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Leo McCarthy

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Plural Marriage

I'm interested in the changing nature of relationships. Given the huge divorce rate and the high incidence of infidelity in marriage - is the idea of a plural marriage / plural de facto relationship or polygamy or polyandry going to become more popular?
I'm particularly interested in Australians views on this issue.

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  • Apr 30 2012: Please read Helen Fishers talk on "why we love, why we cheat". Its fascinating and beautifully delivered
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    May 25 2012: As if divorce wasn't complicated enough already!
  • May 21 2012: I don't know about Australia, but social acceptance of more than one husband for a woman is the need of the hour in countries like India where decades of sex selection has created a social crisis : There are way too many men and way too less women for a standard 1:1 pairing. Already this has started in a sick manner - brides are being brought in to families of multiple brothers and are forced to have sex with all the brothers. Women are being commoditized and bought and sold. We need to overturn centuries of discrimination and give women an equal footing. The option of having more than one husband would go a long way - it would most importantly knock men off of this ownership mentality.
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    May 20 2012: Leo, The hugh divorce rates are an indication of the times. We have instant food, instant coffee, Quickey marriages, and fast divorces. It is all to easy. My parents and those before them grew together through good time and bad times and weathered the storm to be stronger in marraige.

    Plural marrages with todays kids would only result in plural divorces and raise the stats.

    Marriage is not 50 - 50 it is 150 - 150. It takes work and time to develop over a long time.

    I don't think that more wives or in some societies more husbands would solve anything.

    Interesting subject though. All the best. Bob
    • May 25 2012: Food for thought: Marriages needed to be stronger because of the state of society at the time. People couldn't effectively make it on their own, and there was huge stigma attached to divorce. If the stigma of divorce disappears, and parents can still work together to raise a child, is there still a reason for us to need long lasting marriages? In addition to that, "Till Death due us part" has a whole different meaning today then it did even 100 years ago as a result in the increased life span.

      Personally, I'm happily married and I plan to stay that way. It can be work, and it has been work, but I find it to be rewarding. However, I don't know that there is any real reason that as a society strong marriages are better than more fluid relationships.

      I guess my real point is this. Society has a lot of traditions. A lot of those traditions are a result of really oppressive and/or bigoted thought processes. Some of those traditions have turned out to be good, some of them are bad. In any event, it's a good idea to rethink why we do things from time to time.

      Caveat: I don't have any statistics to back this up, and I'd be interested to hear some (that go either way).


      Maybe this should have been an independent comment, instead of a reply :)
  • Apr 30 2012: I am not from Australia but I have been researching the same.
    If you look at "relationships" from an evolutionary perspective -- women formed the core group in hunter-gatherer times. There were many men per women and vice versa. Considered to be a genetically good move.
    The move towards one- to -one relationships developed during the time we stopped being hunters and started becoming cultivators. That required more "stability".
    The way I look at it we are hunter/gatherers again. In a different way. Someone is born in a city in India, studies in another, marries someone from Malaysia moves to London to work -- hunting grounds for eduction, money etc. Do we really expect that "one person" to fit every single place we go to or the various people we meet and encounter along the way? Far away from the comfort of our "tribe" we expect that one person will supply everything - friend, mentor, provider, partner,etc etc. Impossible expectations.
    We want variety and "neophilia" is supposed to be something which humans love. Unfortunately the whole issue is clouded by "moral" overtones and guilt imposed by religion. Which is why we shall have to suffer the social monogamy-clandestine adultery thing for many years to come.
    If people are capable of giving enough of themselves to various relationships simultaneously I would say go for it.
    Its certainly not new. Men were allowed to have many wives not so long ago, not just among Islamic people. Among Indians as well. The Ladakhis still subscribe to polyandry.
    Nothing we do will be new. It has all been done before. Not so long ago.
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    Apr 26 2012: Seems to me the divorce rate is an indication of the human ignorance regarding what marriage is all about. Everyone should know that a search for happiness is bound to fail, inside and outside a marriage.
    Marriage is not about having kids, or big cars or houses etc. Marriage is all about becoming a spiritual unit, a one. In fact that unit in the next life becomes one angel. An angel is the unit of one husband and one wife. It is not a group or team effort. You may like the following
    http://www.swedenborg.com.au/publications/transcripts/110MarriageInHeaven.pdf
    In very few words, there is no part in ANY kind of unit that is more important than that unit. This applies to cars, planes, stoves, even bodies. Marriage is a unit of two people. Neither of those two are more important than the unit and sometimes should decide to take a back-seat to save the unit.

    This book is one of Swedenborg's best known (at the time it was forbidden in Sweden because of it's explicit contents) and deals with every aspect of marriage love. Dr. M. Oz has even quoted it..
    https://sites.google.com/site/liveitupspiritually/home/writings/ConjugialLove.pdf?attredirects=0
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    Apr 26 2012: Hi Leo,

    I am going to leave a comment for future reference. I am very intrigued upon your topic.

    Best wishes! =)