Email Discussions 5
Why Aren't More Women
Attracted to Polygyny?
Dear Stanisław, and friends!
What a wonderful post Stanisław (The Ultimate Pastor: Problems Facing a Polygynous Husband)! In fact, you have confirmed something my husband and I were talking about a couple of years ago. I have been getting to know other polygamous families for a little over three years now, and at first I was amazed to find that the advantages for women far outweigh the advantages for the men... it is true!
Of-course, when all are working together in Godly love, then it can be
heaven for all.
I have wondered something, and here is a question that I have thought
about. I will share some of my own ideas with you, and I would really
like some feedback so that I can have more insight about this
--Why is it that in most cases it is the women who have a harder time
accepting polygamy, if it is true that it is the women who gain more
advantages from polygamy?
1- Because of what women are taught all their lives as to what is
supposed to be in a marriage, and that does not include polygamy?
2- Most women are very concerned about all the 'emotional stuff'
regarding polygamy, which can be very complicated? Most men are not
as concerned about the emotional side of polygamy, but the logical
The cultural programming we receive is not to be underestimated because it's a part of our whole way of being. I imagine, for example, that during the millennium when Christ returns that Christians/Messianics are going to have enormous struggles making the readjustments required of the theocratic kingdom. In our own spiritual community I would say that by far the greatest adjustments that have to be made are on the cultural front, for though we are located in Europe our program includes a major cultural readjustment in terms of music habits, entertainment, speech, etc.. As we have all observed, most open wives do not have a problem adjusting mentally to the theory of polygyny - it's when they suddenly understand its practical immediacy and how it might effect them that all the culturally-programmed defence mechanisms start going off.
In our family we got rid of the TV about three years ago and it made an enormous difference to our married life. Why? Because my wives were no longer being pumped with society's propaganda and stereotypes any more. Often after watching a romatic movie one of my wives might suddenly go into partial 'withdrawl' and I used to wonder why. The fact of the matter is that TV subsconsciously makes us act out the various rôles we see and to 'desire' what the characters desire. It's the same with pulp fiction, chatty magazines, etc.. At every turn we are faced with society's expectations which are constantly drummed into us, namely, monogamy-only marriage and promiscuity. It's exactly the same in the sphere of contemporary music. How many popular romatic songs extoll godly polygyny? Nearly all of them are about monogamy-only relationships.
I am convinced that for Christian/Messianic polygyny to survive we need Christian/Messianic polygynous communities and our own mini-culture. That's what we have been trying to do for the last decade. And only when children are brought up in loving polygynous communities can they understand that it is something to be desired and upheld. I think of my eldest children especially who, when we first revealed the way we lived, had exactly the same kind of reaction as women from the mono-only culture. But now they have grown up in it they accept it as natural so that if they are later challenged as to its validity they will always have a living experience of knowing the truth of it in a poly environment. For anyone to be comfortable with a set of values that goes against the norm they need long-time exposure. Like it or not, it's going to be an up-hill struggle for the first generation of this movement. And that is probably good because it means that those who come to Christian/Messisanic polygyny will hopefully come for the right reasons, having got where they are as a result of a struggle against societal norms.
So I sincerely believe that culture is the No.1 stumbling block. When in Asia, for example, my father was offered a second wife because such was considered perfectly normal out there. Indeed, we Euro-Americans with our mono-only ideas are considered rather strange.
The solution is to increase public awareness of poly and especially to counter the negative waves made by some of the Mormon fundamentalists who have had considerable media exposure in Utah amongst other places. So long as churches (assemblies) start admitting polygyny, as we did in 1988 (and I think were completely alone in that at that time) and the public sees that it can be lived joyfully, we will have an easier time of it. With the alternatives of prostitution and celibacy facing the ever increasing number of women coming to Christ, in the end something will have to 'break' to allow for these women's needs. However, I would personally rather that women came to polygyny because of the advantages it offers and not because they feel pressed into it because of the imbalance in the sex-ratio.
3- Most women look forward and long for marriage and children all
their lives, many women day-dream of their wedding day from the time
they're small? (I don't know too many men, in fact none I have met at
all who day-dream about their future wedding day!) Then, during the
marriage, many women look forward to the day when children will be
grown and gone, and it will just be the two of them once again? What
a shock to have all your life's plans, hopes, and dreams be changed in
such a drastic way!
I think that very much depends (as far as the man is concerned) on his emotional make-up. I am personally very sensitive by nature and so if a wife is upset, I feel it intensely. Whilst what you say about the logic-emotion compliment and men and women respectively is absolutely true, I believe that the Gospel requires women to think things out more and men to be more feeling without in any way trying to alter the tempremental differences built into the sexes. Thus men must become concerned about the emotional side so that they can empathise with their wives and women must learn to think though emotional clouds. It is here that the male-female dynamic is so important. If a wife gets upset I consider it my rôle to simply be there while the emotional floodwaters pour over without getting sucked up into the torrent myself. Once a woman sees stability coupled with deep concern she will usually calm down. If she goes over the breach and can't control herself then I usually go away for a short period of time, tell her to calm down, telling her I'll be back, and return a little while later. So I believe a man must learn to be concerned about the emotional side of polygyny and to empathise without getting sucked into its choppy waves. Similarly, I expect my wives to think things through and I do not permit an emotional torrent to sweep reason away. This requires considerable investment of time in the beginning of a new marriage. Such occurrences for us after 13 years are comparatively rare because we have worked through almost every angle now. I do know of men who look upon the women's emotional reaction with disdain and a lack of sympathy, which is to be deplored, whose relationship with their wives is more like a Mexican stand-off than anything else. There's a lot of emotional mud-wrestling in the beginning!
As for myself, I wouldn't want the emotional side to be dampened down by pure logic. The two are synergistic twins. The aim is not in any case to repress feelings but to transform them so that clear thinking allied to pure exhilarating feelings become the surfing board to polygynous joy. I have been changed by my wives feelings and they by my logical thinking. Today they can be brilliant thinkers as they wield the Word of Elohim (God) like a double-edged sword slicing through all the nonsense thrown up by the monogamy-only camp. And I can sit and bathe in wonderful feelings. The truth of the matter is that men want to feel and women want to think and polygyny is a wonderful environment for both. So my philosophy is that the patriarch train their wives to think and teach, and I let the wives teach the patriachs to feel and glow. We are so enormously one in mind and heart now, having been leavened by one another. For outsiders to see this wholeness and synergism is one of the greatest forms of witnessing of this principle. There is no counter-argument for it! When our enemies see the happiness in my wives they are silenced; and when they are faced by the cold truth of polygyny's principles, they must either capitulate or run. I am glad that women have this natural tendency to feel before thinking, and men the other way round, but I am also glad that we compliment one another so that polygynous wives become some of the finest thinkers I have ever met, and polygynous husbands who follow the echad polygamy vision of love not compulsion become some of the most sensitive and heart-warming people I know. Which is why I believe that Christian/Messianic polygyny is ULTIMATE CHRISTIANITY. Hallelu-Yah!
These are just a few of my thoughts about this, and would really like
some added insight.
How very true! But you know in Christian/Messianic polygyny (at least in the way that we practice it in our community) consists of MANY wedding days. Whenever a new wife comes into the family I enter into new covenants with them all. They all dress in white and I renew my covenants with the older ones whilst marrying the new one for the first time. That is not to say that the old marriages suddenly cease and start again but rather we view the entry of each new wife as a new marriage for the older wives on a higher plane. Thus each new woman catalyses the marriages of the others.
But I wonder if your vision is not, in part, a product of your American culture? In the East mothers and fathers look forward to their grandchildren, and, wherever practical, many generations continue living in the same place. In our Western culture, though, we have created a model which expects children to get as far away from the parents as possible when they grow up. And I believe that to be wrong.
In my view, the Christian/Messianic paradigm involves embracing ever increasing numbers of people. I think that whilst my wives would, of course, like to have more time with me we value the constant increase of children more than anything else. Look at Abraham taking new wives (Keturah and concubines) late in life. I think we need to reprogram ourselves to take joy in community more than in the more exclusive one-to-one relationships. But this may be my own particular philosophy. I grew up as a single child and that's the last thing I want now.
The great Christian/Messianic picture of ultimate joy is the Wedding Feast of the Lamb - that VAST gathering of the saved rejoicing together. I think polygyny points us more faithfully to this expectation and hope than the monogamy-only image of going back to being couples at the end of life. Polygyny is family par excellence - a miniature reflection of the Family of Elohim (God). The key to success lies in how we manage those families. If we mismanage them, then naturally we will yearn for one-to-one peacefulness as the ideal; if we run them well, I believe we will find an altogether higher level of satisfaction staying together.
What we are all really looking for is the kind of transparency that comes from a loving relationship between two people. The kind of intimacy we have with our spouses is not the same as we have with our children. However, I have noticed great transparency in a polygynous household because the children are being leavened by so many different personalities and forces. Multiple transparency is, for me, the ultimate intimacy, whether in the marriage bond or between brothers and sisters in Christ. The joy of the marriage feast of the Lamb must surely be in part this complete and utter transparency between the Redeemed - the supreme oneness of sharing a common love.
So I am not intimidated by society's norms and expectations, and certainly not the ideal monogamy-only one which, though very beautiful, is, I believe, second order to what I have experienced. However, I also believe that we will receive the fullness of joy in no matter what marriage union to which we have been called, whether polygynous or monogamous. Let us aspire to the fullness of Christ and allow others to pursue their own dreams. As for me and my household, we shall walk this path.
May Yahweh bless you through His Son, Yah'shua (Jesus),
First created on 9 January 2000
Updated on 30 May 2016
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