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Rate of Divorces; Can polygamy save marriages?

“Marriage is the only war where one sleeps with the enemy” – Anonymous

I woke up one night to find out way someone we truly admire for a long time, we decide to Part Company with him or her. Surprisingly, when I sat down on my bed I thought of the ‘The medicine of divorce’-polygamy?

The recent rate of divorces in the world has become a societal issue that needs to be discussed. Divorce in marriage has cause the breakdown of the family system that our forefathers laid down.

Available statistics provided by Divorce Reform indicates that United States leads the international rate of divorces by 68% followed by Russian Federation with 65%, third by Sweden 64%.  Nearly half of marriages in the US end in divorces.

Unfortunately, there are no figures for Ghana on the world chart, although it is generally known that divorce cases have become rampant in the country.

However, data available at the Accra Metropolitan Assembly on customary marriage indicates that a total of 618 marriages were dissolved in 2007 out of 1,511 marriages registered.

If Infidelity has always been the argument for most divorces, why not try polygamy were they could be understanding and boost trust.

Do not be deceived even US though polygamy is illegal, experts say there are 30,000 to 50,000 people living in plural families across the country.


Well, looking at our traditional Africa setting I suggested that we have to take a look at our polygamy system to reduce the height of divorces in the country.

Just last month,  Australia made changes in their family law to allow Changes to the Family Law Act in 2008 meant that polygamous religious marriages entered into in Australia could also be recognized as de facto marriages.

Polygamy existed all over Africa as an aspect of culture or/and religion. Many African societies saw children as a form of wealth thus the more children a family had the more powerful it was. Thus polygamy was part of empire building. It was only during the colonial era that plural marriage was perceived as taboo.



Polygamy is widespread in Kenya, the most prominent individual being Akuku Danger who married 103 wives.

In Nigeria, Mohammed Bello Abubakar, articles were published in newspapers around the world about his 86 wives and 170 children.

In South Africa, traditionalists commonly practice polygamy. The president, Jacob Zuma is also openly in favor of plural marriages, being married to three wives himself. He has a total of twenty children with these and two previous wives.




The Bible

Most Christians do not believe in Polygamy thus do not support the idea of multi-marriages. For most Christians, a man should be satisfied with the wife hence the vow of trust and loyalty.

But Let us look at some of the verses from the Old Testament that allows polygamy:

In Exodus 21:10, a man can marry an infinite amount of women without any limits to how many he can marry.

In 2 Samuel 5:13; 1 Chronicles 3:1-9, 14:3, King David had six wives and numerous concubines.

In 1 Kings 11:3, King Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines.

In 2 Chronicles 11:21, King Solomon’s son Rehoboam had 18 wives and 60 concubines.



Polygamy often leads to divorce

Saudi Arabia has the second-highest divorce-rate in the Middle East, and according to Abdullah Al-Fawzan, a professor and sociologist at King Saud University in Riyadh, Polygamy is responsible for up to 55 percent of divorces. He added that the loss of trust, sincerity, compassion and cooperation were also factors in the failure of marriages



Genevieve Kuidor, teacher in Tamale told the BBC that she has been with her husband for 18 years and has two children. She was brought up in a non-polygamous family.

She stated that it is not easy sharing your husband with other women, but I have learnt to adjust.

Once a man decides to take on other wives, there is nothing you can do other than keep your cool.

When he leaves me to sleep with another wife, it’s painful and I feel very jealous, but I just have to accept it. To her surprise, her husband has not cheated on their marriage.

Adamu Musah, broadcaster in Tamale Adamu Musah grew up in a polygamous home and has two children from a previous marriage. She is the second wife to her current husband after re-marrying in 1999. Her husband has been with his first wife for nearly 30 years and has five children.

As Muslims, we accept polygamy. If a man wants to marry another wife and she refuses, she refuses God.

Polygamy is a sensible arrangement.

When my husband is with the other wife, I’m not upset, neither do I feel neglected.

I don’t have any regrets or complaints competition makes you want to cook the best meal for your husband and raise the best children, she stressed.


Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ryan Giggs, Tiger Woods, Ashley Cole and others might want to embrace the practice of polygamy but of course it doesn’t apply to every individual.

For me, it’s about time we take a look at polygamy to help reduce the rate of divorces worldwide.

Marriage is meant to be a happy place for couples and its advantage to the children. The institution needs to be strengthening rather than broken!

Feature: Samuel Mantey

Twitter: SamuelMantey



August 8, 2011 - Posted by | SETTING THE NEWS AGENDA

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