Sunday, February 8, 2009

@CM - Why polygyny

Anonymous signed CM posed some good questions about polygyny as a reply to my previous post, which I will try to answer here.

CM, first off, thanks for the nice comment and your genuine interest. I totally understand where you are coming from – I think I would have had similar questions had I read a blog like mine before coming to faith..

The way you state my situation is quite correct I guess..

“You support yourself”
Yes, though it’s my choice – I could expect from Mr.Hubby to support me, but I like using my brains and earning my own money, so this actually works for me
“You only get to see your husband one or two days a week"
Actually two days every two weeks, in the meantime we do see each other but it’s not ‘my day’ which means he spends the night at another home
“You have to delay having children now”
This has nothing to do with the principle of polygyny or with what God asks of women, it’s just that I don’t know yet how to handle my family, society, questions from my kid(s) etc
“If and when you do have children they will have a part time father”
Yes, they will
“In many ways you will have to raise them like a single mom”
“Your husband on the other hand has four wives and is never alone unless he chooses to”
He is indeed never alone, and choosing to be alone is hardly an option for him as it will most probably not be accepted by the wife whose day it is
“Has children and decides his schedule with them”
The schedule is decided by the mothers and the children not by Mr.Hubby
“Can choose to add as more wives without the consent of the other wives”
Indeed no consent is needed from the wives, though any sane man would make sure they are on board since otherwise he would surely go nuts trying to make peace
“Has a variety of se.xual partners that are sanctioned by God”
Yes, obviously he does

This however is also very true:
While each wife has time for herself, to meet with friends by herself etc, Mr.Hubby has to be present and involved with someone in his family every day. This means that if he is tired from work and would have nothing rather than to sit quietly for some hours, he simply can’t do that. The family has been waiting for him, they need 100% of his attention and his care.
This also means that if he has had a fight with one of the wives and is on his way home to a different wife, he needs to shake it off and put on his happy face in order to give them the care and attention which they are entitled to.
If the husbands desires to be alone with one of his wives, he has to wait just as the wife does. And this can be just as hard on him as it is on the wives. The fact that he is with someone doesn’t mean that he can’t miss another wife..

This continuous effort from a man’s part is something which is demanded by God as well.. A man has the right to have more than one wife, but has obligations towards them as well, and the rights of women are in God’s hands. So any man with any faith in his heart will feel a heavy load making sure he is doing right by his wives.

I have read quite some polygyny blogs, and I have found many situations there which seem unjust and cruel. Maybe the men have taken their task too lightly - I am sure many men do.. I guess men think “yes! polygyny! – a variety of se.xual partners!” But then it turns out they don’t get a variety of se.xual partners instead they get wives, with demands, and feelings, and emotions, and kids, and bills, and responsibilities.. which is of course less appealing than dating, or adultery, or maybe even serial monogamy.

Polygyny is hard. But I can say that I prefer it above monogamy. The reason for it is that I get a better husband and a better father for it. Dealing with multiple families, continuously, with an intention to do as pleases God, gives more insights in ourselves and in others, it makes us grow.
I guess I experience polygyny as a crash course in human relationships. Mr.Hubby tells us all the trials and tribulations, the emotional rollercoasters of polygyny have made him understand and realize so many things which he never knew when he was in a monogamous relationship with 1st. And 1st agrees. She often sais how she really thought she knew herself and could say she knew the way she would respond to a situation – when in fact she got to know so many things about herself when she had to share Mr.Hubby.
Now the question is - is that important to a person? Maybe for people it will be good enough to be together and have a fairly uncomplicated and content life.. that's fine also. I am very happy with this aspect of polygyny though, since I am hoping to better myself as much as I can..
Also what's very important to me is that Mr.Hubby is clean in his mind and heart because he has no desire for other women. Just think about it. How massive is the industry catering to men’s se.xual thoughts and desires? All these men are husbands and fathers as well…

CM, I’ve tried to answer your questions as much as I could.
Why God asks this of women.. I don’t think that’s the right question. God asks something of men and women. I think God has created men in a certain way, and women in a certain way. With our own good and bad traits. And it is my beliefs that most men are better men when they have more than one wife and deal with that right in an honorable way. And most women are better women when they share their husband and can get past jealousy and fear.

I feel like I am not jealous of the other wives any more. They get on my nerves still sometimes, but it’s not because of jealousy in the sense that it bothers me to know they sleep with Mr.Hubby. I feel that forming a good bond with my sisterewives is the next step. The next step in burning away my ego and becoming more humble, more accepting of whatever God ordains for me, becoming a nicer human being… It’s the next step.. I definitely have a lot to do still.
But if you look at it from this perspective it becomes a means to an end, instead of a sacrifice for an unclear cause..
Please let me know whether any of this makes sense to you..


Donald said...

Thanks for answering all CM's questions so openly 3rd. You get my vote for 'coolest commenter to 3rd's blog'. :)

American Muslima Writer said...

Masha'Allah I really loved how you outlined this and admitted things honestly also showed a lot of people not knwo about Poly that a man certainly is not in for a pleasure cruise in Poly. He'll have as much struggles of mind, body and faith as women do. SubhanAllah.
Thank you for this wonderful post.
I do hope you reach the next level of closer sisterhood :)

Anonymous said...


Thank you for your post answering my questions. I really appreciate that you took the time to share your thoughts on these questions as I do sincerely struggle with this concept.

If I understand you correctly, you believe that because men and women are created in a certain way with different traits both good and bad, that God uses polygomy to better develop the good traits of men and women, and identify and help a person get rid of their bad traits. And in your view polygomy refines both women and men better than a mono marriage does. Do I understand you correctly?

It also sounds like you are saying that one of the bad traits that a man learns to overcome is selfishness. Your husband has to put the needs of his families and wives, multiplied by 4, above his own. Is that kind of what you are saying? If it is I am still not sure how that it is so different than a monogamous marriage if practiced correctly. I can see that he probably does have far less time for himself than he would in a mono marriage but it seems like the worries and other trials you describe are mostly caused by what the women are having to give up (mainly his time and attention).

For yourself, you identify jealousy as one of the bad traits that you were able to get rid of and now you are working on developing humility and love toward the other wives. How polygyny would help with these traits is self explanatory. But why does your husband not have to work on those traits also? Don't men also feel jealousy and isn't it a bad trait for them too?

I do understand why you would feel that polygomy has helped you and I believe you when you say that you really don't see this as a sacrifice, but as a way to develop the characteristics and traits you think God wants you to have. In that respect you are on a higher plain than I am as I would see it as a great sacrifice.

However, it still kind of seems to me that God is saying that a man needs more of a good thing to become a better man, and a woman needs less of a good thing to become a better woman. (I told you before, I really have a hard time getting below the surface). I can see your personal areas of growth and development, but I still don't see what is happening for the man. Maybe I never will because I am not a man.

I would be very interested in hearing what your husband has learned that he never knew when he was monogamous. Maybe that would shed more light on what positive changes happen in a man when they live polygomy.

One more question if you don't mind. Could you clarify what you mean when you say -
"A man has a right to more than one wife, ... and the rights of women are in God's hand"?

Thank you again for sharing your thoughts on these questions. It is evident to me from the Bible that God has required or allowed some of his people to practice polygomy, I am just trying to understand why.


Mum-me said...

Hello 3rd! I have been a regular reader of your blog for quite a while, although not so much lately. I was really surprised to come over and read all the nasty comments on your last post! I feel like saying a lot about that but won't, except to say I thought you responded to them all in a very classy manner.

While I'm here I wondered, along with CM, if you could clarify that sentence A man has the right to have more than one wife, but has obligations towards them as well, and the rights of women are in God’s hands.

Is there an actual bible passage supporting this? Or is it something you've come to accept and believe through your own study of the scriptures?

I'm not trying to attack you or 'catch you out' - merely interested.

3rd... said...

Hi CM, I'll answer your questions through a comment .. otherwise I might keep posting new posts.. :)

First about jealousy - men are allowed to be jealous. They can be and are jealous of their wives. I think that's fine. God advises polygyny, not polyandry. Meaning a man can have more than one wife, not the other way around.

I said that women's rights are in God's hands. By that I mean to say that God is the One protecting us. God does not create us and then let us be. Any person in a weak position, any person in need of support, is precious to God. He cares. Our rights are not solely in the hands of the husband. God does not leave us to our husband's mercy or cruelty.. He is here, guarding our rights.
A husband should feel this burden upon his shoulders. He'll be called to account.

Men have certain traits and women have certain traits - we are different. Polygyny can bring out the best in men and women, and dissolve the worst in them. Usually by first bringing out all the worst.. :)
Polygyny can make the man into a kind and caring leader, and women into soft and loving mothers and wives.

All of us have learned a lot through polygyny, though I still feel like I am at the beginning - since I still struggle, mainly when it comes to having good / true relationships with my sisterwives. For Mr.Hubby - I saw him becoming a much more caring and humble person through the years. He understands his role in the family - which is to be our supporter. He hardly ever complains and actually always helps out. This might be in daily things, like cooking, but also in terms of trying to think and find a solution for a problem at work, with spirituality etc. He is in constant help out mode.. ;) I think this is due to him being confronted with a lot of emotionality from our side, and him asking support from above to deal with it in the best of ways. Maybe, I could describe it best by saying that he serves us.
Which does not mean that he never has a fight with any of us. Of course this happens.. He is definitely the head of the household.

I guess he realized the burden that's on him. Which surely not all men do, and which he surely did not realize in the first 15 years of his married life..

I am not sure I can really explain it all in a post or a comment. It took me 5 years to understand what I do now..

3rd... said...

@Mum-me, nice to see you again! ;) I read some of your posts lately.. the one about surfing on the sand was very cute.. lol

Anonymous said...

If what you say is true - that God does not allow those who are precious to him (the weak) to be treated with cruelty, then how do you explain why so many women and children are abused in this world?

Women under Taliban rule are a prime example. The gangs of orphaned children running in the streets of South American countries who are killed by the police so that they don't interfer with the tourist trade are another?

Why are women's shelter's full to the brim if God protects those who are precious to him?

If what you say is true then why all the horrific abuse of innocents? Does your interpretation imply that those who do suffer are not precious in God's eyes?

I'd honestly like to know what folks think about this assertion.

Anonymous said...


Thank you for answering my questions. I know I asked several of them and you have been more then generous in answering them all so openly.

I think it is hard for those of us who do not live this lifestyle to understand it without living it, but you have helped to give us insights by sharing your thoughts and experiences.

I admire your honesty and especially your desires to please God. You have given me a lot to ponder.

I wish you success in your relationships with your sister wives and with your desire to become a better person.


3rd... said...

@CM - you're welcome.. please feel free to drop questions more often if you have any regarding my posts or in general.. i'll try my best to answer them, it's a good practice for me as well because it makes me re-think and re-evaluate things.. so thank you for asking! :)

@ other anonymous - the questions you are posing here are actually questions about Faith in God, about belief.. you seem to say that you can't believe in God because of all the suffering in the world.. it's a vast topic, and I might write a post relating my ideas one day.. what i'd like to say now is that this life is not paradise, it's a bootcamp. And a bootcamp has a purpose. You might say why do we have do work out? My muscles hurt? Why can't we sit on the beach and relax? That part will come after the boot camp.

Anonymous said...

I believe in God despite the suffering in this world. I was pointing out the descrepancies in your statement regarding God's protection to those considers weak.

If what you say is true then how do you explain the abuse of women and children?

Are you saying that some of these poor souls don't deserve God's protection because they are "bad" or not "worthy" of his love and mercy?

3rd... said...

Obviously no.. you seem to interpret things with a curve-effect

Anonymous said...

My thoughts of what third was saying when she said "Women are in God's hands" is that we are under his protection and he cares what happens to us. Those that have dominion or stewardship over us had better be careful as they will be held accountable by God for what they do, Their day of punishment may not happen in this life though, but it will happen. Did I understand you correctly, third?

I personally believe the same goes for everyone in how they treat others.

In other words although God cares and we are in many ways under his protection, he also allows bad things to happen in this world. Why he steps in and helps sometimes and why he does not other times is a mystery to me. I believe he has his reasons and everything is for a wise and wonderful purpose that we just can not comprehend at this time.

However, I strongly believe that those who are doing the bad and horrible things will be held accountable and will pay an enormous price in the end.


Anonymous said...

One more thought.
I also believe that those who suffer in this life at the hands of the wicked will also have their rewards in the end and their rewards will be just as great and wonderful as the punishments for the wicked will be horrific.


Donald said...

Amen to CM. Justice is deferred, but not forever.

I also believe God feels out pain. We ask God, how can you allow people to go through all this pain and suffering? But the God I worship is more loving than I, so it stands to reason that his empathy is also far greater than mine. And he doesn't just have my pain to deal with — the cries of billions of hurting people are before him day and night.

The Bible often compares God's love for us to a husband's love for the wife (or wives — yes God is symbolically depicted as polygamous in the Bible!) he adores. When God created the world and gave humans the freedom to reject him, and the freedom to hurt each other, he was also opening himself up to incredible pain.

Nasrin said...

I guess I was the only one who saw 3rd's last post as an allegory about herself. It didn't strike anyone else as odd how this little social drama played out in front of 3rd and everyone else on the train? Let's see, the girl wants attention from the guy and makes a statement that she is really okay with non-exclusivity in order to keep his attention, but deep down she's upset with it, and tries to express that, but when pressed, she backs down and says its nothing. Hmm, who do we know in a non-exclusive relationship who pretends that its all fine and dandy? For myself, I've ridden many a train, and they tend to be pretty noisy, I might catch a girl macking on her bf, but its not easy to suss out a whole relationship on a train.

Regardless, on a sociological basis, polygamy is really interesting to me. Most religions that accept polygamy only accept polygyny, not polyandry. Just from sheer practicality, this makes sense to me when you are starting a religion - you are a rich guy (and it used to be only rich guys who had multiple wives) who is part of a new faith. You can afford to buy extra wives from outside the faith, and then you can get more kids than you could from one wife, and tada, increased population for your new faith.

The problem is, when your faith grows in number, and more men want several wives, there becomes a gender imbalance. Some fundamentalist mormon sects deal with this by banishing a lot of young men. Some Muslim women I know claim that the inbalance is not a problem because there are men who are unmarriageable, but A. what happens to these men who are left with no one, and B. some women are pretty awful and poor marriage partners too, so we are back at square one.

The thing is, at least in Islam, there are supposed to be all these protections for women in marriage and rules about how polygamy is allowed to work, but its pretty obvious that while men keep having their rights to multiple women protected, when they fail to live up to their obligations there is no social opprobrium on the men. Rather its the women who keep being told that its the man's right to be polygamous, and its her duty to be patient. Its true that in the West a polygamous wife has few legal rights (not that the wife's rights are so protected in Islamic countries), but that doesn't mean the Islamic community is helpless to act. I had an Orthodox Jewish (a fairly patriarchal religion as well) friend who told me about how only men are allowed to divorce women, women are not allowed to divorce men, BUT any man who refuses to divorce his wife when she wants out will be socially ostracized. She showed me a popular Jewish newspaper that had a column listing men who were refusing to divorce their wives in order to further humiliate the men to get them to comply. Sure, hardly perfect, but I'm just not seeing any corollary to that in the Islamic community.

What's really fascinating to me is modern women who are able to care for themselves financially, choose to live polygamously and still spout the party line that its okay for men to take multiple wives but its beyond disgusting for women to consider having multiple partners, but don't see any need for the man to live up to any of the other religious obligations. For instance, at least in Islam, men are not supposed to take additional wives they can't support. 3rd says she supports herself because she wants to have a job, but having a job and supporting yourself are two different things. In Islam, a wife's income is hers, it has nothing to do with her husband's obligation to provide for her. I don't know what religion 3rd is, but that same sentiment is rather common in polygamous Islamic marriages I've seen, men who do not have the financial ability to support multiple wives get them anyway because the wife has a job. And the women themselves justify, and justify and justify, "he's allowed to have more than one wife"...yeah, but not under those circumstances, and when problems crop up, the society backs him, and not her.

Anyway, I've gone on long enough. 3rd good luck to you, particularly if "the girl on the train" was indeed you.

Anonymous said...


Bravo! I do believe your on to something with that allegory thing. It never occurred to me (gives herself a "coulda had a V8" slap to the forhead).

I concur with you on everything. Seeing your "husband two days ever two weeks" is not a marriage. With that kind of schedule the honeymoon should last about 5 life times.

I don't care what people do, polygamy doesn't bother me in the least. I say more power to you if that's what floats your boat. What does bother me with any lifestyle or philosophy is when the people are not honest about what they're doing.

If you got to hide your lifestyle from your friends, family and co-workers than you're a phoney. You don't have the conviction, committment or fortitude to put your money where your mouth is and live your life with integrity.

I have absolutely no respect for people who gloss over their actions. If you really believe that what you're doing is right, then you should have no problem letting the world know.

Honest IS the best policy. Women like 3rd and others who don't face their families and communities with pride regarding their lifestyles are being disrespectful and making a mockery out those men and women who embrace their practices openly and honestly.

How do they expect "mainstream" folks to be okay with polygamy if they behave like they're not okay with it?

What kind of message is that sending?

3rd: Grow a backbone and stand up for what you say you believe in.

If your lifestyle is ordained by God then why don't you have the faith to believe that He will protect you and reward you for displaying his Will through your openeness with your polygamy?

God will reward you for your courage and complete trust in Him to provide the safety you need to share your lifestyle with your family and community.

How can you justify your deception and yet claim that it is God's wish for you to do this?

new#3 said...

3rd- I can't believe I missed this post it's so RIGHT! If you know what I mean.
Sometimes people don't realize that polygamy is difficult for the men and you eloquently provide that.

Sisterhood is something I am working on too, but it's a struggle. I hope to learn from your experience but you seem more patient than I am, and have more religious faith I'm afraid.

I love reading your blog.