‘Sister Wives’: Kody Brown Thinks He Should Have Told Meri Brown to ‘Suck It Up, Buttercup’

Kody Brown of TLC’s Sister Wives has always seemed to struggle with the power dynamics in his polygamist family. His four wives (Meri, Janelle, Christine, and Robyn Brown) all have strong personalities, and Kody has admitted in the past to frustration over his lack of leadership and authority in their dynamic.

On the Mar. 1 episode of Sister Wives, “This Land Is Your Land…Or Hers,” Kody’s challenges and ongoing power struggles with his first wife, Meri, led to a massive family argument. During a visit to the family’s property in Flagstaff, Coyote Pass, Kody exploded after both Meri and Robyn insisted they had been given the “last choice” when dividing the family’s property.

Meri, Janelle, Kody, Christine, and Robyn Brown
Meri, Janelle, Kody, Christine, and Robyn Brown | Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Meri and Robyn both thought they got ‘last choice’ on the Browns’ new property

The Browns’ fight began when Meri said she didn’t know why she was “assigned” a particular part of the property in Arizona.

While Meri had at first said she wanted her new home to be built back among the trees, she seemed to backtrack later. Kody took her hesitation as a request to have her home built on a different, less woodsy area of Coyote Pass.

Both Robyn and Meri claimed Kody had told them the other wives already picked their plot of land and that they were given the last choice.

“The conversation that Kody and I had was: Janelle, Christine, and Robyn wanted these spots, which left me the spot back by the corner by the trees and the pond,” Meri told Sister Wives producers.

Kody’s first wife argued that Kody hadn’t fully listened to her and had not relayed their conversation accurately to Robyn. Meanwhile, Kody argued that Meri was suddenly changing her mind on purpose in order to manipulate the family.

“I’m not happy at all, actually, right now,” Meri said during the family’s picnic lunch at Coyote Pass.

“He basically told me that was what was left,” Robyn insisted, as she claimed that she, too, had been told she didn’t really have a choice in terms of where her home would be built.

“That’s not at all the conversation, Robyn,” Meri interrupted.

“Are you mad at me?” Robyn wondered, as the two women sparred back and forth until Meri finally left the scene angrily.

Kody claimed Meri played manipulative mind games

After Meri left, Kody told Robyn, Janelle, and Christine that he was tired of what he believed were Meri’s mind games.

“I am so sick of trying to accommodate Meri,” Kody told Sister Wives producers.

“This is the game she plays. She’s always played it,” Kody said to his wives, growing increasingly irritated. After arguing that Meri had always treated Janelle and Christine poorly, he declared, “She won’t be happy until she has all of you bowing at her feet and waiting on her to decide what she wants.”

“Stop saying sh** like that,” Robyn snapped at her husband. Janelle and Christine also defended Meri, asking Kody to tone down his remarks about his first wife.

But Kody wasn’t about to back down. “Robyn, I’m just being real here, and none of you are,” he exclaimed. “None of you will be honest about the way Meri is.”

The ‘Sister Wives’ patriarch suggested he should have been more assertive

Robyn told TLC producers that the Browns’ dynamic had become a complex tug of war. “When you decide to live plural marriage, there is this unspoken agreement that tends to happen,” she said, explaining that the goal should always be for every wife to be treated equally.

“And if you have a good husband, then he’s gonna want the same thing,” the Sister Wives star concluded, seeming to imply that Kody didn’t always treat his wives equally.

Meanwhile, Kody believed the problem was that he had lost control and authority in the family. He implied that Meri wouldn’t be happy no matter what he did, so he wished he had taken on more of a leadership role and simply instructed his family what to do in some circumstances.

“I’m just sick and tired of this constant game of trying to make people happy who won’t be made happy,” Kody said. “And maybe that’s the problem. Maybe really, the problem is, I’ve never just said, ‘This is what you get and that’s it. Suck it up, buttercup.’”