Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Polygamy bothers me.

Just reading this story by a Mormon sister-wife irks the heck outta me. It's just really depressing to me to read this woman's story; while she says she loves being a sister-wife, she doesn't seem really happy. To live in a house where the husband has to spread his limited attention between his wives plus his children I would think no one would feel satisfied and it would just be an atmosphere to breed jealousy. To hear them say that it's their religion, and they have no power, makes it even sadder.

Polygamy these days seems to mostly be practiced in this world for religious reasons.
Earlier this year TLC aired "My Husband's Three Wives," which I found absolutely fascinating (a bit of a summary here), but it wasn't about religion for those people (the husband wound up with 2 wives because he cheated on the 1st & got the 2nd pregnant). And while officially the Mormon church doesn't allow polygamy, many off-shoots support it. I have not seen the HBO show Big-Love, which center's on a Mormon-polygamist family, but being a written show, I don't expect it to be realistic. I've read other stories of polygamy online as well.

Marriage is not just a religious ceremony. Monogamy & polygamy and even abstinence & promiscuity are sexual aspects of the natural world that we, in all our wisdom as humans, try to formalize & rationalize. Religion just adds another layer of attempt at rationalization of love, telling people how and when and who to love. Mating for life with one individual, or mating with a whole bunch of people, both have their evolutionary advantages. None of the other great apes are monogamous; why would humans be?

I try not to be bias, but I can't accept the idea that polygamy is a good thing. I'm not sure if it's just my upbringing, or if it's really a genetic thing, but I cannot imagine living a non-monogamous life. Would it be different if I grew up in a large family or a house where I had several mothers? My father was/is not the most faithful man, would he have been more faithful to several wives? I have romantically loved more than one person in my life, but not at the same time. I'll admit that my feelings for one person may have strayed in the past, but now being married to one wonderful person who completes my life, I just can't imagine living any other way. If we were to invite someone else into our marriage I would feel lost and lonely without undivided affection. I also can't imagine having sex in front of other people, or not being allowed to satisfy myself now and then, as the woman in the article says they live their lives. Marriage is about compromise; not power. You win and lose together in a married couple, and that's hard enough, I can't imagine the amount of work to create a winning team.

I'm not sure if I object to polygamy as an atheist or just as a person. Maybe it really does work for some people even thou I don't understand it. But to know that people are brought up in a society where it is taught to be god's will, and that there aren't any other options for them, is what I must truly object to.


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