Disturbing Conversations

Hanging out with my sisters and female cousins, we had quite the disturbing conversation. Well, I found it disturbing, anyway. It turns out that it is not uncommon among women to sit and "pick out" who their husband's second wife would be, if, by any chance, the current wife should shuffle off this mortal coil and leave their families wife-less and mom-less. "She'd be nice to my kids." "She's great, and he doesn't like her that much, so he'd pine for me the whole time." "He needs someone like so-and-so." Do you do this? It had never even crossed my mind to select my husband's next wife, and it's a fairly disturbing concept for me, but I do have to say, I have never laughed so hard in my life, listening to what qualifications she would have to have. "Hard working, fun-loving, and ugly as sin." Then the conversation turned worse, and we startd picking out who second wives would be should polygamy come back. "I would exercise some serious unrighteous dominion as a first wife." "I could get along with her, as long as she stays away from the bedroom." So, have you got the next 3 wives all picked out, in preferential order? Because if you do, that's seriously creepy.


Blogger Tammy and Parker said...

I think that with the six kids that come with Reed any 'second wives' would take one look and run for the hills! lol!

8/09/2006 03:25:00 PM  
Anonymous JKS said...

No, I don't think I would ever have this conversation.

8/09/2006 04:22:00 PM  
Blogger Tracy M said...

Nope. Maybe I should though....

But I do worry that my children would be the "redheaded stepchildren" ;)

8/09/2006 04:23:00 PM  
Blogger mami said...

I always think these kind of conversations are amusing, since everyone that has them claims they are incredibly against polygamy. But on some level it seems they accept it, or think it is inevidable, or something. (or just really wish their husbands would take a second wife on a nanny/housekeeper-only basis)

8/09/2006 04:48:00 PM  
Blogger Kage said...

I have not done this, though Carrie once suggested that polygamy might not be all that bad, us wives could share the responsibilities...ALL of them.

I don't know about that.

My m-i-law was terminally ill right when I married her son. One afternoon in the hospital she was writing a list of women for her husband to look up after she passed. One of them was a bridesmaid from her wedding 30 years ago who had split from her husband. Anyway, one year after her passing, her husband married that girl on the list.

So....at least he knows without a doubt he had her blessing.

My DH and I do not talk about who he would marry probably b/c we don't know many single women/men, but we have talked about who of my friends he thinks are attractive etc...and I have admitted to who of his friends I would go for.

8/09/2006 05:39:00 PM  
Blogger TftCarrie said...

A definite "H-E-double-hockey-sticks NO!" on the polygamy conversation. I cannot even think about it on that personal level without wanting to scream.

I have mentioned to my husband that I would want him to get remarried as quickly as he could if something were to happen to me because I would want my girls to have a mother figure around and I know he would get really lonely. But I have never picked this woman out for him. I trust that he would make a good decision.

8/09/2006 05:44:00 PM  
Blogger TftCarrie said...

Well it looks like Kage and I simultaneously posted and she said:

"Carrie once suggested that polygamy might not be all that bad, us wives could share the responsibilities...ALL of them."

I am not sure what exactly she is referring to here, but I have had conversations about what might have been some of the benefits of having sister wives. I have also had conversations on how the only way for polygamy to be "fair" is for the "relationships" to be not just man to each woman but woman to woman as well. But that is another can of worms for another day.

I just wanted to clear my name of any practical, pro-polygamy inferences my friend may have gotten from our theoretical conversations on the subject.

8/09/2006 05:54:00 PM  
Blogger Kage said...

yeah, that was the conversation, well said

8/09/2006 05:56:00 PM  
Blogger Trivial Mom said...

My husband and I have totally talked about this. Like 'what do you think of so and so' or 'he/she would be perfect cause they're just like me.' I totally think its a normal thing just to talk about. It's also an easy way for my husband to point out the things he likes about me, since he's not so good at giving compliments. But he'll say stuff like 'I'd marry her because she does such and such just like you.'

8/09/2006 08:03:00 PM  
Blogger Bookslinger said...

A senior missionary couple from one of the western states served in our ward a few years ago. After their release, the wife was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer. She pretty much had a timetable of shuffling off her mortal coil, and had time to prepare.

Their personalities were almost opposite but in a complementary way. He was the sensible reserved loving grandfatherly type, a former bishop, and she was about 7 years younger, and "young at heart," full of humor and straight-talking gumption.

Their friends here were informed of her impending demise, and were urged to write and not leave good things unsaid.

I wrote her a light-hearted note saying that she ought to do her husband a favor, and leave him a letter, not to be opened until after she was gone, with a list of women she approved of as 'second wives.'

She wrote back and humorously described the women back in their stake as "vultures." I don't know if she ever did make a list or not.

After an appropriate time, but not long enough for their children, the widower started courting one of the single sisters about his age, in my stake here in the midwest. She is a friend of mine who I know well through the singles program and have attended many family-home-evenings with her present.

They courted some more, he visited here, she visited there, they got married in the temple, and he moved in with her here.

So yeah, it's not totally unthinkable to have a "don't open until after I die" letter kept in a safe place.

8/09/2006 08:11:00 PM  
Blogger ginger said...

I am sorry, but I think it is weird... I don't want to imagine the polygamy conversation or if I die... Anyway, I trust my husband, after all, he chose me, right? :-)

8/09/2006 09:48:00 PM  
Anonymous dangermom said...

I *did* have our second wife picked out if I kicked the bucket. She's a friend of mine, great woman, a professional, lots of fun, and one of those women you wonder why no one has ever snapped them up since they're so obviously cool. I figure she'd be a pretty good match for my husband, a good mom to my girls and fun to spend eternity with.

I mentioned this one day to a friend, and it turned out she had also picked her as a second wife. We had to agree never to drive anywhere together.

Anyway my friend moved about 1000 miles away, so now I'm on the lookout.

It's all pretty much in fun, but also a recognition that we might well die young and our husbands might get remarried. Really, of course, he would make his own choice, but hey, he can consider my friend, right?

I don't actually have a problem with polygamy; I'm not saying it's my first choice or anything, but it doesn't make me recoil in horror like it does some.

8/09/2006 10:20:00 PM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

Okay, okay, so the idea of polygamy does cross my mind occasionally, but it is usually with denial that I would ever have to be a part of it in the Celestial Kingdom because seriously, like a lot of you, the idea freaks me out a whole bunch --just the idea that some other woman would have not only some kind of emotional, spiritual and intellectual claim on him, but also a physical claim. That just freaks me out because he is my husband!! Promised to me for eternity. We made covenants. We made the deepest promises to love and honor only each other. The idea that he would be with another woman in a marital way at all is just gross to me. It just feels wrong.

Of course, if I died with our children young, I think I would agree to let him re-marry (as if I would have a choice! I'm dead! He can't hear me! :) ) because my children's need for a mother is so much more important than my need to be the ONLY wife. How selfish am I?

Now I'm starting to sound hypocritical and slightly schizophrenic. But to answer the original question...yes, I think those types of conversations are a little disturbing and freaky. :)

8/09/2006 11:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some more practical planning for the here-and-now ...

1. Do both you and your spouse have wills? Are they up-to-date? Do you still trust the person(s) you've named as executor(s)? Discuss this with your lawyer and financial advisor.

Depending on the ages of the kids, as appropriate, start specifying who gets what. Don't let it be "just understood". If it's not in writing, it probably won't happen.

2. Who do you want to have custody of the kids if you both die together or within a short time of each other?

I was probably around 12 when my father sat me down for a "If bla-bla-bla (God forbid) then ..." talk.

What's your order of preference if your first choice can't take your kids, or later changes their mind? You probably should have a main choice, and two alternates.

3. Do you have adequate life insurance on both spouses? Do you have adequate long-term disability insurance? Discuss this with your financial planner or insurance salesman.

4. Do you have written end-of-life instructions like a living will? What level of prolonging life, or "heroic measures" do you want? At what point or level of incapacitation, if any, would you want food and hydration withheld? Or would you want food and hydration, but not "heroic measures." If you have brain activity, but can't breathe on your own, do you want to be on a ventilating/breathing machine? For how long? People sometimes wake up from comas. How long do you want to be kept around in a coma?

Discuss this with your doctor to get a rough definition of terms, and then your lawyer to put in a living-will. Send copies to your lawyer, and close relatives.

8/10/2006 02:22:00 AM  
Blogger annegb said...

I pretty much figure Bill's second wife will be there with us. She'll be making sure everything is proper and I'll be laying around with a book.

I've never had that type of jealousy. I do think other women would be better for Bill; on the other hand, he'd be bored with most of them.

8/10/2006 12:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Paul said...

Yes. This is a disturbing conversation. Very, very disturbing.

Do their husbands know they do this?

I'm weirded out...

8/10/2006 01:22:00 PM  
Blogger maria said...

My husband and I have a very specific agreement that neither of us will ever remarry after the other's death. Period. Even if we have kids. If the kids need extra support, that's where the extended family will pitch in to provide appropriate male/female influence as needed.

To inject any 3rd person (emotionally, physically, spiritually) into the special, sacred, and exclusive relationship that my husband and I share would utterly destroy the foundation of our collective and individual identities.

At one time DH didn't feel as strongly about this as I did, or as strongly about it as he does now. But at some point he came to recognize that the depth of my feeling about the issue is so profound that he would essentially be severing his relationship with me if he began a relationship with another woman. And DH just can't imagine a world without me in it, so the 2nd wife is not even a possibility. :)

8/10/2006 01:35:00 PM  
Blogger Melinda said...

At one point, my sister told me that she'd told her husband, "if I ever die, you have to marry Melinda because she'll love my kids." Weirded me out because I would no more think of marrying my BIL than I would think of marrying my brother. Then she sighed and said that now that I was married, she'd have to pick out a different successor wife.

Seriously weird. My husband and I haven't talked about what we'd do about remarriage if one of us died. Of course, we've been married less than a year, so who cares yet?

8/11/2006 10:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My dad always said that if they they brought back polygamy he would pick a ugly fat women who would do all the house work for my mom.

For some reason my mom never thought it was funny..:)

8/11/2006 10:36:00 AM  
Blogger FrogLegs said...

Umm.. sure don't. And as for me, if he croaked first I'd never remarry again. :) As far as we go is naming who our spouses are on teh game of LIFE, I marry Matthew and he marries Sandra. ;)

8/13/2006 10:14:00 PM  

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