Husband Wife Relationship

A typical Manjako family lives in a single rectangular house with up to 10 or 12 rooms, each with a door to the exterior. Each wife has her own room where she and her young children sleep. The husband also has his own room. Other rooms may be occupied by relatives, long-term guests, or adolescent children. Each wife has her own kitchen in which she prepares meals for herself and her children. In polygamous households, the wives rotate cooking for their husband. The husband eats alone or with older male children or guests.

Among married couples, there seems to be more of a feeling of companionship than of affection, especially for arranged marriages. But, even within polygamous marriages, many couples are very attached to each other, especially when the woman has chosen her husband herself. Husbands and wives typically show kindness and respect for each other.

In polygamous marriages, when the husband treats his wives and their children equitably, and when each wife accepts and respects her cowives, the household runs smoothly. However, if a husband favors one wife over others, cooperation ends and the compound becomes a very unhappy place.

In the case of irresolvable conflicts, divorce can be initiated by either partner. Common reasons include adultery, a woman never loving her husband in the first place and wanting to marry her sweetheart, a man emigrating and abandoning his family, violence or abuse, and lack of children. In the case of divorce, if brideser-vice has been performed, the children stay with the father (unless they are very young, in which case they stay with the mother temporarily). However, if there has been no brideservice, the children remain with the mother and her family.

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