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Monday, October 4, 2010

Can women live in harmony in a polygamous marriage?

Today Maina wa Kageni and Mwalimu Kingangi were talking about polygamy. Rather, they were talking about the late Ancentus Akuku aka 'Danger', Kenya's most 'celebrated' polygamist. That Mzee's story is amazing. Anyway, back to our topic. Mwalimu was of the opinion that the modern woman should borrow a thing or two from Akuku in terms of agreeing to live in harmony. Then our dear hosts asked what lesson we have all learned.

Let's learn...


My Human Opinion

Secretly, or not so secretly, many men admired and/or envied Akuku. He was the real 'jogoo'. More than 100 wives, over 160 children, two primary school and a church to accommodate his seed—what can we say?

'Legal' polygamy is still widely practiced in Kenya, especially among the very wealthy (read politicians) and the traditionalists. (note that I put 'legal' in quotes) Whereas illegal polygamy—chips funga, mpango wa side, clande, away ground, side dish, or whatever you call it—continues unabated every corner of our country.

At least 'Danger' Zulu,eh Zuma, and the King Swatters eh Mswati, made their intentions public, unlike many others.

Now, talking about harmony, do you remember one Gerishon-garrisoned Kirima? As the media put it, 'the fuss is typical of a wealthy polygamous family'. There is no harmony there.

Back to Zulu and Swatter. Apparently one of Swatter's wives had an affair with his childhood friend. There is no harmony there.

Ah, then Zulu, he of the virgin cure for HIV, was involved in yet another scandal when his second wife was impregnated by her bodyguard. There is no harmony there.

I'm sure if you bother to dig real deep into Danger's life you will find—no harmony there.

We can learn a lot from Danger and other dangerous men like Swatter. It's tough keeping one woman happy and content. A hundred is another ball game. And chances are one or two will stray to find happiness and attention elsewhere.

Methinks the first wife is the one who is most likely to bring disharmony. A woman wants all her man's attention. Imagine how women react when you are watching news as she speaks. Now imagine how she reacts when you scope another woman in the streets. Now, imagine further how she will react when you bring that woman home as your other wife.

I am not saying harmony is impossible, it's just nearly impossible. Can women decide to live in harmony? Maybe for a time. But the cracks will soon show.

My Biblical Opinion

Like many things that lie on the grayest of the gray areas (like masturbation), polygamy is not explicitly forbidden in the Bible. Rather, monogamy is implied in verses like the following:
Genesis 2:24  For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.
Romans 7:1-3 
1Do you not know, brothers—for I am speaking to men who know the law—that the law has authority over a man only as long as he lives? 2For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage. 3So then, if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress, even though she marries another man.
Basically, the Roman's verse says that marriage to another partner while the first partner is still living is adultery.
1 Corinthians 7: 1-2
1Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry. 2But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband.

But why did God allow polygamy in the Old Testament? Things were obviously different back then. Unlike our census report, there were significantly more women than men. Ancient wars were brutal and many men lost their lives. So it's possible that God allowed polygamy to protect and provide for women who could not find husbands otherwise. Though not the ideal choice for the woman, but the alternative, slavery, prostitution or starvation was worse.

Most of the Old Testament patriarchs were polygamous. Abraham, Jacob (Israel), David, Solomon etc But they had many problems due to these polygamous marriages. We wont go through all of them. But check out Abraham's story.
Genesis 16:1-6 
1 Now Sarai, Abram's wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar; 2 so she said to Abram, "The LORD has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her."
      Abram agreed to what Sarai said. 3 So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian maidservant Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. 4 He slept with Hagar, and she conceived.
      When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress. 5 Then Sarai said to Abram, "You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my servant in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the LORD judge between you and me."
 6 "Your servant is in your hands," Abram said. "Do with her whatever you think best." Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her.

That said, polygamy is always adultery, but adultery is not always polygamy. Polygamy wasn't the design nor God's intent for marriage. It would go against the 'one flesh' principle that marriage was intended to be.

Let's keep it mono-harmonious this Monday. See you tomorrow.

1 comment:

Jaffery said...

Polygamy for men, but sucks for women