Since there aren't many people living according to the biblical principle of plural marriage (one husband with several wives), I think it might be useful, for others who find that they are called to live it, that I tell of my blessed experiences and the possible difficulties that they might have.
Firstly, I am a young woman who was raised in a country where godly polygamy is not accepted, by either Christians or non Christians, even if homosexuality, adultery, serial monogamy, and onanism is... (Beat that!)
Because of this, we have had to conceal our marriage as best we can, as we are not interested in having Yahweh's sacred principle 'spat' at by angry relatives, eager news reporters, and people looking at it as a topic for slanderous gossip. We also chose to keep it secret (by never telling anyone, except a few entrusted people who also believe in polygamy/polygny as biblical, about our marriage) for the children's sake...
I am the sort of person who used to dream about showing off my boyfriend in public places. Since that is impossible, Yah'shua (Jesus) has lovingly showed me how selfish that dream actually was. Even if I still take pride in my husband, I am not in bondage to having people look at us and admire or envy us in order to be happy. That is something I praise Yahweh who set prisoners free for!
Also in the privacy of home I am still learning to be sensitive to my husband's other wives and their needs as well. Therefore I am constantly kept from indulging myself in selfishly considering my husband to be my "private property", which no human being can ever be, since we all belong to our Creator.
I have found that whenever I start to demand that my marital 'rights' should be obeyed, the loving atmosphere disappears because love can never be forced, it only flows naturally when you stop asking for it -- even if one can force loving actions out of someone (even if he or she isn't aware of it, and is sincere) it will never satisfy, because you know that you have taken something which you are not entitled to.
Our Public Profile
We are careful not to lie, of course, so when people ask about our family situation, we tell that we are three families (which we strictly speaking are) living in the same house. And if they ask who the father, for instance of, my son is, I just say that I don't want to tell who he is, and then they have to accept that.
I would of course like to be open, but that is impossible for the reasons already mentioned.
As marriage is both personal and affectionate, it might seem impossible to avoid jealousy altogether, and that is true to some extent. Personally I have not experienced that to be my biggest problem, but that might be because I am the most recent wife. It's like children who get another sister or brother.
But like the parents of the children, the husband becomes more skilled in handling the problems (mostly even before they occur) as he gets more wives. And the wives themselves are also able to talk together and get to understand each other's feelings (contrary to the young child and the new baby). So I would say that it is just as easy or difficult to avoid jealousy in marriage as it is avoiding it between children.
Yahweh has blessed us so that we can all live from our husband's income, and therefore Kryztina and I are able to stay at home with our children. (Isabel has her own income and currently lives in a separate house). In a big family like ours it is definitely useful to be two housewives. We do, for instance, only have 'the kitchen' every third week and there is also a äbaby-sitter' at hand whenever that is needed.
Of course it is not always a bed of roses, (which I think you will find is the case in all marriages) because you will also have someone 'looking over your shoulder' much of the time -- for instance when trying to discipline your child to sit properly, and eat, at the table, or when you perhaps want to buy an extra treat when shopping. All of this might also be helpful as a reminder to, for instance, not lose your temper unnecessarily, not spoil your child and not waste money.
This does not mean that there is no privacy, or no room for emotional outbursts and so on -- since the other wife is a human and learns to know and understand you -- but it helps you to be aware and discern, at the particular moment, whether your behaviour is after Yahweh's will or not, maybe more than if 'only' your husband (who is in love and maybe blind to your faults, or more loyal to you so that he doesn't react when you sin) is watching.
To live in a polygamous marriage is very glorious, if you are willing to follow Yahweh's design, but make sure you do because if you enter it for selfish reasons -- no matter whether you are the man or one of the women -- you will never find it satisfying and often downright horrible.
Still I would not hesitate to recommend it if you experience that you are called to it:
- Firstly, because you are called you are meant to live that way by Yahweh and therefore that would give you the most happiness;
- Secondly, as Yahweh is the Creator of all human beings and has called you to live that way, you are sure to find the particular husband or wives that He intended for you (especially since there are so few who marry this way in the world today), and therefore the one or ones you will have the deepest love for;
- Thirdly, because this kind of marriage is more difficult to only base on selfish 'love' (since there is always another person to take into consideration) one is more likely to discern what God's agapè love is compared to the selfish eros in everyday life.