“BIG LOVE” FAMILY FORMATION Bill – Husband to Barb, Nicki and Marge. A practicing polygamist, business man and eventually a Republican Senator for Utah Barb – The first wife and matriarch of the family. Has three children with Bill. Allowed him a second wife after having a hysterectomy after a bout with cancer. Nicki – Bill’s second wife, and was Barb’s caretaker during her cancer treatment. Also the daughter of the “cult” Pastor. Has two children with Bill. Marge – Bill’s third wife. Very young and naïve; has three children with Bill.
“Consensual families are high in both conversation and conformitystrategies with their communication characterized by pressure foragreement” (Galvin, Bylund and Brommel, 2012, p. 173). TheHenricksonfamily relies on all wives and children to make equal contribution, and also share the same values and attitudes, both religious and fundamental. These observations indicate theyre a Consensual family. Bill is shared between the three women, and families, by a weekly schedule which includes special occasions and holidays. Barb is the matriarch of the family, often being asked by the other wives to talk to Bill for them about certain things. The wives have weekly meetings, during which they discuss the family finances, Bill’s schedule and needs that must be met for the family. New car for Marge Kid’s clothing Vacations Wives allowances
ROLES AND COMMUNICATION PATTERNS The Henrickson family is dealing with a different kind of family dynamic that makes communication a tricky concept, but they execute it exceptionally well. “Within families, roles are established, grown into, grown through, discussed, negotiated, worked on, and accepted or rejected. As family members mature or outside forces impact the family, roles emerge, change, or disappear” (Galvin, Bylund&Brommel, 2012, p. 150). There is a chain of command between the wives which respects the order in which they were married. Throughout the series, the wives and family change as the children grow and roles transform. These changes bring select family members closer and push some out.
SPECIFIC ROLE FUNCTIONS “Family functions can be categorized as instrumental (providing the resources for the family), affective (support and nurturing, adult sexual needs), and mixed (life-skill development and system upkeep)” (Galvin, Bylund&Brommel, 2012, p. 151). The wives fall into each of these categories quite well, with a few crossovers. Barb (First Wife) holds the instrumental function on her own being the only wife with a job and essentially the head of the household. Nicki (Second Wife) does the shopping for the family, falling into the instrumental category, as well as being in charge of general upkeep of the family and life-skill development of the children. Marge (Third Wife) is definitely the nurturing wife for the children, as well as Bill.
FAMILY SECRETS The Henrickson’s are not publically polygamist. With Bill being a public figure, they take great care in protecting their secret to avoid scrutiny. Though the primary function of this family’s secret is defense, it also provides a bonding opportunity for the women.
“An image of ones family embodies what is expected from it,what is given to it, and how important it is (Hess &Handel, 1959)”(Galvn, Bylund&Brommel, 2012, p. 38). The text gives multiple examples of images that can be used as a metaphor for a family, but the most suiting for the Henrickson family is the image of a hand. The idea of the fingers (family members) being attached to the hand (family) and serving each other is the most fitting. The Henrickson family is brought together by a number of things, but most importantly, their religious belief of polygamy and spreading God’s gospel. It is expected of the wives to maintain the household and be obedient of their husband at all times.
POWER, INFLUENCE & DECISION MAKING “Decision making, like power, is a process that belongs to the family system, not to an individual” (Galvin, Bylund&Brommel, 2012, p. 182). The decision making process in the Henrickson family involves a family meeting with the wives and Bill. Occasionally the process is bypassed by Barb making a decision on her own, either for her own benefit or because she was asked by Nicki or Marge. Nicki and Marge do not make their own decisions for the family, even if it is solely for their own children.