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What is the benefit of having a sister wife?

In some cultures and religions, polygamy (having multiple spouses) is practiced. One form of polygamy is polygyny, where a man has multiple wives. This is sometimes called having “sister wives”. There are various reasons why a man might take on multiple wives, and there are also benefits and drawbacks for the women involved. Here we’ll explore some of the potential benefits of being a sister wife.

Companionship and Support

One major benefit of being a sister wife is having companionship and support from the other wives. Being in a polygynous marriage means there are other women who are going through similar experiences and challenges. Co-wives can develop close friendships and be there for each other emotionally in ways that monogamous women may not experience.

Having sister wives provides a built-in social network. You have women with shared values and perspectives to socialize with and who can help out with childcare and other domestic duties. The wives work together to manage the household and can split up chores and responsibilities. This makes managing a large family and homestead more feasible.

Shared Intimacy and Affection

In a polygynous family, the husband’s attention is divided among multiple wives. This means each wife may have more autonomy and independence than in a monogamous marriage. The husband won’t be focused solely on her at all times, for better or worse. Each wife may feel less worried about pleasing the husband constantly and have more time to pursue her own interests and goals.

Additionally, the wives can feel affection and intimacy with each other. While sexual activity between the wives is taboo in most polygynous cultures, the women still share a special closeness and bond. Having sister wives allows for emotional and physical intimacy that is seen as separate from the marital relationship.

Division of Labor and Economic Benefits

Running a household and raising children can be demanding. Having multiple wives allows the domestic and childcare workload to be divided. Each wife can take on certain tasks and responsibilities based on her own strengths and preferences. The pooling of resources can also be economically beneficial.

Examples of divided labor:

  • Cooking and meal preparation
  • Cleaning, laundry, sewing
  • Gardening, gathering food
  • Caring for animals/livestock
  • Childcare – educating, nurturing, training
  • Helping with husband’s work or running a home business

In cultures where women do not work outside the home, sister wives provide additional help with domestic duties and economic productivity. Having more wives and children is seen as an asset – more hands to work the land, create goods, and run the household.

Economic Benefits Table

Number of Wives Economic Benefits
  • Dual incomes
  • Shared domestic workload
  • Pooling financial resources
  • Three incomes
  • Greater division of labor
  • More shared financial means
  • Multiple incomes
  • Highly divided workload
  • Greater pooled resources
  • More family contributors

As this table demonstrates, the more wives, the greater the economic benefits in terms of shared incomes, division of labor, and pooled resources.

Better Care and Opportunities for Children

In a polygynous family, there are more parental figures to care for and nurture the children. Children benefit from having multiple mothers who can divide childcare duties. More adults in the home also means more one-on-one attention, care, and mentoring for each child.

Having sister wives allows for sharing breastfeeding duties. If one wife has trouble lactating or needs to be away, another wife can nurse her baby. Children can also continue being breastfed for longer periods by cycling between mothers.

Additionally, the family unit has more resources to devote to providing education, skills training, and future opportunities for their children. With multiple incomes and pooled resources, children can be given greater advantages. There are also more role models and teachers within the family.

Greater Life Experience and Skills

Being part of a polygynous family provides women with unique life experiences and opportunities to develop skills. Managing a complex family dynamic gives wives experience with communication, cooperation, and conflict resolution. The daily logistics of running a multi-wife household encourages skills in organization, multi-tasking, and teamwork.

Sister wives often learn and share skills and knowledge related to homesteading, gardening, animal husbandry, traditional crafts, cooking, medicine, and more. There are greater opportunities for mentoring and apprenticing within the family unit.

Raising multiple children and helping educate them also allows women to develop parenting and teaching skills. The life experiences of being a sister wife foster personal growth, wisdom, and strength of character.

Greater Sense of Purpose and Spirituality

Women who become sister wives are often motivated by a strong sense of purpose and religious faith. They see their role as bringing their family closer to God. Bearing and caring for many children is seen as a spiritual blessing. Serving their husband and sister wives is seen as virtuous.

The sacrifices, challenges, and lifestyle required in a polygynous marriage encourage wives to grow spiritually and find greater meaning in everyday life. The close relationships between sister wives allow them to share spiritual growth. Daily spiritual practices like prayer and scripture reading take on deeper significance, binding the family together.

Increased Social Status and Respect

In cultures where polygyny is accepted or encouraged, taking on additional wives can increase a man’s social status, wealth, and influence. This enhanced status is often conferred upon the sister wives as well. Having more wives signals virility, masculinity and capability in providing for a large family.

Sister wives are often respected for their willingness to share their husband and make the sacrifices necessary to live the polygynous lifestyle. Their valuable domestic skills, childrearing abilities, and spiritual strength are admired. Becoming a sister wife can elevate a woman’s social position, reputation, and authority in her community.

Potential Drawbacks of Being a Sister Wife

While there are numerous benefits associated with the sister wife lifestyle, there are also some potential drawbacks:

  • Jealousy and competition between co-wives
  • Less individual time with the shared husband
  • Difficulty getting along with sister wives
  • Disagreements over childrearing and household management
  • Feeling neglected or under-appreciated
  • Social stigma in many modern societies
  • Legal issues and lack of marital rights

Women considering polygynous marriages should carefully reflect on whether the benefits outweigh the costs based on their personal circumstances and temperament. Open communication with potential sister wives and the husband is vital.


Polygynous marriages are controversial but can provide unique benefits for women who become sister wives. Companionship, shared intimacy, division of labor, economic advantages, better childcare, enhanced skills and experiences, increased spirituality, and elevated social status are some of the potential rewards. However, there are also notable costs like jealousy, less attention from the husband, legal issues, and social stigma in modern society.

Overall, the advantages and disadvantages of sister wife marriages are highly dependent on the individuals involved and their cultural context. For women whose religious beliefs or cultural background embrace polygyny, becoming a sister wife can enrich their lives in many ways. But it also involves significant challenges and is not suited for every woman.