘cheapens’ women. With less women available their ‘value’ goes up. In other words, polygamy makes men have to try harder and do better with women if they are to win them in competition with other men.
Should a woman be allowed two husbands?
If not, why not?
This site teaches that polygamy is a morally acceptable lifestyle. But we use “polygamy” in its
popular sense of a man having a number of wives. We do not support group marriage,
promiscuity or “polyandry” – that practice where a woman has more than one husband.
There are a number of reasons why.
The first and most basic reason is that God made it that way. The rest of the material on this site
shows that God allows men to have more than one wife – The Bible shows that a woman can only
have one husband living at once.
“So then if, while her husband is living she
marries another man, she shall be called
an adulteress, but if her husband has
died, she is free from that law, so that she
is not an adulteress, even though she
marries another man.”
Romans Chapter 7 v 3
This verse stops women from having more than one husband living at any one time. It does not
stop men from having more than one wife because firstly, it quite simply doesn’t say it, and
secondly, it is clearly not a general principle which applies regardless of sex. That can be seen in
the immediate context. The reason the Bible gives is that a woman is under the law of her husband
until he dies. While the Bible does talk of marriage partners having authority over each other’s
bodies, it never talks of a man being under the law of his wife. In fact, it numerous places the Bible
indicates that that would be intolerable, such as 1 Timothy 2 v 12 “I do not allow a woman to
teach or to usurp authority over the man”.
In fact, Romans 7 makes this clear. The passage is comparing the woman to the individual
believer, being dead to the law of Moses so that they can be married to Christ and be under his
law. Now it would be inappropriate to say that Christ was under the law of the believer. And in
the same way it is inappropriate to say that a husband is under the law of his wife. And because of
that it is clear that the restriction in Romans 7 of a woman to one husband cannot be transformed
into a restriction of a man to only one wife.
The second reason is related to the first through God’s system of leadership. 1 Cor 11 shows that
God is the head of Christ
Christ is the head of man
Man is the head of woman.
This would be defined by our society as sexist. The Bible clearly treats men and women differently
- so does God – otherwise I would be able to have babies too!!
The order does not signify inequality. The Bible teaches that Christ is God just as much as the
Father. They are co-equal but have different roles.
Obviously, man is not equal to Christ – so the passage does allow for inequality.
But when we return to man and woman we can see that they are equal, perhaps in the same way
that the Father and Christ are equal.
But equality does not mean they are exactly the same or have the same rights and responsibilities.
Hence the man is the head of woman – he takes the lead. The Scriptures show that the man must
love his wives and obviously this will affect his decisions.
In case you think I am now talking about a different subject, here is the punchline – “no man can
serve two masters”.
Christian teaching is that you cannot follow different leaders – you will hate one and love another.
So it is in marriage. A woman cannot have two husbands because she cannot follow two leaders.
A man can have two wives because it is perfectly possible to lead more than one person.
This can be seen in the phrase in 1 Corinthians 7v2 which many monogamists quote out of context
- “Let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.”
The words for “his own” and “her own” in this verse are different, and it is not simply a gender
difference. This is what we would expect if the way in which they are the other’s own differs
according to gender. If you check the word for “her own” and look up Romans 14, you will see it
is the same word used there of a servant and “his own master”.
This shows that, if Paul had believed in monogamy, he could have used the same word for both
sexes in 1 Corinthians 7. But he didn’t.
It also means that a woman has her own husband in the same way that a servant has his own
master. Just as a master can have more than one servant, so a husband can have more than one
wife, and in the same way as a servant can only have one master, so a wife can only have one
Anything beyond what the Bible teaches is speculation. You can read on and consider my
speculation if you wish, but it is still speculation. My acceptance of polygyny and rejection of
polyandry is based on my belief in the infallibility of the Bible – and I would encourage you to base
your beliefs on the Bible and not on my speculation.
So, here goes…
1.The first thing to note is that polyandry is very rare – to the extent of being a freak of nature
– the vast majority of societies which allow polygamy allow it for men and not for women. I
do not know of anywhere where the two systems run together – it has the potential to get
horrendously confusing if it does. It is likely to be more than just chance which makes this
2.A woman always knows whether a baby is her baby. A man doesn’t – unless he knows that
the woman was only sleeping with him. To preserve the bond between parents and
children, women cannot have more than one partner of the opposite sex. Men can. If a man
suspects he is paying for a child who is not his he may want to leave. If a man wants to
leave, in a polyandrous situation he can always deny responsibility for the children in the
relationship. This leaves the family at risk. Practically speaking we know that men tend
towards providing for the family – polyandry greatly increases the risk that the family will
break apart and everyone will be poorer.
3.There are more women of marriageable age in the world than there are men. This means
that many women who want to marry cannot, because of the sheer weight of numbers. For
more detail on this see the “Vital Statistics” part of this site. Polyandry makes this problem
worse. Polygamy can remove the problem all together.
4.According to leading economists, the problem should be thought if in terms of demand and
supply. When men are allowed more than one wife, there is suddenly an increase in
demand for women (as married men can be legitimate prospects as well as single men).
This means that their “price” (what a man is willing to do for them to get and keep them)
goes up. Similarly there is a decrease in demand for men (as women who may have
married them now have a far wider choice). This means that their “price” (what a woman is
willing to do for them to get and keep them) goes down. So – according to leading
economists, if a man is allowed more than one wife the situation for all women is improved
– they have more done for them, and don’t have to do as much, but if women were allowed
more than one husband their situation would be much worse – they would have to do a
great deal to get a man, and he would have to do even less than he does now. Put simply,
economics teaches that when men have more wives it is better for women, and that when
women have more husbands it is worse for women. This combines with the imbalance in
numbers of men and women to mean that polyandry and compulory monogamy are both
bad for women.
5.It has been suggested by some that women are naturally monogamous and that men are
naturally polygamous. From the viewpoint of natural selection, men have more to gain from
multiple partners because they can have more children and propogate their genes, but
women can at the most only be pregnant once every nine months, and the number of
partners they have does nothing to change this. Indeed, some biologists now adopt theories
on reproduction which take account of sperm competition – whereby seemingly excess
sperm lie in wait to prevent sperm from another partner fertilising an egg. There is no similar
response in the female. The natural order seems to uphold the idea of women having one
6.Many who do not accept Christianity would still accept the basic point that leadership
tends to be male. This means they can accept the basic logic of the Christian leadership
argument – that a family needs only one leader and that two leaders is not viable.
7.There is more to come – I just haven’t had chance to write it yet.
Vital Statistics about Polygamy
An email to this page alleged “in the western world, there are barely more women than
men; it is essentially 50/50″. Such a view is untrue and misleading. The reply is printed
below so that people may be able to appreciate the negative side of enforced monogamy.
You cannot have it both ways – it is either equal or there is a surplus. There is no way a surplus is
‘essentially’ 50/50. The truth is that the size of the excess varies from country to country. Left on
its own there is a statistically significant excess of women. The surplus is actually greater than a
first examination of statistics will show – as an excess of young boys is quickly turned into a
surplus of females due to differential mortality rates.
For your information, my examination of the official statistics for 1994 in the United Kingdom
shows that a population of 58.4 million people breaks down into 28.6 million males and 29.8
million females. In other words there were 1.2 million more females than males in the United
Kingdom at this time. That represents a male:female split of 49:51 (with the male ratio rounded
UP to 49).
If you just count those above marriageable age (which is sensible when you are talking about
marriage) there are 22.31 million males and 23.84 million females. That is a surplus of 1.53 million
females. The ratio is then 48.34 males to 51.66 females – closer to a 48:52 ratio.
This introduces competition when men are restricted to one wife. Any surplus combined with
monogamy has a tendency to increase the size of the effective surplus. It goes like this…
If the numbers are 49:51 that means that there is a 2 per cent surplus. This means that 4.08 per
cent of the female population cannot marry if they want to. (According to the British figures it is
actually 6.41 per cent of women above the legal age of marriage). If they are determined it means
they have to find a married man and separate him from his wife. Otherwise, in their competition
with other single women they just have to offer a better deal – which may often simply mean sex
without marriage. Other women will just play the game differently – rather than marriage they will
find another way of obtaining support from men – prostitution.
This means that, in an allegedly monogamous society, men do not have to marry to get sex, or
even female companionship. They can have prostitutes from the excess of women. They can have
casual sex with the competing single women, and if they do get married they needn’t be faithful
because they still remain the target of that 4.08 per cent (or higher) of the female population who
are forced to be single.
Therefore, if a man does not need marriage for sex he is less inclined to get married – so the fact
of an insistance on monogamy works against itself. Men don’t need to get married – they can carry
on being single – and this means that less men are in fact available for marriage. This in turn means
that an even greater section of the female population cannot get married, and therefore faces the
choice between fornication, adultery or prostitution, and so the vicious circle continues.
And to these facts must be added a couple of other variable factors. Firstly, the surplus of women
increases as they get older. But, in general, women tend to marry men slightly older than
themselves – usually around 2-4 years older on average. Thus, even if their own age cohort has a
49:51 split, the market that they are in is likely to be a 48:52 split. In such an example, 8.33 per
cent of women cannot get married, without the extra complicating features. And when they try
their own age or younger men they are competing against younger, more attractive, more fertile,
Secondly, the figures are complicated by the ‘impressions’ that the facts create. A significant
excess of women over the number of desirable men puts them into competition even before they
are of marriageable age. Once that has happened, the actual figures do not tell the whole story, as
the process has a dynamic of its own.
Further figures show a higher rate of both marriage and cohabitation by men. These show that :-
32 per cent of 22.31 million men are without partner (i.e. 7,139,200 approx)
39 per cent of 23.84 million women are without a partner ( i.e. 9,297,600 approx)
Giving a surplus of 2,158,400 women, or 9.05 per cent of the female population above
marriageable age and 23.2 per cent of women who are old enough to have a partner but
do not in fact have one.
The bare figures therefore show that while the general population follows a 49:51 ratio, this works
out at over 9 per cent of all adult women and almost a quarter of single adult women who cannot
marry in a monogamous society.
By the means outlined above a seemingly small excess of women can have a large effect on
society. The availability of polygamy works against this – and so it is unsurprising to note that
polygamous societies have historically had lower rates of fornication, adultery, prostitution and
abortion than our own.
Polygamy was a way of life until the Quran was revealed 1400 years ago.
When the earth was young and under-populated, polygamy was one way of
populating it and bringing in the human beings needed to carry out God’s
plan. By the time the Quran was revealed, the world had been sufficiently
populated, and the Quran put down the first limitations against polygamy.
Polygamy is permitted in the Quran, but under strictly observed
circumstances. Any abuse of this divine permission incurs severe retribution.
Thus, although polygamy is permitted by God, it behooves us to examine our
circumstances carefully before saying that a particular polygamous
relationship is permissible.
Our perfect example here is the prophet Muhammad. He was married to one
wife, Khadijah, until she died. He had all his children, except one, from
Khadijah. Thus, she and her children enjoyed the Prophet’s full attention for
as long as she was married to him; twenty-five years. For all practical
purposes, Muhammad had one wife – from the age of 25 to 50. During the
remaining 13 years of his life, he married the aged widows of his friends who
left many children. The children needed a complete home, with a fatherly
figure, and the Prophet provided that. Providing a fatherly figure for orphans
is the only specific circumstance in support of polygamy mentioned in the
Other than marrying widowed mothers of orphans, there were three political
marriages in the Prophet’s life. His close friends Abu Bakr and Omar insisted
that he marry their daughters, Aisha and Hafsah, to establish traditional family
ties among them. The third marriage was to Maria the Egyptian; she was
given to him as a political gesture of friendship from the ruler of Egypt.
This perfect example tells us that a man must give his full attention and
loyalty in marriage to his wife and children in order to raise a happy and
The Quran emphasizes the limitations against polygamy in very strong words:
“If you fear lest you may not be perfectly equitable in treating more than one
wife, then you shall be content with one.” (4:3)
“You cannot be equitable in a polygamous relationship, no matter how hard you
The Quranic limitations against polygamy point out the possibility of abusing
God’s law. Therefore, unless we are absolutely sure that God’s law will not be
abused, we had better resist our lust and stay away from polygamy. If the
circumstances do not dictate polygamy, we had better give our full attention
to one wife and one set of children. The children’s psychological and social
well-being, especially in countries where polygamy is prohibited, almost
invariably dictate monogamy. A few basic criteria must be observed in
1. It must alleviate pain and suffering and not cause any pain or suffering.
2. If you have a young family, it is almost certain that polygamy is an abuse.
3. Polygamy to substitute a younger wife is an abuse of God’s law (4:19). Polygamy in Jewish History
The Bible, in tolerating polygamy, gives evidence that the practice had long been an accepted social
institution when these laws were written down. In the patriarchal age polygamy is regarded as an
unquestioned custom. While the Bible gives a reason for the action of Abraham in taking Hagar for
an additional wife and, in the case of Jacob, for having Rachel as a wife besides Leah, it only proves
that polygamy as well as concubinage, with which it was always associated, was among the mores
of the ancient Hebrew people (Gen. 16:1-4; 29:23-28). The same attitude is revealed in the episode
of Abimelech and Sarah (Gen. 20:1-l3).
Polygamy was such a well established part of the social system that Mosaic law is not even critical
of it. We find only certain regulations with respect to it; as, for example, if a man takes a second
wife the economic position of the first wife and of the children she bore must be secure; and, in the
case of inheritance, no child of a subsequent marriage is to be preferred over a child from the first
wife. Other regulations were that the high priest could have only one wife and that a king in Israel
should not have too many wives (Lev. 21:13; Deut. 17:17; Ex. 21:10). The last injunction, however,
was of no effect. David had seven wives before he began to reign in Jerusalem, and an
extraordinary number of wives and concubines has been attributed to Solomon (II Sam 3:2-5, 14;
5:13). In connection with David, the prophet Nathan did not denounce the king for adding Uriah’s
wife to those he already had but for the means he employed to secure her (II Sam. 12:7-15).
However, if polygamy was not forbidden it was not directly sanctioned. It was a heritage from the
past and it was left undisturbed. As the civilization of the people reached a higher form and,
especially under the teaching of the prophets, their moral and religious consciousness developed, the
polygamous system gradually declined. This is noticeable in Israel after the return from the Exile. In
the Second Commonwealth polygamy is far from general (cf. Tobit and Susanna). Yet it survived
far into the Christian era. In the New Testament Jesus neither condemns polygamous unions nor
advocates a change in the system. From this noninterference attitude Luther, as late as the 16th
cent., arrived at the conclusion that he could not forbid the taking of more than one wife.
According to the Talmud the right to a plurality of wives is conceded, but the number of legitimate
wives, as in the Koran, is limited to four. The taking of additional wives is held as sufficient ground
for divorce for a woman who had previously been the sole wife. Where a polygamous union exists,
provision must be made for adequate maintenance of each wife as well as a separate domicile.
Throughout the Talmudic age not one rabbi is known to have had more than one wife. Monogamy
was held to be the only ideal legal union; plurality of wives was a concession to time and condition.
At a later period Maimonides in his Mishneh Torah maintains, contrary to his personal opinion, that
polygamous unions from a strictly legal point of view are permissible. Eventually, however, they
were proscribed under the authority of Rabbi Gershom (about l000), although cases of polygamy
were found in Spain as late as the 14th cent. That such cases were not rare may be inferred from
the fact that in the Spanish communities the Kethubah, the document marking the betrothal, exacted
that the man was not to take a second wife. The Islamic influence on the Jews in Spain was more
or less pronounced until the expulsion at the end of the 15th cent.
In modern Europe polygamy disappeared from Jewish domestic life while among Christians it
remained a tolerated privilege of royalty until very late times. In the declaration against polygamy of
the Sanhedrin convoked by Napoleon in Paris, in 1805, there is no implication that modern Judaism
tolerated plural marriages. It was just an emphatic assertion that Jews had discarded the orientalism
of the past and were in full accord with the culture and civilization of Western Europe.
To Find True Love:
On the full moon, have ready a love incense (such as rose
or musk) and a pink candle. If possible, go outside and
look up at the moon, holding the candle in your power
hand. Hold the candle up towards the moon and tell the
Goddess what traits you would like in a lover, and most
importantly, that you do want a lover. Don’t use a specific
person’s name; THIS IS CONTROL AND ISN’T ETHICAL!
Back inside, create a little altar by spreading out a pink
and white cloth. Light your love incense. You might want
to play some soft or romantic music. Sit before the altar
and think of the traits you want in a lover. Don’t visualize
a specific person!
Take the pink candle and lightly scratch or carve “true
love” along one side of it. Set the pink candle in a sturdy,
fireproof holder, and light it.
Moon of love and shining grace
I would see my lover face to face.
Heart to heart I long to be
With the special someone meant for me.
Leave the candle in a safe place to burn out completely,
preferably on the altar.
SPELL FOR THE JOINING OF SOULS
This spell is definitely not ethical, but it is very effective. Remember that magic is a two-way street, and that
you will be equally bound. Sprinkle dried white roses with almond oil and burn them inside a magic circle as
you recite the spell. Add slips of paper with your names written on them if you have trouble getting the roses
By all that lives on land and sea
by the incoming and the outgoing
by the odd numbers and the even
by the power of three times three
thy waking thoughts shall be of me
from now throughout eternity
no peace or increase shall you find
until your hand is joined in mine
I bind thee heart and soul and mind to me
I bind thee eyes and thoughts and loins to me
I bind thee to me forever
with cords of velvet longing
by the white rose and the rosemary
by the caverns and the groves
by the silence of the mountains
by the chasms and the standing stones
I bind thee forever to me
with cords of silken danger
Isis, Astarte, Ishtar
I bind thee to me forever
so mote it be
SPELL FOR THE BINDING OF UNION
There are two kinds of union. One is temporary, for this lifetime or for part of this lifetime. The other kind
is the Eternal Marriage, which brings reunion across time, through reincarnation. The Eternal Marriage is
a soul mate thing that should not be undertaken lightly – making it with the wrong person can adversely
affect your karma. So can making it without reciprocation. Making it with more than one person can make
for a tumultuous love life in future incarnations. Be careful.
To work the spell, write both names on a piece of papyrus or good quality paper. Bind it with red thread and
burn it with herbs of Love or Venus as you recite the spell. Bury the ashes beneath a tree, or scatter them
near the pyramids in Egypt. It is an Arab proverb that ‘time laughs at history, but the pyramids laugh at
time’. This is an eternal spell, unless you alter it. It can also be used for hand