Bean, James. Advice to a Married Couple.
Boston, 1856. American Tract Society.
X100 B367 C856
Pp. 9-11 To cultivate this kind of affection, neither of you should be remiss in those attentions which you have been accustomed to pay to each other. Let not the husband grow negligent of any of those marks of regard by which a wife feels herself acknowledged preeminently a friend and companion. She perceives herself still distinguished, when all the esteem, compassion, or good manners which her partner is ready to express to others, is, with a promptitude evidently unstudied, still more cordially shown to her. conjugal affection is a delicate plant. It cannot thrive under indifference. Sullen taciturnity checks its growth. But it dies when scarcely any time is spent at home; when every body can interest the husband in conversation but the wife; when she is the last person thought of in a recreation, or the least considered in an accommodation.
Let not, however, the wife be too ready to consider the behavior of her husband as expressive of indifference. Such conclusions often originate in the folly, pride, or petulance of the observer. To prevent our drawing them too hastily, let it be considered, that as an object becomes familiar to us, our esteem of it, though not diminished, naturally becomes a more silent sentiment. A woman must guard against the tormenting disapppointments to which childish expectations render her liable. For there is a childishness in her expecting always to be caressed; and if she do not become more rational in her expectations, this folly will occasion its own punishment. She wil fancy that she is neglected; she will complain; and her complaints willl produce aversion.
Pp.12-14 In cautioning a wife not to be too ready to consider herself neglected, I have not imparted the whole of my advice to her. I have admonished the husband not to be negligent of those marks of regard which are due to his partner; and she is to remember that the same duty is incumbent on her. It will be impossible for affection to be preserved, if she tread in the steps of those inconsiderate persons who, as soon as the marriage rite are celebarated, become remiss in certain engaging things, of which they before had been scrupulouslty observant. Must not she sink in the esteem of any understanding man, who by her conduct seems to say, "I have now obtained my settlement?" And nothing is more calculated to suggest such an idea, than a relaxation of former attention. When a woman abandons herself to sloth and indulgence - when she degenerates from neatness tonegligence, from industry to indolence, from kindness to selfishness - when these omissions are continued without any necessary cause, after they have been gently remonstrated against, it is natural for a man of reflection to read this sordid sentiment in his wife's bosom, and for a man of generosity to recoil at the discovery.
She who dreads the entertainment of such an opinion of her in the mind of her husband, must take care to let it have no support from her conduct. She knows what is now pleasing to him, by remembering what was formerly so. And he knows how capable she is of giving him pleasure, by recollecting the methods she once took for this purpose, and that they are still practicable. If, with the power still in her hands, she is remiss in the act, there is but one inference for him to make: namely, that it is a matter about which she is not so solicitous as she once was.
Here I am naturally led to notice a monstrous pervastion of character observed in some of the sex. I have seen woman negligent of all the duties that are pecuiear to her, and yet tormentingly busy in her husband's immediate province. If a woman would preserve the affections of her husband, let her not only be attentive to him in all the engaging actions which her sex, her situation in the family, and her vows, give him a right to expect from her, but let her confine herself to these.
The disposal of his time, or his property, his journeys, his connections, etc., are things to be regulated by the circumstances of his calling; a subject which probably he best understands. I cannot but advise her, therefore, for her own sake as well as his, to leave these things entirely to his management; and to remember that it is her province to soften, to cheer, and to refresh that mind on which the weightiest cares of a family press.
Pp. 19-20 Affection to our kindred is not inconsistent with the fondest attachment of the heart to a husband or a wife. Do not therefore enocurage that littleness and pride which would lead you to think yourself defrauded of something that was your own, when you see any tender regard paid to them. It is a mean jealousy of temper that makes us prompt to consider ourselves rivalled. It is a base pride that leads us to put an invidious construction on those signs of respect and esteem which are shown to others. Let married persons guard against such a cause of unhappiness to themselves, by considering that the distribution of affection does not necessarily diminish its quantity; but that it is even capable of increasing, as the objects on which it is exercised multiply. Conjugal affection can indeed be shared only by two persons; but this may grow and strengthen, without anly loss sustained to it from the cultivation of filial or fraternal affection.
Biblical expectations of a wife
Pp.42-44 To the wife the word of God speaks thus: "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church. Therefore, as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands, in everything." Eph. 5:22-24. "Let the wife see that she reverence her husband." Eph. 5:33
Here we should particularly notice that virtue on which the admonition principally turns, namely, sumission. A virtue so prominently commended, certainly merits particular attention.
It need not surely be necessary to observe, that the superiority which the Scriptures give to the man over the woan is not that of a master over a slave. The precepts enforced on the husband are of such a kind, as to show that the superiority with which he is invested is founded in reason and maintained by love. God has not required from the woman the submission of a slave, but a reasonable and advantageous submission; such as a man of good sense knows it becomes him to receive, and an afffectionate wife will yield with pleasure. Some women, however, consider every thing of this kind as the relinquishing of all self-defence. Mistaken cratures! It is their best security, as well as one of their loveliest ornaments. 1 pet. 3:4. Like polished armor, it is both beauty and defense.
Pp.45-46 This model of subjection unreserved susbordination, and reverential deference, is a woman in the ties of wedlock to make her exemplar - if she would be found in that relation such as God approves. Let her be frugal, industrious, cleanly, and chaste; she is to have the praise ofall these good qualities; but let her remember, that if withal she is self-willed and refractory, she is destitute of that virtue in which the holy Scriptures seem to have concentrated all the good qualities of a wife. Much as she may triumph in the contemplation of her superiority over the idle and extravagant with whom she commpares herself, she resists the order of God; and she resembles not the church, but the world. She acts as if she were determined to go as far as possible from the pattern which God has set before her, and had chosen one that is the very reverse of the church.
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