Where are the men? (SSW s1e5, c1)

First the Snowdens:

Extremely unfair.  Those are the words I used to describe what I saw in the interaction between the Snowdens and their prospective wife, Joselyn, in this most recent episode.  I thought the way they treated her was in very poor form.  The Snowdens talk a lot about doing things together – which is good, but if they are truly keen on family unity, then they ought to be including, as far as possible, the potential new family member.  Otherwise, the new relationship is built with an imbalance from the beginning.

Ashley complains that Joselyn did not talk to her about being intimate with Dimitri, but I never saw Ashley initiate any conversations about it either!

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And whose responsibility is it?  If you invite someone to come play a game with you, and they accept the invitation, but only you know the rules, who should initiate a conversation about the rules of the game?  Perhaps there is responsibility on both sides, but Ashley certainly has nothing to accuse Joselyn about in that area.  Joselyn did not know the rules of the game.  She was not privy to the conversations the Snowdens had without her.  As far as she knew, she was playing by the rules – since Dimitri was the representative of the Snowden Family.  The whole mess is tragic.

When they were at the restaurant, Dimitri completely threw Joselyn under the bus.  What was she supposed to say?  Again, she was not privy to the conversations had by the Snowdens about it.  She did not know what Dimitri and Ashley had already talked about (or even if they had talked about it).  Furthermore, Dimitri had apparently not talked to Joselyn about what happened on their date.  The poor girl was thrown into the situation completely blind.  How is she to know what to talk about?  Again, she doesn’t even know if Dimitri has already talked to Ashley about their intimacy.  Should that announcement come from Joselyn?  Of course, she does not want to ruin what they have started by saying the wrong thing.  She does not want to throw Dimitri under the bus.  Unfortunately, the concern was not mutual.  All during their very uncomfortable date, Joselyn keeps looking to Dimitri for cues.

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She was looking for him to step up, to be a man, to lead the conversation, to help her know what to say, and what to talk about.  And indeed, he should have stepped up, and opened a conversation about what happened.  Instead, he just threw her away.

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While there are obvious differences, I am reminded of the incident between Amnon and Tamar recorded in 2 Samuel 13 (NIV).  Amnon burned with desire for Tamar.  He allowed his desire to grow until he exercised it upon her by deception and force.  When the deed was done,

Amnon said to her, “Get up and get out!”

“No!” she said to him. “Sending me away would be a greater wrong than what you have already done to me.”

But he refused to listen to her.

Now for the Brineys:

I love all the Brineys, my wives love them, and my children love their children.  My family and I have interacted with them in person on several occasions, and it has always been a pleasant and rewarding experience.  But honestly, I cringe when I see the Brineys’ interactions with one another on TV.  No doubt, there have been glimmers of family unity and domestic felicity, but mostly it’s just been painful to watch.

I hesitate to comment about them at all; first, because they are my friends, and second because I know how difficult plural marriage can be.  My own family has certainly had its share of internal discord.  Nevertheless, I have been shocked and dismayed to witness how willing they’ve been to publicly criticize and belittle one another.  I hope things are getting better for them, I hope their experience will ultimately be positive for their family.  Every episode I watch just makes me so grateful that it is not my family’s life that is exposed to the public’s scrutiny!  They are either very brave or very foolhardy – perhaps both.

Having said all that, I do not think it is a good policy to expect one wife to mediate the arguments between other bickering wives.  That is the husband’s job.  This is not a good family policy any more than sending a child to settle a dispute between other quarreling children.  It will not, in general, improve the situation – very likely it will make it worse.

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Settling disputes between children is a parent’s job.  Sometimes children can settle their disputes on their own, and that’s always nice for a parent to see, and that is certainly ideal, but when the children can’t come to a resolution on their own, and the argument is dragging on and even escalating, the parent needs to intercede (see Mosiah 4:14-15).

It does seem like Drew is becoming more involved, at least in talking one-on-one with the wives about their problems, and that has been good to see.  For the long-term good of their family relationships, I hope Drew can find a way to get even more involved and mediate the disputes a little more directly.

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Note: SSW s1e5, c1 means Seeking Sister Wife Season 1 Episode 5, Commentary 1

12 thoughts on “Where are the men? (SSW s1e5, c1)

  1. I have seen Angela’s public apology, and I thought it was very good. It was a brave thing to do as well, and I applaud her so much for it. It was a beautiful example of humility in a relationship. It would be good for more of that sort of thing to go around, and not just among the Brineys, but in every family.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Again, I agree with you 100% on all counts. The men need to step it up here. Polygamy requires for the men to be men and exercise leadership and set standards and live up to them.

    P.S. It is couragous of you to post commentary on people that you actually know (and of course, couragous of the Brineys to be on TV). Hopefully they take it in a spirit of love, and also to further their own stated goal to make polygamous families more acceptable to mainstream society.

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  3. I didn’t read all of this because when I came to the spot where you said you were shocked and dismayed how they were so willing to criticize and belittle one another in public, I just had to comment…. I think it’s great they are willing to criticize each other publicly. Belittling? I didn’t see that in any of the episodes but maybe I’m not sure what belittling is in comparison to criticizing. I feel that when something is already public which it is, then it’s public and there shouldn’t be too much refrain. Of course, that’s my opinion. and it’s not very popular. But, I didn’t sign up for a popularity contest when I came to this earth. I have this opinion that it’s great they are willing to publicly criticize because I think when people are not candid, they give the idea that families can be “perfect” and it discourages people who are having “normal” problems because they might get it in their head that they are not “normal” because of the examples of the so-called “perfect” families in which they hide their real problems. Now, I do believe that if someone in an organization (family) has a problem with someone else, they should keep it between them unless they can’t work it out and then one or both can go to someone else in the organization and then if one or both of the parties still feel dissatisfied then they should take it public. This is what the Briney family is doing only it’s on TV. I feel, and I told Angela, that I think she did fine and that I appreciate the sacrifice their family is making–I told her this because I feel that it needs to be normalized for people to express how they feel even if it’s a little derogatory.
    In the olden days, before we all got convinced that negativity is bad, things got worked out more efficiently. Now…I’ll go back to reading…

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    1. I can certainly see that point of view, and I can see how there could be value in normalizing problems as well. I just hope it is worth it to their family. They get to experience all the insults double. Once when it happened, and again when it airs and all the Facebook commentary stirs it up again fresh (this is likely more than double actually). That sort of thing is not really very good for relationships. However, that doesn’t mean that it is necessarily fatal, but even if it’s not, it is certain to be an added stressor on the relationships. Even then, avoiding all difficulties is not always the best plan – if your plan involves living. Like I said, I think they are very brave (or foolhardy, or both), and I will also say that chances are very good that they will all be stronger for the experience.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I believe if the individuals were humbly sharing their grievances and their concerns in a spirit of “let’s keep the goal in sight and stay focused on our vitality” then it would be a positive experience overall and they would maintain their vitality and even increase it. I hope this is what you are advocating here. If so, I can totally agree with you about their courage to work these things out in a very public manner.
      Unfortunately, as best as I can tell, for some of them, things have gone beyond a mere sharing of grievances and concerns to outright accusations amounting to full on judgments of one another. This is where things turn into a vicious cycle that can be very difficult to arrest. It’s a fine line and an easy line to cross, but once that line is crossed the positive benefits of sincere and respectful criticism shifts over into a breakdown of the relationship.
      I believe this is the demeaning aspect that was being referred to and I agree with this assessment that such does presently exist, based on what TLC has shown us. You can be well-meaning, but if you have crossed the line to full on judge someone who you have no stewardship over and no rightful or appropriate place to judge, then your accusations and judgments are likely uninspired and are just going to sow the seeds of contention.
      If I were in Drew’s shoes in that situation, the first thing I would do is, regardless of who is right or wrong in their views or their opinions, I would teach them the proper parameters within which to resolve their grievances. Someone could be right in their criticisms but going about resolving them in a manner that is even more destructive.
      For example, how many squabbles come up between children because one of them isn’t sharing? Sharing is good and correct, but going around as the “sharing police” and whipping on people to share is missing the whole point. Sharing is voluntary and done in harmony with people’s feelings. When it is shifted out of this spirit then it isn’t really sharing anymore, it’s someone who thinks they are right, but who is just going around imposing their judgments upon others. Thus, sharing is turned into contention, by well-meaning “do-gooders” who are really just self-righteous arrogant people who fail to learn the true spirit of sharing to start with.
      I would also let the wives know that the first wife does have the position of Abraham’s Sarah and that if the plural wives begin to act as Hagar did, to mock and belittle Sarah and/or her children, that she does retain the right to excuse plural wives and their children from the household. I know that’s extreme, but if push comes to shove, the plural wives really should show a level of deference and respect for the first wife. If they don’t have proper deference and respect, sending them away could be the lesser of two evils, and it would be April who is in the position to judge this.
      Therefore, I would do my best to help them to recognize where the fine line is and to make sure everything has been done that can be done without crossing it and then to come to me and air out their grievances, lay before me their evidences, and then allow me to be the judge of the situation. If they lacked the confidence to do this, then I would realize I have already failed them if my leadership didn’t satisfy them.
      It is the husband’s place to hear and resolve the issues the wife or wives are having and to get revelation from God to resolve and reconcile things. If the husband is overwhelmed and unable to stay above it all, then squabbling wives will sink the whole ship. The wives would do well to recognize they lay upon their husbands a great burden when they get caught up in such vicious cycles and it also has an extremely detrimental affect upon the children.
      I am hoping there is more to the picture we aren’t being shown and that Drew will be able to continue to provide strong and loving leadership to help his family overcome the vicious cycles that have set in.

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      1. Some good ideas there but I’m afraid my mind is not at the level it must be to understand some of the babble. I strongly disagree that it is the husband’s place to resolve issues wives are having. It is better for them to resolve their issues themselves. They are capable of revelation and prophecy as well and their relationship with each other and our Heavenly Father will actually grow as they go through the “growing pains” of disagreements and working them out just as siblings do. Bringing the parents or husbands in to “resolve” issues only puts unnecessary burden on them and inhibits the much desired relationship all sister wives and siblings wish to have with one another. I hate to put a damper on things but it is what it is.

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  4. An example of the rules of the game being applied unfairly:

    After Dimitri told Ashley about the date, she asked him straight up, “Did anything happen?” It was only at that point that Dimitri told her he had been intimate with Joselyn. So he shouldn’t get so much credit for owning up to what he did.

    If Ashley had asked Joselyn straight up, “Were you and Dimitri intimate?” then Joselyn would have had a better idea what was expected from her (honesty), and the rules would have been applied fairly.

    As it was, Joselyn was held to a higher standard than Dimitri, and I agree with you that was unfair.

    Liked by 3 people

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