Monday, May 17, 2010

Visionary Monday: Wedded Life

An important element in married life is unity of interest. There is danger that wedded lives drift apart because their employments are nearly always different. The husband is absorbed in business, in his profession, in severe daily toil; the wife has her home duties, her social life, her friends and friendships, her children; and the two touch at no point. Unless care is taken this separation of duties and engagements will lead to actual separation in heart and life. To prevent this each should keep up a constant living interest in whatever the other does. The husband may listen every evening to the story of the home life of the day, its incidents, its pleasures, its perplexities, its trials, the children’s sayings and doings, what the neighbors said who dropped in, the bits of news that have been heard, and may enter with zest and sympathy into everything that is told him. Nothing that concerns the wife of his heart should be too small for even the gigantic intellect of the greatest of husbands. In personal biography few things are more charming and fascinating than the glimpses into the homes of some of the greatest men of the earth, when we see them, having laid aside the cares and honors of the world, enter their own doors to romp with the children, to listen to their prattle, and to talk over with loving interest all the events and incidents of the day’s home history.
In like manner, every wise and true-hearted wife will desire to keep up an interest in all her husband’s affairs. She will want to know every burden, every struggle, every plan, every new ambition. She will wish to learn what undertaking has succeeded and what has failed, and to keep herself thoroughly familiar and in full sympathy with all his daily, personal life.
No marriage is complete which does not unite and blend the wedded lives at every point. This can be secured only by making every interest common to both. Let both hearts throb with the same joy and share each pang of sorrow. Let the same burdens rest on the shoulders of both. Let the whole life be made common.
In another sense still should their lives blend. They should read and study together, having the same line of thoughts, helping each other toward a higher mental culture. They should worship together, praying side by side, communing on the holiest themes of life and hope, and together carrying to God’s feet the burdens of their hearts for their children and for every precious object. Why should they not talk together of their personal trials, their peculiar temptations, their infirmities, and help each other by sympathy, by brave word and by intercession, to be victorious in living?
Thus they should live one life as it were, not two. Every plan and hope of each should embrace the other.
Between husband and wife there should be maintained without break or pause, the most perfect courtesy, the gentlest attention, the most unselfish amiability, the utmost affectionateness. Coleridge says, "The happiness of life is made up of minute fractions, the little soon-forgotten charities of a kiss or a smile, a kind look, a heartfelt compliment, and the countless infinitesimals of pleasurable thought and genial feeling." These may seem trifles, and the omission of them may be deemed unworthy of thought; but they are the daily bread of love, and hearts go hungry when they are omitted. It may be only carelessness at first in a busy husband or a weary wife that fails in these small, sweet courtesies, and it may seem a little matter, but in the end the result may be a growing far apart of two lives which have been for ever very happy in each other had their early love but been cherished and nourished.
"For love will starve if it is not fed,
And true hearts pray for their daily bread."
~ J.R. Miller, The Family


Nolan said...

I always find it interesting the differences in the things men cultivate and the things women cultivate. And in marriage these two differences work together brilliantly, creating a strong co-operational foundation in a loving home.

I think you made a good point mentioning the listening of the day's trials from the husband/wife as well. Communication can't be understated, especially with children.

It's amazing to see what changes occur in the hearts of men and women that have children, the selfless and loving changes when their priorities become the raising of and attentiveness to their children.

Sometimes I wonder if it's scary to raise children in this world. If it would be constant worry and if sheltering them would be tempting over preparing them for adult lives. I imagine the only way to raise children is with a lot of time on your knees.

Great post!