I stumbled upon Sister Wives on Netflix this week. What a shock to the system.
The show, Sister Wives, takes you “behind the scenes” in a polygamist family in Utah. I’ve never seen this lifestyle up close, so this was intriguing to me. (and since they’re filming their 3rd season, I must not be the only one)
After watching several episodes, I’ve come to the conclusion that I can understand why someone would chose this lifestyle. More specifically why a woman would chose this.
Just to give you some of the highlights of the show:
- the man, Kody, is “married” to four wives. He is technically married to only the first wife and then “spiritually married” to the other three.
- Combined they have 16 children, 13 from Kody.
- the wives appear to be in support of this type of marriage and look forward to adding more wives.
- They each share Kody and live in the same home with individual, connecting apartments.
While I’m still not in support of a man taking multiple wives, I have noticed a common theme throughout the show and think it’s something that connects to general society.
These wives want a family. They want an intimate connection to other mothers and support while they raise their kids. One wife continually restates that she loves knowing that if anything were to happen to her, her daughter would be taken care of. It appears that the emphasis is less on the husband, because frankly he only has so much time for each wife, and more on their friendships. The wives repeatedly state that the other sister wives are their best friends, because they live life together.
This makes me think back to when America was settling the west. Settlers would travel in huge caravans across the USA and brought their community with them. When they finally settled in an area, farming or cattle raising took a team effort, so multiple families would live on one farm. The families, whether biologic or adopted, worked together to bring in a harvest, raise the children, and care for their elderly.
Fast forward to modern day. Most of us are separated from one another, sometimes just by living in different parts of the same city. Families tend to spread after the kids go off to college. In my own family, we live in five separate states. My main form of communication is now through the computer or telephone. Most days I raise my son solely with my husband. If I need help, I have to either hire someone or beg a friend’s assistance.
There was a time when my brother, sister, and I dreamed about purchasing a large piece of land and having each family member build a house on their side of it. That way the cousins could grow up together and we could go back to a period of time when families intimately knew one another and lived life together. Sadly, this will probably never come to fruition with our jobs taking us to different areas of the country.
Let’s return to the polygamists. So with this knowledge of how America used to be and knowing my own dreams of a tight knit community, I can see how a woman, especially if she weren’t close with her own family, would decide to give up her sole rights to her husband for the sake of community.
So what do you think? Do you also feel this lack of intimate community? How extreme would you go in order to feel “connected” again?