Polygamy vs Monogamy – What You Should Know

Polygamy vs Monogamy – What You Should Know

- in Nuwla Black Culture

Polygamy vs Monogamy – What You Should Know

My King and I fully embrace and practice polygamy but are currently in a polygynous situation.  No, it’s not based on sex as many of you truly choose to believe but rather building a strong, conscious foundation of structure, love, and support for all involved. When I proudly announce this stance eyes roll and I’m bombarded by a slew of “How could you?” “I couldn’t ever be” and many variations of the same. Immediately sex becomes a factor, a factor that is not the primate of our stance. Let me first clarify that when considering being poly, there’s a huge difference between the forms.

Polygamy refers to the practice of having more than one spouse. It is broader than polygyny, which refers to situations where one man has multiple wives, and polyandry, which refers to one woman with multiple husbands. What may surprise you is that I, a mother and a wife of 10 years was the originator of this controversial idea. Yes, it was my idea. In realizing the importance and blessings of having a strong King, a good provider who has proven loyal. As a conscious black woman rediscovering her African roots, my culture, history and recognizing how he has not only contributed to but enhanced my life by strengthening and encouraging my growth in becoming the Queen I am. I approached him and said, “There is a shortage of Black men due to various reasons, but I truly believe adding a conscious Queen to our family could be beneficial.”  He was shocked, by my affirmation but listened as I expressed and exposed my research on the subject.

Biology simply wants a male and a female to mate together and the female to become pregnant

I first began with addressing Monogamy. The universal norm and standard accepted by Western society. A study of mating behavior shows that while most of us have had one sex partner in the past five years, some of us have had 10, 20 or even more. Some people prefer to have long-term sexual relationships with a single partner. In rare cases, that can mean one partner for life. Other individuals, not finding fulfillment in monogamous lifestyles, incessantly seek out new partners. At this opposite extreme are the likes of basketball player Wilt Chamberlain, who claimed to have slept with 20,000 women. Most people, however, accumulate several partners over our lives in between periods of “settling down.” Guys and gals struggle with the contrary instinctual urges to mate often or to secure a quality mate. Social mores, meanwhile, aim to lessen the strife that can result from unchecked sexuality. “Without trying to simplify a complex situation too much, there’s a basic tension between biology on one side and society on the other side,” said psychologist Tom W. Smith. “Biology simply wants a male and a female to mate together and the female to become pregnant — that’s all biology wants. But societies want to perpetuate themselves, too.

Since so many people try to associate polygamy with sex, allow me to use this often considered perspective in addressing Monogamy. From a sexual standpoint, men and women start and stop relationships for various reasons. In conjunction with the biological perspective the passing of genes onto the next generation, human males, and females, however, appear to be at cross-purposes when it comes to sex. So, let’s address the elephant in the room. Monogamy has become a broken template for what actually occurs in monogamous relationships. Yet the reality is that “cheating” does occur. According to the best estimates available from studies, psychologist Tom W. Smith noted that:

3 percent to 4 percent of currently married people in the United States have a sexual partner besides their spouse in a given year. Overall, about 15 percent to 18 percent of ever-married people have had a sexual partner other than their spouse while married.

Sex often brings with it confusion about what the partner ultimately seeks in terms of a relationship. “A sexual encounter occurs, and one partner assumes it has meaning and endurance and the other partner never assumed that from the beginning,” while the unknowing husband or wife is in a monogamous relationship with themselves. So let’s look at the statistics of monogamous marriages in the U.S. About 40 to 50 percent of married couples in the United States divorce. The divorce rate for subsequent marriages is even higher. Now as I stated before sex isn’t the founding factor of polygamy and know something else.  It’s not the leading cause of infidelity in monogamous relationships either.

If you think that sexual infidelity is the leading cause of divorce, you’ve got it all wrong

I polled over 100 of my clients seeking counseling for divorce to see what they say are the top reasons they decide to call it quits, and — believe it or not — communication problems came out on top as the number one reason marriages fail.

This is where polygamy has the advantage. Many people’s reaction to plural marriage could be summed up in one word: “yuck.” They assume the men are perverted or have a huge ego or are overly sexual. Quite the contrary: If a man has any of those characteristics, his plural relationships are not likely to last. I certainly wouldn’t stay with my King if he had any of those traits. I’m not here to be a toy for a man, nor are my sister wives. Most men don’t enter this lifestyle so they can have more sex; rather, they have a sincere sense of a higher purpose. I’d rather share my king than have a hundred men of lesser quality to myself. Yes, I do have the option to take a second husband, but I’m so focused on my career, school and my current family that my high level of selection is on the back burner for now.   In our family, we don’t have any sort of hierarchy among the wives. When Nyila came into our family, she instantly became a full and equal partner. We’ve created a marriage that is a true collaboration, which ensures that our opinions are valued, our needs met, and our lives tightly linked together.

Polygamy has existed in the African continent thanks to the fact that it represents an aspect of their culture and religion. These types of marriages have been more present in the whole history of Africa like no other continent in the world. One of the reasons why this has happened is because the African societies have managed to see that children were a form of wealth and this way a family with more children was considered to be more powerful. Under these circumstances, the polygamy in Africa was considered to be part of the way you could build an empire. Only after the colonial era in Africa, polygamy has started to be perceived as a taboo, as this was one of the things imported along with the colonists that took over some regions of Africa. Some people are saying that there was also an economic reason why this has happened: there were many issues of property ownership that conflicted a lot with the European colonial interest.

The benefits of currently being a triad have so many wonderful benefits. your family income increases. Your children’s support system is also enhanced. You now have time to actually enjoy time with family, without the stress of living from paycheck to paycheck. There is a sisterhood that promotes unity and oneness. We have our King in common and he too has added support and two beautifully conscious Queens who are in full support of helping him build our empire. I’ve noticed that more and more women are becoming open to it, yet I’ve heard others say they fear that because most men tend to walk in their lusts and in their flesh instead of always taking the spiritual approach. That leaves a bad taste in my mouth. The solution is simple. If your Kings views of polygamy are sexually charged and motivated, he is not in the right frame of consciousness to pursue this type of union. Poly marriages are far more likely to make it through ‘bad weather’ in the marriage.  Such as loss of income or health, and even outright cheating. As much as 40% of non-religious marriages survive all these ills. Still, the majority clearly end, don’t they? I’m just stating that if you’re going to do it, know your chances of success. Poly marriages are generally the healthiest, where the partners view each other as equals and are of a progressive mentality.

Apart from the statistical nightmare, one is really taking a high-odds gamble when one decides to get married with the intention of remaining monogamous. The chances of a successful marriage are less than 30% by most calculations, and those are odds I would not play even in Vegas. Almost all pundits on the failures of marriage complain about a lack of “integrity” and “communication” in modern marriage.  Polygamy has been a blessing for me. I have a sister wife who is fully committed to building and together we all exceed society’s normal standard. It all balls down to communication and learning how, to be honest, and open with your feelings. A great example of this unity is me receiving a call while pulling long hours at work and being assured that my sister wife who knew I was pulling overtime, stopped past my house, to fix dinner for the hubby and kids, and did the laundry while there. “Finish up there go home and relax.” She said. I did just that.

Nuwla contributor – Dr. Shewanna Johnson
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Dr. Shewanna Johnson

Dr. Shewanna aka Conscious Queen is a 42-year-old Washington, DC native who currently resides in Charlotte, NC. She is A wife, a mother and a Clinical Psychologist with a natural desire and dedication to uplift the black community diaspora. Dr. Johnson is a Howard University, Tennessee State and University of Phoenix grad working now on her P.H.D. in Psychology. “I describe life as a passion cocktail. Mixed with love, experience, knowledge, and pain. It’s the pursuit of happiness with a side of reality.” Discovering who you truly are is not defined by wealth, education or financial status. It’s the struggle of your spirituality at war with this alternate reality we live in. The heart will always transpire you within. Good or bad I regret nothing out of respect for what it taught me.

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  • Janice Jones Hutchinson

    This article is very thought provoking. At on time in my life, I would have thought it was straight from Hell. Today, I read with an open mind since I no longer base all my opinions or decisions on the King James Bible.

    I most study more on African culture in this area. Where in Africa? What percentage of nations? Were there other marriage practices in Africa than polygamy? I can certainly see where this could be profitable.

    I notice that the author said her sister wife came over and cooked dinner for her family. It seems as if they have separate households. It is not clear how the extra incomes would make a difference it if wife has her own household. I would like the author to explain that statement. Do they all live in one household or not?

    • David Fenelus

      I don’t think the author has seen this comment yet… I will let her know.

      • Janice Jones Hutchinson


    • Dr.Shewanna Johnson

      Thank You for your reply. No. As of right now we do all reside in separate households, but the ultimate goal is for us all to be under one. Just like with any relationship there is a process of combining our lives. Because of the children involved, and the newness of this union between the three of us, we all need to secure our relational bond before moving to the next stages of co-habitation. Much like monogamy, you don’t just meet, move in and live happily ever after. It takes just as much work as any other relationship.

      As for the children involved, we were and will always remain upfront and honest with them. No, its not the considerable norm to the outside world, but within our homes, through communication and dedication it is our norm. A norm that’s structured around family not one that’s built around societal views. In life there are many different things that effect our children that isn’t the suggested norm. Physiologically things like divorce, racism, and even police brutality removes our children from the standard norm. This situation provides them with a stable platform that is built of love and is our culture. Basically whats being said is that our culture is not normal and inferior to Americas standards. Its all about breaking the chains.

      • Janice Jones Hutchinson

        Thank you for your response. Has your research shown if polygamy is the norm for most African countries both past and present?

  • I do admit the way you’re talking about it is beautiful to be heard. But polygamy in some countries is no choice for women. As being someone’s daughter, sister or husband is the first and only way to go into easy social life with a very small instruction level and no economic independency for women it comes sometimes with very hard and tragical issues. Better not describe all those sad stories I’ve heard from some adults remembering their battling childhood between struggling mothers aiming to guarantee the best for their own children. And it goes far sometimes. I do respect my people and know traditions have been turned and perverted by many differents factors, and that the relationship is supposed to be the picture you painted in your article but for now and for what I know about it, I have no romantic or spiritual attraction in polygamy.
    With all my respect for the choice that is yours Queen.