“Since the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, a Jezebel spirit roams about the world seeking to convince women to usurp authority within the family – take the scepter from the man – while an Ahab-like spirit infects countless men causing them to flee from responsibility – shrink from exercising their God-given authority. Granted that men and women are equal in their human dignity, God has brought order to this equality. Remember that Adam was created first and then came Eve. First the head of the family was created and then the helpmate – created from Adam’s side making Eve the heart of the human family. But then came sin and with sin infection within the divine institution of marriage. The key to restoring marriage – the key to defeat the Jezebel spirit and the weakness of Ahab is found in St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians: Wives should be submissive to their husbands as if to the Lord because the husband is head of his wife just as Christ is Head of the Body the Church, as well as her Savior. As the Church submits to Christ, so wives should submit to their husbands in everything. . . “
An excerpt from A. Frances Coomes’ Mother’s Manual. It is written as a reflection, almost an examination of conscience. I found it a helpful to meditate upon:
My home it is highly important that I endeavor to make it an attractive, cheerful place for my husband and my children.
It should not be forgotten that the attitude I manifest towards my husband may greatly influence authority in the home. The children may learn much from my manifest attitude
Children should not be witness to angry words between parents. Sometimes the great virtue asked of me may be silence- a patient and cheerful (not angry) silence.
My husband’s job of providing and managing family affairs may be vexing and worrisome. The home as an attractive place when he returns from work, my readiness to share his concerns, words of encouragement – and of praise at times the tenderness of understanding and wifely affection when he is worried or discourages.
Nagging can never do anything but effect destruction and promote discord. The need of cheerful silence, at times – and of patience. . .
“Two in one flesh” is God’s plan for man and wife. When my husband looks to me for affection – even though I may be tired or distressed – I must know that in a true sense I am part of him, as he of me. Real selflessness and generosity at times is called for. How do I respond? With gentleness? tenderness?
The attractiveness of my person- even inside the home . . . In the morning – before my husband leaves for work . . . an nourishing breakfast according to his preferences? My apperance in serving it
On a physical level pregnancy is healing, as the baby’s fetal cells actually “repair and rejuvenate” the mother throughout pregnancy and the rest of her life. But there is something healing about carrying your husband’s baby that goes beyond the physical. There’s an intimacy felt that is not felt otherwise.
We are happier. I rely on my husband and appreciate him more. He helps me more and takes extra care of the household. We are also quicker to forgive one another’s shortcoming. To overlook them, not to make them more than what they are and work together.
Sometimes I sense him smiling at me- and a feeling of satisfaction sweeps over. I suppose husbands find their expecting wives rather endearing. Maybe it’s because pregnancy seems to bring out that feminine quality, that satisfaction of being. I think men are captivated by this since it’s so different from their own masculine experience of becoming, of constantly providing for the family and proving himself a man. . . Whatever it is, I am enjoying it.
I received some of the simplest and best spiritual advice from our parish priest. He reminded me that the graces I receive, since I am a married woman, flow from Christ through my husband. So if I want graces to better parent my children I must first work on respecting and loving my husband more. He also mentioned the importance of submitting to my husband’s headship in order to remain under his spiritual protection and to provide a loving home for our children.
I suppose I knew this but believe me, it didn’t hurt to hear it in the confessional. I realized I was fixated on parenting, I wasn’t seeking graces in the right places. I can’t expect to grow in love and patience with my children if I’m not seeking to better myself as a wife first.
Women and Morality Women are not little, emotionally driven, amoral faeries that men must repel or appease in order to survive. Women can attain virtue- should attain virtue and like men will have to stand before God and face judgment. Women however, have different duties than men and seem to approach morality differently as well: “I would say not that women are amoral but that their morality is teleological (utilitarian) rather than deontological. . . women do not generate their own morality internally, but rather, typically, adopt the morality of the crowd. The second point is that putting women in positions of religious authority is obviously liable to lead rapidly to the promotion of moral error. . . Incidentally, studies have shown a truly extraordinary correlation between a father’s religious practices and those his children eventually adopt, and very little correlation with the mother’s.”
In the first years of marriage when my husband was in a dark mood, which happened from time to time, I wouldn’t leave it alone. I would say: Why are you So angry? What’s wrong with you? Can’t you just be happy? Calm down! All of which were unhelpful and probably hurtful comments.
Now when he is distressed, I acknowledge his frustrations and leave it alone. Remembering that worries (I may never understand) weigh on his shoulders alone. And usually that’s all he wants, recognition, not advice, not answers or suggestions just acknowledgment of his struggles and pain.
There certainly is a learning curve to married life. No? I know our first few years were difficult. After that we settled into one another and the ebb and flow of life together. Despite the sorrows encountered (and there have been many), each year seems better than the last. Cliche I know, but true.