Friday, August 30, 2019

Ad uxorem

1. Psychologically speaking, it seems women tend to be more flexible in shaping themselves into what the men whom they love and respect in their lives want. In fact, women are often more than happy to please the men they love and respect.

As an aside, maybe this is part of what it means for the woman to have been a "helper" fit for Adam, to have been taken from his "rib", to have been his "bone" and his "flesh". It's as if wives naturally wish to mold themselves into their husbands' vision in life.

2. However, it wouldn't seem quite right if the husband shapes himself into what his wife wants. In fact, whenever that happens, it seems to me both husband and wife end up miserable.

Most girlfriends or wives don't respect a boyfriend or husband who does whatever she wants him to do, who looks to her for guidance, who looks to her to make the big decisions in life, who looks to her to lead the family.

They may say they do, but they don't. Their attitudes and behavior put the lie to that.

At best, a wife might enjoy wielding that kind of power over her husband, but she won't respect him. She may wear the pants in the family, but she'll begrudge it - and him.

3. Today many women seem inflexible. They don't wish to change or adapt to the men in their lives. They don't wish to follow any man. Rather they expect men to change to accommodate them. They expect men to heed them.

At the same time, these women don't typically respect men who follow their lead all the time. Not when it comes to the men in their own lives.

Of course, they're fine with getting men in general to support what they want. Such as hyperfeminism, the #MeToo movement, abortion. But I'm primarily referring to a wife and her husband.

In any case, these women are caught in a catch-22 of their own making. On the one hand, they refuse to follow their man, but expect him to follow her. On the other hand, they don't respect men who are wrapped around their finger. As such, these women make themselves miserable.

4. Sadly, there seem to be ever more women like this in our society and culture. I suppose that's largely owing to second and third wave feminism.

5. Of course, none of this is to deny men or husbands have problems. That's a separate topic.

At the same time, even this needs to be kept in context. For one thing, there's an ongoing war against men and masculinity in our culture.

6. By contrast, there's Christian marriage. For instance, perhaps we can draw some inspiration from Tertullian, even if it's too idealistic and idealized:

How shall we ever be able adequately to describe the happiness of that marriage which the church arranges, the sacrifice strengthens, upon which the blessing sets a seal, at which angels are present as witnesses, and to which the Father gives his consent? For not even on earth do children marry properly and legally without their fathers' permission.

How beautiful, then, the marriage of two Christians, two who are one in hope, one in desire, one in the way of life they follow, one in the religion they practice. They are as brother and sister, both servants of the same Master. Nothing divides them, either in flesh or in spirit. They are, in very truth, two in one flesh; and where there is but one flesh there is also but one spirit. They pray together, they worship together, they fast together; instructing one another, encouraging one another, strengthening one another. Side by side they visit God's church and partake of God's banquet; side by side they face difficulties and persecution, share their consolations. They have no secrets from one another; they never shun each other's company; they never bring sorrow to each other's hearts. Unembarrassed they visit the sick and assist the needy. They give alms without anxiety; they attend the sacrifice without difficulty; they perform their daily exercises of piety without hindrance. They need not be furtive about making the sign of the cross, nor timorous in greeting the brethren, nor silent in asking a blessing of God. Psalms and hymns they sing to one another, striving to see which one of them will chant more beautifully the praises of their Lord. Hearing and seeing this, Christ rejoices. To such as these he gives his peace. Where there are two together, there also he is present; and where he is, there evil is not.

These, then, are the thoughts which the apostle in that brief expression of his has left for our consideration. Recall them to your mind, if ever there should be need to do so. Use them to strengthen yourself against the bad example which certain women give you. In no other way than this are Christians permitted to marry - and, even if they were, it would not be the prudent thing to do.