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We've had a couple discussions with ladies and some of them seem unsure of what questions to ask new families. So, here are some of my thoughts on questions that women should be asking or thinking of when it comes to investigating new families. These questions are in no particular order, and these questions may not apply to everyone, and it's certainly not a "catch-all". It's only meant as a potential starting point.

While I am pointing this to the newer women joining the site and looking at polygamy for the first time, I think everyone (families included) should be considering these questions when approaching someone new.
Q: Does the family in question line up with your religious beliefs and political/moral beliefs?
A: Let's get this one out first... I believe that in order to make a family successful, families should have the same religious beliefs and moral direction. Obviously, nobody will agree on everything 100% of the time. However, there seem to be a few topics that can make or break relationships and it usually will revolve around these topics. Discussing the differences between your values will help you understand if the relationship can work.

Q: Have you prayed or mediated on the family/woman in question?
A: To quote someone that I respect: "I don't ask God for favors or for wishes. But, I do think that if you sit on the edge of your bed, and things aren't going very well for you, and you ask what foolish thing you're doing to make it worse that you'll get an answer right now. And it won't be the one you want, but it might be the one that if you listen to it would set things straight."

Wherever you sit on the religious/spiritual spectrum (or don't in some cases), self reflection or prayer helps to build emotional self-awareness. Take time and ask yourself the important and sometimes uncomfortable questions. In any marriage, your weaknesses and strengths will be shown. Learn how to understand your emotions, your strengths, your weaknesses, and ultimately what is driving you to a particular family.

Q: Do you share similar life goals or dreams? If not, can you be happy living in a different way?
A: I'll offer myself up as an example. Our family is going to build a homestead. No, I don't expect that I'll begin to earn my living this way. However, I love the concept of growing gardens and raising my own animals for food. This might be a silly example, but someone that cannot stand the outdoors or that is vegan might not enjoy my bacon-loving, cow-milking lifestyle. They might be able to compensate for awhile, but unless they change their lifestyle or we change ours, it's a possible contention point.

Q: Does the family expect you to relocate?
A: Obviously, there are many variables to consider, but if you're joining a family that is established (has a mortgage, been there 10+ years, kids are enrolled in school and programs, etc.), you might be the one most able to accommodate a change. Is that something you're willing to do, or is the family happy to move around your needs?

Q: Along with the question above, does the family have enough space to accommodate you (and potential children)?
A: I've known lots of families that squished to make everyone fit... not saying it's a bad thing at all, some families love the squish! It's simply another consideration.

Q: Is there a big age difference? Do you want to have more children, and is your potential husband in a position to raise them?
A: To me, age difference is just a number in most cases. My wife has a sister that married into a polygamous family and her husband is about 21 years her senior, and she's as happy as can be. That being said, if your husband is much older than you, raising children is going to be different. If your husband is having children into his late 40's or 50's, speaking candidly he might not be able to help with child rearing. 

I knew one man who married a much younger woman, and he specifically told her that he only wanted a couple of kids at most. His concern was not watching them grow up in case something happened to him. That really stuck out in my mind, and I'm glad he addressed it. And NO, this is not a knock against older men... just a fact of life.

Q: What are the sleeping arrangements?
A: While this might seem silly, there is a group (however small) of people that take different approaches to how husbands and wives sleep... sometimes even in the same bedroom. Now, I'll never judge another family and what they do. I just know that I'm traditional, and I believe every wife should have her own master bedroom at the minimum. Everyone needs their own space.

Along with the housing, something else to consider is are you all going to be living in the same house, or do you all require your own house to live in? Just some more considerations.

Q: Do you understand their love types?
A: If you don't, take a basic love type test and find out what they are. If they are a physical contact type and you're a words of affirmation type, you'll need to know that there are differences in how to react and show love. This will save you TONS of miscommunication later in the relationship.

Q: Have you mentally and spiritually prepped for the critics?
A: No, I don't believe you should ever listen to those who are critical of your life, simply because they don't understand or agree with you. However, this lifestyle does draw criticism and you can be sure you'll get it from your own family. Be prepared to hear it, face it, and do your best to have a thick skin.

Q: Does the husband want more wives after you join into the family?
A: I've seen women be happy to join into a family, but have a hard time accepting new wives join. Every woman will go through emotions as the family changes (honestly, EVERYONE goes through emotional hardship at times), and there's a good chance that it never comes up. However, be open to the concept that it could happen.

Q: Do you think you can become best friends with the wife/wives in the family?
A: Some women are simply amazing when it comes to opening up their home to a new wife. And I've seen times where the "first" wife couldn't/wouldn't be friends with the new wife. As important as the husband and wife relationship is, the wives should all have their own relationship outside of the husband. In my words, I'd hope they could be "besties".

Q: Are you ready to accept other children as your own?
A: Obviously, this is a question most everyone is confronted with BEFORE they even decide they want to be in a polygamous family. However, living with other children and accepting and loving them as your own are two different things. The successful families that I know make the distinction that it's "their family", not "her family" or "my family". Obviously, the children have a birth mother and she does have a special relationship with her own children (which I think shouldn't be downplayed or thrown under foot), but I believe that the other wife(s) should understand that they're adoptive mothers, for lack of a better word, and they should be as invested in those children as everyone else.

DanSmith Mar 5 · Comments: 5 · Tags: families, questions
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