Monogamous-To Be..Or not..To Be

How important is monogamy? A simple question yet the answer is anything but. In a society where infidelity is so wildly popular it seems this has become the societal norm. The sanctity of marriage has become stained because of scripted series such as Scandal. Although the epidemic of “side chicks” is nothing new, just now it is part of the main stream.

So what is monogamy? “-The practice or state of being married to one person at a time. -The practice or state of having sexual relationships with only one partner.” Pretty cut and dry right? Simply put monogamy is being with one person in aspects. This definition applies to those married and those in relationships. I personally am a believer of “you’re single until you’re married”, there is no box on applications for “in a relationship.” If we were to look at this from a religious standpoint, observations and opinions would be conflicting. King Solomon had 700 wives, that defies the first part of the monogamy definition. Sarah, the wife of Abraham was barren so she could not give her husband children. So she presented him with her maid Hagar to sleep with him and give him a baby, there goes the second part of the definition. Then there are several scriptures that speak on the institution and holiness of marriage; and of course there is the one commandment that condemns adultery. (I am not sac religious and this is not a Biblical debate). So for me, there is not much help there on the importance of monogamy.

Much conversation has sparked since reality television star Toya Wright and Academy Award winning actress Monique spoke publically regarding allowing their husbands “hall passes”; or in other words giving them permission to have extramarital affairs. For Toya this obviously did nothing for her marriage as she and her husband are now separated; however it seems to be working for Mo. These women are not the first to admit to giving their husbands permission to sleep with other women. In their joint biography Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee spoke openly of their marital success and how having an open marriage played a part.

“It occurred to us, from observations and reasoning that extramarital sex was not what really destroyed marriage, but rather the lies and deception that invariably accompanied it. So we gave ourselves permission to sleep with other partners if we wished as long as what we did was honest as well as private, and that neither of us exposed the family to scandal or disease.”-Ossie Davis

Ossie and Ruby married in 1948 and had been married 57 years when Ossie died in 2005. It wasn’t the idea or the definition of monogamy that kept them together, but the honesty and loyalty to each other and their marriage. Our “culture” and society denotes what is and isn’t acceptable and frowns upon anything that goes against the grain. No one person and no one relationship is the same, there is no rule book, only a bunch of people with opinions. There has been much commentary from women especially about the decisions of Toya and Monique to give their husbands hall passes. Who are we to judge? Is it not better to know than to be blindsided by your spouse’s mistress and his side kids?

Monogamy is something man created that in my opinion we were not created to be. I realize this may not be a popular opinion and I am okay with that; as Nola Darling said “It’s all about control, my body, my mind, Who is going to own it? Them or Me?” Monogamy may be extremely important to most and less important to those who prefer honesty and loyalty. Either way, it’s just a word.

“But, we both came to realize that we were very fortunate that, in all of the deep profound, fundamental ways, we really, really only wanted each other. It was like a rediscovery of something from the beginning. It’s not something that you’d recommend to everybody.”- Ruby Dee