Saturday, February 11, 2012

Review 2: Marriage and the Norm of Monogamy

Author's Note:

Back on the proverbial horse, here's another review. School and life are still getting in the way, but I do intend to get caught up here...

- Jason


Review 2
Weaver, B. & Wollard, F. (2008) Marriage and the norm of monogamy. Monist, 91(3/4), 506-522. Retrieved from

Weaver and Wollard’s work takes the reader through a series of logical steps in identifying the psychological and practical reasons for individuals to choose monogamy and non-monogamy. After a lengthly setup, outlining the assumptions and operational variables used, monogamy and non-monogamy are looked at primarily from a practical (resource-driven) and emotional (is this helpful or hurtful?) perspective.

Weaver and Wollard intentionally avoid policy and social issues, approaching the issue exclusively from a personal choice perspective, and identify three circumstances that allow for monogamy to be healthy, from an individual perspective. These are:

1)      The couple responds to the value of sex within the marriage by seeing all sexual activity as having a special significance.
2)      The spouses’ needs for erotic love are fulfilled by the relationship
3)      The relationship is sufficiently important to justify accepting restrictions to protect it.

Weaver and Wollard identify that all three should be net to provide a helpful monogamous relationship. Outside of these three circumstances, Weaver and Wollard identify a realm where the monogamous norm is not helpful to apply, and that some variation of non-monogamy is better suited to meet the relationship needs.

From a policy perspective, the primary role of this piece is to identify a legitimate personal benefit of non-monogamy, as relationships that don’t meet the three circumstances can be unhealthy and harmful in completely monogamous setting.

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