The Marriage Bill Is Good News For Mistresses

The country is in the midst of multiple crises. Rampant crime, terrorist threats, relentless poachers, grand corruption et al but parliament, our elected leaders decided they have other pressing matters at hand. Why can’t a man be allowed to marry a second wife if he wants to? The defensive arguments that follow are juvenile with the typical scape goats of African culture and bible verses thrown in as irrefutable proof. The proponents of African culture and fans of King Solomon, managed to successful make an amendment to the marriage bill with a clause that will allow a married man to enter into marriage with another woman without the first wife’s consent.

Some critics argued that Parliament is trying to undermine our monogamous bliss by slipping polygamy through the back door. They obviously do not understand our MPs. Parliamentarians only look out for their self-interests and they just enacted a law that allows them to marry their mistresses without the messy procedure of getting a divorce first. Divorce is tricky because it involves sharing wealth with a woman you disagreed with and that is a scenario that had to be avoided at all costs.

Those who argue that polygamy threatens the stability of family structure are exaggerating. The family is indeed the basic unit of society but its definition is fluid not limited to a nuclear unit.  A similar argument can be leveled that enforced monogamy is threatening the institution of family and has led to an unprecedented rate of marriage abandonment and a proliferation of single parent households. We are a society that swears by the rule of serial monogamy. You can have us many wives as you want as long as it is one at a time.

In reality, the push towards polygamy would only benefit high status males, capable of providing for multiple wives. The ability to maintain multiple women is in itself a status symbol. But we are not talking about recreational sex and lust. To be actually married to multiple women and remain committed to providing emotional and financial support is not for the fainthearted.  Polygamous marriages follow the evolutionary principle of survival of the fittest. Men who prove ability to be good fathers, husbands, providers, leaders will always have women competing for their attention. To assume that women have a problem sharing a man is flawed. Many have made that choice and continue to make that choice.

Historically, men controlled the purse strings and marriages were thus viewed as business arrangements that were designed to produce heirs and accumulate wealth. That changed. Marriage for love is now the new standard which is why ‘we kiss the bride’ in-front of multitudes and declare our affection in a public ceremony.

However, routinely henpecked regular Joes have no illusions about the pecking order in contemporary marriage. It is a lot easier to sneak around and deal with the consequences of infidelity when you eventually get caught.

Therefore, the argument of a man’s right to choice of marriage has to apply equally to women. There are several women who would advocate for multiple male partners to cater for their varied needs in a marriage but this society would never accent to that because it is not biblical and more importantly Un-African.
Polygamy isn’t the issue here. The big pink elephant in the room is adultery.

Parliamentarians are just trying to legitimize extra marital affairs.

Two Husbands Are Better Than One

I don’t know if you caught ‘the man bites dog’ headline last week? Two men who live in Kisauni, Mombasa County came to the sensible agreement to share a woman they had been having an affair with for more than four years. The woman at the centre of this sharing arrangement basically refused to make a choice, stating quite blatantly that she could not live without either of the men. The two men who found her company too compelling to dismiss decided to be co-hubbies and put it down in writing.

I found this arrangement quite progressive. Many men have struggled explaining the logic that it is quite possible to be in love with several women at the same time. Women refuse to accommodate the position because it opens one up to competition and given precedence, the woman who worked hardest to mould the man, always loses out to the new comer. In a polygamous relationship, the newest wife is always the happiest.

On the other hand, women have generally kept multiple male partners but mostly in platonic arrangements. There is the man you go to when you need a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on who will simply let you whine without judgment. There is the brutally honest male friend, who dishes out scathing but sound advice. There is the best friend forever also known as the knight in a glass case. In case of an emergency, break the glass and he rushes in to the rescue. Then there is the lingering ex who is often only good for sex or at least to serve as a cherished reminder of a once decent sex life.

These men all co exist together in an arrangement, in most cases totally oblivious of the competition. If they were made aware of their value and their limits, they would eventually see sense in the picking a number and waiting in turn.  Most women by the age of 30 realize that you can’t find it all in one man and what men really require at the end of a long day, is the acknowledgement, that they are good for something. Assure a man of his function and he will be a constant feature in your life.

The anonymous woman at the coast gets that. If you are going to be in a multiple relationship with men, appreciate their different functions. Unofficially, matriarchs have always had men ready to serve them and share as long as they made each feel important. This is the same quality that the successful polygamous husband embodies. There is never an ideal state of equality but appreciation makes a fairly good substitute when jealousy and rivalry arises.

Ultimately though, it is always the first male who acts as the decider. In traditional society, the old polygamous male always had to loudly announce his arrival before he walked into his homestead. This was to give the younger wives time to get rid of their ‘service boys’ and spare the main provider the embarrassment of a confrontation as he walked into his home.

Contrary to popular belief, polyandry can make sense to the male perspective, because men are basically in competition with each other for a handful of worthy women and some women need more attention than one man can provide.


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