It's an interesting paradigm because the ideal women is the mistress while the opposite is the wife. The wife is in many ways the women the man settles for because he cannot have the women of his dreams. Something in the man tells him that he should not take this "child- like" women as wife but should be with the more "adult- women" as not only his wife but the bearer of his children and the foundation of his household.
I guess its funny in some ways because it makes me feel like it may be one of the wisdoms of polygamy. For example Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessing be upon him, was completely happy and satisfied with his wife Khadeejah. After her death, she could not be replaced, a friend of his suggested two women to him -Sawdah and Ayesha, may Allah be pleased. The Prophet, peace upon him, took both women as his wives. Sawdah was the perfect women to help him with his children and Ayesha was the perfect women (child, by our modern standards) to bring back the light and joyful spirit in to his household. Of course the prophet, peace upon him, had many wives after this all playing different valuable roles in his life. May Allah be pleased with the mothers of the faithful.
The idea of a man have four wives (or 3 or 2) is not very far fetched when you realize the nature of men. Its seems that a man can indeed love more then one women without being strained or pulled. Alluhalim, this is the wisdom I see from it. Ayesha was loved by the prophet, peace upon him, and so was Sawdah and Umm Salamah, and Hafsah, etc. Americans idealize monogamy, which is beautiful, but it looks down on polygamy as if it is something dirty. When our great prophet Abraham -that muslims, christians and jews believe in, had two wives, Sarah and Hagar.
Polygamy of course can be a horrible experience. I've know of men who took on two wives but could hardly afford to car for themselves. Nevertheless polygamy is good with a good man of good standing -with Allah, in his finances, in society, not just for him, or the women, but for the community. But any who thats enough of my rant... Fiamanillah.