TLC literally stands for "The Learning Channel," and even though the network's lineup is mostly made up of reality TV shows, that doesn't mean that they're not educational! Case in point: the longrunning series, Sister Wives. The show is meant to document the lives of the polygamous Brown family in an attempt to prove that those who practice the unconventional lifestyle are not weird, but they're just normal people who want to be accepted by society.
But, of course, fans who watch the show and are not familiar with the polygamous lifestyle still find themselves confused about the actual logistics of how a man can live harmoniously with multiple wives. Keep scrolling below to find out everything we've learned about polygamy by watching TLC's Sister Wives !
What is polygamy?
Polygamy is also known as plural marriage in which a man is allowed to have more than one wife. It's a lifestyle that dates all the way back to biblical times and instances of plural marriages exist in many different religions, according to How Stuff Works. But the most popular religion that has sects which continue to practice is fundamentalist Mormonism aka The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (FLDS).
The polygamous Brown family from TLC's Sister Wives are practicing members of the Apostolic United Brethren religion, which is a Mormon fundamentalist group.
How many wives can a man have in a plural marriage?
In other religions, some men are allowed to have up to four wives. But in Mormonism, there is no specific limit to how many wives a man can have.
Do sister wives sleep together?
Many women who practice polygamy say that this is one of the most common questions they receive from people who don't understand their lifestyle. The general consensus is that the wives do not participate in sexual intercourse with each other, but they all have a separate, intimate relationships with the husband.
Do sister wives get jealous?
The answer to this seems to differ on a case by case basis, and it seems like many women who are a part of plural marriages try to downplay any jealousy that might arise.
Is polygamy legal?
In the United States, polygamy is not legal in all 50 states — but it is not illegal on the federal level. Since plural marriage is illegal, a man who is part of a plural marriage is only legally married to one of his multiple wives and is in a committed "spiritual unions" with the others — which means only one is recognized by the law.
Even though it is not legal anywhere in America, families like the Brown family get away with living polygamous lifestyles by hiding their true family dynamic from neighbors, co-workers, and friends.