The Merrifields are one of the couples on TLC’s Seeking Sister Wives who claim to be practicing polygamy for religious reasons, unlike the Snowdens who say it’s a nonreligious choice for them. Unlike the Winders, who come from a Fundamentalist Mormon background where their church preaches polygamy and they grew up around it, The Merrifields are practicing it based on their own interpretation of the Christian bible (kind of similar to the McGees from last season.)
“We decided two years ago that God wanted us to live a plural lifestyle,” Garrick says in the opening episode of season three. “We don’t come from a polygmous background, but we believe in the bible, and people in there had multiple wives. And I thought ‘Gee, the people in there are godly people and God loved them, so I then realized God wasn’t against that.”
“So, the way I see it is, living a plural lifestyle is a great way to follow Christ and to be like him, and we felt that we were called to life this way,” Garrick explains.
Dannielle was shocked when Garrick first broached the idea with her because she didn’t want that kind of lifestyle. She prayed about it, and she “realized bringing a sister wife into mine and Garrick’s relationship means my children gain another mother figure, and I think we all gain a little more love in our lives as well.”
Garrick said he didn’t move forward with his plans to court a new wife until Dannielle gave it the ok.
Garrick convinced Dannielle to not only agree to this lifestyle, but to get a legal divorce so he can bring his new possible new wife Roberta from the Brazil to the U.S. with a legal marriage.
“Seeing her get emotional in these instances, do you ever worry that she might just be doing this for you? And that deep down she has concerns or maybe wants to not live this way?” a producer asked Garrick during a solo interview.
When asked by a producer if he worries if Dannielle doesn’t really want to live a plural marriage, Garrick had some interesting wording. “No, I don’t have concerns that Dannielle thinks that she’s being forced or some way to live this way. I think without a doubt she’s totally convinced that God led this to her in her life, to bless her and that she’s not just, you know, doing it ’cause it’s what I wanted.”
In another instance, he placed the blame of Dannielle difficult emotions on God. “Dannielle is really emotional, and we’re running around in circles because God hasn’t delivered her from jealousy.,” he said. “I’m praying and trusting that soon He’ll take that away, she’ll see clearly on this whole matter, and we’ll be able to work through this because we decided together to live this way, and so we’ve got other people involved and we can’t just say we’re not going to do this anymore.”
Of course, even though the Merrifields say that God has led this to take on this lifestyle, Dannielle is struggling very deeply with bringing another woman into their life. Furthermore, Garrick has insisted that he and his new potential wife Roberta, who lives in Brazil, have sex before marriage, and even try for a baby before marriage. This idea doesn’t fit in with many Christian views on the subject, especially Christina denominations and sects that are more fundamentalist. Both the Winders from this show, and the Browns from Sister Wives believe that sex should be put off until marriage. These inconsistencies lead many to believe that Garrick is making up his religious convictions as he goes along to justify stepping outside of his marriage with Dannielle and starting a new family.