Recently two of my friends have told me that they almost wished that they lived polygamy so that they could have some help with the house work and/or kids. I smiled a little when they said that but didn’t say what I really wanted to say. It’s an innocent and understandable thing to think but has a few flaws. Here is what I really wanted to explain to them but it just wasn’t the right time or place.
Now I always feel that I have to add a disclaimer when discussing polygamy since I never actually lived in it as a wife myself. However, living in it as a child, and a young woman who anticipated living in it as a wife, I do have some perspective. The first thing that comes to mind when people when people say that, is that they seem to be forgetting that the “other wife” won’t just be another woman living in “her” home. It will be another WIFE, an equal in every way. The home will be HERS too. She will want just as much say in how the home should be run, how it should be decorated etc as you do. She is his wife and will want and NEED all the same things that you did when you married. You had to learn to get along with your husband, to accommodate his needs and wishes and now you will need to do the same with her.
Another thing that many don’t consider is that she might not be any help at all. She might have half a dozen kids that you will be responsible for in addition to your own while she goes to work to earn the extra income that will be needed to support the extra family. She might be a horrible house keeper, a worse cook and she might not like the way you raise your kids and have her own very different ideas about discipline. And since your children are now hers as well you will have to learn how to accommodate each other.
Now don’t get me wrong there are some positive things about having a sister-wife. I’ve seen sisterwives that genuinely enjoy each others company and on nights when their husband is away until late they hang out together and enjoy some girl time after the kids are in bed. They both love each others children and can share in and enjoy all the little things their kids do in ways that some one less invested just couldn’t.
I’ve seen sisterwives that were able to help each other with new-born babies, even supplying breast milk when one might not have enough. It’s nice to be able to leave your children and know they are in capable hands of someone who loves them.
I’ve seen it work out great when one wife has a talent or skill that the other just doesn’t. In my family we all knew that if we hurt ourselves and needed a sliver removed or a bandage put on Mother A was the one to go to. Or if you needed a hammer or screw driver or just a safety-pin Mother B would have it in her super organized drawer of “stuff” Mother C would plan vacations and be in charge of the garden when the others had no interest. Mother D enjoyed playing with the children and would make messy fun with homemade playdough. Mother E could make the softest yummiest rolls. Her steady diligence kept the huge yard watered. and Mother F was a live in Grammy. Each of them has unique gifts and talents that have made our home better in some way.
My point is that there are benefits to having multiple wives but I’ve never heard anyone who actually has lived that way suggest that one of the benefits is having help around the house. It takes a lot of selflessness, hard work and forgiveness. sometimes it turns out wonderful and sometimes it doesnt.Its just like marriage between a man and a wife only more of everything…more wives, more complicated, more children, more work, more house to clean, more love, more joy, and more sacrifice.