"If my husband took another wife I'd KILL him!" I don't know how many times I have heard that impassioned response from a wife to the suggestion or thought that she might have to share her husband with one or more women. Indeed, it's such a reflexive reaction and so completely unconditioned by learning from others (even my own daughter has said it ... and she certainly never heard it from anyone else!) that I am forced to come to the inevitable conclusion: it all stems from ONE NATURE which is common to all women. And that is fallen, carnal nature. "For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks" (Matthew 12:34, NKJV).
The very word 'kill' ought to alert us to the fact that what is being said is one of the most ungodly things imaginable. In a way I can 'understand' such a reaction coming from someone who is unsaved, but coming from a Christian woman is something altogether different. For the passion that lies behind such a spontaneous outburst is without a shadow of a doubt the spirit of murder.
What kind of people do you normally associate with who would rather kill someone than let a possession of theirs (as they suppose) fall into someone else's hands?
Only the other day a visitor from Scandinavia related to me an incident in his country which has been national headlines. In a small rural area of the country not far from the capital a young man murdered his father, mother and sister in cold blood. The motive? His father did not get on well with his son and made it known that he was leaving the family farm to his sister. Rather than let that happen he decided instead not only to shoot his whole family but also deprive himself of his inheritance by condemning himself to a life-sentence in jail.
Now I'm not suggesting for one moment that the majority, or any, Christian/Messianic women would suddenly stab their husband to death if he suddenly announced his intention to marry a second woman polygamously. I'm not even suggesting that he should do such a thing with his first wife with her in such an ugly spirit. In fact, he'd be rather foolish. But what I most definitely am saying is that a woman who thinks such a thought is - so long as that thought possesses her and she does not repent of it immediately - under the influence of Satan. Again, I am not saying that the husband is necessarily right in taking a second wife - that is an entirely separate issue - the issue is her reaction to the concept or idea of having to share her husband with another woman, particularly is she names the Name of Christ.
Throughout my writings I have maintained that the biblical doctrine of polygamy, both in theory and in practice reveals, like nothing else the spirit of idolatry in fallen human beings. I have also pointed out that in actual fact scripturally a woman does not possess her husband - he possesses her, just as the husband is possessed by Christ. Because we are Christians/Messianics doesn't mean that we 'own' Christ, or that the Saviour will respond to our every beck and call (how many times have I heard Luke 11:9 misrepresented to mean we can ask what ever we want from Yahweh and we will get it automatically so long as we have enough faith!). When a woman claims to possess or own her husband, to dispose of him (or not) with respect to other women, she automatically breaks the Tenth Commandment (Exodus 20:17) by coveting her husband in an unlawful and therefore unspiritual way. She falls, without perhaps realising it, into the spirit of Jezebel (1 Kings 18-21; Revelation 2:20), which is a feministic spirit. And that spirit is, at its root, murderous.
As I said, most women married monogamously would not actually kill their husbands if they took a second wife but most would certainly 'murder' their marriage covenant to one degree or another by divorcing their husbands and perhaps remarrying (thus committing adultery and forfeiting their place in heaven). Again, this is not necessarily saying that the husband can, or ought, to unilaterally marry a second wife - it is merely to illustrate the driving forces in women. And in this case, it reveals starkly an unmistakable carnal, selfish and unredeemed nature - the Adamic nature - which besets even believers who are not properly alligned to Elohim's (God's) Word.
No true, spiritually regenerated Christian/Messianic would ever wish to kill anybody, and certainly not themselves ... for to wish to murder your husband (or wife, for that matter) is a kind of suicide - you are desiring to murder yourself. If Adam had murdered Eve for falling (perish the thought) he would have killed a part of himself. And that is actually what happens when divorce and adultery happen.
There is another category of monogamous-married Christian woman who, faced with the polygamy issue, would never even entertain the thought of killing their husband. That response (or non-response) is proof that they are at a higher level of sanctification. They may well be mortified at the thought of polygamy (usually with few exceptions) and may conclude, in 'true' Christian spirit, that they will bear the burden of their husband's supposed 'error' and 'wickedness' by quietly praying for their 'misguided' spouse. The maturest and most spiritual of the monogamy-only women will take this course of action even though it is contrary to the Word and they are, without perhaps realising it, denying the Ruach (Spirit).
Then there is the 'intermediary' class of woman who would never entertain 'killing' their husband in thought but who, like the other categories of women, are deeply mortified and hurt by the thought of polygamy, but who resort to a different strategem: manipulation.
One kind of woman I know in this 'middle category' concluded that her husband was woman-hunting because she had in some way failed him as a wife. So she tried to be more loving, more giving, more romantic, and so forth. She is what one might call of the 'compensator spirit', imaginary thought it may be.
(In some cases she may discover that she has been defective in her rôle as a wife, improve her marriage, and, in some instances, actually dissuade a husband's interest in polygamy who may be 'searching' for another because he feels the marriage is unequal and defective on the wife's side. He might be the man who feels drawn to polygamy for the wrong reasons and who no longer feels the 'need' for the principle once his wife is more giving. Nevertheless, this does not nullify the truthfulness of the polygamy principle per se).
The second class of 'intermediary' is more negative and may resort to blackmail (in the same way as the 'killer' class but in a less obvious and more subtle way). "Unless you drop the whole idea, I'll do this or that", often leaving with the children, telling friends, informing the pastor of the local church/assembly, etc.. She will attempt to FORCE her husband to drop all polygamous notions. She loves him (as she supposes), would never dream of killing him (even mentally), but intends to CONTROL him in such a way that he remains monogamy-only. This is, however, merely another manifestation of the Jezebel spirit. (I know of one woman who literally keeps her husband a PRISONER at home for fear that if he goes out he will look for another woman. She monitors his mail and when he surfs the net).
Both the 'intermediate' reactions are Jezebelic, though the former is certainly milder and at least recognises that the fault may be with the woman herself, even though it may be an erroneous conclusion. It does not take into account those righteous men who are called into polygamy and who are satisfied with their first wife as far as relationships can go.
As I have pointed out in my other writings, both men and women tend to get their motives screwed up when it comes to polygamy. I would say that on balance both genders are equally deluded most of the time but in different ways based on those gender differences. The fact that polygamy is a biblical principle does not automatically mean that every man who believes in the principle (and let's be honest, if a man is steered by carnal thoughts, it isn't going to be nearly as problematical to accept for him as it is by a woman also steered by carnal thoughts) is called into it. Neither does it mean that those who are called into it are necessarily called into it the moment they believe in the principle.
The more case studies I look at (and there are now plenty) the more I am convinced that in nearly every single case a man is not called to live polygamy the moment he accepts the principle as biblical or necessarily the moment he obtains a clear calling from Yahweh to live it. And in virtually every case where men who have leaped into the principle when their first wives were not prepared, disaster has resulted.
One man I know who did this freely admitted that the second wife he took preumptuously upon being converted to polygamy was not intended for him by Yahweh. He believes (as I do) that he is called into the principle but not before his first wife (who is definitely of the third category of 'mature Christian') is converted. His patient waiting was bearing fruits (2001) as his wife saw how wrong she was in respect of biblical teaching.
Another man I know who I also believe is called into the principle, is facing the intermediary category of wife who knows what the bible says, refuses to admit that there is any possibility that they are called into the principle, who is trying to be manipulative and controlling by being 'more loving' (but who is also threatening to leave him the moment he takes a second wife). The driving force here is fear. His situation is simpler than the previous example inasmuch as his wife does not deny the Bible teaching but is more complicated because she is not as spiritually mature and is simply giving the carnal nature authority in this particular issue, but not to the extent of wanting to 'kill' him mentally. So you see, there are many, many different types of situation, and Christian husbands must work patiently according to the situation he finds himself in.
So here, then, is a summary of the different 'classes' of Christian wife:
|Type of Wife
||Wife' Likely Course
||Husband's Best Course|
||Leave, marry 2nd wife later|
||Wait until divorce|
||Divorce and/or separation
||Teach and wait/hold|
||Teach and wait/hold till Yahweh gives clear OK to marry 2nd wife after separation|
||Stay with husband
||Teach and wait/hold as long as possible|
||Accepts second wife
||Marry second wife|
I must stress that this is only a very, very general guideline. Human beings are complex and irrational and sometimes those who appear less likely to accept polygamy do, and those who seem most likely to embrace it end up rejecting it. That is why I urge all husbands considering this principle to never act presumptuously, to be prepared to exercise great patience, and be willing to invest a lot of time before making any moves to enter the principle, and to respect and honour any monogamy-only vows. Polygamy is abolsolutely not a principle to enter into on a whim, experiment with, or to even consider if you are not a mature Christian/Messianic possessing the basic graces (1 Corinthians 13:4-7; Galatians 5:22-24 - these are key scriptures for polygamist men!)
Once a man is sure he is not called to enter polygamy he should inform his wife to avoid disaster at home. This does not mean, however, that the battle is over for the wife - even if one is not personally called into polygamy, one is not given the licence to perpetuate the monogamy-only mindframe either - the correct polygamous mindframe devolves upon all true Christians/Messianics. Someone who is not called into polygamy, but who opposes it, is nevertheless opposing the Spirit of Elohim (God) by opposing biblical Marriage and, per pro the apostle's definition, is faced with demonic oppression (1 Timothy 4:1-3a) - hence the many mentally and emotionally murderous reactions to polygamy. Such a person can never attain complete spiritual maturity or sanctification and will be permanently at war with him-/herself.
We need not suppose that such a sad spiritual condition pertains only to those who oppose biblical polygamy. I once knew a man with whom I shared my biblical beliefs (many of which he was sympathetic to even though they ran contrary to his own particular tradition) who concluded our discussion saying: "I was born a Wesleyan (Methodist) and I'll die a Wesleyan". To which I replied: "There are no Methodists or New Covenant Christians in heaven, my friend, only those who were obedient to the Word." He was speechless.
We may think ourselves clever at resisting the truth but in the end it is we who will suffer. The truth changes for no man or woman. Far better to reconcile with Yahweh's truth on polygamy, or any other Gospel principle, than to stubbornly force our way off the Way of Life. Would you rather 'die' or 'kill' than accept the truth? If you would, then you have confessed, without perhaps realising it, that you are not submitted to the Eternal Elohim (God) but to your own fears, your own stubborn pride and, ultimately, to the father of lies.