For the men….
(Ladies, don’t get upset if he doesn’t measure up…neither do we!) 🙂
Some beautiful thoughts by J.R. Miller
Each member of the household has a part in the family life, and the fullest happiness and blessedness of the home can be attained, only when each one’s part is faithfully fulfilled. If any one member of the family fails in love or duty, the failure affects the whole household life—just as one discordant voice in a company of singers spoils the music.
The husband has a part all his own, which no other can do. What is involved in his part in the marriage relation? What does he owe his wife? One word covers it all– love. “Husbands, love your wives!” comes the command with all divine authority. This counsel is short—but becomes exceedingly long when it is fully accepted and observed.
What are some of the things included in a husband’s love?
One is fondness, affectionate regard. When a man offers his hand in marriage to a woman—he says by his act that his heart has made a choice of her among all women, that he has for her a deeper affection than for any other.
At the marriage altar, he solemnly pledges to her a continuance of that love until death. When the beauty has faded from her face and the luster from her eyes; when old age has brought wrinkles, or when sickness or sorrow has left its marks; the faithful husband’s love is to remain deep and true as ever. His heart is still to find its truest delight in her.
In the true husband who realizes all that this divine command “to love” involves, selfishness dies at the marriage altar.
The wife yields all up to the husband, gives herself in the fullest sense. Will he be faithful in the holy trust reposed in his hands? Will he cherish her happiness as a precious jewel—bearing all things, enduring all things, for her sake. Will he seek her highest good, help her to build up in herself the noblest womanhood? Is he worthy to receive into his keeping, all that her confiding love lays at his feet?
Every husband should understand that when a woman, the woman of his own free and deliberate choice, places her hand in his and thus becomes his wife—she has taken her life, with all its hopes and fears, all its possibilities of joy or sorrow, all its capacity for development, all its tender and sacred interests—and placed it in his hand.
He is then under the most solemn obligation to do all in his power to make her life happy, noble and blessed. To do this he must be ready to make any personal sacrifice. Nothing less can be implied in “loving as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for it.”
This love implies gentleness in manner. One may be very faithful and true—and yet lack that affectionateness in speech and act which has such power to satisfy the heart.
Are all husbands blameless in this respect? Are there none that speak sharp words that sting? No man who truly loves his wife, would intentionally cause her pain! The trouble is that men often fall into careless habits at home, which they do not exercise in society.
They will pride themselves on their thoughtfulness and sensitive spirit—but at home too often they are rude, careless in speech, and heedless of their words and actions.
They forget that their wives are women with gentle spirits, which are easily hurt. A man thinks that because a woman is his wife she should know he loves her even if he is rude to her, that she should endure anything he says or does, even if it is something that would sorely hurt or offend any other woman.
There never was a more false premise than this! Because she is his wife, he owes her the loftiest courtesy he can pay. There is no other of whose feelings he should be so careful, and whom he should so grieve to hurt.
But it is not enough that men do not be bitter against their wives. It is a step in the right direction when, instead of being bitter, his words and acts and whole bearing are characterized by gentleness and affectionateness.
Yet, there are also men who speak no bitter words—but few kindly, tender words fall from their lips. The old warmth of the newly-wed husband has died out—and the speech has become cold and businesslike.
The mere absence of a fault or vice in not necessarily a virtue. Silence is no doubt better than bitterness, and coldness better than rudeness. A garden without weeds, though having no plants or flowers is better than a patch of weeds; but a garden beautiful and fragrant with flowers is better still.
As Mary, beautiful and perfect, is the sublime model for every Catholic wife, so Joseph, “the just man,”‘ gentle, kind, and chaste, is a model for every Catholic husband. When God blesses your home with human life, the fruit of love, your family becomes like the Holy Family. In the family life of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph are exemplified the proper relations that should exist between husband and wife, parents and children. By practicing the domestic virtues of charity, obedience, and mutual help, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph sanctified family life. -Lawrence G. Lovasik. The Catholic Family Handbook