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Kody Brown may have been led to polygamy for religious reasons, but he apparently doesn’t really see a problem with his wives potentially “moving on” if they aren’t happy with his future plans. The revelation came as something of a shock to followers of the plural family. After all, they have primarily suggested that they are a family first and foremost. When you really look at it, though, a clear favorite wife has emerged, and there is more than one wife that appears to be on their way out.  

How does the Brown family’s plural marriage work?

Kody is legally married to his fourth wife, Robyn Brown. He is spiritually married to Meri Brown, Christine Brown and Janelle Brown. While the father of 18 might be married to all four wives, fans believe a clear favorite has emerged, and that Kody would be happy to see the others fall away. Meri and Kody were legally married first. Three years after marrying  Meri, Kody added Janelle to the family. Janelle had previously been married to Meri’s brother.

Christine joined the family in 1994, and that was the end of the story until 2010 when Robyn came on as Kody’s fourth wife. The addition of Robyn seemed to throw the carefully curated familial structure into a state of flux. They have seemingly never recovered, and things only appear to have gotten worse after a hastily planned move from Las Vegas to Flagstaff, Arizona.  

Initially, it appeared as though Kody rotated his time between each of his four wives. Since moving to Flagstaff, it is rumored that Kody has been spending the vast majority of his time with Robyn and that the other wives have largely been forgotten. Many critics believe that Robyn is more interested in a monogamous relationship than a polygamist one and that Kody is willing to entertain the idea for her benefit.

Who would be the first wife to walk away?

If the Brown family is totally okay with the concept of “divorce,” or a spiritual decision to part ways, fans are forced to wonder who would walk away first. The answer seems to be pretty clear. Meri Brown’s relationship with her family has been strained for years, and therapy appears to be doing very little to strengthen her bond to Kody. In fact, in clips from the most recent season of Sister Wives, Kody seems to despise his first wife.

Meri also has the most going for her outside of her plural family. Meri is an empty nester who is free to move wherever she feels comfortable. With her only child living in Chicago, Meri could, theoretically, decide to move closer to her without much issue. She also owns a business without the involvement of her husband and sister wives. Lizzie Heritage Inn, a bed and breakfast in Utah, appears to be a successful endeavor, and since it’s all Meri’s, she could presumably walk away from her family without much financial trouble. She also appears to have the weakest connection to her sister wives and the other children within the Brown family.

Christine doesn’t seem sold on the idea of plural marriage as Kody sees it either

While Christine has been one of the most steadfast supporters of the family’s plural lifestyle, in recent months, she appears to be on her way out, too. Christine, when faced with the possibility of living in one large house with her husband and three sister wives, flat out stated that she wouldn’t do it. Christine, by all accounts, seems perfectly happy being separated from her sister wives and doesn’t want to enter a situation where they are face-to-face every day.

Whether or not she’d walk away is unknown, though. Christine, in the family’s book, Becoming Sister Wives, admitted to being enamored with Kody and having a deep desire to be the family’s third wife. What she didn’t say, however, is that she assumed the third wife would be the final wife. Polygamist families very rarely have more than three wives, according to the family’s book. Having two wives is the most common set up for families that practice plural marriage.

Christine would have support if she decided to separate from the Brown family. Her aunt, Kristyn Decker, has been an outspoken opponent of polygamy, after spending years inside a plural marriage. In a lengthy interview with Radar Online, she called the system a “cult.” She would love to see her niece leave the marriage, although she admits they have not been in touch in recent years. Decker is now in a monogamous relationship.