in defense of monogamy!

So often, I hear the same blah blah boring old story – That men are basically polygamous and that monogamy is unnatural. In these peoples’ view, marriage is the most unnatural arrangement of all. And I nash my teeth in despair!

The standard argument takes us on a well-honed journey back to ancient times from caves to tribes to harems where polygamy was the norm. Here is their proof that this is true male behavior.

And, so it seems, that women “the proverbial ball and chain”- (lovely title! NOT!) – are blamed for coercing men into a lifestyle that is abhorrent and unnatural to them.

I have never been a big fan of polygamy, as I am way too possessive and proprietary to consider sharing my man with other women, (although I have been shared without my consent and it was one of my least favorite experiences!) but last year, I had dinner with a Muslim prince when I was in Oman and I asked him to explain polygamy from a Muslim perspective. He explained it quite rationally. In the bloodthirsty times of yore, when wars were aplenty, and the Koran was freshly inked, such a huge percentage of their men were killed, leaving countless women without any hope of a husband. Mohammed felt that it would be a kindness to have the remaining men marry the unfortunate surplus of females so that they too could delight in the joys of childbearing and motherhood, and hopefully birth a new generation of virile men.

There was a strict code that was established stipulating that each woman had to be accorded the same standard of living  – there was to be no second rate wife parked in a trailer. Or third or forth! I asked the Prince if he had more then one wife. We were at dinner and only one wife had accompanied him, but the previous evening, he had been surrounded by quite a few women. I hoped not to insult him or his lovely bride, but I was consumed by curiosity. He laughed, “Oh goodness, I could not handle or afford more than one wife! In fact most of my generation opt for one wife, it gets too complicated and too expensive! They become best friends and gang up on the husband. He doesn’t stand a chance!” Apparently, those other women from the previous night had been his wife’s sisters. I sighed with relief. I wanted to shout, “welcome to the 21st century!” But I bit my tongue.

A previously poly-amorous friend of mine said that after many years of “spreading the love” she had decided that the benefits monogamy outweighed her previous lifestyle. “The only way to have depth in a relationship is with one person.”

I see monogamy as a progression of humanity’s evolution. Just because it feels unnatural, doesn’t mean that is it! It just means that it is unfamiliar compared with thousands of years of primitive behavior. I am hopeful we are moving beyond a survival-based existence.

It is a privilege to dance on this earth with your beloved, your soul mate. Together you can reach the stars, plow the depths of your souls, experience communion, and witness eternity in each other’s eyes.

I think of the Vedas – the Sacred Hindu scriptures, “Within the microcosm, lies the macrocosm.” This means that the human body is a miniature prototype of the universal body. I have had experiences where I have connected to a sense of expansiveness – not on drugs, I swear! – When I felt like the planets and the stars were within me.

If each one of us is a prototype of infinity, then how could a man tire of one woman? It could only mean that he had reached his limitation of being able to experience his own infinite nature.

Monogamy is the journey of the beloved. It is the capacity to experience the all and-the-everything through the ONE.

What could be more beautiful? What could be more of a privilege?

Just because it is challenging on a daily basis, why does that make it unnatural? To see your true self reflected back through another, to know yourself to the depth of your soul. To reach into the mystery and find the answer in your beloved. What a gift!

May you all find your beloved – unless you already have – and may they kick your butt – as they inevitably will – until you become all that you can be!

And together, may you both help each other shuck everything less then love.

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11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. An Urban Mystic
    May 16, 2013 @ 03:00:10

    Lovely, thanks for the really beautiful post and inspiring notes.

    Reply

  2. carrie paps (@trooperMoo)
    May 16, 2013 @ 03:25:47

    Sometimes I think I would gladly enjoy another woman in my life to share in the pressures of running this household. I do it all, I earn the money, I cook, I clean (ok, I don’t clean, I hate it and I suck at it but I am trying to get better at it), I grocery shop, I care for my pets (he doesn’t claim them), I do it all. He is ill, mentally. I drive him to all his dr appointments, make sure he takes his meds, that they are filled on time, pay the bills for them, etc. etc.
    But then I think I don’t want to subject another woman to this burden. It’s mine to bear alone, because I love him, I married him, and I would expect the same from him if the situation was reversed.

    Reply

  3. Bunny Dunn
    May 16, 2013 @ 06:15:39

    I love this particular entry for taking me into the
    privilege of seeing a part of the world that I may never see….however, if by chance I am ever presented with the opportunity to dine with leaders of a people vastly different than my own, I would definitely, like you, pepper them with questions. Monogamy, to me, means working up, over and through all obstacles presented by each other and the world….as a unit, compromising, sacrificing, sharing and learning mutually. It is ‘real’ commitment. xoxo B.

    Reply

  4. Charity Ford
    May 20, 2013 @ 00:15:30

    Well written! An excellently articulated perspective which I completely agree with. I have been married for 13 years and do not find monogamy difficult at all. My husband and I recently had a conversation about how we could not imagine being with another person sexually. We have never had intimate relations with anyone except each other and it feels both natural and beautiful to us.

    Reply

  5. Sara van der Hoek
    May 26, 2013 @ 16:32:10

    I agree totally with the other replies: really beautiful, inspiring, well written and excellently articulated. I particularly loved the positive words in the end: “And together, may you both help each other shuck everything less then love”. I just copied it in my little ‘Wisdom notebook’ for re-reading : )
    Love from Brazil

    Reply

  6. Sara van der Hoek
    May 26, 2013 @ 16:34:26

    It’s a pleasure to read your posts. I look forward to them.

    Reply

  7. Lilac
    Jun 25, 2013 @ 01:18:12

    I love your blog. However, as someone who has experienced the reality of islam, the truth of the polygamy issue is quite different to the propaganda version you were served with. Mohammed encouraged polygamy to spread his new ideology as quickly as he could. Another reason muslims are encouraged to have lots of children. The eventual goal is world domination. I know this first hand. Other than that, your article is beautifully written.

    Reply

  8. Ken G
    Jul 24, 2013 @ 22:28:35

    Catherine…very well written about the journey of the beloved. It would be my pleasure to feature you or your comments on a TV series i am producing on love and romance…

    Reply

  9. Anine
    Sep 05, 2013 @ 05:19:24

    Lovely story! Thank you for sharing with us :-)

    Reply

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