A family consisting of more than two adults can accomplish tasks of home-caring and child-rearing easier than a family of one or two adults. A child nurtured by three mothers and four fathers could be less of a burden for responsible adults than a child raised by a monogamous family. This child could learn personal traits of more than
two parents and multiplicity of providers could assure smooth supply of necessities during formative years.
One mason, two general laborers and a home-care worker together as family, have a better chance at providing shelter, nutrition, education and health-care than a monogamous family where parents struggle to provide amid fluctuating job market. Addition of educated/skilled partners in the fold could ensure economic prosperity. Such a departure from monogamous family system could be helpful in eradicating poverty.
Monogamy riddled with sexual infidelity and divorce causes pain and suffering. A. Pawlowski, in ‘Mate debate: Is monogamy realistic?’ on CNN.com says, “If you were to judge the success rate of monogamy by the sex lives of public figures, perhaps couples should change their marriage vows to say, ‘Till a tempting new partner do us part’.”
A multi-partner family could accommodate varied sexual leanings and cater for individual’s propensity for sex. Gays, bi-sexual and straight could have a chance to unite under one family and provide the basis for a healthier structure compared to present society built around one wife and one husband.
Natural impulse of humans for sexual promiscuity is not the only threat to monogamy. Various surveys of adults around the world, from the poorest to the wealthiest countries, reveal that most preferred sex of a child is male. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) reports discuss female feticide in China, India and Vietnam and urge to watch such trends in other countries like Bangladesh and Pakistan.
It is reported that some areas of China have 100 girls to 130 boys and in some parts of India there are 120 boys for 100 girls. With less number of girls, not all of these boys would find partners for marriage.
Monogamy is the only type of marriage permitted by law in the United States. Having more than one spouse is considered illegal. Practice of monogamy is so extensive around the world that it almost feels like human nature. However monogamy is a recently acquired practice in the history of human civilization. Polygamy and polyandry, though not completely extinct today, used to make the basic unit of society not too long ago.
Some Christian critics blaming Greco-Roman influence on church claim that monogamy did not originate from the scriptures and it has never been set as the only standard for marriage by god. The custom of one wealthy man marrying few women still continues among some groups. The Torah, Bible and Quran do not prohibit polygamy.
According to Mahabharta, the book of Hindu mythology, Arjuna won Draupadi in a contest for best suitor and his mother blessing him on success, advised to share the exploit equally with his four brothers. Hence Draupadi became the wife of five Pandava brothers. Such practice of a few brothers sharing one spouse reportedly still persists in some
areas where keeping a small piece of land in the family is cited as the reason for polyandry.
Ardent supporters of monogamy argue that promiscuous matriarchy makes the father un-identifiable hence the transfer of property-title to biological offspring would become a problem. This argument elicits the patriarchal discrimination ingrained in the laws of inheritance. In order to achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goal of gender equality and empowering women, patriarchy or phallocentric syndrome must be addressed. The legal acceptance of multiple partner marriage could become that revolutionary step forward in eradicating the disease of patriarchy and move the society closer to cross gender solidarity.
The desire for boy-child and growing poverty world-wide could force a departure from monogamous family to other innovative ways. A multiple partner family could foster a healthy atmosphere of sharing and accommodating.
Contributed By: Malik Rashid
(Cover Picture Credit: Chronicle / Rick Nobles)