Is Polygamy Socially Acceptable? The reality TV show Sister Wives follows the lives of a polygamist family of 22. The husband, Cody Brown, has 4 wives: Meri, Janelle, Christine, and the latest addition Robyn. The number of polygamists in North America, estimated at 50,000 or more, is doubling every decade. Polygamy by definition is a marriage that includes more than two partners. When a man is married to more than one woman at the same time it is called polygany and when a woman is married to more than one man at the same time it is called polyandry. Polygamy is not a new practice, in fact it has been going on for centuries.
However, with recent growing publicity from shows like Sister Wives, more and more people are becoming aware of its’ existence. Polygamy to most people might seem foreign and strange but there can be benefits from having sister wives. Provided they get along, the sister wives have lifelong friends that they can trust and depend on. Women who grew up with no other siblings can, in a way, see what it’s like to have sisters. Another plus is they never have to worry about hiring a babysitter because many times there are at least two other woman in the family to take care of their children.
If one wife doesn’t feel like cooking dinner one night, she has three other wives to get it done for her. One of the wives on the show, Meri, has one daughter but is no longer able to have children so having her sister wives and being able to be with their kids has helped her cope with the pain of not being able to have more children. This also can be good for the children because they grow up with lots of siblings to play with and they always have a friend to talk to. In the Brown family, there are 17 kids. Meri has one daughter named Mariah and she is 14 years old.
The next wife, Janelle, has six children: Logan (15), Madison (14), Hunter (13), Garrison (11), Gabriel (8), and Savanah (5). The third wife, Christine, also has six children: Aspyn (14), Mykelti (13), Paedon (11), Gwendlyn (8), Ysabel (6), and Truly (1). And the newest wife, Robyn, has four kids: David, Aurora, Breann and newborn Solomon. On the show the kids all interact with each other as if they were all siblings. The wives have even given a name to their sister’s children, they call them their “bonus children. Another benefit of polygamy is it takes away the husbands urge or tendencies for adultery to occur. If the husband is allowed to court other women then he will not try to hide it from his other wives or do it secretly. The family is very open and honest about things like that. If one wife gets jealous because she thinks Cody is favoring another wife, she tells them. One of the keys to relationships is communication and this family seems to have that down pretty well. Many who see the show wonder how Cody and his wives handle the sleeping arrangements on a day to day basis.
According to Cody there is a schedule that makes sure he is giving each of his wives an equal amount of attention and time with their shared husband. Although the thought of only spending the night with one’s husband once or twice a week seems impractical, the Browns claim that absence makes the heart grow fonder. Also if one of the wives is annoyed with the husband or just wants some time alone she has three nights all to herself. Although there are several pros from being polygamous, the list of cons is considerably longer.
The Brown family has received much scrutiny from the media since going public with their lifestyle and many people do not approve. For starters, the practice of polygamy is illegal. According to Cody he is only legally married to his first wife, Meri, and the other three marriages are purely spiritual. He also says he sees each of his wives equally despite the differences in marital status. Many people believe that polygamy is degrading to the women in the family because they are expected to be okay with their husband having relations with other women while they wait for their turn with him.
Jealousy is bound to happen often. On the show, the sister wives often discuss their feelings of jealousy toward each other and about how they think Cody is spending more time with a certain wife or favoring the new wife and so on and so forth. However, if a woman agrees to marry into such a family she should be prepared for these feelings. It has also been said that polygamy undermines the institution of marriage and the idea of devotion and giving oneself wholly to their spouse.
It is not possible for one man to give himself wholly to four different women which means each wife is really only married to one fourth of a man. The husband is often accused of being selfish and greedy because he is not satisfied with his family and he feels the need to go out and find another new woman and more children to add to it. Polygamy also has many negative effects on the children. Often times the wives will be upset and in a bad mood because they are missing the husband or are jealous for some reason and the kids suffer from it.
Also it is hard for the children to make friends when they know about there lifestyle. Perhaps some of the kids don’t believe in this lifestyle and don’t want to be a part of it, well they don’t have a choice until they are of age. The practice of polygamy is a very controversial topic and many people disagree with it but all and all America is a free country and if people choose to live this way than that is their choice and no one should be able to take that away from them. As long as they are not negatively affecting anyone else it is their right to freedom of religion and freedom of choice