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The preferred marital arrangement worldwide is polygamy … One study of 850 non-Western societies found that 84 percent of the cultures studied (representing, nevertheless, a minority of the world’s population) practiced or accepted polygyny, the practice of having two or more wives (Gould and Gould, 1989) …
Women in these societies often prefer that there be several wives; plural wives are a sign of status and, more important, ease the workload of individual wives. This last fact is apparent even in our culture; it is not uncommon to hear overworked American homemakers exclaim, “I want a wife.”
Because of our culture’s traditional roots … polygamy sounds strange or exotic. However, it may not really seem so strange if we look at actual American marital practices. Considering the high divorce rate in this country, monogamy may no longer be the best way of describing our marriage forms. Our marriage system might be called serial monogamy or modified polygamy because one person may have several spouses over his or her lifetime.
The Marriage and Family Experience
Intimate Relationships in a Changing Society
Bryan Strong – Christine DeVault – Barbara W. Sayad – Theodore F. Cohen
8th Edition, 2001, Wadsworth-Thomas Learning, pages 16-17