Husband Wife Relationship

The husband-wife relationship among the Kyrgyz is characterized generally by duty and a quiet respect; affection is primarily given to their offspring. They tend to approach their marriage as team members; they rarely display public affection or hostility. The relationship is considered private. Husbands and wives often eat together with their family, sleep together, spend time visiting their respective extended families together, and often make decisions together. There is a fairly defined division of labor when it comes to household tasks and family concerns.

Polygyny occasionally occurs, when a man takes a second wife, but it is unofficial as it is not legal in Kyrgyzstan. In instances where polygyny does take place, Islamic codes are put into effect; the first wife has more status than the second, but it is expected that both wives must be given similar resources to support their respective children. If a marriage is not satisfactory, divorce is often the result and can be initiated by either the husband or the wife. The children typically stay with the mother, but the husband can also seek custody. In pre-Soviet marriages, children of a divorce would go to the husband's relatives.

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