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Arts News Opinion
It is hard to fathom with all the stress, strife, and obvious discord taking a fourth wife has caused Kody Brown, patriarch of the polygamist family featured on the popular TLC reality show Sister Wives, that Brown would even consider taking on Wife #5.
But, would he?
"You guys have to understand,” Brown explained in a recent interview with talk show host Anderson Cooper, “that I answer to essentially a higher call. I'm part of an order, a church,” essentially placing the decision completely out of his hands. "So there is a situation where I feel I am maxed out and don't want to take another wife. I am not interested in that, but there is a requirement."
A requirement, he explains, of his fundamentalist Mormon faith, to take on numerous wives when directed, and, apparently, to have what most would consider, at the very least, an inconvenient number of children. But, one’s own desires on the subjects of wives and children does not matter, Brown insists.
"I answer to a higher calling, and if that requirement comes along and I have a choice in it, then I will do it,” Brown said. “But I would prefer not to.”
Multiple wives bring multiple problems
At the present time, Brown has four wives—Meri, Janelle, Christine and Robyn, in that order. All of the wives are mothers, and, between them, they have 17 children, the latest addition being baby Solomon, the product of Brown’s latest pairing with fourth wife Robyn.
Bringing wife number four into the family was, indeed, a family proposition, and one that has had its ups and downs. Robyn, much younger and quite attractive, left the older wives brooding and jealous at times, although they typically did not seem to want to rock the boat by admitting it. Later, however, Christine, in particular, did speak of the problems she has had, containing her jealousy toward the newest wife—an irony not lost, no doubt, on Meri and Janelle, who both experienced ambivalent feelings stirred up when their husband took on new wife number three, Christine. "Emotionally, for me, it was like… Janelle's relationship with Kody wasn't romantic, and so it was easier for me to accept,” Meri explained on Anderson. “His relationship with Christine was more romantic, and he cared about her much more, so I felt threatened." Christine, of course, is dealing with those very feelings for the first time, with the addition of Robyn. And, as viewers will learn this season, Christine’s jealousies are not a thing of the past—and the strife it is causing on her and Kody’s marital bond may well be at the breaking point.
It does seem unlikely, however, that Kody would have the stamina for bringing yet another wife into the mix at this point, given not only the jealousies still stirring at the moment, but also the problems the family has had in moving to Las Vegas from Utah. The threat of legal challenges to their lifestyle choice seems ever-present, but just practical problems, like trying to keep a family together while the wives and their respective children are living in separate houses, while Kody bounces haphazardly between them from day to day, not only still exist, but appear to be growing.