'I Would Never...Go Back to Being a Monogamous Wife'

Polygamous women speak out in defense of their lifestyle.

BY: Mary Batchelor, Marianne Watson, and Anne Wilde

 
In April 2000, the authors contacted more than 700 plural wives, asking them about their experience. They were promised anonymity because it is against the law and currently being prosecuted in Utah. Within six weeks, they received more than 100 responses. The comments were reprinted, organized according to the age of the respondent. Here is one from RS, a woman between 41 and 50 years old.

"I would never ever, worlds without end, even if I could control all events, willingly go back to being a monogamous wife. Even if I were to discount the possibility of eternal blessings, the blessings I enjoy here in this sphere are enough to cause me to become a she-bear when someone threatens them.

"As the only wife of a good man, I had a good marriage. We got along well, and our children were emotionally healthy. But at times I felt an unspoken demand to be all things to my husband: a great cook, an organized housekeeper, an inspired home-schooler and an individual who kept up with current events, pursued her talents, never fatigued, always remembered details, kept the family social calendar, emptied the mending and ironing baskets daily, never overspent, looked appealing at all times and looked forward anxiously for the moment he walked in the door. I tried to be all things, and my husband told me constantly that I was loved and appreciated. But I worried privately that my lapses stood out more vividly than my achievements.

"After a second wife entered the family, I saw my husband's eyes full of new respect and approval as he looked at me. This approval came NOT from my willingness to let him have another wife, but from his deepened comprehension of who I was as a woman, what strengths and gifts I had that were not an automatic part of simply being female genetically but were uniquely mine. Suddenly, I was seen as I had always wanted to be seen.

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