Positive Benefits of Polygynous Marriages
- Polygyny emphasizes the Biblical teaching that woman was made for man and not that man and woman are equal in marriage. It is practically impossible to mistake who was made for whom in a polygynous marriage. The wives don’t sit around and wonder if they are equal to their husband, all the wives know they are there for their husband. This is why many women, Christian and non-Christian alike, hate polygyny, because it demonstrates to the world that woman was created for man, and that marriage is NOT an equal partnership as is taught in many Christian circles today.
- Polygyny has practical benefits like that when one woman is sick, the other women can care for her and her children when the man is out working.
- While I do believe that a man should be able to support his family, this arrangement would come in handy for if the wives had part time jobs that the other wives could watch their children. In Biblical times it would not be uncommon for some wives to be working in the fields while other wives cared for their children.
- The wives would act like sisters to one another and be able to provide emotional support to one another (an area many men lack in simply because it is not how they are wired).
- In Biblical times, with a high infant mortality rate, having multiple wives would give you a much better chance of having children, especially sons to carry on your estate.
- Polygyny makes being a selfish wife much more difficult. You don’t get to make yourself the center of your husband’s universe, you have to share. In a monogamous marriage this can happen all too easily (wife as center of universe mentality). It also requires the man to also share of himself with each of his wives. Contrary to modern belief, it is possible for a man to love more than one woman. Men are very good at compartmentalizing, this is a trait women often lack.
- Often in Biblical times polygynous men were well off and women would gladly become a new wife to one of these men for the economic security it would offer her and her future children. The old saying “a good man is hard to find” goes all the way back to almost the beginning of creation.
- I mentioned earlier the idea that polygyny would offer a better chance of having more children. But even in a marriage that may have started off monogamous for many years, if the wife went past her child bearing years without giving the man a son to carry on his name and his estate, he could then marry a younger second wife to try and conceive a son.
- In the area of sex, there are often times because of periods, medical conditions, problem pregnancies, or after delivery issues that a woman might not be able to have sex with her husband for an extended length of time. Polygyny solves this problem.
- What about if a man marries a woman and not long after the marriage he finds her to be most disagreeable? Some might call this today a “battle ax”. Even if she was not disagreeable in general, what if she were frigid in the bedroom? Biblically as long she did not refuse to have sex with him he could not and should not divorce her because of these things and he is bound to take care of her and provide her marriage rights for life. Polygyny solves this issue. Now I realize that some might argue that he is doing something wrong to make his wife disagreeable, and in truth he should try to make each marriage to each of his wives as good as it can be. But let’s face it some women are just disagreeable, it’s who they are.
The Emotional Support of Fellow Wives
I covered this briefly in the list of benefits of polygyny above but I wanted to park on this for a minute. One of the biggest killers of marriages today is the emotional connection aspect. The move to monogamy only was a big blow to women’s emotional support systems. Unless they had other women close by, women had little emotional support once polygamy became unfavorable form of marriage.
But women of the past did not divorce their husbands for lack of emotional connectedness, this is a new phenomenon occurring only in the last century. Women understood that men were different, and that men lead, provide and protect. Men were not expected to be like women or to try and change their mindsets to be more emotional and relational.
The reality is that a man can only meet so many needs of his wife, and a wife can only meet so many needs of her husband. If we look to our spouse to meet all our needs in every aspect of our life they will always come up short. There are some needs that will only be met outside the husband/wife relationship with same sex friendships.
We all know this to be true. As men we know there are some things only another man will understand, and for women there are some things only another women will understand.
This is truth is sorely missed in our modern society. Instead we are trying to make men more like women and women more like men in an attempt to try and make marriage meet all the needs of both sexes when that is something God never intended.
Can Polygyny Be Abused?
Absolutely! Whether in the past or today polygyny can be abused, just like monogamy can be abused. Something that can be good and wholesome, can be turned into something perverse. A man can abuse or neglect his wife in a monogamous relationship as easily as a man can abuse or neglect his wives in a polygynous relationship.
I believe that fact that Solomon was married to 700 wives and 300 concubines (slave wives) was an abuse of polygyny. How could a man possibly fulfill his marital duty to 1000 women?
It is one thing for a man to have 4 wives like Jacob did. It would be very possible to cultivate a relationship with four women, but with 1000? I think not. I think it would be fair to say that being a wife of Solomon meant you got see him a few times a year at best. In fact if he slept with a different wife each night, it would take him three years to get back to his first wife!
So I am not arguing that every polygynous relationship is right – and for that matter neither does the Bible. The Bible actually condemns certain polygynous relationships, while allowing others.
Polygyny is also abused today by those who have some of their wives put their children on state aid. If you are going to practice polygyny, then you must practice it Biblically. That means you must be able to support your new wives, and if you can’t you should not do it.
It’s Not Fair!
The last complaint against Polygyny that I will tackle is “it’s not fair!” Why does a man get to have more than one wife but a woman can have only one husband. The simple answer is this – LIFE IS NOT FAIR.
God did not make an equal creation, in all of creation there is inequality.
Can a fish say to a bird “Why can’t I fly? That’s unfair”
Can a deer say to a bear “Why can’t I be as big and strong as you? That’s unfair”
If cars could talk, could a minivan say to Dodge Ram with a huge Hemi engine – “Why can’t I tow what you can, why can’t I go as fast as you, why am I not as durable as you? That’s unfair”
You get my point.
Some might say my analogies are flawed because they compare apples and oranges. Men and women are both human beings.
This is true that we as men and women are equal in our humanity, and we are equal in our worth to God. However, we are not equal in how we are created and we are not equal in the roles that we were designed for – this is not only a Biblical fact, it’s a biological FACT.
We are all designed by our creator for a purpose. Can a monogamous marriage also show God’s purpose for man and woman in marriage? Of course it can. But God’s purpose in marriage is not as obliviously seen in a monogamous marriage as it is in a polygynous marriage.
Conclusion of Part 5
Polygamy can be abused like any other acceptable thing and it has been abused some at different points in history and even today, but that does not make polygamy itself wrong, only the abuse of it. While I myself do not practice polygamy, I support the right of every man to engage in this practice as a Biblically acceptable model of marriage.
As I have demonstrated in the 10 benefits above, polygyny is not all about men being able to have sex with lots of women. There are many mutual benefits for both men and women from the Biblical practice of polygyny.
5 thoughts on “Why Polygamy Is Allowed And Even Blessed By God – Part 5”
Background story: I have been married to my husband for about 6 years. We are both in our late twenties and we are both Christians. My husband and I found out that I was infertile a few years ago. It was a shock to us both and we were beyond heartbroken. Over the last few months, my husband has repeatedly expressed interest in a polygynous marriage. He even said that he wants to start looking for a second wife in a few years.
I didn’t want to jump to conclusions, so I did my research. I talked to my husband and he promised to continue taking care of me even if he were to find a second wife. The requirements of the new wife are very simple: She needs to be fertile. My husband would prefer if she were younger than me, but he wouldn’t reject a woman based on her age.
While another woman in the house might be nice, I also have my concerns. I don’t feel like my husband loves me any less because I am infertile, but I fear that he might love his new wife more because she is capable of giving him what he wants, whereas I am not. Is it a selfish of me to think that?
Men and women have two contrary and opposite desires.
Man naturally desires a variety of wives.
Woman naturally wants her husband to want only her.
I know your husband is saying he is only doing this because you are infertile, and he may actually believe that himself. But in the back of his mind he is excited about the prospect of having sexual variety in his life.
Now we know that not everything that comes naturally to us is righteous before God. In fact many things that come naturally to us are sin. Why? Because sin, like a virus, has infected our flesh, our human natures. And the virus corrupts the masculine natures and feminine natures in different ways.
So that leads us to this question:
Is a woman’s jealousy or insecurity over her husband wanting another wife a corruption of her feminine human nature caused by the virus of sin
Is her husband’s desire for another wife and the fact that he is does not want only her a corruption of his masculine human nature?
In other words, which gender, the male or female, are acting on their original programming from God and which one is acting based on a corruption of their nature by sin?
The answer to this question is easy. Since we know that God rewarded Leah for giving her husband another wife when she left bearing (Genesis 30:19) we know that God blesses polygamy. Therefore man’s desire for a variety of wives is not a corruption of his nature and we can confidently say that a woman’s jeolousy and/or insecurity toward her husband is a result of sin.
Isabelle – God says this regarding your fear and insecurity related to your husband taking another wife in 1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love”.
Love your husband and don’t fear about him taking another wife.
Great series of articles, very eye-opening. I really appreciate the measured approach you take, covering that both institutions of marriage can and are abused. The one thing I would add to your section “It’s Not Fair” is that this mindset basically starts and ends with the feminist desire for revenge against men, and/or to usurp men’s roles (“her desire will be for her husband” i.e. she wants to be the man). In truth, women are MORE than happy (psychologically, biologically) to “share” a man if he is a high-enough quality male. This is on display in the modern dating world where essentially 20% of dating-age men have sexual access to 80% of dating-age women (rampant hypergamy, but that’s another conversation for another time–it’s illustrative of the point though).
I grew up in a sinful family without any of God’s teachings. The problem for me was that many of the things you describe here on your blog, the sexual urges women has been given by God, they were strong for me, but because of my wrongful teachings, they were channelled into sin.
I had a need for a man to guide me, in the lack of that, I tended to want to please men in general, which caused a lot of issues for me as many men today abuse that. Because of how Christianity was explained to me by my family, and many Christians, I found true solace in it far too late, and has gotten many mental issues because of it.
Once I heard of the literal interpretation from the Bible I was first appalled due to my teachings, but my desires still had me searching for more information, I truly believe God gave them to me to guide me to the right path. I found a Christian husband who could give me the guidance I need and be the man for me to please. I loved to be able to take a step back and let him decide, it removed my anxiety. I loved putting on the skimpy clothes he asked me to wear (when appropriate), as I felt that he loved my beauty and wanted to share it with the world, making me feel more self-assured. I even loved the spankings he gave me, since through them I could feel the shame I carry for my past sins lessen, as I learned and could adapt through them, he even spanked me regularly on my own, because he knew I had a lot of past sins that I should’ve been punished for and wasn’t. And no, I don’t enjoy the pain, but I enjoy what comes with it.
I have given him two sons and he has taken another wife. A part of me, the part from my upbringing, told me I should be appalled by the thought of him wanting to be with another. But it was natural to me, I had always been fine with him talking about women he found attractive. I had never had any problems with him seeing another woman who turned him on, and then please him while he thought of her, or watched pornography. So why would I have any problem with him having another wife? It would mean more help to take care of the home and the kids, which would be a benefit to reduce my stress.
The only thing that worried me was that I am one of those few wives who feel the need for sexual attention far more often than my husband, and only getting half of his sexual desires felt like a terrifying prospect. However, I decided to trust in God and in my husband and it turns out, his sexual desires has grown from having two wives, God has given him the ability to care of us both in that regard.
What I want to say to those of you out there whose husbands are considering a second wife, it might be terrifying, it might feel shameful, but it is a lot worse for her. I realised that quickly once she came into the family, she loved him, but she was terrified of me at first and coming into our family, she was afraid I’d see her as a thief. I welcomed her, and because of her own insecurities I could forget my own and focus on making her more comfortable. Today we are closer than ever, and we can even help each other seduce our husband, and be happy even if he chooses the other for that night. He does not love me less, I believe he loves me more!
I wouldn’t mind if he decided to take a third, in fact, I think our family could need another wife.
Thank you for sharing this great testimony!