DAKAR, Senegal — Monday and Tuesday are spent with Mame Seye. Wednesday and Thursday, it's Khady. Then, Ibrahima Sene, a successful businessman, welcomes his third lawfully wedded spouse, Aida -- perfumed, coifed and arrayed in her finest -- into his bedroom for two nights.
Defying expectations that Western influences and urbanization would gradually do away with plural marriages, polygamy is going strong among Muslims in parts of black West Africa. In Senegal, nearly 47% of marriages are multiple like Sene's.
"At least I am not chasing up girls or committing adultery," said Sene, 60, sitting on the sofa across from the family's master bed. Two of his wives, flanking him on the couch, nod.
Sene built his house as a bachelor more than three decades ago, keeping in mind his future spouses and Koranic dictates: Take no more wives than you can deal with justly.
Today, Sene's three wives have separate apartments in the luxurious villa of high ceilings and grayish-white-streaked marble floors.
At night, the wives often gather in their husband's room to watch TV, before two retire to bed, leaving just one behind.
"Polygamy is in the mind," Sene said, his wives signaling agreement. "Those who have not experienced it don't know anything about it and therefore criticize it."
In part because of social and economic pressures, plural marriages are maintaining a stronger hold in black West Africa than in many Arab states, said Antoine Philippe at the Research Institute for Development in Dakar, Senegal's seaside capital.
Only 3% of marriages are polygamous in the North African state of Morocco. In Mauritania, a heavily Arab nation just across the border from Senegal, it's 18%, Philippe said.
Amsatou Sow Sidibe, a law professor and director of the Human Rights Institute at Dakar University, says that in poor countries where men who make good livings are few, polygamy still makes sense to many people.
"For a Senegalese woman, being unmarried is not highly regarded. So they would rather share a husband than remain single," Sow Sidibe said.
To some in the West, polygamous marriages are an out-of-date practice to be phased out.
"There are exceptional situations when polygamy should be allowed -- in cases where the woman is too old, or ill, or cannot have children," said Radwan Masmoudi, executive director of the Maryland-based Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy.
"I think polygamy should be restricted to those cases, but first the woman should agree and give her permission," Masmoudi said.
West Africa has known multiple marriages since the early ages. And there weren't any limits on the number of wives until the 11th century, when Islam was introduced. The prophet Muhammad stipulated a maximum of four wives.
Senegal's 1973 family code obligates grooms to register their intentions at the time of the first marriage -- opting for monogamy, limited polygamy with two wives or full polygamy.
Khady Ndiaye, 34, a civil engineer, says she never discussed the matter with her husband ahead of their 1996 marriage, assuming that the answer was obvious for two educated professionals like themselves.
When they registered their wedding at Dakar's town hall, a bureaucrat asked the crucial question of her new husband: "Sir, do you opt for polygamy or monogamy?"
His answer: "Polygamy."
"I felt betrayed and still do," she said, giving thanks aloud to God that her husband has not yet taken another wife.
In Senegal, taking a second wife after publicly committing to monogamy is punishable by up to three years in prison.
However, women in such situations who lack education and resources generally stick with their husbands, rather than see themselves and their children scramble for a living.
At their villa, Sene and his wives are confident that their arrangement is the best for their combined 17 children's growth and education -- taking place under the close scrutiny and guidance of their father.
"He's managed to tame all his wives. The man is a warrior," said Sene's younger brother, Ndongo Sene.
Multiple marriages don't always run smoothly.
Take the case of Diatou, 29, who is a second wife, the junior partner to her husband's first wife.
"She is mean, and that's why I am there for my husband," Diatou said of her rival, to whom she refers only as "witch."
"Sharing a partner is already extremely tough, so I don't even want to pretend I like her," added Diatou, who agreed to speak about her marriage only if her last name was not used.
Amity also has eluded Sene's brother, Ndongo, 62, a retired businessman.
He too took three wives -- one Lebanese, one Spanish, one Senegalese. He offered his Lebanese and Spanish wives each two nights a week with him, but both refused.
Rather than thrice-wedded bliss, his household is caught in endless bickering, a failed marriage cubed.
"It's like a lifetime boxing match," Sene said with a sigh. "Your endurance is tested every single day."