An Indonesian man recently tied the knot with his two girlfriends, because his ‘heart can’t stand to see them hurt’.
The trio’s ceremony, held on August 17, recently went viral on Facebook. In a video, the groom – who hasn’t been named – stumbles on the marriage rites he’s supposed to say, sparking friendly laughter around him. Alas, he gets there in the end, and they all appear to be getting along.
As reported by Vice, the man didn’t think there was anything strange about marrying two women. Following the ceremony in Airtarap, Kalimantan, he told local media: ‘My heart couldn’t stand to see them hurt. So I decided to marry them both.’
In Indonesia polygamy is completely legal. Muslims, Balinese and the Papuans practice the custom of having more than one wife or husband at the same time.
According to the Quran, a Muslim man may have up to four wives, as long as he can support each one equally. However, Indonesian law states that a man can only enter a polygamous marriage if he has the consent of his first wife.
However, since the turn of the millennium, the country’s relationship with polygamy has grown more and more complicated.
A ‘Polygamy Awards’ ceremony in 2003 – organised by Puspo Wardoyo, a pro-polygamy activist – was disrupted by protesters waving placards which read: ‘Monogamy Yes, Polygamy No’. The event has never been held again.
Abdullah Gymnastiar, a well-known businessman, faced a nationwide backlash in 2006 after marrying a second woman; he soon lost several television contracts and businesses as followers fell away like dominoes.
There was controversy with the growing insurgence of Dauroh Poligami Indonesia (DPI), a Jakarta-based pro-polygamy group established in April 2017 by Vicky Irawan Zaeni – with polygamy seminars being organised across the country.
Zaeni, who has four wives, told the South China Morning Post:
Of course, as a polygamy practitioner myself, I have seen many transgressions caused by some who didn’t practise polygamy in the proper manner. Most of these men want to have a polygamous relationship to satisfy their carnal desires, not because of their religious faith.
Indonesian marriages have another tradition: dowries, which is a gift of something like jewellery or cash given to the bride by the groom.
The recent husband and wife and wife’s marriage took place with a Rp10,000 ($0.70) dowry shared by the two brides.
While it may seem like a small amount, it’s a relatively common occurrence in Indonesia. Vice reported that in June 2018, Agus Riadi, 33, proposed to his now-wife with a dowry of three eggs and Rp16,000 ($1.12).
In defence of his offering, Riadi said:
It’s true I married my wife for the dowry of three eggs and Rp16,000. That was my intention, and I vowed that if I couldn’t find someone who would accept that amount, I would never marry.
Here’s the topper of them all: Hari, a religious figure, married his wife in 2016 with a dowry of a glass of water – she immediately drank it in front of him.
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After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BCTJ-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He’s now left his Scottish homelands and took up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.