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Friday, March 3, 2017

Marriage Values

Ten Commandments for Wives

1. Honor thy own womanhood, that thy days may be long in the house which thy husband provideth for thee.

2. Expect not thy husband to give thee as many luxuries as thy father hath given thee after many years of hard labor and economies.

3. Forget not the virtue of good humor, for verily all that a man hath will be given for a woman's smile.

4. Thou shalt not nag.

5. Thou shalt cuddle thy husband, for verily every man loveth to be fussed over.

6. Remember that the frank approval of thy husband is worth more to thee than the sidelong glances of many strangers.

7. Forget not the grace of cleanliness and good dressing.

8. Permit no one to assure thee that thou art having a hard time of it; neither thy mother, nor thy sister, nor thy maiden aunt, nor any of thy kinfolk, for the judge will not hold her guiltless who letteth another disparage her husband.

9. Keep thy home with all diligence, for out of it cometh the joys of thine old age.

10. Commit thy ways unto the Lord thy God and thy children shall rise up and call thee blessed.

Ten Commandments for Husbands

1. Remember that thy wife is thy partner and not thy property.

2. Do not expect thy wife to be thy wife and wage-earner at the same time.

3. Think not that thy business is none of thy wife's business.

4. Thou shalt hold thy wife's love by the same means that thou won it.

5. Thou shalt make the building of thy home thy first business.

6. Thou shalt co-operate with thy wife in establishing family discipline.

7. Thou shalt enter into thy house with cheerfulness.

8. Thou shalt not let anyone criticize thy wife to thy face and get away with it; neither thy father, nor thy mother, nor thy brethren, nor thy sisters, nor any that are thy relatives.

9. Thou shalt not take thy wife for granted.

10. Remember thy home and keep it holy.

To Young Married Folks

1. Don't ever both get angry at the same time.

2. Never talk at one another, either alone or in company.

3. Never speak loud to one another, unless the house is on fire.

4. Let each strive to yield oftenest to the wishes of the other.

5. Let self-denial be the daily air and practice of each.

6. Never find fault unless it is perfectly certain that a fault has been committed, and always speak lovingly.

7. Never taunt with a past mistake.

8. Neglect the whole world rather than one another.

9. Never allow a request to be repeated.

10. Never make a remark at the expense of each other -- it is meanness.

11. Never part for a day without loving words to think of during absence.

12. Never meet without a loving welcome.

13. Never let the sun go down upon any anger or grievance.

14. Never let any fault you have committed go by until you have frankly confessed it and asked forgiveness.

15. Never forget the happy hours of early love.

16. Never sigh over what might have been, but make the best of what is.

The above three passages of rules or advice for marriage were included in my mother's poetry notebook.  Knowing my mother, I think some of these might have been written with a bit of tongue-in-cheek, and yet, I also think these recommendations were characteristic for her generation.  What's interesting to me is that I know how some of these practices were faithfully kept by Mom and Dad in our home when I was growing up and I have internalized some of them as "natural" good-manners or common-sense, and a few I have consciously and deliberately embraced as good advice, worthy of practice.  Whatever ideal a married couple envisions for their-selves, I believe it is profoundly valuable to co-create their vision at the beginning of their marriage and to update it as needed as their marriage grows and matures.

It's fun for me to have this serendipitous experience of coming across these notes of my mother's marriage advice on the heels of attending a niece's wedding.  K&T had a six-pillared unity-candle, representing their chosen key-components of their relationship.  I think they were honesty, intimacy, trust, kindness, loyalty, and laughter.  (Although their officiant composed her message around their six values and spoke about each at length; I didn't take notes, so I'm not sure I have the list right, but that's how I remember it!)

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