So I am a little late to the party, but I just caught the first two seasons of Sister Wives on Netflix. For those of you who don't waste hours watching reality TV, the show follows a practicing polygamist family. One dad four moms of four separate families that all live in one big house and also function as one big family. Now, let me say up front that I am not down with polygamy. And I don't believe God is down with it either..... Just so we are clear NOT ENDORSING POLYGAMY.
So I don't want their lifestyle.....but I do want their house. And I want their sense of community. Basically you walk in the front door and there are separate mini-houses off of a main hallway. They also have some really good insight about how to live in community. I guess you would have to if you voluntarily decided to live in "the lifestyle" as they call it. One of the women talks about how she was raised in the lifestyle and had always wanted to be a third wife. She really wanted to be a third wife because she wanted the community with the other women, and also because she saw having other wives to depend on as freeing.
They all talk about it, the freedom of having multiple adults to depend on. If someone is caught up at work or at the doctor there is another adult who can get your kid from school. If one adult is really good at making Halloween costumes and the other one is good at cooking big dinners, and still another wants a high powered career they just farm out the responsibilities and let everyone do the things they want and are good at. The fourth wife was a single mom for three years. You can almost see the weight lifted off of her shoulders when she talks about being part of a team. She doesn't have to be everything to her kids anymore.
Still another wife (the first wife) talks a lot about adjusting to the other people. How when she gets her back up about something, it is she who needs an attitude adjustment. How ultimately living in community with these other women makes her kinder, gentler, less selfish. She talks about how it is okay for it to be hard. To wrestle with it even as she does it. That just because something is hard and uncomfortable doesn't mean we shouldn't do it. It means that we can choose to grow in it, to let God prune us. And we can trust that if God called us into something (not saying God called them into this lifestyle, but God does call us into different relationships with people) then it will shake out better than ever when you get through that hard spot.
I have been interested in communal living for awhile. Before I followed blogs I would check up on a blog about two sisters who shared a house (whoelsewantstoliveinmyhouse.com). If I had the means I would build an addition onto my house and move a set of grandparents in with us. Elizabeth and I talk about how much easier our lives would be if we lived in a duplex. It is hard in some ways, I get that. You have to be more flexible and less bothered by things. You have to let a lot roll off your back, you have to share more. You have to share your stuff, and you have to share your life. Your emotions, your heart, your vulnerabilities. It isn't always comfortable. Sometimes you just don't want to be inconvenienced. But your life is richer for it....and you are changed for the better.
This whole thing has made me think about how interesting it is that someone could have some stuff so so right and other stuff really really wrong. Their marriage may be jacked up, but they model community and loving each other well. If they all had separate husbands but continued to live in the same house sharing life...sign me up. I wonder what I have in my life that God would think, that piece is right but that piece WAY wrong.