Husband Wife Relationship

Kuna often ask, rhetorically, who you should save if your wife and mother are drowning—the answer is your mother, who is irreplaceable, whereas a new wife can be found "like changing clothes" (mol ogwaedyobi). Ethnographers have observed considerable instability in early marriages; estranged husbands often return home temporarily to their natal households, and divorce is common. Informants' accounts suggest that this was also the case in the late 19th and early 20th centuries (see Holloman, 1969, pp. 166-168; Nordenskiold et al., 1938, pp. 31-32): if a young man returned to his wife after three separations, his father-in-law was supposed to hit his head against a housepost, to impart the essence of the post's stability as well as punishing him.

But the Kuna also lay great store by the marriage tie and, over time, couples who stay together very often develop strong affectionate relationships. Along with their children they form a unit within the household in terms of expense allocation, quarrels with other couples, and potential formation of new households. The senior man and wife work together closely in managing household labor, and many examples of strong lifelong attachments can be observed. When Panama achieved independence in 1903, the regional chief Inanaginya urged his followers to stay with Colombia by comparing their national affiliation with an old and mutually beneficial marriage.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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