husband

Marital Companionship

I’ve been busy. How about you? My youngest just turned 6 months and occupies most of my time and all of my heart. And so dear readers, I haven’t had much time to browse the blogoshpere or to write, but I did find this piece by The Thinking Housewife: On Marital Companionship and wanted to share it here. Enjoy!

 

Last Months’ Photo

 

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A volume of Anna Akhmatova’s poetry rests on my ironing board next to a few wrinkled sewing projects.  I’m more likely to read than sew. Heck, I’m more likely to read than iron. But this peaceful still life exudes domestic leisure. My life is filled with such scenes. With no outside commitments, I am blessed with time at home.

My husband and I have sacrificed much for such a life. We manage with one car, my husband attends night school to advance his career, works long hours, often travels for work and we adhere to a strict budget to make ends meet, every penny counts.

But such domestic settings remind me of the leisure I have been given, unstructured time for me and my children to enjoy. Time that I must manage wisely. They are simple scenes: I look to my nightstand and see my rosary draping my journal and copy of Jane Keyon’s Constance  with glass beads and atop my husband’s dresser rest his keys and monogrammed tie clip (I had engraved for his birthday) next to the unpaid bills. These details are home and all its pleasures and hardships. They encompass a much greater movement – they are microcosms and they relate the full truth of the macrocosm.

Such microcosms are seen in nature. When you look at a maple leaf, you see the tree in all its splendor. The tree’s glory is stamped on it right down to its tiny veins and stem.

In Literature, such details make a novel or poem. When you read a line of good poetry or a sentence in a great novel the details carry it,  give life to the whole work. And I find such peace in these domesticities  because they  reveal a greater movement: my husband’s love for our family, my love for our children  – God’s love for us. 

Rules for A Happy Successful Husband

The Thinking House Wife writes a list of rules for men. I think it be best to see such a list written by a man but I present it here for reflection:

In the spirit of the previous list:

1. Be decisive and confident. You’re in charge.

2. Show affection, and don’t criticize. [I have benefited from criticism given in the right spirit.]

3. Train your eyes.

4. Compliment your wife often. [I prefer good -natured teasing. But compliments are nice  when they are truly meant.]

5. Discipline your children.

6. Listen. [Rather vague, No?]

7. Take your wife out on Friday night, even if just for coffee. [We are poor, tired, homebodies. What catholic family has money for a weekly date night?]

8. Fix something around the house and contribute to daily chores. [I think couples fall into this naturally. I present household problems I can’t fix to him and he addresses them on his terms. He helps with the daily chores that we both somehow consider to be his.]

9. Never indulge anger or impatience.

10. God wants to help you. Confide in Him.

 

The Silent Woman

In one his lecture’s  Fr. Ripperger’s asserts that one of the most beautiful things in this world is a silent woman. This statement struck me as true.

I asked my DH if he thought it was true and he agreed. He then  told that a year ago at Mass  I left the pew and went to the side to soothe our baby, he didn’t realize this and when he saw me, he thought to himself, who is that devastatingly beautiful woman? (He has never called me that before ) He realized oh, that’s my wife. My silence changed my disposition so much that my husband didn’t even recognize me.

Being an introvert, a natural loner, a very quiet person in social situations when my husband comes home, I feel like finally the person who understands me is here and I can  talk!  Probably way more than he’d like. But this revelation definitely makes me want to shut up more. At least give him a little more room to relax. 

And do you, O brides, Lift up your hearts?

When I was first married, I really didn’t think about obedience and submission as being pleasing to God. I believed that the man was the head of the family on a very basic level, but I didn’t view submission as virtuous exactly. I wouldn’t have described myself as submissive either, feisty, was more like it. Strong willed and stubborn certainly. I suppose I still am those things, I’m not afraid to speak my mind, I am quite talkative with my husband and rather opinionated.  But I don’t submit because its my personality– its not. I submit because it makes sense to me.

When we were dating and during our engagement my husband really took the lead and I just reacted to his leadership; I never thought of obeying as a good.

And in marriage prep there was a lot of talk about mutual submission and deferring to one another’s wishes, compromising and seeing God through your spouse, inspiring each other (especially the woman inspiring the man) and absolutely no talk about the husband’s authority or the beauty of a wife’s obedience. 

It wasn’t until being married and realizing on a  personal level how much I needed him to take charge and how miserable I was when I took charge, that it clicked for me. Despite all the talk about mutual submission it is very simple, either the man leads or the woman. And I knew I didn’t want to lead. That is when I began to see obedience to my husband as rightly ordered and virtuous. That is when I began cultivating it- rejoicing in it! Now, I see my submission as pleasing to God! It is where graces flow!

Why keep these truths from me? Why wasn’t I properly taught to rejoice in this God-given order? Are we afraid of these truths? We still speak of obedience in religious orders why not marriage? If only these words were spoken to me years ago:

And do you, O brides, lift up your hearts? Do not be content merely to accept, and–one might almost say–to tolerate this authority of your husbands, to whom God has subjected you according to the dispositions of nature and of grace; in your sincere submission you must love that authority and love it with the same respectful love you bear towards the authority of Our Lord Himself from Whom all authority flows.” ~Pope Pius XII, Allocution to Newly-Weds.

 

Spiritual Headship

JMJ

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I’ve written about spiritual headship before.

To disregard my husband’s decision would be breaking from his authority and in breaking from his authority I lose a certain peace and even spiritual protection:

If a wife refuses to submit to the authority of her husband, she loses the spiritual protection and providence of her husband. Whatever rises against an order or authority is deprived of that order and the principle of order. This means that when a wife volitinally rejects the authority of her husband as her spiritual head and head of the family, she takes herself out from underneath his spiritual protection and becomes vulnerable to the demonic since she has taken herself out from under the hierarchy of authority as established by God ( Fr Ripperger).

Either a wife is going to be under her husband’s domain or vulnerable to the demonic. When I view my husband’s decision in this way, as a protection,  I dare not walk out from under it. I know he takes my opinions into account, regards them, so why fight against him? Ultimately to fight against  his authority is to lose a spiritual grace. It is far better to  defer to his decision.

I think of how many times I have been given grace through my husband! He has held me accountable for so many of my vices and guided me towards virtue.Not just once, but again and again. He is the first person I go to for spiritual guidance and I have never been led astray by it. Certainly God has granted him the grace to lead this family and in submitting to his authority I am also granted graces.

Marriage is hierarchical, that’s part of it’s appeal and the only way to achieve harmony within these vows is to live within it’s structure; under his God given authority. This is part of our Faith and our Faith is for all time- for our time.