The Wife Desired, Fr. Kinsella
No one likes to be taken for granted. In any human relationship a little sign of appreciation goes a long way. Life does not have to be a hard pull uphill all the time. To know that someone, especially the one we love, values our efforts sends us off with our heads in the clouds. The wife who is wise enough to show her husband appreciation for all his efforts will keep his heart fixed upon her.
With a fixed heart he will have a free hand to do the things a responsible head of the house must do. That is why, as Chesterton has pointed out, Christ said, “My son, give Me thy heart.” With his heart securely fixed on Christ the disciple had a pivot from which he could swing through all the complexities of life without losing his purpose. Appreciation gives purpose and motivation to a husband. It is one form of inspiration.
Some years ago a couple came to my attention whom I always have remembered. They illustrated the importance of a wife’s making her husband realize that she valued him. The wife had to leave her home and care for her sick mother. She was gone for a month. She and her husband rented without a lease, wondering from week to week whether they would have a home for themselves and their three little children.
While she was gone, he fell upon a good buy in a fairly new home. He said that he regretted the transaction was made while she was away, but the opportunity came then. He felt that it was his responsibility to do something about their living conditions. Having failed twice to locate her by phone he closed the deal.
The first Sunday his wife was home they went out for a drive. He intended to surprise her. As they were driving around, he suddenly stopped in front of their new home. Her curiosity at his action turned to grief on being let in on the secret. As she sat in the car looking at her new home she began to moan and groan that she did not like it. Why did he do it? Why did he not wait until she came back?
For a moment he sat there crestfallen, not knowing what to say or do. He expected elation and was prepared for a pat on the back. He made an effort to recover his confidence and suggested that they see the inside. She would like the arrangement of the rooms and closet space.
As they went from room to room, she continued her manifestations of disappointment and even resentment that she had no say in the choice of their new home. It was a bad day for both of them, how bad neither of them were to realize for several years. On that day he got the idea that his wife did not appreciate him. The idea continued to grow.
When we talked over their problems, their estrangement, and the future of the children, they had been separated for over a year. By that time he was all through and living with another woman. He had found someone to give him appreciation.
There is always someone around to give it if the wife does not. “The big dummy,” every woman is saying who reads this, “should get everything coming to him.” Perhaps he was something of dummy, but his wife had always loved him, still did, and wanted him back.
In justice to the husband in question, we should remember the circumstances prevailing when he bought the home. However, to make all wives happy, let us suppose that he made a terrible mistake in buying a home without his wife’s knowledge. The deed was done. What did she profit reminding him of his mistake? Was it wise for her to carry a grudge, to give him the idea that she considered him unfair or incompetent? Did her duty of inspiration cease because he was guilty of the worst possible judgment?
She was an excellent wife and mother in some respects, but she failed completely in the important function of inspiration. She told how she had never thought of it but now realized her big mistake, her shortcoming.
This woman was not the nagging type, at least not habitually so. She took her husband for granted. She felt that she was doing her job well. She assumed that he was. She did not assume a thing when they were courting.
If wives worked just half as hard and wisely at keeping their husbands as they do in getting them, the divorce mills would go out of business. A husband needs his wife even more than she needs him. With a little intelligence and verve she can keep him easily.
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