Sister Wives

There are a number of different cultures throughout the world that utilize the term “first wife.” Usually these cultures embrace some form of polygamous marriage. For example, in some Native American tribes it was an acceptable practice to marry more than one wife, if you were able to support more than one wife. Recently, the practice of having more than one wife has been highlighted on the hit televisions series “Sister Wives.” This series is a reality-based television program that illuminates the positive and negative aspects of engaging in polygamous marriages.

One of the primary benefits of having a polygamous marriage is that the women gain not only a husband, but also a number of sister wives. In this extended family configuration, the first wife generally rules the roost. She is the one that has the final say over what happens in the household, next to her husband, of course. The first wife leads family meetings among the sister wives and determines a rotating schedule for spending time with their shared husband.

One of the most difficult aspects of a polygamous marriage if you are one of the wives, is that you must share your husband with a number of other women. This dynamic was brought to light on “Sister Wives” when the husband married his fourth wife. This event was bitter-sweet for the first wife. She felt jealous and somewhat displaced by the younger wife. Over time, these two women became very close friends and the dynamics of the joint household stabilized.

As on overall family structure, having more than one wife does create a network of support for the other wives and distribute the household chores among more people. On the other hand, as the size of the family increases, so does the amount of work. Living in a polygamous marriage will have some benefits financially, socially and emotionally for both the husband and the other wives. However, there are still basic human emotions that must be compassionately and patiently dealt with by the entire family, if a polygamous marriage is to be successful for all of the individuals who are involved.


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