Husband Wife Relationship

Most marriages are characterized by solidarity. Loving affection is seldom shown in public by older couples. Young people often try different matings before they find the right partner, unless they are required to marry to strengthen a political alliance.

The couple eat and sleep together, often work in the garden jointly, and generally make family decisions together. Disagreements are discussed in the open as showing one's temper is considered positive.

Polygyny is common, mostly in the form of sororal marriages. Polyandric unions are not unusual. The latter are more often of transitory nature compared with polyg-ynous unions. Lizot (1988) claims polyandry to be at least as common as polygyny. This high occurrence is not supported by data from other authors, but unquestionably polyandry is a customary family setting (HerzogSchröder, 2000). If the cowives are sisters, their relationship is generally harmonious, but jealousy is not unusual between multiple wives. The difference in time spent with the husband and the imbalance in receiving presents from him often trigger conflict within polygynous families. Older wives are frequently abandoned as sexual partners, but even then they are very powerful in making decisions about the children and family. Divorce is not considered scandalous and can be initiated by either a husband or a wife. Apart from young couples, more marriages end through the death of one partner than through divorce. Among the Upper Orinoco Yanomami, children generally stay with their mother after divorce or with the mother's family after the mother's death. In contrast with this rule, among the eastern Yanomami (Brazil), where patrilineality is evident, children commonly stay with the family of their father (Ramos & Albert, 1977).

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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