The Wife Desired by Father Leo J. Kinsella, 1950’s
A young man unconsciously looks for the qualities of his mother in his wife. Foolishly he may give expression to comparisons. We are all familiar with the refrain, “Mother made the best apple pie ever eaten.” It may be strange, but seldom do these encomiums paid to mother produce in the wife a warm glow of affection for her husband. On the other hand, the young wife is inclined to expect her husband to mirror her father, especially if he was a real man. Her father did things this or that way.
The ideal wife guards against this usual idealization of her father.
Her husband is another man There are other ways of doing things beside the way father did them. Father is a fine man. Yet it would be a dull world if all men were similar to him. The sensible wife does not try to mold her husband after him. She is not inspiring her husband to develop his own abilities and personality by so doing.
The eyes of a wife are a man’s mirror. When he looks into them and sees a veritable giant on wheels, it is like strong wine. He feels like a giant ready to take the world by the tail and swing it.
When he sees a little dwarf in her eyes, he begins to feel like one and to act like one. He may put on a big show with lots of bluster. Lacking conviction from her he may go to all extremes to convince himself that he is a “big shot.” He tries hard to magnify the puny vision of himself. With all sorts of maneuvers, bragging, condemnation and belittling of others, and drinking he strives to grow in stature in her eyes. The more frantic become these efforts, the more he sees his image shrinking in the mirror of her eyes.
Of course, there are plenty of cases where the wife is only half to blame. Ideal wives have a way of going with ideal husbands. A man has no business marrying a woman unless he is in love with her, unless she had become the most beautiful thing in life to him.
If during the years of their marriage he continues to look into her eyes and tell her of this beauty to him she will grow more beautiful for him. Too many husbands do not know that a woman must be told that she is beautiful in order to be beautiful. A wife who is being told that she is most beautiful will glow with love for her husband. He will see in her eyes this love for him. Then she will be looking back at him through rose colored glasses. She sees nothing but good in him. The mirror is highly polished and sparkling, and he fills it. He has everything she can give now, and the greatest of her gifts is the inspiration a man needs from his wife to be a husband and a man.
I have no recollection of a single broken marriage wherein the wife was primarily to blame and at the same time an inspiration to her husband. Failure and inspiration do not mix well. The ability to inspire her husband is the wife’s best guarantee of success in marriage. Only if she fails to inspire need she be fearful for their love and the future of their marriage.
Very few inspirational wives fail in marriage through their own fault. It is possible for a wife to give all desired in the way of inspiration and receive no response. Admittedly, no wife, be she so perfect in this respect, can inspire a cabbage. But be it known to all women that few mortal males can resist inspiration. They thrive on it.
Frequently single young ladies raise an objection: “How can I inspire, show appreciation, and make the young man with whom I am going think that he is the greatest man in the world to me? He already leans over backward in trying to make me think he is the answer to every maiden’s prayer. He is already so conceited I shudder to think of blowing him up any more. I often wonder if he never wears a hat because he can find none to fit his head.”
Married women seldom ask a question like this. Is it because of their experience they sense that inspiration does not make a husband conceited?
The answer to this objection already has been given to discerning readers, but, because it is commonly heard, an explicit reply should be made. Conceit is usually symptomatic of an inferiority complex. All the manifold gyrations of a conceited man, his bragging, his puffing and huffing. his belittling of others, all his noise and bluster, are efforts to convince the world of something of which he himself is not convinced, namely, that he is a man. If he were sure of himself, he would not be worrying his head about whether or not the rest of men are sure of him.
The inspiration of a wife is the best tonic in the world against a husband’s conceit. He has confidence from her as well as from his own consciousness of himself. He is not selling himself short because he knows that the best there is in the world is long on him. Nor does the inspired husband sit back in self-satisfaction.
He is charged into action to measure up to the esteem of the one most precious to him. He feels unworthy of her but is not thereby depressed. He thrills to the excitement of planning to do big things for her. Nothing will be too good for his love. What obstacle could thwart him in keeping her lovely and happy?
Can a husband be conceited who loses himself so completely in such a consuming blaze of love for his wife? The conceited man is forever concerned with himself; the inspired man is forever concerned with the source of his inspiration.
So take it from me, ladies, inspiration is your love potion. It is so easy for you; just be as God made you, His loveliest of creatures.
“Mothers, as far as possible, be at home with your children. As you nourished your child before he was capable of eating solid food, so in the early formative years, nature has determined that you must nourish your child in virtue.”
-Fr. Lawrence G. Lovasik. The Catholic Family Handbook