Relationships In Different Cultures
Every culture has their own definition of family relationships. Most family
relationships stem from the concept of marriage. Different types of marriages are
accepted all around the world. Some marriages are based on civil aspects, others are
based solely on religious aspects, and most are based on both. There are two main
types of marriages throughout the world which are monogamy and polygamy. Each type
of marriage has been around for thousands of years and both the past and present
show that there are both advantages and disadvantages of each marital practice.
The most widespread form of marriage with the longest history is Monogamy.
Monogamy is the form of marriage where one man marries one woman. Ancient
Greeks, Ancient Romans, Jews, Christians, Indians, and tribes such as the Hopi and
Iroquois have regarded monogamy as the most ideal form of marriage. There are quite
a few advantages in monogamous marriages. There is typically better understanding
and communication between the man and wife, more focus on the children leading to a
more stable family most of the time and it is better economically suited for most people.
Since there are only two spouses, monogamy has been shown to offer the highest form
of love and affection and sex relations are more regulated. Disadvantages of
monogamy aren't often mentioned since its practiced by the majority of people in the
world but things can get complicated between the two spouses if abuse or adultery gets
involved. Even so, both the woman and man can divorce freely if they wish. The form of polygamy is the second prominent concept practiced throughout the world. Polygamy is when both the man and woman have freedom to have additional
mates. The historical Montagnais Tribe believed in pure polygamy. Before the French
took them over and converted them to European beliefs, both woman and men were
allowed to have multiple partners. They were a very mature culture where jealousy did
not exist and instead, they channeled their energy into loving every single person within
the tribe and each child was considered everyones'. Woman were actually seen as
above the men in a number of ways. Leacock describes how the woman create a very
complimentary relationship between spouses:
The Montagnais woman is far from being a drudge. Instead she is a respected member of the tribe whose worth is well appreciated and whose advice and counsel is listened to and, more often than not, accepted and acted upon by her husband. (39)
Leacock then goes on to explain how each gender has "special labors" that allow them
to create equilibrium within their culture and relationships.
Polygamy does have two forms as well. There is polygyny which is when one
husband has several wives and polyandry where one wife has several husbands. In
each situation, the single gender individual is seen as the superior one and the multiple
spouses are below them. Although not everyone believes in polygamous practices,
Joseph mentions many advantages and disadvantages that come along with sharing
her husband with 8 other woman. She states, " It enables woman, who live in a society
full of obstacles, to fully meet their career, mothering and marriage obligations; it
provides a whole solution." On the other side she says, "there is a longing of intimacy
and comfort that only he can provide" (A31). This proves that in any practice of
polygamy there are advantages as in having more freedom, but sometimes all of the
emotional, mental, sensual, etc. needs may not be met.
My ideal relationship is probably very similar to other girls of my age. All I've ever
wanted is one faithful monogamous relationship in my lifetime. Everyone has a soul
mate and hopefully one day I will find mine and we can...
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