The concept of having multiple spouses

Recently, in a history of sorts, 3 people, who were in love with each other, got married, legally, in Brazil. Predictably, there has been some controversy. And if you come to know that there were two women who got married to a man, you’ll probably say, “O yeah, as if it doesn’t already happen.”

Yes, two women getting married to a man isn’t new. In fact, even more than one man marrying a single woman isn’t extraordinarily radical. Polyandry is an accepted form of domestic life in many cultures. The “new” in the above-mentioned incident is three people simultaneously becoming a “thruple”.

But what if multiple men got married to multiple women? For example, what if there are three husbands and two wives, or five wives and five husbands, or ten wives and seven husbands — any combination for that matter? They become a part of a single unit.

Of course every union has it’s pros and cons. Even the current combination of one man and one woman has its own set of woes and blisses.

Our society so far has functioned on the basis of either patriarchal or matriarchal system, mostly patriarchal. The prevalent norm is one husband and one wife. This arrangement is quite straightforward, especially when it comes to nurturing the offspring. When we have kids, they are a part of both the parents. Both parents jointly — in most of the cases — bring kids to this world. This creates a linear cultural and social hierarchy. There is also greater bonding between parents and children.

Between couples there is no ambiguity and there is no conflict of interest. Both work towards the overall betterment of the family.

Problems arise when there are multiple partners — conventionally, when there are multiple wives. Children from different wives are acrimonious towards each other. There is sometimes overt or covert animosity even among the wives. Conflict of interest is quite sharp, especially when either the stakes are high, or the resources are limited. Among poorer families scarce resources are consumed by more family members, causing problems to everybody.

Having multiple wives for a single husband sounds a bit archaic, especially if the decision is not as voluntary as mentioned above, and even if there are some positive aspects to it, I don’t think women get a fair deal out of this.

Multiple wives and multiple husbands, on the other hand, sounds more appealing and beneficial to all the parties involved. Of course it requires a higher level of intellectual maturity among all the spouses and even if one partner is not at parity with the rest the entire thing can fail.

For such multi-partner-multi-gender marriages all the involved parties will need to be on a similar wave length more than ever. They must know what they are getting into and what pros and cons they are going to face.

Since such marriages haven’t been experimented with — at least not openly — and there has been no qualified research and documentation on this form of wedding, it’s difficult to predict what exactly will be the outcome. But as our society opens up more and more — culturally as well as religiously — I think such marital arrangements will be common.

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