To have and to hold…a few more.

Dec 10, 10 To have and to hold…a few more.

Posted by in Culture

There seems to be a conspiracy amongst my friends to get married and produce offspring before the year is out while I join Facebook groups called ‘All my friends are getting married.  I’m just being awesome’.  Even Prince William’s doing it, and making people in the UK bridal and engagement ring industry very happy as a result.  With the idea of getting hitched to a one and only forever and ever consequently on my mind, I got to thinking about the prospect of a one and a few more. This limerick from William Cosmo Monkhouse refers to the practice of ‘trigamy’ that in seventeenth to nineteenth century England was used to indicate that someone was married to three people at one time. There was an old fellow of Lyme Who lived with three wives at one time. When asked, ‘Why the third?’ He replied, ‘One’s absurd, and bigamy, sir, is a crime.’ Our president is not the only leader with more than one wife, or the only one who is proud of the fact: the king of Swaziland, Mswati III, is thought to have married a jaw dropping total of thirteen women.  In the Sudan Omar Hassan al-Bashir has tried to encourage polygymy as a means of increasing the population and it isn’t only leaders in Africa that think it’s a good idea: last year Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov urged men in Chechnya to marry more than one woman since to be an unmarried woman is considered dishonourable. Even if people in polygamous marriages are not financially affected by the arrangement, it seems possible that some partners may not get enough emotional support if their partner’s attention is diluted by polygamy. Polygamy, meaning ‘often married’, can be broken down into two main categories: polygyny and polyandry.  Polygyny refers to a man marrying more than one woman, and polyandry to a woman marrying more than one man; if a person is married to only one person at a time he is practising monogamy.  In South Africa it...

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