I hate to admit it, but I love reality TV. From The Real Housewives of New Jersey to Hoarders, I eagerly grab the opportunity to peer into the lives of other people.
Last week Oprah had the cast of Sister Wives on her show. Sister Wives chronicles the life of a polygamous family in Utah. The father, Kody, has three wives and on the last episode he got engaged to his future forth wife, Robyn. The family lives together in a sort of multi-plex house with all their children. The fiance lives a few blocks away in a separate house with her children from a previous marriage.
I originally tuned in to Sister Wives because I was curious. Sometimes I have a hard time just getting along with my one husband. I couldn’t imagine having to deal with a husband and other wives, not to mention more than a dozen children. What I saw in the episodes that I have watched is a family that is a lot like other families. Everyone works, they take care of each other, and they squabble just like most families I know. All that being said, there is still a weirdness factor…he has three (now four) wives! He kisses one goodbye and then goes to bed with the woman in the next room.
My fascination is with how the wives deal with their jealousies, and they quite openly discuss this, and how they manage to make it work. And I still wonder if they are being truthful. Are they really as content as they say they are?
Kody is being investigated for felony bigamy in the state of Utah. If he were charged and convicted, he could face a jail sentence of five years. Oprah asked the wives and Kody what they would do if he went to prison. They said they didn’t even want to think about it.
This makes interesting food for thought. With all the focus recently on gay marriage, here’s another nontraditional marriage under fire. Is it appropriate for the state to restrict the rights of adults? I am a supporter of the right of gay couples to marry. I don't believe that the state should interfere in decisions made by consenting adults, regardless of their genders. Why isn't it then equally as intrusive for the state to outlaw polygamous marriages?
The married individuals in Sister Wives are all adults. Unlike the families who were prosecuted in Texas, there is no question of children forced into marriage or of sexual abuse. The family is self-supporting. What is the interest to society and to the state to limit the rights of these adult individuals to live and love whoever they please?
It's not for me. I don't think I could ever accept a plural marriage...and I hope my children and grandchildren don't make that choice either. But, it is their choice. It is time for the state to leave these very personal decisions up to individual citizens.