I have been married one week now as the fifth wife of my husband. Although it is certainly early days yet there is something that is becoming very clear to me. It is about the issue of unity in plural marriage. I must admit that a great deal of that ideology I accepted on faith but in practical application I just could not see how it could work. How could several people develop that kind of singularity of mind and heart when it is hard enough for one man and one woman to do? I was convinced that there was going to be a certain amount of neglect from our husband that was just going to have to be accepted, kind of like the price of admission. That there were times when we as multiple wives were just going to have to accept that we were just a face in the crowd and not important enough to notice regularly, that sharing somehow meant diminishing but was something that was mandated by Yahweh because it was no better than we deserved. Sad way to anticipate your marriage isn't it? I knew I was marrying a good and Godly man, but I truly did not see how it could possibly be that he could be immediately concerned with each one of us all the time. I thought that was one of the 'sacrifices' women marrying plurally would have to accept, like perhaps it might make plural marriage less attractive for some. Little did I realize the enormity of the blessing of being one of several wives to a spiritually sound and loving husband.
Now I am not going to attempt a theological discussion of this idea. That aspect has already been far better covered by my husband than I ever could anyway. What I would like to share is what I have discovered practically living as a plural wife, albeit just for a few days thus far. I have discovered most emphatically that being one of several wives to a good and loving man is by no means ever demeaning or diminishing to any of the wives. Quite the contrary, in my experience thus far. I find our husband to be a most attentive and vitally interested husband in everything that is happening to each one of us, and that profound love that he has for each of us transfers to us forming profound bonds between each one of us individually as well. He has brought us so close together in his love and leading us in our daily service to Yahweh that it really does not matter who is with him at any given moment, as we are so united in mind and spirit that whoever is there physically is immaterial as we are all there always. I have found in these few days that while there are times of privacy, the most satisfying of the times we spend are when all of us are together, or some of us are working together to do something for the others. There is a great joy in sharing this love of family and our husband. I began during our courtship to become nominally acquainted with that idea as I came to know Kasia and Kryztina along with Stanisław and we became so comfortable sitting together while Stanisław romanced me and I romanced him. It became nothing at all notable for Kasia and I to talk about different ways to, shall we say, melt Stanisław's heart, without the tiniest hint of discomfort or possessiveness. We could discuss our feelings for him as easily as we could discuss a bible verse or a recipe. There was never the slightest trace of unease with her at all, and only a very brief awkwardness on my part because of the newness of the idea. But I have to say it never felt wrong or unnatural to discuss these things with the others, even as over time our commitment deepened and conversations became more intimate and personal. It always felt like we were one family doing our best to care for the others as best as we could. Still, I remained convinced that there would have to be some loss of self when it came to the actual living of this principle. There would have to be times when some of the women would have to be invisible to our husband, for you see I still had some worldly notions about marriage that had not been sorted out.
Most of us tend to think of marriage predominately in sexual terms, at least in the world we do. And even believers tend to place a lot of emphasis on sexual aspects of marriage, as it is the only context in which sexual activity is permissible by Yahweh. So it is that so many think that plural marriage must be demeaning to the women because the husband is (a) sleeping with other women which (b) decreases the amount of time that he spends with any individual wife. To a degree that is true. You do not have to be a mathematical genius to realize that the more wives a man has, the less time for physical intimacy any one particular wife has. No man is a superman and no one can be in more than one place at a time. Now there are many who would use this reasoning as justification for rejecting plural marriage sight out of hand but there is something far more important at work here. See, as you learn to focus outward, first on Christ as the ruler of your life, then on your family as more important as yourself, you soon see that love does not diminish when shared, it multiplies. When all in the family are committed to Yahweh and each other, it is no chore to share anything we have with the others, as we know that anything we have is solely by the grace of Yahweh anyway, and we so long for the well-being of our loved ones that sharing is not a problem in the least. Or so I have found it.
And with that complete willingness to share the most important things in our lives, comes the most profound blessing yet experienced. In that commitment to each other, we actually begin to become one in heart and spirit, as we are already one physically with our husband. If you have not experienced this phenomenon, it is a little difficult to define definitively, but very real and poignant nevertheless. Practically, what happens is, no matter who is or is not present at any given time, you are all present. So it is that if two of us sit quietly and talk for several hours, there is no resentment, for we are all there. If our husband is sharing a romantic interlude with one of the others of us there is no envy, for we are one and we are completely confident of his love for us. And when one of us is unhappy or troubled none of can rest until we have addressed the problem and restored the troubled member to balance. There is no oppression or suppression here. Only full acceptance and reliance on each other that has been a blessing beyond my imagining anyway, considering the kinds of relationships I have witnessed in the past.
So, while it is true that there is less actual time spent privately with our husband per each individual wife, as we learn beyond doubt the depth of our husband's love for each of us individually and all of us collectively, and as we grow spiritually to the point that we are able to share and give without counting the cost, so we find the richness and depth that is Christian/Messianic plural marriage. With Christ leading our husband and thus the entire family, and with our husband leading and guiding us in the path of righteousness, loving each of us without reservation, we are indeed the most blessed of women.
And contrary to what a lot have said, and I must confess, I thought to a degree myself, there is nothing enslaving about Christian/Messianic plural marriage. Quite the opposite, in fact. It is quite liberating to know that all the burden for the care of a large family does not fall on one set of shoulders, that should I feel the need for a couple of hours to myself my husband and family will still be cared for and I will face no recrimination for it, or should I become ill there are my sister-wives who will stand in my stead and keep my end of the household responsibilities afloat. And that not grudgingly, but willingly and with love. It is an amazing consequence that not only are there more hands to help but those hands are willing to help from love, there is no compelling of anyone.
In conclusion, it has been an illuminating week. Many things I did not fully understand before marriage are becoming clearer, and many principles I did not believe could be achieved in actuality are in fact realities. I have indeed been blessed among women and I have to say that if I had it to do again I would not change a thing. Having survived a disastrous monogamous marriage and having married into a loving and devout polygamous family, the case is completely clear to me. While there are definite challenges to living a successful Christian/Messianic polygamous marriage, I would not contemplate any other way now and I look to the future with my new family with great anticipation and much, much love. Yahweh has indeed blessed me.