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.

Sexting Bernie & Equality

I know this post is an episode behind, but I’ve got to get down some of my thoughts about it before I move on.

I think the whole thing was blown entirely out of proportion. All the previews built up this impression that Bernie was acting in a wildly inappropriate way, but when it actually aired it was seen that it was all just a load of hot air. From what I saw, Bernie is essentially innocent. He didn’t initiate the sexting at all, and Paige herself says Bernie is the one that put an end to it when the woman started to get explicit. I don’t see what is the problem here. It seems like Paige should be proud of her man for that, rather than chastising him for what the other woman sent to him without any solicitation on his part (by this I mean without solicitation for the sexually explicit messages). It is amazing really, and a bit strange.

I also feel like I need to give some props to Bernie here. From what was shown, I would say he handled things very well. He stopped the potentially inappropriate text conversation, and he handled his wife, and her complaints, in a very gracious manner. He ended up apologizing for nothing (he says at first that he didn’t think he had crossed a line – and he is right) in order to protect his relationship – and hey, sometimes you might have to do that. But I’m not sure that apologizing for non-offenses every time they arise is going to be a sustainable long-term solution to the problem.

It seems to all come down to Paige’s well-developed (and dare I say, overdeveloped) sense of jealousy. This is definitely a large hurdle for the McGees and a challenge she has to personally deal with. Jealousy over a husband’s time, affection, and resources is an expected (tho not required!) emotion that has to be dealt with by most plural families, but Paige’s worries go even farther. She thinks she will also be jealous about her children’s time and affection for the new wife (this is in the first episode). I wonder if she will feel even more jealousy when the dogs end up liking the new wife as well?

Paige Doesn't know.png

OK, joking aside, these are serious matters to deal with, and while I was disappointed to see Bernie chided for things he should have been praised for, I do have to give some credit to Paige as well. She admits that she doesn’t know what can and cannot be said between a husband and a potential plural wife (she just knows how it made her feel). I think that’s a fair thing for her to say, and here is my fair response:

The wives should be on equal terms, and with equal privileges. The second wife (and her relationship to their husband – or potential relationship) should not be subject to any restrictions that the first wife and her relationship are not (or were not) also under. Especially if those restrictions are placed on the new wife by the first wife – those are dangerous waters to be treading in. If it was fine for the first wife, it is fine for the second. End of story.

Paige says that when she and Bernie were courting they had, “free discussions” but now that he is married that is not allowed any more. I say bologna. She asks him about holding hands, kisses good night, etc.? One possible response to this question is: Did she and Bernie hold hands, kiss good night, talk about sex, etc.? My guess is that the answer is likely “yes” on all counts – she probably asks this question because she was remembering her own behaviors when she was courting. Not that these things are required for a relationship to progress, but they are normal, healthy, and acceptable behaviors. She says it is about Bernie “respecting” her and their relationship, but I see it much more as disrespect and devaluation, on her part, towards the potential second wife in not allowing her the same privileges she enjoyed – and this would be a very unhealthy way to start a relationship.

I guess another way of saying this is that Paige should not be berating Bernie ex post facto. Their agreement was no sexual intimacy before commitment (a.k.a. marriage), which is an excellent rule to abide by. Bernie did not break this rule, and is therefore innocent. He did not even violate the spirit of this rule. “This is borderline cheating,” she says, but I say it is nothing of the sort; furthermore, the line should not be moved after the fact.

Is it cheating or isn’t it? When it comes to laws and rules, it is not right to hold someone hostage with a fuzzy, ill-defined, gray area that may change in shape or scope with the whims of emotion. It reminds me of the very good rule the Snowdens laid down in the first episode of this season. Ashley told Dimitri that he was allowed to think Vanessa is beautiful, and he was allowed to tell her she was beautiful, but he just wasn’t allowed to act on it.

cant act.png

Something else to consider is the situation the potential second wife finds herself in. She wants to gain the attention/attraction/affection of a man who already has a wife, and who is (presumably) already having sex. Hopefully, it’s no secret that one of the things women bring to a relationship is sex-appeal. Certainly this is not all they bring, but it is a significant part of what they bring, and this is every bit as true in monogamy as it is in polygamy. It is nothing to criticize, or belittle, and it is not strange or creepy. It just needs to be understood as the proper and biological reality of the situation. However, this fact may lead her to believe that she is at a disadvantage, since her potential man is already having sex. As a result, she may feel like she needs to assure him that she will also be sexually pleasing. This is a good and natural desire, and concern, for a woman to have – to want to please her future spouse (and good men are concerned about pleasing their spouse(s) as well).

While I can understand this point of view, I will say to any potential sister wife:

YOU SINCERELY DO NOT NEED TO WORRY ABOUT THIS.

That is all I will say for now (but more on this later).

I could understand limiting things in a second courtship if it was a mistake in the first courtship (like Dimitri drawing a line for Vanessa on their first Date). Beyond this, if it is not sinful, or prohibited by some agreement between spouses, then there should be no attempt to make the parties feel guilty over it. And yet, the emotions here can be so raw and dangerous, that everyone needs to tread cautiously.

My serious advice to potential plural husbands, in this area, is that you should be open about the relationship, but not open about the affection/intimacy. In other words, keep it private between you and the new, or potential, wife; especially when the relationship is so new. Doing otherwise probably won’t be good for anyone.

My serious advice to current wives is: Don’t be going thru his accounts! This (Paige snooping thru Bernie’s messages) actually seems like a much bigger breach of trust to me, than Bernie’s handling of the sexting. Just as I was typing this I recollected that Charlotte, when I was courting Melissa, told me that she knew my email password, but that she wanted me to change it, and that she had decided not to go snooping into correspondence between us. What an amazing woman she is!