The Etiquette of Polygamy. Seriously.

I have a confession to make.  I sat down to write a blog entry on the etiquette of recommendation letters – fascinating, right?  Anyway, while working on this masterpiece I turned on TLC’s Sister Wives, a show about a polygamist family – one husband, three wives, and one girlfriend.  (In fact, this blog entry can now be used as proof that it’s a bad idea to write while watching TV.)  Anyway, I couldn’t stop thinking about the etiquette issues that exist in a polygamist family.  Quite frankly, it’s kind of blowing my mind.  Here’s a sample:

  • When inviting a polygamist family to a wedding would it be Mr. and Mrs. and Mrs. and Mrs. Smith?  Or Mr. and Mmes. Smith?  (This is really an important one because in a polygamist community you probably go to quite a few weddings.)
  • Is it kosher to go out trolling for a new wife with a current wife?  Or should that be done solo?
  • Do date nights ever include the whole crowd?
  • How does courtship work?  Do you ask your current wives first?  (The complications surrounding all rituals of dating must be exhausting.)
  • What about health insurance?   Surely, they aren’t all covered in a family policy. (Okay, not so much etiquette, but you have to admit it’s a good question.)
  • Baby shower etiquette.  Who hosts the showers?
  • How is it decided which wife gets which bedroom?  Does Wife #1 get first pick or master bedroom?
  • Is it acceptable to refer to the new wife as the rookie?
  • If they’re all standing together in a group – which wife should the husband introduce first?
  • How would you work seating charts?  All seated together?  Who gets to sit by the husband?

Yeah, I could go on all night.  My apologies if you have to ask someone for a recommendation letter in the near future.

8 thoughts on “The Etiquette of Polygamy. Seriously.

  1. Have you not watched Big Love? It answers many of the above questions…of course it is a work of fiction created by HBO, but the group dynamics are fascinating.

  2. Amy,
    Great article! You are a fabulous writer who asks questions and gives advice with grace and style. I also loved your post on Grieving Etiquette. You hit the nail on the head. I am subscribing and will be sharing you on Facebook.

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