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.

Marriage Licenses and Security

In season 3 of Seeking Sister Wife we are introduced to the Merrifields, Garrick and Dannielle. They have found a potential sister wife with complications. Their potential, Roberta, is Brazilian, and the easiest way for them to get her to the states is to bring her with a fiancé visa and have Garrick marry her (thus getting a license from the government that would allow her to legally stay in the country). The down side to this is that it would require Dannielle and Garrick to get a legal divorce first. Even tho this “divorce” would be in the eyes of the court only, the decision to carry out this plan is obviously filled with emotion, and all the more so because the Merrifields have had marital struggles in the past which had led them nearly to the brink of “true” divorce.

Even tho the Merrifields have a more complicated situation than most (given that Roberta is a foreigner), this decision (to divorce on paper), has been faced by many polygamists over the years. Besides obtaining citizenship for a foreign spouse, there are several reasons for contemplating this plan. The reasons may include extending insurance benefits to children or adopting children (as Kody Brown did with Robyn), or extending security or benefits to the new wife.

In any case, there are all sorts of doubts that will begin to play upon the minds of those involved (this is a continuing theme for Dannielle in several of the first episodes of season 3). The wife especially will be worried about being abandoned, and Dannielle is no exception. Of course it doesn’t help matters that her family members are expressing doubts and concerns to her about it (not that they shouldn’t – more about that below).

The concern is that once the marriage license is gone, Danielle will have no protection from all of the difficulties of life that may arise if Garrick decides to abandon her. Of course, this is a nonsensical concern, as Garrick could always end up filing for divorce at any time.

Without making this post too long, I will put it simply to all the women out there, especially those who have not yet chosen a husband yet (and yes, it is primarily the woman that does the choosing):

The best protection is the character of your man.

This advice applies to monogamy or polygamy equally. Do not settle, or be lax, in making your decision. Do not get carried away by money, or attention, or good looks (tho these things have their place in making a decision about marriage – they are secondary), and then trust the government to keep you protected from your poor choices. It is a bad plan, and all too often will lead to misery, legal battles, and wealthy lawyers. A license is no guarantee of protection, financial or otherwise (my wife Melissa can speak to this in great detail based on her previous marriages).

It is a much better plan to be careful about your mate, then stick to your choice thru thick and thin. Choose a man whose character will not cause you to doubt his dedication to you or your children. Choose a man who is worthy of trust and responsibility. Choose a man who will be able to stay with you and love you despite your personal flaws (and visa versa – he will not be perfect either). Choose a man who will remain by your side to lead, protect, and provide even if the county records building burns to the ground (and the “proof” of your marriage with it).

Fortunately for Dannielle, it seems that none of the concerns expressed by her family have anything to do with Garrick’s character. They don’t seem to think that he will leave her, they are only concerned about what would happen if he did, and these are very different things.

As for the opinions of friends and relatives, they cannot make choices for you, nor should you let them. However, there are circumstances where you should eagerly seek their input. You may discover that you are like a particular woman that I work with. She has been married several times previously; all of them ended in disaster. She had a string of husbands that were found to be sexually abusing her daughters (beginning with their biological father). We talked about her life and difficulties for quite a while; mostly I just listened. It turns out that she now identifies as a lesbian, and has a girlfriend, tho this arrangement has not been without problems as well. She told me that her “picker” was broken. In other words, the part of her brain that runs the program for picking a good mate (whatever part that may be) is not functioning well.

Take careful stock of your own thoughts, feelings, and past experiences, and ask yourself if your “picker” is broken (essentially this means you are a poor judge of character). If this describes you, then you should seek input from family and friends, and be sure to take things slow, so that you can gather enough information to make a good decision. You will want to see your potential mate in lots of different situations and interacting with lots of different people including, and perhaps especially, your family and friends. It will be worth it to make a good decision. It will be more protection than a piece of paper ever will.