From the beginning, through the generations, even to this day, monogamy, polygamy and celibacy are known forms of marital status, and of course rising up strong is "homogamy", the old time abhorred practice of homosexuality which is once again fighting for recognition and acceptance. What is in question here is how and when monogamy began to be imposed as the only right form of marriage acceptable to God and man. Even though the various forms of marriages have been practiced through the generations, monogamy has emerged to become law in some countries today, such that the legal registration of more than one wife become a violation. This is termed "Should-be" or "must-be" monogamy. The first instances of such widespread enforcement were in Western Europe and it eventually gained worldwide acceptance in the modern world, especially in the Western Hemisphere. How did it happen?
Moonstruck partners pledging eternal love may be the current definition of marriage, but this starry-eyed picture has relatively modern origins. But as family plots of land gave way to market economies and Kings ceded power to democracies, the notion of marriage transformed. Now, most Americans see marriage as a bond between equals that's all about love and companionship. Marriage is a truly ancient institution that predates recorded history.
Unfortunately, even some Christian TV channels have joined in this Islam-bashing and are trying to tarnish the image of Islam and the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him and his progeny. We wish first to discuss the concept of polygamy in Islam followed by the marriages of the Prophet. In Islam, the ideal marriage is the monogamous form of marriage. Limited polygyny is a provision approved by Islam for exceptional circumstances only; and that also with many stringent conditions.