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An Open Letter to Women Considering Plural Marriage

What are you thinking?! Are you crazy?!?

Okay, just kidding. As crazy as this really does sound to the world, or to anybody that is first having to deal with this question, those of us who have been through the transition and lived to tell have learned a few things, and the truth is that if you are able to master your insecurities and step up to this lifestyle, you will be richly rewarded. You will be more free to be yourself and to pursue your interests. You will share the highs and lows of your life with more people that truly love you and want the best for you and are on your side. And you will be free from the nagging fear that your husband will leave you some day for someone else.

There's a lot to think about, a lot of issues. Many pros and cons to be weighed. Take your time.

If you are already married, and you and your husband have started talking about this, DON'T assume that your husband is just looking for more sex, or is bored with you, or in any way thinks less of you as a person and as a wife. We can't speak for exactly what's going through your husband's mind, but consider the following examples:

A woman who has had a baby, and that baby is now a couple of years old, may find herself wanting another baby. It doesn't mean she doesn't love her first child. She just wants more of what she has, and to the extent she is a good mother and is relatively selfless, she just wants to launch more well-adjusted children into the world.

An entrepreneur who has hired an employee, whose business is still growing, may decide to hire another employee. It doesn't mean there is anything wrong with the performance of the first employee. It just means that the business is growing and needs more hands to handle the workflow.

A college student who has a friend she spends a lot of time with may meet a new friend—someone interesting and stimulating that she wants to get to know better and thinks may be a good long term friend. The 'old friend' could get jealous and possessive and try to sabotage the new relationship, or she could appreciate the new friend, perhaps develop her own relationship, and to the extent the three of them all enjoyed each other's company and enjoyed doing things together, they'd all be richer for it.

Obviously none of these examples hits exactly what it means to be a wife. But each in its own way hits a part of what it means to be a wife. Whether it's the provision and protection that a husband offers a wife and a mother offers a child, or the sense of teamwork and camaraderie that characterizes healthy business relationships, or the simple companionship of a good friend, none of these relationships is necessarily threatened by the addition of more relationships. When they're done well, "the more, the merrier".

If you are considering becoming a man's second or third wife, your situation is similar in some ways, and different in others. You're weighing whether to give up hopes and dreams for some relationship that hasn't happened yet; the first wife is dealing with feeling betrayed, like somebody changed the deal on her without asking. You're feeling kind of special that your man would want to add you to his family; she's feeling a bit used up and neglected that he would want to add you to the family, which is her family, too, by the way. But ultimately the same question presents itself: Where does your self worth come from? What makes you feel good about yourself and gives you hope for the future?

That's a lot to think about. Confronted with the possibility that what God wants for your life is radically different from what you have been led to expect, it's understandable that this would be a difficult and sometimes emotional process. But don't quit. Don't give up. What you're going through now will pass. Focus on what's true about the love of God and the will of God, "and the truth shall make you free".

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