My Amazing Wife

There are a few people at my work who know that I am a polygamist, but the majority do not. It isn’t that I’m secretive, it just doesn’t come up, and I don’t go out of my way to bring it up. I generally prefer to keep my work and home lives separate.

That being said, there are occasions, sprinkled thruout my career, where I have had the opportunity to mention my home life, and I always smile when I am talking to someone who isn’t in the know. Over the years when talking about “my wife” I have let them know that:

She has a bachelor degree in Mathematics Education,

A bachelor degree Animal Science (with an emphasis in Veterinary Technology),

Another bachelor in Nursing, and is a board-certified lactation consultant.

She also has a Master’s Degree in Abstract Algebra.

She has been a high school teacher and a college adjunct professor,

A maternity nurse, and worked full-time while homeschooling our children.

She is a musician, plays the trumpet, piano, and shofar, and teaches our children piano.

She has been a choir member, choir pianist and been involved in community bands.

She knits and bakes, makes amazing bread, brownies, and cookies.

She has had 9 children, with one on the way! The youngest is 4 months and the next is due in the beginning of April!

She has been a sign language interpreter and, speaks a little German, Spanish, Latin, and Hebrew.

She makes wine, cheese, sour kraut, yogurt, and sour dough bread.

She raises chickens, quail, ducks, and sheep.

She gardens, and grows tropical plants in our kitchen.

She is an amateur astronomer, and likes to give lectures on naked-eye astronomy.

She has been a birth doula. Six of her own children have been born at home, all of them unmedicated, and two of them unassisted.

She hosts a never-ending stream of social and religious events at our home.

That is a list that would be impressive even if it were split between two women! Yes, I truly have an amazing wife! And we have accomplished a lot together. We are a great team. I pity my coworker’s wives a bit. I imagine what they must think when they hear stories about my amazing wife. Her children rise up and bless her, and I do as well. Strength and honor are her clothing, and her value is far above rubies.

Reality Is Not a Vacation

None of my children is old enough for dating and courtship, but I’ve still had many important conversations about choosing a spouse, preparing to be a good husband/wife, what to look for in a potential partner, how to really get to know someone, etc.

I have repeatedly talked to them about dating versus real life.

You can go on a planned date with someone, where you’re both dressed up and presentable, you’re on your best behavior, and you get to just have a nice time at a restaurant where someone else is doing all the work. Enjoying one another’s company when the event is low-stress and nothing but fun is a facet of compatibility.

But it’s also important — and arguably more important — to see what someone is like when they’re in a stressful environment or when there’s work to be done. How does he behave when he gets a flat tire on the way to the restaurant? How does she treat you if you forget your wallet? Does he have a sense of humor if you’re spending time with children and he gets messy? Does she pitch in and work hard if you’re doing a difficult project together? Does he step up as a leader if he’s put in charge of motivating a group of children to help clean up after an event? Does she make it into a game and a challenge if she’s asked to help with something unpleasant?

When you are exploring whether a person is a good match for you, it’s essential to see them in situations that are closer to real life, and not just fun. Everyday life is work. Everyday life can be stressful. Everyday life isn’t just pleasant and relaxing, hour after hour, day after day.

My plan for my children when they start dating/courting is for them to invite their date to service projects, the big events we host, our family time, the work days. I want them to have opportunitites to interact with each other around parents, siblings, children, and people who need help. I want them to get to see each other in action when there’s work to be done, tool belts and boots to wear, mud or chicken poop to wade thru, fences to put up that catch on clothes. I want them to see each other at their best but also at their worst, in those kinds of situations that let the person’s character shine thru.

There’s a Kristina Kuzmic video about her as a divorced mother dating a man who wanted all of it, even cleaning up the vomit:

This is the kind of thing I’m talking about. He didn’t just want Kristina when her makeup was done and her children with with a babysitter. He was willing to take on the entire package, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health.

Seeking Sister Wife, S3E2, titled “Irreconcilable Differences”, shows Garrick and Dannielle at dinner with some family. They are planning on yet another trip to Mexico to vacation with Roberta and spend some time her. Their sister-in-law Samantha points out the problem with meeting Roberta only on vacation.

I do have some questions about Roberta ’cause you guys only met her in Mexico because it’s different in a vacation. And then you come out here and it’s reality.

Samantha (Dannielle’s sister-in-law)

I agree with Samantha. Putting aside all the cultural and language differences the Merrifields will have to overcome, I am genuinely concerned that they are in for a reality shock when their relationship with Roberta moves from vacation to real life. I’m happy for them that they enjoy each other so much when the situation is fun and entertaining, but I wish they had the chance to see each other in the more realistic daily life and make sure they’re still compatible.

As Garrick acknowledged in the episode,

Yeah, I think there’s definitely gonna be a huge adjustment.

Garrick Merrifield

Yeah, I definitely agree with that.