The question nearly every Sister Wives viewer on the planet has for Meri Brown can be summed up in one word:
Considering the way Kody Brown has treated her for years, and considering all he has said about her of late, why does Meri continue to stick around in this plural marriage?
Just think about what fans learned on the recent three-part Season 16 one-on-one reunion special.
Meri hasn’t slept with Kody in 10 years, a decision the clearly made by the latter and one the former really wishes would change.
This seems unlikely to ever happen, though, because Kody openly says he only sees Meri as a friend.
"My relationship with Meri is not the type of relationship where I’m going to talk to her every day," he said on an episode that aired late last year.
Responded Meri at the time, speaking to the camera in a confessional:
“Kody and I — we had a conversation recently, that kind of came down to, ‘We’re friends.’ Which I guess is a good thing. I guess I just have hope for more than that…
“Kody has said some things to me more recently that leads me to believe that there’s no repairing our relationship.
"There are days when I get very, very discouraged."
So, again: Why doesn’t Meri just follow Christine Brown’s lead and start anew in her native state of Utah?
On part three of the aforementioned Sister Wives special, host Sukanya Krishnan says in an unaired scene (which has since been shared on Instagram by TLC) that Meri appears to leaning on her family dynamic these days.
She appears to be doing so while still thinking a “full fellowship with Kody in the true sense of a husband and wife" could still be a possibility.
“That’s what I hope for,” Meri explained about why she’s still with Kody, despite him stating there’s no chance of a romantic reconciliation.
The 52-year old then elaborated, however, telling Krishnan that her relationship isn’t about Kody at this point.
"I also know that my goal and my purpose and my point is to just be a better person and to just look at the family because there’s value to that,” the Lizzie’s Heritage Inn owner explained.
“There is value to this family that we have created.”
Meri and Kody have one child together, a daughted named Mariah.
She was the first wife to join the large Browns in 1990 … before Kody spiritually married Janelle Brown in 1993, and Christine a year later.
To adopt fourth wife Robyn Brown’s three kids from a previous relationship, Kody and Meri divorced in 2014 so he could legally marry Robyn and finalize this process.
There’s been tension between Meri and Kody ever since.
Time and time and then time again, Meri has pushed back against chatter online that she’s pathetic for remaining in her marriage, emphasizing in this case she’s focused on the broader family instead of any sort of lost bond with Kody.
In late 2020, meanwhile, Meri more directly addressed the criticism of her that exists on social media..
“I’m well aware that we, as a family, have chosen to put ourselves ‘out there’, which, in turn, brings about all kinds of speculation, commentary, and opinions,” she wrote at the time.
“But it comes down to this. My relationship with [Kody] is MY relationship with him. Sure, we’ve had ups and downs through the years (I mean, isn’t that somewhat normal?) High highs and low lows.
"All of which, you get to see ‘some’ of, and speculate on. And that’s ok. You do you, boo."
She concluded back then:
“But here’s my truth. I love him. I love my family. I’m committed. I have 30 years in this.
"We struggle. We communicate.
"We repair relationships as the parties involved are willing and able.”