I read this article two, three years ago. I couldnÃ¢Â€Â™t retrieve it from Google.com, so I searched through the online database system of my University to get it. In this article,
Elizabeth Joseph discusses the advantages of living in a polygamous relationship. She is an attorney and lives in Utah. This essay appeared in the New York Times in 1991.
My HusbandÃ¢Â€Â™s Nine Wives
I married a married man. In fact, he had six wives when I married him seventeen years ago. Today, he has nine.
In March, the Utah Supreme Court struck down a trial courtÃ¢Â€Â™s ruling that a polygamist couple could not adopt a child because of their marital style. Last month, the national board of the American Civil Liberties Union, in response to a request from its Utah chapter, adopted a new policy calling for the legalization of polygamy.
Polygamy, or plural marriage, as practiced by my family is a paradox. At first blush, it sounds, like the ideal situation for the man and an oppressive one for the women. For me, the opposite is true. While polygamists believe that the Old Testament mandates the practice of plural marriage, compelling social reasons make the life style attractive to the modern career women.
Pick up any womenÃ¢Â€Â™s magazine and you will find article after article about the problems of successfully juggling career, motherhood, and marriage. It is a complext act that many women struggle to manage daily; their frustrations fill up the pages of those magazines and consume the hours of afternoon talk shows.
In a monogamous context, the only solutions are compromises. The kids need to learn to fix their own breakfast, your husband needs to get used to occasional microwave dinners, you need to divert more of your income to ensure that your preschooler is in a good day care environment.
I am sure that in the challenge of working through these compromises, satisfaction and success can be realized. But Why must women only embrace a marital arrangement that requires so many tradeoffs?
When I leave for the sixty-mile commute to court at 7 A. M., my two-year-old daughter, London, is happily asleep in the bed of my husbandÃ¢Â€Â™s wife, Diane. London adores Diane. When London awakes, about the time IÃ¢Â€Â™m arriving at the courthouse, she is surrounded by family members who are as familiar to her as the toys in her nursery.
My husband Alex, who writes at night, gets up much later. While most of his wives are already at work, pursuing their careers, he can almost always find one whoÃ¢Â€Â™s willing to chat over coffee.
I share a home with Delinda, another wife, who works in town government. Most nights, we agree weÃ¢Â€Â™ll just have a simple dinner with our three kids. WeÃ¢Â€Â™d rather relax and commiserate over the pressures of our work day than chew up our energy cooking and doing a ton of dishes.
MondaysÃ¢Â€Â™, however, are different. ThatÃ¢Â€Â™s the night Alex eats with us. The kids, excited that their father is coming to dinner, are on their best behavior. We often invite another wife or one of his children. ItÃ¢Â€Â™s a special event because it only happens once a week.
Thursday night, itÃ¢Â€Â™s back to simplicity for us. But for Alex and the household heÃ¢Â€Â™s dining with that night, itÃ¢Â€Â™s their special time.
The same system with some variation governs our private time with him. While spontaneity is by no means ruled out, we basically use an appointment system. If I want to spend Friday evening at his house, I make an appointment. If heÃ¢Â€Â™s already Ã¢Â€Âœbooked,Ã¢Â€Â I either request another night or if my schedule is inflexible, I talk to the other wife and we work out an arrangement. One thing weÃ¢Â€Â™ve all learned is that thereÃ¢Â€Â™s always another night.
Most evenings, with the demands of career and the literal chasing after the needs of a toddler, all I want to do is collapse into bed and sleep. But there is also the longing for intimacy and comfort that only he can provide, and when those feelings surface, I ask to be with him.
Plural marriage is not for everyone. But it is the life style for me. It offers men the chance to escape from the traditional, confining roles that often isolate them from the surrounding world. More important, it enables women, who live in a society full of obstacles, to fully meet their career, mothering, and marriage obligations. Polygamy provides a whole solution. I believe American women would have invented it if it didnÃ¢Â€Â™t already exist.