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The 12 Books of Abraham

    Chapter 8

    Truth or Tradition?
    A Closer Look at the
    Plural Wives Question
    by Andy Nonymousman

    Chapter 8. His Needs / Her Needs

    A man wrote a very good secular book by the above title. He established by research and interviews that men have certain needs that are different than a woman’s needs and that women have certain needs that are different from a man’s needs.

    His Needs

    According to his research amongst a man’s needs are (1) sex, (2) a play mate, (3) an arm piece (to build esteem), and (4) Domestic help.

    Also according to his research amongst a woman’s needs are (1) someone to talk to, (2) affection that doesn’t lead to sex, (3) security.

    First, let’s ask the question: “Can we back up this list of a man’s needs from Scripture?”

    1. Sex -- Yes. Paul says in I Corinthians 7:1 “It is good for a man not to touch a woman, nevertheless to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and the wife have her own husband.” Later he says in verse “It is better to marry than to burn [with desire].” So obviously the desire for sexual relations is a need that men have even though Paul seemed to have a special ‘gift’ in this area to not require a wife for such a need [1].

    Our next question is, will plural wives help solve this need? Yes, having counseled many married men over the years, we know that often times a wife’s sexual desire does not match his. With one wife there is often tension in the household because she is unwilling (although Scripturally she shouldn’t be) to have sexual relations as often as he needs.

    With plural wives this is not a problem for he will be spending some nights with one wife while the other wife (or wives) have a break from sexual relations. Therefore no wife is over stressed in this area.

    2. Playmate -- Isaac was found “sporting” with his wife. See Genesis 26:8. So certainly a man may enjoy doing his thing or playing with a wife. In marriage today, a wife’s interest in a man’s type of thing whether it is fishing, golf, or watching football games, rarely matches her husband’s. It has been found therefore to be very tedious to some wives to be constantly required to do his thing. If on the other hand he has several wives, different ones can be involved in doing his thing at different times and therefore exhausting no one.

    3. Esteem -- The woman is told to “reverence her husband” see Ephesians 5:33. To reverence means to have “great respect,” “to look up to him in awe and admiration.” This is often in evidence in newlyweds but apparently diminishes over time in a culture where one man one woman is the norm. Why is this? Is it because he has “promised” in his vows to be devoted only to her and therefore she no longer needs to give him respect to keep him as hers always? If there were the possibility of other women in the marriage legitimately showing him the reverence he needs, would it encourage each wife in that marriage to remember their duties in reverence of the husband?

    4. Domestic help -- If we look at an ideal wife in Proverbs 31:10-31, who is referred to as a virtuous woman. There is no question that she helps with the chores around the household. However in many one man one wife families the wife is so encumbered with cleaning duties and taking care of the children that she fails to feel romantic when he needs her to be so. It would seem that in plural wives marriages some wives could help take care of the household chores and the children when it is another’s day to be with the husband. She would therefore have much of the day to prepare herself for him when he comes home from work and be in a much better mood to please him.

    Her Needs

    1. Someone to talk to -- Research apparently shows that woman on average talk about twice as much as men, Scripturally this seems to be backed up in as much as women are warned against gossiping (see I Timothy 5:13). But men are never warned against this particular sin.

    One of the complaints in most failing one man one wife marriages is “He won’t talk to me!” Since most men don’t understand their wives need to talk, they rarely fulfill this need and the women head off to the divorce court. In plural wives marriage the women would have each other to talk to, relieving the man of engaging in something that he rarely understands the need for and rarely is able to do as well.

    2. Affection that doesn’t lead to sex -- A wife’s second need is affection that doesn’t lead to sexual relations. Apparently many women in one-man/one-wife situations complain that as soon as they show their husbands any affection he is ready to take them to bed, which is not their intent. In plural wives marriage the husband has enough sexual relations that no one wife will feel overly taxed in this area, and yet if he is wise he can show them all affection through hugging, hand holding and otherwise without it leading to sexual relations every time.

    HEM Comments

    [1] It should be pointed out that Paul was almost certainly a widower or divorcee. As a former Rabbi before his conversion to Christ, marriage would have been a requirement for him holding that office. It is impossible to say, though, for how long he had been single or why he remained in that situation. (SBSK)

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    First created on 27 September 2001
    Updated on 20 June 2016

    Copyright ©1999 Andy Nonymousman
    Reproduced by permission and with thanks by HEM, 2001
    Endorsement of this book by HEM does not necesserily mean
    endorsement of the author's other publications or views.