16 August 2021  |

Dear Aunt Sevvy,

My family has a situation I haven’t heard about much. My son and daughter-in-law have just informed me they are taking a new “wife” and will be a threesome. They are all “married” to each other, I guess. I am horrified and completely blindsided by this news. They have four children aged 8 to 18 years old, two sons and two daughters. There have been female “friends” who have “roomed” with them over the past several years, but I never guessed what their real status was. 

My son told me they are polyandrous, and apparently my daughter-in-law is bisexual. I am grieved, and I worry about what this will do to the children—though as far as I can tell, the children are being well cared for. The kids will not discuss it, so have apparently been told not to say anything to anyone. My son and daughter-in-law are both college-educated, and my son has a good job. My daughter-in-law had a terrible upbringing and family life, and possibly led my son into this lifestyle, but I can’t totally blame her: he made the decision to go along with it, at the minimum.

Though not Adventists, my son and his family do attend a Protestant church in their area. My son was raised to believe in Jesus and His sacrifice, and knows the Gospel. It doesn’t appear that he is following Christ at this point. I know Jesus would not be judgmental. 

How do I deal with this situation?

Signed, Worried mom

Dear Worried,

Aunty can hardly imagine how traumatic it must be to see your family choose such an unusual lifestyle. Naturally, it raises all kinds of questions, not only about morality, but about the effect on the family.

Aunty is quite content with one mate, thanks very much. But is polygamy unbiblical? It would be hard to make that case. Polygyny, at least, is common in the Bible. It had its problems: the patriarchs’ families are a cautionary example of how multiple wives led to multiple family conflicts. Yet the only explicit warning against it has to do with church elders in 1 Timothy 3:2, and it isn’t even clear whether Paul was referring to polygyny or mistresses and concubines.

(Interesting fact: like a lot of things we now believe are Christian, it was culture that did away with polygamy: the Greek-Roman civilizations insisted on monogamy, and thought polygamy only for barbarians. Christians complied.)

You ask how this will affect the children? Because this specific arrangement is so uncommon, data is almost non-existent. But remember this: we live in a world of unconventional families (blended families, cohabitation, single-parent families, extended family households, gay families and lesbian families, shared parenting). The evidence is that children, as long as they themselves aren’t sexually molested, survive very well in a peaceful home surrounded by people who are kind and supportive. 

You are faced with a difficult situation, and there is no perfect answer. You can express your disapproval strongly and clearly—and risk alienating that family. But your son is an adult, in a consensual relationship. And since you’re unlikely to talk them out of it, Aunty would wish that you continue to show them that you love them. You needn’t approve in your heart, but please carefully weigh the consequences of cutting off this family! This may be the time when they most need you.

Aunt Sevvy

You can write to Aunt Sevvy at DearAuntSevvy@gmail.com. Please keep questions or comments short. What you send us at this address won’t necessarily be, but could be, published—always without identification of the writer. Aunt Sevvy writes her own column, and her opinions are not necessarily those of Adventist Today’s editors.

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