Monday, September 27, 2010

Sister Wives ... Meet Kody & The Wives

I’ve been waiting anxiously for this show. Obviously, it’s been done before … an inside look at polygamist families … the women with their long hair in their long dresses with no make-up and lots and lots of kids. The older, ridiculous and demanding men who use religion as the reason to take on wife after wife after wife.

Let me say something right now. There’s no polygamist that is actually, legally married to all these wives. They may be legally married to the first one, but the rest are just living with them in the eyes of the law.

But now here comes the “Sister Wives.” No long dresses here. Make-up everywhere. They wear jeans! They just want their children to be happy and don’t really care if they live the “lifestyle.” They want to raise moral, ethical, contributing members of society. They want their children to marry who they love. What? A modern-thinking polygamist family?

Kody Brown is the long-haired patriarch of this brood, the father of 12, the advertising salesman, the man with the three wives … Meri (wife No. 1 and mother of one), Janelle (wife No. 2 and mother of six) and Christine (wife No. 3 and mother of five with one on the way). Surprisingly, he married them all many years ago and they’ve been living happily in polygamy ever after for many years … but change is going to come in the form of a cute little brunette. More on that later.

During the show, it’s annoying that Kody and the wives and the kids always talk to the camera rather than the camera just following them around. I’m hoping that will change. Kody is full of wit and wisdom on living the “lifestyle.” For example, “love should be multiplied, not divided.” What? That doesn’t even make sense.

And, another one of his funnies — “I’m a repeat offender.”

Conventional wisdom in polygamy world is that if you have one successful marriage, then you will be good with two, then four. Hmmm … In the real world, that’s called divorce and remarriage. It doesn’t mean you are good at marriage, it means you are tired of the first one. Anyway, according to Kody, he couldn’t help all these marriages. He fell in love once, then in fell in love again, then in fell in love AGAIN.

Kody and the wives spend much of the show explaining polygamy to us outsiders. The kids are raised together and the whole group eats together about three times a week. Each wife has her own apartment in the house so — in a way —they live separate lives. Christine raises the kids while Meri and Janelle work. Janelle doesn’t want to be a housewife; she likes her job. Meri is going back to school … studying psychology. Kody, Meri and Christine all come from polygamous families so now I get it.  This is why this all makes sense to them. It’s the way they were raised. Janelle, although Mormon, was not raised in a polygamous household. They consider themselves fundamentalist Mormons. The kids all go to a private school with other kids from polygamous families. I’m not sure where this family lives, but Kody was raised in Wyoming.

So, how does Kody divide his time between the wives? He keeps a schedule! So that every wife gets their fair share of him. That’s sweet.

The wives want the public to know that these are three separate relationships, three separate marriages. Nothing funny going on here. “We don’t go weird,” says Meri. Really? I would disagree.

Each wife says she wants to have a good relationship with the other wives. According to Meri, if you think of it like … “What can I do to help you? What can you do to help me? … the lifestyle works.

Kody tells us that Meri was a friend to both wife No. 2 and wife No. 3 before he fell in love with them. He calls her “the bait.” I bet she liked that. Janelle softens the blow by saying that Meri was in charge of “mergers and acquisitions.”

Christine, the stay-at-home wife, doesn’t have a toaster because “more people die from toasters than sharks.” Even Kody shakes his head at this one. Christine tells us that three people died from shark attacks last year while 257 people were, I guess, electrocuted by a toaster.

So what do I think of all of this? Surprisingly, I think I could be a friend to Janelle. We are both working moms and prefer that lifestyle rather than being a stay-at-home mom. Meri seems accepting of it all; it’s all she’s ever known. I don’t get Christine … she wanted to be a third wife as it “sounded the easiest.” Whatever. I don’t dislike them, and I don’t feel sorry for them. This is the life they chose. Do they seem happy? I think so.

That’s how I feel about them as people. What do I think of this lifestyle choice? I don’t get it at all. I think you would have to have a screw loose to see this as a real marriage. In these "marriages," each wife is the other woman 67 percent of the time. In a real marriage, you are devoted to one person, you spend your life with that person, you share your secrets, you share every day  … you do not share him. The real true intimacy of a relationship does not exist in a plural "marriage." I do not believe you can be really, completely in love with your “husband” or “significant other” and be willing to share him (or her) with another person or two or 10. I just don’t believe it. That’s not love. It’s convenience. It’s compromise. It’s crazy. It’s not love.

Anyway, back to the show. If Kody is in love with these three wives, why is he not satisfied? Why is he still looking? A happy, satisfied, loving husband isn’t always looking for something new and better, something differint, someone else to fall in love with … it just doesn’t work that way. When you are in love, you are in love. You don’t need anyone else. Or maybe I just haven't met the right guy with three wives.

So, I don’t think Kody is in love with anyone … I think this is just the life he leads. He likes having three women. It is what was modeled for him. And, now, after all these years … he is a little bored. So … meet Robin … soon to be the newest wife of the “Sister Wives.” She’s a pretty, petite 30-year-old with long, brown hair and three children. And, Kody, is “in love” again.

More on “Sister Wives” next time.

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