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By Ree Hines and Ree Hines and Ree Hines

Before saying so long to 2012, the "Sister Wives" family said so long to the third season of their TLC reality show with the finale on Sunday night. The episode, like others before it this season, showcased tensions between family man Kody Brown and one of his four wives -- this time wife No. 1, Meri.

It all started when Meri sat down to add the finishing touches to the plans for her new home. Kody warned Meri that she was already over budget before she even looked at carpet swatches, and that's all it took to leave her  teary-eyed and feeling as though her husband was judging her. The hubbub died down soon enough, but it seemed to cap off a trend.

Just a week earlier, Kody found himself on the wrong side of more than one wife when, during the course of a stressful family road trip, he announced that he wanted to be "obeyed." And before that, an episode focused on the distress of third wife Christine, who said she felt as though they were all "failing as a family."

Despite all of the drama, the group seemed solid in a post-season special that aired right after the finale. Still some fans might have been left wondering just how the polygamist family would handle it if the bad times became more than the Browns could bear.

In an interview with The Clicker earlier in the season, Kody Brown explained that their plural marriage is similar to any other marriage in that all of his wives are free to go if they want to.

"We chose to be married," he said. "Nobody forced us to do this, and we choose to stay in it out of love and commitment. Just like any marriage. I hate to say it, because I don't like divorce -- nobody likes that -- but my wives are free to leave, if they make that choice."

But relationship woes that come and go aside, leaving isn't a choice he expects any of them to make.

"Each one of my wives is a strong and independent woman, and essentially could have a good relationship with the man of their choice," Kody told The Clicker. "They just are in this relationship with me. And we have chosen to be a family out of love, out of devotion, out of faith."

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