Why Plural Marriage?

Note from the blog owner: Jason Melton is a new contributor to the blog. This is his first post.

A deep and sharp question that I have been asked is, “Why do you need more than one wife?”. To me, that is a damn good question. This simple question has provoked me to find out if I, in fact, need more than one wife, and why would I have that need. I have concluded that plural marriage isn’t about my needs, wants, or desires.

The true questions that should be asked are, “Why does a woman need a husband? Can she not do it on her own?” The statement that I wish to present, to provoke your thoughts is that plural marriage is more about the needs of a woman than that of a man.

I will give the reasons that I feel a woman should be married and why she needs a man. Before I go into these thoughts, I want to speak of marriage.

Marriage is simply a covenant between two people or two entities, for that matter. In the Bible, we are told that the Messiah will marry His people. This is done when we take His image in our countenance or take His name upon us (See D&C 20:77 Covenant renewed through the sacrament). As we see that a marriage is not always about a ceremony, but about a shared agreement. We see Isaac, son of Abraham, take his newly found bride into his tent and consummated the covenant with her, through sexual intercourse, prior to any ceremony being performed (see Genesis 24:65-67).

We also see that a man can marry more than one at a time, as we read a parable from Jesus in the New Testament, book of Matthew (Matthew 25:1-13). Jesus spoke of the Kingdom of God is like unto ten virgins. So, the children of God, those whom Jesus, the Christ will covenant with, are like unto ten virgins preparing to marry the Bride Groom, the Messiah, himself. If Jesus wanted us to believe in monogamy only, he would have said the Kingdom of God is like unto a virgin…not ten of them.

Our modern society promotes a one man, one woman marriage. If you think about it, this is backed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but in a different manner. Marriage is between a man and a woman, but the man can make that covenant with more than one woman at a time. Each woman is given a husband to cling to, it just happens to be the same husband that another woman claims. 

In our society today, we are being taught the differences between a Free Market and Socialism. I would like to make an analogy between economic systems and marriage.

Monogamy is like unto Socialism. In a monogamous society, every man gets one wife, even if they do not really deserve what they received, and it is regulated by the government. There is much abuse in this type of society, as some men have not earned a place to properly provide for a woman. Too often, an abusive man will be left alone, only to take on another woman, due to the overabundance of available and seeking women.

Plural marriage is like unto the Free Market, where a man can earn as many wives as he can afford to obtain. He must do the work to keep the wives, and he must learn to adjust to the needs, wants, and desires in an ever-changing and growing home.

In plural marriage, the man must do most of the work (emotional and spiritual) and the women receive all the fruits of his labors. The women stand to gain more benefits than the man, and yet the man’s love (and self-worth) keep growing with his ever-growing family. This love is what sustains him through his relations, just as a bee making honey, receives the honey as food to feed himself.  

 The first reason that I feel a woman needs a man is a basic concept. In simple terms, there needs to be opposition in all things.  In Ancient Chinese philosophy, yin and yang is a concept of dualism, describing how seemingly opposite or contrary forces may actually be complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world, and how they may give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yin_and_yang).

I have asked different persons if they think the white part of the Yin Yang symbol is male or female. Most tell me that they thought it was female as she gives life to a child. When a child is conceived, it is the male that gives the living part to the union. He will plant his seed into the female who will grow the child within her. We often attribute characteristics of Yin to a Yang type person, and vice versa. Both parts of a relationship have their qualities that are distinct to themselves. When a mate finds its other half, it feels whole again.

When I speak of opposition, I don’t mean fire and water, pain and pleasure, or even up and down.  Opposition in relationships should be that one that compliments the other, such as one partner likes to do work outside gardening, while the other one will work inside doing dishes. This doesn’t mean both can’t go outside to work, but each may prefer to do a different task.  A woman needs a man who is the opposite of her, and yet compliments her in her goals of raising a child. He will build the house, while she will make the house a home. He will plant and harvest food and she will make it a meal. They complement each other in their tasks. In plural marriage, this is magnified where many hands make work lighter. Instead of one woman trying to do multiple tasks in part, multiple women can do a few tasks each to completion.

A woman’s need to be with a man has always been a familiar reason; a man can provide a shelter, food, and safety for his family. I spoke of this briefly in the above paragraphs. I have married shorter women, who often can use my height and long arms to reach items on the top shelf. When I milk our goats, I can do it in a third of the time that it takes my wife. I can carry full buckets of water without breaking a sweat, while my wife will struggle as she carries them to water the sheep.

Now I am not saying the women need a man just because he is stronger or taller than them. A man can provide much, with a decent job, or good working skills, leaving other skills for the wives to help with. There is something to be said about getting a hug from a motherly woman after an emotional day, or a kiss on the knee after playing too roughly. I can do most of what a woman can do in a house, but I am truly aware that they do it so much better. When a man provides for a woman through his labors, she will provide the children for him, raising them in righteousness.

A woman doesn’t need to join a plural family to enjoy a long, fulfilling relationship with her husband. If there are enough men to provide well for the women, then monogamy is well suited for this society. Today, we see an attack on men and women. Men are told not to be masculine and a woman can be a man claiming to be a woman. If society cannot provide strong men to fulfill their role and strong women to fulfill theirs, then the society will fall. With fewer men stepping up, the availability for women finding a good man is going down. Women will start seeking plural marriage as an option to help her attain her goals and growth for her family.

When a man marries plural women, the children can have multiple mothers to gain advice and experiences. The children do not have to go to a babysitter, who usually is physically and emotionally overtaxed and financially underpaid. The children can stay in the home and stay close to the other children being raised with them, keeping out introductions of community illness, newly discovered unpleasant habits, and other issues when being raised in a daycare environment, from other families. 

I feel a woman’s needs for a man are the emotional, sexual, and spiritual needs that she can only receive from a man of God. There have been men throughout history who have had more wives than they can manage, such as King David and King Solomon. We have read how God does not approve of his daughters just being a number to their husbands, or worse, being abused or neglected.

We have also seen in past times and modern times, when a man thinks his salvation is attached to the women he marries, he will marry young women so that he may have much offspring. In the past, a girl as young as fourteen could be much wiser and ready to raise a family. Today, these young girls are not ready for such responsibility. Even if the girl has had to raise her siblings, there are laws and morals that dictate marriage should be saved for consenting adults.

A man of God will show some characteristics of God, such as kindness, patience, understanding, charity, meekness, forgiveness, and humility. As he learns how to communicate with his wife, they will grow in a bond that cannot be broken, except by themselves. He will learn to see a flower that is her favorite, or to make a meal that is more than just nutritious, but also comforting to her.

As a man accepts more wives into his life, he must separate his interactions and get to know each wife individually. When a plural man can do this, he is able to see to their individual needs, while maintaining the well-being of the family.

Too often, women who have been separated from a marriage through divorce, are left to fend for themselves. Often a woman becomes hardened and off balance. She is not able to maintain her needs, as well as the needs of her children, and she lets go of herself to take care of the children. It is to be applauded for the efforts of women everywhere, who take care of the needs of children, and many times, it is someone else’s children who also benefit from the love she shows. But day after day, she gets increasingly drained and soon is not able to function at top quality.

When a woman joins a plural family, her burden is made lighter, and her cup of vitality is refilled, even one drop at a time. In plural marriage, though it is tough at first to find one’s place, it can be very comforting and will ease the burdens of single parenthood.

I have found that a man is able to love more than one woman at a time. He can show love to each one, according to their needs and their personality style.

A woman can have relations with many men at once, but I believe she will choose to love only one man at a time. This woman will love with all of her heart that one man until she can no longer do so. There is no doubt that this cycle has been revolving in the universe from the beginning of time and seeks no end.

We can have as many different views as we want, but in the end, there is nothing like the love between a man and a woman.

Why plural marriage? A man is able to maintain a relationship with multiple women at the same time. Women are also made to find the man who best suits their needs, wants, and desires. There are many men out there who want a wife. Are they doing what the Gospel teaches us on how to love or are they just taking advantage of the system? Men need to step up their game and presentation in order to receive the prize.

Hot Showers

I was in a hurry because I had somewhere to be. I handed my baby off to one of my older children and jumped in the shower. My hair was full of shampoo when the water turned cold. Oh, no, I thought. Something’s wrong with the water boiler.

Lucky for me, my sisterwife Melissa has a separate water heater. I knew that even tho I had no hot water in my own shower, I had easy access to hot water just by going across the house to her apartment.

I threw on a robe, gathered up my showering supplies, and headed to my sisterwife’s section of our big, built-for-polygamists house. All I had to do was walk thru the door that connects my great room to her kitchen and say, “Hey, Melissa, may I finish my shower in your bathroom?”

She didn’t ask any questions. She just said, “Yes, of course.”

I went downstairs to her guest bathroom and finished my shower with only that few minutes’ delay.

When we were talking with Kody Brown about the possibility of buying this house from him and his wives, Kody bragged about the water boiler that would be providing my hot water. He told me he loves taking long showers — sometimes lasting 2 or 2 1/2 hours! — and that this water boiler never failed to keep up with his marathon uses of the hot water.

No wonder he never showered in Janelle’s boondocked RV in season 17 of Sister Wives!

Oh, that reminds me to tell you: it’s no longer the case that I’ve never watched Sister Wives, like I mentioned in a previous post. Melissa and I are watching the current season.

Anyway, back to the idea of marathon hot showers. This possibility used to be completely foreign to me. I grew up in a house with its plumbing geography so intricately connected that if I was in the shower and someone flushed a toilet somewhere, the shower would temporarily turn ice cold. The water heater also had a tank so small and turned to such a moderate temperature that it’s temperature turned down so much we had to keep our showers under 10 minutes, and multiple people couldn’t take hot showers back-to-back. It was best to space our family members’ showers out by at least half a day if no one wanted a cold shower.

Even the house we lived in before this one had enough people sharing its 2 bathrooms and 1 water heater that we had to coordinate our schedule in order to avoid problems. Having limited hot water has always been normal to me.

But Kody was right about this water boiler: in the 6+ years since buying this house from the Browns, I haven’t once had to give a second thought to whether anyone else in the house was washing dishes, flushing a toilet, or even showering in another bathroom; it’s been paradise.

Okay, a quick explanation of the layout of this house is in order.

As you saw if you watched the glory days of Sister Wives (i.e., when they were all in one big house in Lehi, Utah), the house I live in is broken into 3 separate apartments connected on the inside: the top right was Meri’s (and is now mine); the bottom right was Christine’s (and is now occupied by some of our monogamous extended family); and both the upstairs and downstairs of the lefthand side was Janelle’s (and is now my sisterwife Melissa’s).

The righthand side of the house is original; this house was built for a plural family with just 2 wives. The lefhand side was added on later. Once you know that, it makes sense that both apartments of the righthand side share the electric wiring (1 breaker box) and the plumbing (including 1 shared water boiler), but the lefthand side of the house got added on later and has separate electric and plumbing. In fact, the lefthand side has forced air heating (rather than the radiant heat of the righthand side) and central air conditioning (instead of an evaporative cooler). My sisterwife Melissa has her own breaker box and utility room separate from my utilities. Each of the 3 apartments has its own thermostat.

Even before the interrupted shower I told about at the beginning of this post, Melissa and I having separate plumbing has been convenient at other times as well.

Right after she had her last baby and she was freshly postpartum and needing extra trips to the bathroom, her side of the house had plumbing problems and she had to come over to my part of the house for a few days whenever she needed to use the toilet or shower. It obviously wasn’t as convenient as having a master bathroom, but it was better than any alternative.

Similarly, I have had to use her plumbing before. A few weeks ago our husband Joshua had shut off the water to my side of the house and was in the middle of a repair when he arrived at the hardware store 5 minutes after it closed. Since he had to go to work in the morning before the hardware store opened, I was without water for another 24 hours. It sure was nice to just carry my dirty dishes thru the connecting door in order to do my dishes in my sisterwife’s kitchen. I also had the option to use her laundry room, but it ended up not being necessary.

One thing that strikes me as interesting and, in my opinion, pretty smart about this house is: Each of the 3 apartments is very different from the others. It lets us each have a house with our own personality and without as many comparisons. I’m sure Melissa and I could sit and list out the pros and cons of the various apartments. None of them is obviously superior or inferior to the others.

As an example, in a previous season of Sister Wives, Christine said that in the Lehi house, Kody wouldn’t shower in her house because Meri had a better shower.

I would have to agree. Meri had a way better shower. The apartment that was Christine’s has only 1 full bathroom, and that’s the communal/hall bathroom. There is a second bathroom off the master bedroom, but it is only a half-bath; the master bathroom doesn’t have a shower! It’s so weird! So unless Kody wanted to take his shower in the bathroom shared with all the children, you betcha Meri’s shower was better.

Here’s where Kody Brown and my husband Joshua are so different (and Melissa and I both respect Joshua so much that we could talk all day about this). If Joshua was in Kody’s shoes, with a wife in Christine’s old apartment, I guarantee he would shower down there. Just because another wife’s shower is better or cooking is better or company is preferred, doesn’t mean the husband has the privilege of just taking the best all the time. It is important to normal women to get treated reasonably equally. I don’t blame Christine at all for being upset, and it is insensitive and, frankly, foolish, to hear a wife express her insecurities for years and for the plural husband not to heed her requests.

In the clip above, Christine also complains that her entrance was in the back, so Kody wouldn’t enter the house thru it. Joshua makes a point of going thru the front door of the wife he’ll be with that night.

At times it’s awkward and even unnatural for him, like the other night, when he got home from work while my parents were over and Melissa and her children were already in my house visiting with us. He literally walked right past my front door and into Melissa’s front door, and came into my front room thru the interior connecting door. He does that on purpose, very deliberately and thoughtfully. He wants to send all the signals that he loves each of us and treats us each as a wife.

Kody seems to have things backwards from how Joshua thinks about them. Kody worries a lot about his wives taking care of his needs; Joshua worries a lot about taking care of the needs of his wives. Kody seems to hang out with the wife who is currently easiest to get along with; Joshua has always had a schedule he stuck to, even if he has a moody wife. If Christine doesn’t want Kody in his bed, he goes to Robyn’s house, even tho Robyn discourages it.

If Joshua and I couldn’t get along and we didn’t want to share a bedroom, there’s no way he would just go sleep with Melissa instead. He would sleep in another room in my house, perhaps, — or maybe if I’m angry with him, I should be the one sleeping on the couch. After all, it’s his bedroom too — but he would even go to a hotel first before he’d go to another wife. Maybe I should’t speak for him. But I’m telling you that there are different ways to handle things than how Kody handles them on the TV show. It seems like Christine put up with a lot and that Melissa and I have nothing to complain about in comparison.

Here’s a fun bonus video clip for you. I actually remember the day this was filmed. We were hanging out in the vacant house with some of the Browns and a few mutual friends, and the Browns made all of us leave because TLC was coming so that they could film.

I watched this while preparing this blog post, and my teenage son was kind of looking over my shoulder. It was weird seeing our empty house just as it was when we moved in, kind of eery writing this post while in the very room shown on the screen, and funny listening to the 3 of them discuss what to do with the property,

My son said, “Spoiler alert: You’re going to sell it to us.”