Today for You. Tomorrow for Me

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I remember as a little girl of about 7, my dad and mom would have this mini argument where my dad would jokingly say if my mom acted anyhow, he would marry another wife, he was allowed to since he was a prince. My mother would respond that he could do anything he damn well pleased but he should just be prepared for her to leave his house and take the kids. They were probably joking but to the 7 year old me, the threat was serious and the other woman (even though she wasn’t there at all) was already a threat to me. I remember a day where it was just me and my dad and we were talking, (one thing I loved about my dad was that even when I was that young and probably didn’t understand half of the things he used to say to me, he still spoke them) my fear of having my family separated made me blurt out of nowhere that my father should promise that he would never bring another woman into the house so mommy wouldn’t take us away from him. My dad was dumbfounded but later asked me why I said that. I referred to his and mom’s arguments conversations and how they worried me. Dad laughed and told me that he was always joking and that I should not worry, he would never do such a thing no matter what. Also from that day onward, they stopped making that joke around us kids.

Fast-forward many years later. It was my third year in university and I am sitting in my Black Diaspora Literature class. We had just read Xala (by Ousmane Sembene) and we are discussing the subject of polygamy in our world today. My professor (who goes by Ayo and knows as much as I do about my culture and loves it almost as much) first asked about our views on the subject and we were almost unanimously against it with reasons ranging from ‘I don’t want to share my husband’ to ‘too much drama involved’ to ‘have you seen how it always turns out horrible with everyone hating and plotting each other’s downfall?’. All these reasons were valid but then Ayo brought up another point of view. She gave examples of new age women, degree holders ooo (not stark illiterates or anything like that) who opt to go into a polygamous marriage or (if they are the first wife), ask their husbands to marry a second wife. The reasons she gave were that it drastically reduces the stress on one woman to cook and clean the household and to sex the man whenever he wants it. If one wife is tired or just not in the mood, the other wife can take over and do the wifely duties amongst other things. Also she talked about how the women can actually rule the house. If one wife wants the husband to do something and he is being hard-headed about it, she can get the alliance of the other wife (or wives) and start a coup where the man faces opposition on all sides until he caves. She made some other points and all the things she said actually made sense as I was sitting there but as we all know, it is never that perfect and clear-headed when it comes to issues of the heart and of marriage.

First off, it would be very very very very rare to enter into that sort of marriage where everybody will just get along and will cooperate that well. Also there is bound to be instances where jealousy and insecurities would arise, because maybe the husband is doting on one wife more than the other or something else entirely. Personally, no matter the reasoning, I cannot go into a polygamous marriage because in our culture, it almost never turns out well, coupled with the fact that I am very averse to sharing anything I claim as my own with anyone else. I will willingly pack my stuff and leave the man before I share him with another woman.

I stick by my beliefs and reasoning but I was surprised to meet a woman here in Abuja who is a very successful banker and is well established. Talking to her, she mentioned her little wife and seeing my surprised look, laughed and said yes she is married to a man who has a second wife and went on to list all those same things Ayo had listed about 3 years ago. She said she is loving her marriage and that she loves the freedom it gives her to do her work and anything else she wants to do without worrying that her husband and kids are not been well taken care of. I asked her how she is able to share her man as well as how she is able to live in peace with the other woman to which she laughed and said ‘Omode lo n se e’ (it is youth that is doing you). Basically she loves her life and it is a system that works for her but I am still very skeptical of the whole thing.

So what do you think about polygamy today? Do you buy that educated people are making the choice to enter into it?  Do you think you can handle it (male and female)? And do you think it can work out as well as this lady is painting it? Personally, it is 1000% not the thing for me but hey! Some people might be cool with it. Let me know your thoughts 🙂

21 COMMENTS

  1. Every single fundamental thought in world has been challenged with a better rationale from a sensible perspective than what has just been given by your Professor Ayo. I would wonder if because you are to busy you would even consider that? Is that a religious view because not even the so called modern woman from any religion would do that. And please don't say "stark illiterate" women. That spoiled every respect here.

    • Mr. Felix, seems like you are taking this personal in some way, it is not meant as a personal attack on anyone. And all i’m asking is that people look at things from all sides. As i said, no matter the rationale behind justifying polygamous marriage, i am against it but that doesn’t mean there aren’t people who are for it (and even engage in it). That doesn’t make them bad or ignorant people, to each his/her own. and why does stark illiterate take away every respect? believe me, there are still people in the world who are not literate and the lack of knowledge does influence some decisions to the negative so its there, stop trying to act like it isnt. thanks for your input and feel free to come back and discuss.

      • T.L u have always written nice articles so no vex and yes its a discussion to engage in.
        I am not taking it personal. What i wrote is just to say, people can give and will give reason for whatever actions they do and if they are more logical they will have their day.
        I know there are stark illiterates but i meant that its use was really strong.

        • Thanks for expounding on your point and that is true and obviously people who engage in it see the sense in doing so (as deeds said, based on personal experience and tradition), as well as people who oppose it. To each his own and my word choice was strong, but it was based on the emphasis i was trying to make. again thank you and keep reading and commenting 🙂

  2. In this world everything can be ratonalized just as two women with years have illustrated. There is a way you look at the world and you would accept anything without bother and succeed. Those are women that can control affairs like cleopatra. But how can words tell all: experience is best and a lengthy novel would do it.

  3. Its all about mindset jere…..
    Most things regarding human behaviour are possible as long as one believes in it…..
    As for me, dealing with one woman is already enough on my shoulders how much more 2 or 3….?
    And i must say my shoulders wide gaaan ni…. lol!!!!

    Well, i guess its what i believe as well….
    Nice write up though…..

  4. Nice pieces of article.From my own perspective polygamy is outdated except in some religion,in the modern world its going to be difficult practising polgamy because of the hard socioeconomic times we live in.But on the upside the husband get to have as much sex as he wants.

  5. Why on God’s green earth would/should i want to share my man with anyone?let’s not even get into religion because as as Christian that i am,it’s not permitted, and t’s extinct in my culture as well.hell no to polygamy!!!

  6. I am not for polygamy, and absolutely cannot bear the thought of sharing my man with someone else. But I grew in Northern Nigeria, and though most of my friends are like me, I have friends mt age i.e in their twenties who cannot bear the thought of being the only wife. Come to think of it, they are all kids of polygamous marraiges, and they had a wonderful experience growing. I think that like everything else, culture is a big contributing factor and your personal experiences are a big contributing factor… Heck! most of the Dudes in the bible, even the good ones had at least two wives. Given! that was mostly the old testament, but still 🙂

    • Deeds thank you for that. I do believe it is a matter of experience and culture also. My parents were kids of polygamous marriages too and they swear against it that it is not the way to go while your friends are results of polygamous marriage and it attracts them to it, a lot of people in this day and age (including myself) will not even consider a polygamous marriage but what i am finding out, especially in nigeria is that there are still people out there (like your 20something friend) who are very receptive to it for various reasons. and as for the bible illustration, very true!!! Thanks for your input~

  7. I can see reasons why it would and wouldn't work but I would never opt for it. Two people in one relationship is plenty wahala already. 3 = war.

  8. IF NO TO POLYGAMY??? CHECK OUT THE RATIO OF WOMEN TO MEN? APROXIMATELY ITS GETTING HIGHER ITS TEN(10) WOMEN TO ONE(1) MAN.. WHAT DO WE DO WITH THE REMAINING WOMEN AROUND? PLAY WITH THEM & DUMP THEM? EDUCATED OR NOT A GREEDY SELFISH RELATIONSHIP DONT WORK TOO, BUT WILLING TO SHARE LAST LONGER KNOWING AT ANY TIME WITH OUR DIFFERENCES THERE WILL ALWAY BE SOME ONE AROUND TO HELP THE OTHER… AND THE FACT IS WE ARE ALL BEST FRIENDS TO ANOTHER TO A MAN OR WOMAN, IN & OUT OF A RELATIONSHIP…
    IF U ALL HAVE THE FUNDS & SPACE TO SHARE FOR ONE MORE WOMAN TO HAVE A MAN, INSTEAD OF HIM CHEATING. BETTER DO THAN TO SELFISHLY ACLAIM ALL FOR UR SELF & WHEN U FIND OUT IT BECOMES A DIVORCE… THATS THE REASON FOR SO MANY DIVORCE TOO MUCH GREEDY WOMEN DON WAN SHARE.

  9. IF NO TO POLYGAMY??? CHECK OUT THE RATIO OF WOMEN TO MEN? APROXIMATELY ITS GETTING HIGHER ITS TEN(10) WOMEN TO ONE(1) MAN.. WHAT DO WE DO WITH THE REMAINING WOMEN AROUND? PLAY WITH THEM & DUMP THEM? EDUCATED OR NOT A GREEDY SELFISH RELATIONSHIP DONT WORK TOO, BUT WILLING TO SHARE LAST LONGER KNOWING AT ANY TIME WITH OUR DIFFERENCES THERE WILL ALWAY BE SOME ONE AROUND TO HELP THE OTHER… AND THE FACT IS WE ARE ALL BEST FRIENDS TO ANOTHER TO A MAN OR WOMAN, IN & OUT OF A RELATIONSHIP…

  10. @writer T.L. Dis is d first time am reading an article written by u,and I feel u probably can write somfin better,,,, I mean wats d point bout debating on a phenomenon wiv a ratio of like 50-1…..out of every 60 u find as little as 1or max 2 who don’t mind dier husband having anoda partner……bro write us somtin worth debating about and we’ll get on wiv d debate not asking d mass wat dier opinion is on polygammy….dahhhhhhh

    • @jay. just because majority of us disagree with the subject doesn’t mean there aren’t people who are for it (as you can see from the comments) and those who are for it should not be shut down just because majority are against it. whether we like it or not, it is a major part of our background and is still happening today so i do stand by writing the article and putting it out there. other topics will be tackled but i still stand by this one and the minority who are for it should voice their opinions, even if the majority doesn’t agree with it. thanks for reading.

  11. Never!! God forbid bad things….if my future husband tries that nonsense..hmm..him go see!…but seriously tho why do people even consider it, marriage should be between two people only, once a 3rd factor comes into it problem arises….you can look at it from this angle on a boat there are two people as soon as more people enter the boat begins to sink!! FACT!

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