The Wife Desired

Author: Leo J. Kinsella


Leo J. Kinsella

Divine Word Publications, Techny, Illinois

Imprimatur: Samuel Stritch, Archbishop of Chicago Nihil obstat: John J. Clifford, S.J.

Copyright 1954 Leo J. Kinsella

Eighth Printing

Printed in the United States of America


Introduction 1. The Wife Desired Is an Inspiration to Her Husband 2. The Wife Desired Has Personality 3. The Wife Desired Is Patient 4. The Wife Desired Is a Physical Being 5. The Wife Desired Has a Sense of Humor 6. The Wife Desired Is a Companion of Her Husband 7. The Wife Desired Is Religious


The role of the girl in life is the most glamorous and fascinating in all the world. To the nomads of the East she is the "little gazelle" and to the Japanese the "plum blossom." In the Book of Proverbs she is the "dearest hind and most agreeable fawn." Jewels, sapphires and rubies, are her eyes and lips. The softness of a spring morning are in her words. Her smile is as the splendor of the rising sun. Of all the creatures in the world she is made by God the most beautiful. She is the incarnation and summation of all the flowers of nature. No man ever spoke more truth than when he whispered into the ear of his beloved that she was divine. She is an image, a spark of divinity given to us in life as a preview of things to come. She is yielding, helpless, yet divine. To whom God has given much, from her much is expected. Of no other creature is so much demanded. She is to be the helpmate of man the mother of his children. She is to keep his home to comfort him in loneliness and weariness, and to bring him back to health when sick.

This appraisal of the part a girl plays in life may seem to some flattering. Yet, it is sincerely made. Actually this judgment of the ladies is more challenging than flattering, for what girl could fail to desire to measure up to this appraisal in the eyes of her husband ? Countless young wives have merited from their husbands the esteem that they were the most glamorous and fascinating creatures in all the world. Unfortunately too many girls have failed to do so, and thus experience the misery of an unhappy, if not broken, marriage. The purpose of this book is to show the girl, the young wife how she may easily have success and happiness in marriage, being in the eyes of her husband "the dearest hind and most agreeable fawn."

The idea of this book was formed in my mind during the last six years as I sat at the Chicago Chancery Office as one of the judges in the separation court. If you wish negative exposition on the subject of the ideal and desired wife, sit in on the Separation Court for a few weeks. The judges in this court obviously meet with only the failures at marriage. In their task of counseling they seldom work with either ideal husbands or wives. As often as not both are at fault. When one is chiefly to blame for their unhappiness, it is just as likely to be the wife. Causes for failure in marriage are pretty equally divided between husbands and wives. Many of the unhappy wives appearing there, failures in the vocation for which God had best suited them by nature, are utterly unaware that they are to blame in a great measure for their unhappy marriage. "My husband drinks." "He stays away from home as much as possible." "He sits down at the tavern with other women." He is always the villain. The poor fellow sits down at the tavern with other women not because he is happy there. He is desperate. He has a nagging wife, or he is practically married to his mother-in-law rather than to his wife. So, foolishly he seeks escape at the local tavern. Things go from bad to worse, and finally an indignant wife presents herself to the separation court demanding a separate maintenance suit. Most wives who have failed and are primarily the cause of their broken marriage do not realize that their marriage is a failure due to their own shortcomings.

An ideal wife inspires. The failure nags. The ideal wife is mature and has cut the apron strings a possessive mother had tied to her. She is weaned emotionally as well as physically. The failure is immature and not sure of herself, so she puts up with the tyranny all such immature people must accept The husband at first might attempt to deal with this tyranny and fight against it. The wife might side with mother, and so there are fights. In time the husband throws in the sponge. He wants to keep the marriage, and to maintain peace he often slips away to the tavern. He finds some release there. Mother advises the wife that no daughter of hers should put up with such shameful conduct.

In talking to the seniors of a number of girls' high schools in Chicago over the years, I frequently came across the idea that if a girl found the ideal husband, she could feel assured of a successful marriage. Cannot wives be failures? Just as much and as often as husbands, of course. The ideal husband is an interesting subject; but, he is not the subject of this book. I am making a plea to girls to turn from day dreaming about that ideal husband and reflect on their own lives to see whether they cannot prepare to be ideal wives. If a girl becomes an ideal and desired wife, she eliminates about fifty per cent of the possibility of a failure at marriage.

The average thoughtful girl plans for the day when she will be married and happy with her husband. She wants to prepare herself for that day. Her success as a wife will be in proportion to her intelligent preparation. She does not sit back on her oars after marriage either but continues the development of her character and charm all the days of her married life.

I cannot cover all the aspects of the ideal wife for a number of reasons. Yet, I think that the ideas discussed here are essential to the concept of the Ideal Wife. These ideas come from many sources--from ideal wives, whom I have been happy to know and from failures with whom I have had to deal. Some of these successful wives told me their story simply by living ideal lives, and unwittingly gave me the ideas of this book. Others were more willing, perhaps more able, to express themselves. A number of these expressions should have quotation marks around them. To several of these happy, ideal wives I gratefully acknowledge large portions of this work. We could use, we need more of them in this world.

In writing of the wife desired, I hope to eliminate the negative and accentuate the positive. So, if I mention examples of failures, it is only to highlight the picture of the successful and, therefore, happy wife. Incidentally, being a successful wife is much more fun and there is more pleasure writing about her than about the failure.

Many books have been written on marriage. This is not another. As the reader could expect from the title the author deals with only the wife and her contribution to marriage. Generally he deals in fundamentals and especially so in the chapter on Companionship. It is his experience that most failures as wives were failures because they could not see the obvious and did not use common sense.

The natural and psychological aspect of the wife's part in marriage are stressed, because the author is only too aware that many wives, cognizant of the spiritual and sacramental character of their marriages, fail to put to good use the natural gifts of mind and body.

Fortunately the authors who have traced the importance of the sacramental character are many. The task of emphasizing the supernatural is paradoxically not easy, and we should never relax our efforts in that direction. It would be foolish and dangerous, however, to refuse to consider the natural, the human things which must enter into a happy marriage.

There will be no theorizing in the following pages. After all, there have been and are today countless ideal wives. They are all about us. We have just to open our eyes to see the reasons for their success. Why are they so successful? What qualities of mind and body do they possess? We shall see in the following pages. But just one more reflection before we begin. Lest some timid soul be frightened by the high goal implied in the expression "Wife Desired," let her remember that every vocation in life has its ideal. Without an ideal, a goal in any phase of life, we flounder about in confusion and misery. During World War II, a number of cases came to the attention of the world of men living for days and even weeks on rafts in the open sea. They always resented the careless reporting in the newspapers that they drifted. Drifting connotes the lack of a goal. Flotsam and jetsam drift. Inert matter drifts. Human beings do not drift, lest they be imbeciles. These men were fighting against a destiny weaker men would have accepted. They had a goal, Australia or some South Sea island. Day after day they struggled toward it with a courage which would not be denied.

Like the mountain climber most of us may never reach the top, but, when death comes, at least we can say that we died climbing. Perhaps at times in the following pages we shall get our heads into the clouds. We hope so. However, we shall keep our feet on the ground. Even though in life we have to plod through a lot of mud and muck on our feet, we do not have to get down and plow ahead with our noses. We can keep our heads in the clear air and our vision up beyond the clouds ever searching for the full truth and complete beauty that lies out beyond the margents of this world.


John was dead tired as he left work for home late one Monday afternoon. His physical fatigue partly accounted for his low spirits. He felt that he was on an economic treadmill. He was getting nowhere. Married five years he and Aeleen and the two little ones were still cooped up in a miserable little four room birth control trap of a flat. And worst of all they had saved pitifully little for their own home It was not like John to quit.

John was not giving up this particular Monday night either. Yet he was worried about the future. He did not seem to be getting anywhere. He had cast about in his mind for some solution till he was in a mental whirl. Should he look for a part time job on the side? Should he quit his job, take the plunge, and go in with Joe Burns on that gas station? He hated to vex Aeleen with these problems. She had the housework and the children. His was the responsibility of decision.

As he reached for the kitchen door knob, he paused. A dark cloud passed over his face. Aeleen had no bargain in him. She was the beauty of her whole school. Intelligent and bubbling over with personality she could have done much better.

As the door swung open, Aeleen was wiping a bit of spilled milk from the floor. One knee was on the floor; the other balanced Michael, the culprit whose mess she was cleaning up. Her face came up to meet John's. It was all smiling. The hug and the kiss told him that no one else in all this world was as welcome to step through that kitchen door. She noticed that he held her just a little longer than usual. "He needs me this evening more than ever." she sensed. "And what a comfy feeling to know one is needed."

That evening Aeleen fulfilled with colors flying the greatest function of a wife. She was his inspiration. She quickly drove the black devils of defeatism from his troubled mind. Before bedtime he was ready like Cyrano de Bergerac, to fight giants. Her confidence in him was complete, not that she did not have to chase out disturbing doubts now and then about his capacities. She was much in love with John and knew his love. This mutual love made it easier for her to discipline her mind, so that her whole being evidenced her assurance in him. Come what might John was her man and he was the best in the world for her.

Thoughts constant and deep have a way of manifesting themselves especially to one spiritually tuned in to the thinker. Aeleen's faith, quietly evidenced in her husband, renewed his courage. He would not fail her. Aeleen was God's manifestation to him of all that was good and beautiful. Like David, the psalmist, he felt that, if Aeleen was with him, who was against him?

Aeleen made him conscious that he was the greatest man in the world for her money. There was no pretense in Aeleen's admiration for John. She loved him deeply. He was her sunshine and the light blinded her from seeing anyone else. It was no effort for her to stifle within her soul any invidious comparisons between John and other husbands seemingly more successful. On the surface, the husbands of some of her acquaintances might be more successful. Some of them obviously commanded much more income. "So what?" fought back Aeleen within herself. "It takes more than that to make a husband. John may not be on fire, nor the most gifted person, but take him for what he is, all in all, he is a man."

From this brief little picture of Aeleen and John, it is obvious that the ideal wife is much more than a companion, a good housekeeper, a good cook, and a good mother. She is an inspiration. Unless she is this to her husband there is danger that all the other fine aspects of her role as wife will be wasted in final failure.


The first purpose of this chapter should be to convince all wives that they have been endowed by God with the ability to inspire their husbands. Many wives do not seem to realize their potential power in this respect. It has been a revelation to me to find out how many wives do not have any concept of this important function of a wife. No doubt that is why we are both so unfortunate as to meet at the Chancery.

The world is quite a bit what women make it. If our sojourn here below is a triumphal parade to the tune of swinging music, to women go the bouquets. If it is a forced march through a vale of tears, to our lady friends go the brickbats. On the one hand we have our Blessed Lady. On the other hand we have to contend with Eve. Women have a way about them of sweeping men on to the heights of nobility or of plunging them into the depth of degradation. To women God has given a mysterious power of bringing out the best or the worst there is in a man. History and literature reminds us of a multitude of women who activated this latent force within themselves and thus provided the motivation and inspiration of great accomplishments.

Men left to themselves too long tend to become rough, brutish, and even evil. I saw enough of this in the Army during the two years overseas with the same outfit. There was something vital missing in the lives of these soldiers. It was the influence of their mothers, their sisters, their wives, and their sweethearts. The deterioration of the soldiers overseas was slow and gradual but still very definite. The great mass of mankind finds it pretty difficult to climb very much above its environment. An all male environment is not good for a man over a long period of time. God never intended for the average man to so live. Eve appeared on the scene soon after Adam.

The ideal wife gives comfort and encouragement when needed. She is wise with a woman's intuition, so at times she pricks his pride subtly to enable him to rise to some particular situation. Always he has her understanding. She shows her sympathy without being sorry for him. Above all, she never allows him to feel sorry for himself.

There are times when she senses that her best contribution is silence. Her presence is all she can give, and it is all he needs. He is upset, out of sorts, confused, and angry with himself. She will not add to his turmoil with advice or suggestions. Patiently she waits, until he comes down to earth. Sometimes she is at a loss for what to say or do to help him. So she says and does nothing. Her best efforts at inspiration and encouragement may meet with failure and even rebuff. She is human and feels the hurt, but valiant is the word for her. She can be blue and down over his lack of response, but because she is strong of heart she bounces back with resilience for another day and its tasks. She does not run and hide from problems. If an understanding must be reached over some situation or other, she does not hesitate to thrash the matter out with him. Yet she never needlessly worries him. Some wives worry their husbands into an early grave, they themselves remaining around to collect the dividends of lonely old age.

A good responsible husband was in the habit of going to his office Saturday mornings, even though he had nothing to do there. He said that he just sat at his desk and read the newspaper. "If I stay home my wife will figure out a hundred things for me to do.

When he "cried on my shoulder" about the energy of his wife in planning his Saturdays his quandary was extreme, for he had just retired and no longer had an office to which to escape.

In every home certain tasks must be performed by the husband. The grass needs cutting, the storm windows have to be put up, and so on. The husband worth anything is aware of these chores properly befalling him. He does not have to be reminded of them, or worse, nagged about them.

Things around the house will get out of kilter. An electric socket needs attention. A wheel has come off junior's wagon. Because the wife is on the scene all week she will be more aware of these varying little jobs requiring a man's attention. Her objective is to get these odds and ends repaired. Her method will depend on her personality, her intelligence, her understanding of her husband, and her tact or lack of it.

She may use the direct approach based on the fact that honey catches more flies than vinegar. "Dear, I'll love you all day long if you fix the toaster."

The indirect method has its successful adherents. For our example, we will imagine that it is high time a particular Saturday morning that the window screens were up for the summer. While the man of the house sleeps late his wife quietly clouds the bedroom with DDT. If her husband complains, as he awakens, she innocently explains that she did not want him to be eaten by mosquitoes as Patricia Ann was during the night. She never mentions the screens. But it is easy to imagine that the idea of screens is slowly seeping into her husband's befuddled cranium.

The shrewd wife is well poised enough to know better than to try to outshine her husband. If she happens to be married to a man of inferior intelligence or education, she will best give evidence of this fact by avoiding the slightest indication of superiority. Indeed, any wife's intellectual ascendancy over her husband could be questioned were she dull enough to strive to lord it over him. If she is clever she will from time to time approach that big man of hers with some terrific problem which is way beyond the capacities of her little brain. "Dear, what do you think I ought to do about this situation? It has me baffled."

"What is a wife expected to be," any woman might object to the above advice, "a wishy-washy dumb Dora? Is she forever and a day supposed to play up to her husband?" Of course not. Much better if she would play with him. A wife does not have to be an open book to her husband. It does not hurt to keep him guessing once in a while.

A real man likes to picture his wife as one with spirit and bounce. Because she is intelligent with a mind of her own she knows when to maintain a principle, when to be roguish and sportive. Gifted with imagination she can give herself to the game of intriguing her husband. Always she is exciting and vivacious.

The wife loves a little compliment here and there herself, so she knows the value of this form of encouragement. Incidentally, in most marriages heading for the rocks the couples exchange no compliments. Just the opposite is true between people who seem still to have some sort of possessive love for each other. I do not suppose there exists a married couple who could not concentrate upon and draw up a list of each other's shortcomings. The wise wife knows that there is no future in this mean indoor sport. She counts her blessings. She makes her husband's good points the foundation upon which she strives to help him build improvements.

The ideal wife does not mother her husband. Yet she knows that he stands alone only with difficulty. Physical or mental pain may drive him to her. She knows how to accept him then with feeling. There is an erroneous idea abroad that women can stand pain much better than men. This is nonsense. I have seen men in military hospitals overseas suffer in silence. I have seen them die painfully in the line of duty without a whimper. Many nurses have told me that their experience is that men suffer and bear pain just as well as women. Then whence comes this widespread false concept? It comes from the observation of our fathers. As children we received our first impressions of men from our fathers. And our fathers were notorious for raising a terrible howl of pain when anything happened to them. Why? Simply because our mothers were nearby.

Toward the end of his days a man can look back upon his life and find no greater accomplishment than his full success as a husband and father. All his varied activities possessed significance, really meant something only in relation to his role as husband and head of the house. If he had great success in the cheap sense of the word and became very rich, but was a failure as a husband, what contentment is there in the last recollections of his life ? What success, real or fictitious, can compensate for his failure as a husband?

No woman can escape sharing her husband's misery or his contentment and peace. If she has contributed to his making, to her comes the reward of real happiness. No wife hurts her husband more than she hurts herself. No wife makes her husband happier than she makes herself.

Lest anyone think that sly reference is here being made to unfaithfulness on the part of wives, let us clear the decks of any such obstructions to understanding what is meant. I believe that I am in a good position to make the statement that, relatively speaking, very few wives are unfaithful. Men have much more cause to hang their heads in shame on this score. However, there are other ways in which a woman can bring out the worst in a man, other ways in which she can drive him to distraction, if not to destruction.


The ideal wife never nags. Nagging of a husband can be just as destructive to a marriage as unfaithfulness; and it is much more common. Nagging may be slower in bearing its evil fruit, but the final parting is none the less bitter. "The stroke of a whip makes a blue mark, but the stroke of a tongue will break the bones. Many have fallen by the edge of the sword, but not so many as have perished by their own tongue." Ecclus. 28, 21. Nagging is the opposite of inspiration. An inspiring wife uplifts her husband. The nagging wife tears him down in whose eyes he should never be torn down--his own.

Since a nagging wife is such an abomination and since God has endowed her with the ready faculty of inspiration, why do we have so many wives who fail partially or completely in this respect? Before I give what I think is the answer to this vital question, let me mention briefly a very small group of wives. I suppose that there have to be just so many sour grapes in every vineyard. Some women are congenitally cantankerous, fault finding, carping, and shriveled souls, who need no reason or explanation for their nagging. This type should be included in the long list of evils from which we ask God to deliver us. Every man child should begin at a tender age to pour out supplications that he never cross her path. He who falls into her clutches must endure a ball and chain type of existence seldom suffered even in concentration camps.

One cheerful thought in this connection is that God never allows nature to go too far out of balance. He never allows birds to die out so that insects and worms take over. He also sees to it that there are always enough insects and worms to keep the birds fat and happy. This shrew type of wife, thank heavens, is not too numerous. I like to think that she generally attracts her counterpart, the male scoundrel.

Most women who nag their husbands do so because they love their husbands. And the reason why wives are more prone to nag than husbands is that wives love more than husbands. This sounds very paradoxical, and it is. Yet it is true.

Love has many peculiar and even unexplored phases. When a woman loves a man, she creates an ideal of him in her mind. She can find no wrong in him, For a time the fierceness of her love may blind her to reality. Sooner or later she begins to notice discrepancies between the ideal and the reality. He is not neat around the house with his personal belongings. He could be more punctual for meals. At least he could telephone and warn her of any unavoidable delay. Her paragon of all virtues, her idol, begins to show his clay feet. He has a lazy streak and does not help her as much as he could around the house. These and similar shortcomings, even defects of character, pain her because she loves him and wants him to be perfect. She hopes that mother or the neighbors have not observed these failings. Perhaps she begins her campaign by whining at him. His unfavorable reception of this startling innovation in their heretofore unperturbed connubial bliss spurs her into more direct attack. She relates his faults to him and scolds him. Like a school child he is put on the carpet and lectured. The old boy does not take to this procedure and strikes back with a few pointed criticisms of his own. Unless she is on guard, her chagrin at failing to improve the object of her love soon grows into resentment. She is in danger of becoming a chronic nagger.

The poor victim of a nagging wife was met at the kitchen door on return from work with a complaint about something or other instead of a little hug and a kiss. "You are late. The supper is all cold. I suppose that you stopped off for a few beers."

"What's the use," he thought to himself, "here I was detained by the boss about a better job at the shop and a raise in pay. By golly, I think I'll have a few beers tomorrow night. With her I have a credit of at least two beers."

The history of the nagging wife is a desperate effort to kick her husband upstairs. He usually ends up at the bottom flat on his face. To escape her sharp tongue he fabricated now and then. Through his first successes at keeping peace by this mean method he was deluded into thinking he had the solution. Soon, of course, his false way of life boomeranged. He was trapped in his lies. He lost her confidence and esteem. Then he was inclined to avoid her as much as possible. His walk down to the corner drug store for a paper in the evening was an escape.

One evening he ran into several old school friends at the entrance to the tavern next to the drug store. He enjoyed the half hour or so in the tavern that evening. Everyone was congenial. Everything was very pleasant, very different from the atmosphere back at the house. He was slapped on the back a time or two by old acquaintances. "How are you doing, Joe? Say, by the way, I hear you're going to be foreman soon over at the shop. Nice going. Keep it up. Always knew that our star half-back would get somewhere."

Later that evening husband and wife had a fight. "Are you going to become a tavern bum?" was more than he could take. He slept poorly the rest of the night and went off to work the next morning sullen. The boss and he had another talk about the promotion. He hoped that the boss did not mistake his dull and unenthusiastic demeanor as a lack of confidence. Or was he confident in himself? He was definitely on edge as he returned home again. Soon after supper he went off to the tavern feeling sorry for himself, and a tavern is no place in which a man can safely feel sorry for himself.

This husband was now in a pattern well known to counselors on marriage, a nagging wife and a husband seeking escape and consolation in drink.

A wife must never nag. It is one of the great sins of a married woman. Anybody could understand if she had fallen in a bad moment. Few of us are perfect. Yet one sin does not make a vice. There is no possible excuse for her becoming a chronic nagger. A wife will never succeed in kicking her husband upstairs. She may lead him upstairs, entice him, joke with him, and inspire him. By nature she has been endowed with the equipment to do this. It has been frequently said that a man must have a woman behind him. The real truth is that every man must have a woman in front of him.

Everybody likes to be the object of good-natured kidding. It is a sign of popularity. It rubs our vanity the right way. I did not sufficiently realize what was going on at the time, but now when I look back on my boyhood, I realize that my mother was a clever wife. She joshed and poked fun at my father. We children got a big boot out of it. In fact, the most pleasant recollections of my youth were these sallies into the foibles of my father. Down inside, my father really enjoyed the game, even though he may not always have let on.

Now I realize that there was a method in all my mother's banter. Often she was putting over a point, a point which carried danger in it and could not be handled except in a good-natured kidding way. She was accomplishing the same objective as a nagging wife. But what a world of difference in the method and the success arrived at.


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 boob," every woman is saying who reads this, "should get everything coming to him." Perhaps he was something of a boob, 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.


The ideal wife is ambitious for her husband, not for herself. Through inspiration she gives ambition to her husband. He is spurred on to do big things for her and wants no reward other than her appreciation and the look of pride for him in her eyes. Here again wives must heed the words of Christ. If they would save their souls, they must lose them. If they would save their marriage, if they would have all that goes with a successful husband, they must lose themselves and their ambition in their husbands.

A wife is on thin ice who is ambitious for herself, the husband being just the necessary means of realizing her ambition for wealth or social position. These self-seeking wives are not interested in promoting the success of their husbands for the sake of their husbands but for their own sakes. This type of wife is inclined to overreach herself. By goading her husband on beyond his capacities she shows her hand to him and loses his love. He may have to admit that she has a strong possessive love for him, a love for him for what she gets out of it. But he is not carried into seventh heaven by this contemplation of his hard, scheming, driving wife. He begins to feel that he is but the stepping stone for the fulfillment of her ambition.

An example of a wife over ambitious for herself may help illustrate the danger of confusing this possessive love for genuine love and inspiration. The couple met at a large city hospital where the young woman was a nurse. She held a position of importance and through the energy of her personality carried considerable influence. She fell in love with a young medical student. Through her connections with the staff of the hospital she had her friend placed with the hospital as a student intern. She promoted him at every step, even to the extent of considerable financial help. She hovered over him like a mother bird. Marriage and the release of her pent-up emotions only seemed to urge her on in smoothing the path before her coming young doctor husband. She had visions of his rising quickly to a position of pre-eminence on the staff. She would be the fashionable wife of the outstanding young doctor of their community. And he would be all hers. She was still in the process of pulling strings to make him acceptable to the hospital which might admit his patients, when he announced determination to return to his home state. He wanted to begin slowly with his own feet on the ground, meriting by his own ability and energy what success would come his way. With great show of reluctance she acceded to his plan. Back in his home town things did not progress rapidly enough for her. They set themselves up too elegantly for beginners. Money was running out, her money, which she had saved and inherited. She criticized him for not trying harder. He countered that he could not make patients come to him. After all, it would take time. Be patient. After four or five months she forced him to abandon his own meager beginnings and come back to the big city. There she knew her way around. She would make certain that the hospital accepted him. During the time of his efforts to get set up again she prodded him unmercifully. She even degenerated into a nagging wife.

When they talked to me, he would have no more of her. She was driving him to distraction. Obviously, she was going to pieces. On several occasions she had shaken him out of a sound sleep in the middle of the night to tell him how she had done something for him over at the hospital. Once she gave him the pre-dawn information that she had just cleaned the walls of the kitchen. The implication always was "What are you doing? Why don't you do something?" She had lost whatever poise she had and was becoming frantic.

On being asked why he married her, he replied that she seemed to be capable and efficient. He thought that she would be a real helpmate during the early, hard years of getting started. Actually she had never given him a chance, he felt. He could see the growing contempt in her eyes for his failure to measure up to her ambitions. He admitted that she still had a queer, possessive love for him. This appraisal of her mood was correct, for she tearfully expressed her desire for his return. She wanted him for herself and was miserable without him. This unfortunate woman did not love her husband for himself. Proof of this was evidenced by her attempts to harm him after their separation. She stooped to efforts at discrediting him in his profession. She had spread stories damaging to his character. At the same time she pleaded in a frenzy with me to help her get him back.

It was difficult to explain to this wife how she had failed to inspire her husband. Had she not done everything a wife could possibly do to promote her husband? She could not see that her overmastering ambition was the undoing of her chances for happiness. She expected and desperately wanted affection. Yet she drove him on with contempt in her eyes for his inability or lack of desire to come up to her expectations. Patience was wanting in her, the patience founded on a love of her husband for himself and not for what he might do for her. In her life she manifested all the outward works of an inspirational wife. The inner spirit was lacking. She married to satisfy her own desires and ambitions.


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.

Mr. X did not seem to be the type of man who drank to excess to escape reality. He seemed to be more of a social drinker. His reality appeared to be a very pleasant one from which no one would want to escape. He enjoyed many blessings. His wife was an attractive woman. They had several exceptionally beautiful daughters whom they both took great pleasure in displaying on many social occasions. Although his salary was not fabulous, it was considerably above average and ran into five figures. They made a handsome couple as they sat in their box at the race track. Their daughters added to the picture. They surely were the envy of the crowd. Yet all was not well. In fact, his wife was on the verge of calling it quits. She never knew when he would come home or in what condition.

He had no complaints against his wife and wanted to keep the marriage. He promised reform, willingly admitting that he had been giving her a rather hard time His position was of the type which readily could be the occasion of an excessive amount of social drinking He had let it get out of hand, was going to put a stop to it, and would quit completely if necessary.

Several months went by, and then the word came from the wife that his reform was short lived. Several weeks after they had been down to the Chancery he was back to his heavy drinking.

After getting more familiar with the couple. I began to be a little suspicious that his reason for drinking lay with her. It is not often that an excessive drinker has not one single complaint against his wife. Was she such an ideal wife that even her half-drunk husband could find no fault in her? Or was he hiding something which stung him deep down inside? In all outward appearances he had been a very successful man. He was regarded in a wide circle of friends and acquaintances as a polished man about town. Was some one missing in this group of admirers ?

From a reliable source, not usually available, the information came to me that he never had her esteem, admiration and inspiration. She had a rugged, masterful sort of father, a real two-fisted he- man. She worshipped him as a child and young woman. As a young wife she compared him with her husband and found her husband wanting. She really never gave herself completely to her husband. Yes, outwardly she did. She smiled sweetly at him. She was faithful and dutiful in all the varied activities of married life. But that inner spark was missing, and he knew it. He was too proud to admit, probably even to himself, that he had failed to win her full love, the kind of love that goes overboard and blindly says, "You are the best there is."

Perhaps this woman had not matured sufficiently. She was still the little girl at her father's knee. She did not have to think any the less of her father because she had married. By analyzing her husband, by breaking him up into the parts of a jigsaw puzzle and being unable to fit him into the pattern of her father, she underestimated him. No two people are alike. Suppose that she had attempted to fit her father into the character and pattern of her husband. They still would not have dovetailed. That would not have made father necessarily any less a man, only a different man.

To the casual observer this woman would seem to be an ideal wife. Yet she had failed her husband in the most important role a wife must play in marriage. Like any husband this man wanted her and needed her for his inspiration, but she would not or could not deliver the goods. What a man required most from his wife was lacking. So many wives seem to have no realization of what their husbands have a right to expect first from them, and not getting it, little else matters.

He saw himself not measuring up to her standards. He looked into the mirror of her eyes and saw himself deflated. 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. How can a wife miss if she has her man jumping up and down beside himself in excitement of effort to fill those big blue eyes of his wife? All right, make them green. They are still the most beautiful eyes in the world to him, because he sees himself in them. Men are much more vain than any woman ever dreamed of being.

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. They are "dead ducks" when women look down the sights of their not too secret weapon, their inspiration.

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. To preserve her as she is he would wrap her in cellophane or fine spun gold. 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. Men wander through the cold world seeking the warm eyes of inspiration like a thirsting deer panting after fountains of water. Not having it, they are lost souls. On finding it, they leap for joy, and the very mountains break forth into singing. So, be kind, ladies, lest men die of hunger and thirst. Give hope and encouragement to carry on. It is so easy for you; just be as God made you, His loveliest of creatures.

After speaking on this absorbing topic of inspiration, I have often been asked how a woman can inspire her husband. The question at first was disconcerting after having spent fifteen or twenty minutes on the subject. But I suppose there is no way to humility except down the road of humiliations. The only answer I have ever given to this query is as follows: God has not given to me but to you, ladies, the ability to inspire. You are asking me how to inspire? To you have gone God's gifts. Within your being you hold from Him the power of life and death for the poor creatures of the weaker sex. With inspiration from you men vibrate with life. Wanting it, they go through the motion of living.


"Nobody will play with me" is a sad complaint made to mother by most every child. The grief of rejection by her playmates is announced with tears and sobs. The child makes no effort to hide the hurt. Dissimulation comes with age. We never get used to rejection. Only we learn to conceal our pain and to live with it.

If an adult smiles at these tears of childhood rejection, it is because he knows that the tears will dry as quickly as they flowed. Tomorrow is another day. As likely as not, the child spurned by his playmates today will be the happy center of attraction tomorrow.

It is another story when the young woman ready for marriage is continually avoided or when the wife is rejected by her husband. There are few sorrows in life equal to the misery of a wife no longer wanted by her husband.

It is so natural for a wife to be anxious to be accepted, to be sought after, to be desired and pursued by her husband. She was made that way. None of us have any choice about wanting to be happy. And happiness can come to a wife only through the love of her husband. Love does not go with rejection.

Several successful wives have jokingly said to me that they were more interested in being desired by their husbands than in being ideal wives. Yet, these wives were successful not because they were simply women, but because they were interesting women. They had appealing personalities. Unless they had striven for the ideal and in great part had reached the goal, they would not have been so lighthearted in their remarks.

The ideal wife will be a desired and happy wife, if she merits the attention which she rightly craves from her husband.

It has been said that women are all sugar and spice. Then personality is the spice which makes the sugar desirable. After the first infatuation of marriage has vanished, too many men have awakened to the realization that they drew a blank in respect to personality. The wise woman assures herself of success and happiness in marriage by making the most of her spice. It is through the use of her spice that she keeps her husband interested in the sugar.

The desired wife has developed her personality before marriage and continues that development during marriage. By personality here I mean beauty of soul and all those qualities and accomplishments which go to make a person interesting and sought after. Personality will carry a girl a great deal further in life than physical beauty. In fact, without personality beauty often tires one in married life. Some girls are born with physical beauty. None are born with personality. They must develop and cultivate it all the days of their lives.

A girl can develop personality chiefly by learning to do things. No matter how beautiful she is, the girl who does nothing but sit on a sofa and vegetate is not going to be a bargain for any husband. After the first flush of infatuation wears off, she will be very fortunate if she does not bore him stiff.

On the other hand, the girl who learns to swim, to play tennis, to sing, to play the piano, to dance, to sew, to cook, and to read good literature, is going to become an interesting person. Her company will be sought after and enjoyed. Out of the long hours of practice at the piano or with the voice, for example, there evolves a stronger character. Patience, persistence, a realization of what it is to fail, to exult in momentary success, to suffer and, therefore, to be able to feel for others--all this and more will come to her because of her hours of work at the piano. So, when she is called upon by her friends to play for them, she is happy to be able to entertain them. The thought that she brings music into their lives and thus adds to their happiness brings her a quiet confidence enhancing her luster.

To take another example, suppose that she learns to play tennis. She is awkward and slow on her feet. There is the temptation to quit after the first ridiculous effort, to preserve her dignity, and to draw back within herself and thus avoid the embarrassment of ridicule from bystanders and the teasing of her friends. But she resists the temptation to remain a wall flower. She swallows her pride and through the little humiliations of clumsy failures grows in humility.

She already is reaping her reward for effort. Because she has begun to grow in the virtue of humility, there open up before her all the various paths of virtue heretofore closed or even unknown to her. For instance, upon the foundations of humility now established in her life, she has to take but one easy step to a sense of humor. She is now able to laugh at herself as well as at others.

Perhaps some may think that I am exaggerating to say that the great virtue of humility, an entree to all the virtues, and even a sense of humor can be developed, by attempting to learn the game of tennis. Not in the least. How did the saints or anyone ever develop the virtue of humility? By sitting at home twiddling their thumbs? By withdrawing into their shells, so that no one could laugh at their shortcomings and mistakes? No. They dared to fail, and in their mixture of failures and successes they drew a clearer picture of their real worth. They became humble and, therefore, very lovable in the eyes of God and man.

More will be said later about this incipient sense of humor accidentally, it may appear, found on the tennis court. It is so important a facet of personality, as a radiant jewel in the crown of the ideal wife, that a full chapter will be devoted to its consideration.

A last word about humility. If a sense of humor is a shining jewel in the crown of the ideal wife, then humility is the golden base of the crown and the support of all else it may contain. Many have the false idea that they are being humble by staying in the background and attempting nothing. The brash, bold and conceited girls are the ones out in the limelight doing things. More often than not it is just the opposite. The girl who dares to do things, especially in competition, is the humble girl. She may fall flat on her face. So what? She is not concerned with herself, not worried about what others may think. Because she is humble, she is not aware that anyone is thinking of her anyway. The girl who fears to venture is the conceited girl. She is afraid to provide laughter at her own expense. She flatters herself that everybody is watching her. Hardly anybody knows that she is alive.

By learning to do things the girl is developing unconsciously, as likely as not, her personality and thus is equipping herself to be able to contribute to the enjoyment of others, her future husband, for instance. She is able to hold down her end of the social teeter.

A certain girl learned to play bridge. She never entered any bridge tournaments, but she could hold her own with the better players. Most of her bridge was played at college. She hardly played at all for a few years. In fact, she could not remember playing once since she was married three months ago.

Her husband invited his boss and wife over for dinner. He apprehensively told her that they were eager bridge fans. She was amused at her husband's concern for what he thought would not take place after the coffee was served.

The husband's apprehension turned to bewilderment as his wife got out the cards and table. What could have turned out to be a rather futile evening amounted to almost a personal triumph as she engineered a little slam. She derived the most satisfaction from the quiet pleasure manifested in her husband over a newly discovered accomplishment of his wife. Three people enjoyed themselves of an evening simply because she knew how to play a card game. She was able to promote the pleasure of others. When a wife is able to do that, more satisfaction eventually comes to her.

Just the other evening a young wife came up to me as the study group was leaving. She had a big problem. We met on Monday and Wednesday evenings. She had a chance to join a swimming class sponsored by the company for which she worked. The group was to meet on Wednesday evenings for six weeks. She very much wanted to learn to swim for her husband's sake. He liked to swim. She was deathly afraid of water and could not swim.

Last summer during and after their honeymoon she felt very stupid. She was able only to sit on the beach while her husband went into the water with the others. When he comes home from the Army next summer, she wants to surprise him with her ability to swim. However, the study club came first. She wanted more than anything else to finish the course. I encouraged her to take the opportunity to learn to swim. We could make up what she missed on the Wednesday evenings.

Several weeks later the young wife told me, with evident pleasure dancing in her eyes, how she was learning to swim. This girl is awake. Instead of sitting home just waiting for her husband to come home to her from the Army, she is developing her abilities and thus improving her personality. Imagine the fun they are going to have together at the beach next summer. How proud her husband is going to be of her and how he will love her for her new accomplishment.

If anyone still fails to see that personality goes hand in hand with doing and accomplishing things, acquiring abilities and virtues, let her consider the following fact. Most people are interested in those who have reached the top in their calling or profession. When Babe Ruth visited a school, he had every boy jumping out of his shoes to see him. Why? Because the Babe had done things. He had played baseball as no one before or since. He was worth seeing at close range. Why would any woman be flattered and excited over the prospect of a visit to her home by the women's national figure skating champion or the leading Metropolitan tenor? In all likelihood for no other reason except that they have done things for which they have become interesting personalities.

Perhaps by this time a few objections have been forming, because this is being read critically even if with an open mind. What about all the celebrities who have been failures as wives? Have I said anything about celebrities? All sorts of characters become celebrities these days. An heiress marries one Dilbert after another. She is a celebrity of a notorious sort, no doubt, and a miserable failure as a wife. I have been writing of interesting personalities who have accomplished things. This heiress has accomplished nothing. And remember, that a well rounded personality is only one of the points on which we are to insist as essential to the concept of the ideal wife. There can be no doubt, all things else being equal, that the girl with personality has a far better chance of succeeding as a happy and desirable wife.

Another might object that we are talking over the heads of most girls. After all, how many can be national figures skating champions? Only one at a time. How many have the voice and all the necessary favorable circumstances to become an opera star? Comparatively speaking, an infinitesimally small number. The girl who developed her personality by learning to play a simple game of tennis did not become a national champion, but by learning to play a passable game of tennis she benefited her personality. Very few girls are ever going to reach the top in anything. There is so little room up there. Indeed, it is better that a girl become adept at a number of things rather than to strive for supremacy in just one thing. In this way she has a much better chance of developing a well rounded personality.

After reading the manuscript on personality a young wife expressed concern over her situation. Her husband was in Europe with the Armed Forces. He was doing things, seeing historical places. She was sitting at home cooped up in a little apartment with three small children. He was developing his personality; she was stagnating.

When she expressed herself I had no idea what her husband was doing. I did know what she was doing, and it was a heroic task of keeping the home fires burning. Valiant was the word for her during the long months of loneliness as she kept faith with her husband, her children, and herself. Because she suffered nobly the pain of those two years, she is a finer person today. Because she accomplished something worthwhile she developed her character and personality.

During the past year this wife has been reunited with her husband. They have made up for lost time and she is expecting. The new baby to be is their expression of gratitude to God for their reunion after so many months of separation and loneliness.

After the children are stowed away for the night this young couple generally watch TV for a few hours. When I dropped in on them one night, I was surprised not to see the usual darning needle whipping in and out of a sock. This evening she had before her a canvas partly covered with fresh paint. For the evening she was an amateur painter. So young wives, and not so young wives, for that matter, need not stagnate at home, with or without their husbands. They can be, for example, amateur painters and have a lot of fun and relaxation in the effort.

No doubt there are a hundred better ways of developing personality than by learning to play tennis. A few simple examples like the ability to play tennis or bridge are given for the purpose of bringing this discussion of personality down to earth. There is a lot of vague and mysterious verbiage bandied about in connection with the subject of personality. Our concern is to realize the simple fact, too much overlooked, that growth in personality comes only through doing worthwhile things, simple though they may be.

When I was stationed at an air base in the States during World War II, a young doctor came to me about his marriage troubles. He surprised me with the statement that he was thinking of divorcing his wife. The doctor lived on the field with his wife and two children. Although my acquaintance with the family was mostly limited to the doctor and his work at the station hospital, I was surprised to hear of his difficulty. His wife was a beautiful woman. With evident pride he mentioned that she had won a beauty contest at a southern college. He told me that at first he had thought that she was below par physically. Having found that she was in good physical condition he brought her to a psychiatrist. This move only strained their relationship all the more.

All his complaints seemed to stem, as he put it, from his wife's lack of zest for life. "She seems to be interested in nothing. Oh, she is a faithful wife and devoted mother. She is attractive in her own delicate, pale sort of enervated way. But she will do nothing with me."

He did not have to explain that the air base in Arkansas did not offer many opportunities for the type of life with which most of us were familiar. On his afternoon off from the hospital he would suggest that she come with him on a drive through the Ozarks. They could have dinner out and be alone. At least, they could escape the enervating heat and dust of the base. But she was not interested. She preferred to sit at home.

On a fine Sunday morning a few weeks later he might suggest that they take a stroll through the meadows and woods. They could pick some of the spring flowers. The two little girls would enjoy it even more. No matter what the doctor would suggest they do together she still was not interested. She wanted to sit at home. The only difference between some people at night and at day is that at night they lie down.

I do not know what happened to their marriage. Shortly after he talked to me I was transferred. Of course, I had tried to dissuade him from such a futile action as divorce. He admitted that he wanted to keep the marriage but he had a problem, and only she could solve it. Obviously, his wife was lacking sadly in personality. Very likely she has retrogressed during their nine years of marriage. She had her husband, a promising young doctor. She was secure, so she sat back on her sofa and existed.

Happiness tends to spread itself. The best explanation for God's creation of the human race is the happiness of God. He needed nothing, wanted nothing, but He was so happy that He flowed over into the creation of man. He desired someone to share His happiness with Him.

With us it certainly is true that joy bubbles over. A boy hears of a circus coming to town. A girl on the inside track with teacher hears of an unexpected free day. Both can hardly contain themselves till they tell their friends, till they spread their happiness over the good news. A young man receives a raise in pay. He does not fall asleep on the way home from work that evening. He is anxious to rush into the house and break the good news to his wife and see in her eyes the joy which he has brought about.

Extroverts are happy people. Introverts are unhappy people. Mental institutions, the saddest places in the world, are full of introverts. The extroverts are out jumping around in the sun. These are general statements. I realize that all general statements are false, including the one I am just making. Yet there can be no doubt that introversion leads to loneliness and unhappiness.

The girl who develops her personality sidesteps the pitfall of introversion. The girl with personality does things and with other people. She expresses herself in her various hobbies, avocations, and accomplishments. She has opened up and blown off, as we say. Wonderful tonic psychologically. The introvert withdraws usually in self-pity inside herself like a clam. "Poor little me. The world does not like me, so I'll hide within myself." The world does not dislike her. It does not know that she exists. She flatters herself, if she thinks it does. (Notice that the introvert and the person who does nothing tend to develop just the opposite of the virtue of humility.) She never gave the world a chance to know her. How else except she do things could the world get to know and love her?

The introvert is unhappy because she is all wrapped up in herself. She has only her poor, little, empty self, a very insufficient source of happiness. Because she is unhappy with herself, she fails to bring happiness to her husband. She does not like to mix with people, even her husband's friends and business associates. A wife of this type is no asset to her husband.

The extrovert is happy because she has forgotten about herself. She is interested in other things and persons. Other people are interested in her. Remember that happy people spread their happiness. The happy wife brings happiness to her husband. He loves to be in her presence because he is happy there. The extrovert fascinates her husband for the simple reason that extroverts fascinate everybody.

The introvert, lacking in personality, is a problem to her husband. The husband stupid enough to marry one will as a rule not have the intelligence, to say nothing of the patience, to be a child psychologist. That is what he has to be to deal with his wife.

The introvert takes a few quick looks at the world, finds it very frightening, and pulls back into her shell. She might have a pretty shell, though, well fashioned by God and pleasing to the eye of man. Her future husband becomes infatuated with this beautiful shell. He thinks that he is in love with her. That could not be, because this blushing little creature is so far back in her shell that he could not possibly know her, and not knowing her, he could not possibly love her. Oh, yes, he is infatuated with her shell. But it takes some shell to keep a man infatuated over the years. As usual, the infatuation soon wears off: and then our Dilbert begins to lose interest. The wife never comes out of her shell and does things. She never develops her personality. So, when Dilbert looks hopefully beyond her shell, he finds nary a thing there. There is no inner beauty within that body which I have been calling her shell. The introvert has little beauty of soul, little personality.

How these girls expect to hold the interest of their husbands is not at all clear. Certainly not just by inhaling and exhaling which any chimpanzee or chipmunk can do. Soon she becomes a dead weight in the life of her disillusioned husband.


The average girl left to herself and her own resources would find it very difficult to develop her personality. Fortunately into her path are thrust several mediums for personality development. The scope of this chapter limits us to a discussion of only a few of these mediums. The first of these is her school.

For many, school is just a hurdle to get over with as little pain as possible before life can begin. There is something to be said for this attitude. Essentially, school is preparation for the future.

Most girls would prefer to get a hold on that "future" now. Moreover, school for too many loses its real purpose. It is not a place built just for the acquisition of a lot of factual information. It is also a place in which to learn how to live better with their neighbor and work out their destiny.

A pig has only one destiny, to be slaughtered and eaten. So, farmers do not bother teaching their little pigs to stand on their hind legs and do tricks. But suppose that a particularly nice little pig did learn many cute tricks. No one would even then speak of the little pig's personality. Personality suggests a soul and immortality, a something almost intangible reaching out beyond the grave.

A human being has only one destiny, to be united with God and share His happiness. She is unlike the little pig in another respect. She has a free will. She must choose what path she will walk in life, whether it lead to the love of God and neighbor as pointed out and traveled by Christ or the path of selfishness. In other words, she must decide whether the love of God or her own self satisfaction is to be the predominant driving force in her life. Whichever she chooses, she does so because she thinks that her choice will bring her the most happiness. In this connection it behooves us to remember the advice of the great Teacher. "He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake, will find it."

If a girl wants to be happy with herself, she must get out of herself. She must lose herself. It is the type of paradox G. K. Chesterton loved. He thought that this advice was the best that could be given to Alpine mountain climbers. Chesterton, with his tremendous bulk, probably never got anywhere near an Alpine mountain climber in action. Yet, he knew what he was talking about, when he suggested that they read and ponder these words of Christ. Wives tread a path beset with as many dangers as those besetting the mountain climber. Well might they reflect on their lives in the light of this God given advice. Wives should take this advice from the world's most renowned teacher, Christ Himself. To be happy here and for all eternity they must forget themselves. must get out of themselves, must develop their personality and beauty of soul.

High school and college are tremendous occasions of grace put by God in the life of a girl. School is probably the greatest opportunity for personality development she will ever enjoy. Very many do not realize this.

For a good many years I taught in high school. It was annoying to see so many girls just hibernating through four years. Some did nothing but rush home from school and do all their homework that they might be leaders scholastically. It was a Herculean task to budge the first type of girl out of her lethargy. The second looked sort of sideways at me when I told her to study less and play a little more. Both are missing too much of the best school offers.

School provides the opportunity to learn to do very many things and to have much fun doing them. Algebra and Geometry have their purpose: mental exercise and development. But school should be much more than just algebra and the other subjects. The so-called extra curricular activities are important, for they give girls opportunities to do things. The glee club, the gym class, the school athletic teams the Latin club, the dramatic club, and many other activities are splendid chances for improving personality.

As I write, the picture comes to my mind of a fat little girl complaining that gym was stupid and that she was going to sit it out as often as possible. If her criticism was true, the school was much at fault, just as much remiss as if it had an incompetent French or history instructor. But I am afraid that the fat little girl was more interested in sitting. She evidenced about as much life as a sack of potatoes and in posture and appearance she easily could double as such. She needed the gym like nobody's business. Some of the girls poked fun at her because she was overweight. So, instead of having loads of fun playing volleyball, badminton and basketball, she sat in the locker room and continued her phenomenal growth. The gym would have done wonders for her figure.

Through the competitive games unlimited means are afforded for personality growth. Remember, a girl does not become interesting and attractive by sitting, only by doing many things for which school offers the opportunity.

As most of us grow older and become less active physically, one of our greatest sources of entertainment is intelligent conversation. We derive satisfaction from the discussion of current events, of problems affecting our daily lives, and of sundry subjects of mutual interest.

Too little stress is given today in educational circles to the art of conversation. I believe that there are a number of reasons for this lack of interest on the part of educators. A group of high school girls at recess time usually presents the same picture. All are talking; none are listening. Promote talking? Teachers naturally lift an eyebrow if one suggests more conversation at their school. Yet ninety-nine per cent of all this talk is just chitchat such as "Ja eet? No, jews?"

Real conversation is an art. Like any other art it must be cultivated and practiced. The voice is an important phase of personality. Often the voice alone gives the cue to personality and character of a girl. A petulant, or frivolous, or frigid, or nagging young lady frequently rings a bell of warning in her voice to interested young men who have ears to hear as well as to catch dirt. Likewise, a warm hearted and generous woman refined and cultured with a well developed personality can tell others of her accomplishments simply by speaking a few sentences. "The flute and the psaltery make a sweet melody, but a pleasant tongue is above them both." Ecclesiaticus 40, 21.

Perhaps by this time some find their thoughts wandering from the work at hand--namely, self appraisal and consideration of how to advance toward the goal of the ideal and desired wife. Maybe some are asking by now why they should strive to become this paragon of a girl. Too many young men are too stupid anyway to see and appreciate in a girl all the qualities of the ideal wife. Isn't a girl lucky for that! A girl can thank God that these imbeciles are not attracted to her. One of these cigarette sucking simpletons might rush her off her feet, and then see with what she would be stuck the rest of her life.

It does seem that neurotics attract each other for marriage. I suppose it is one more bit of evidence of the old proverb, "Birds of a feather flock together." So the girls who develop their personalities and acquire the other features of the ideal wife have a much better chance of attracting their counterpart, the ideal husband. Again, let that all-interesting ideal husband take care of himself for a while. Let us get back to our "netting."

Conversation is not a one way street. It connotes the ability to listen as well as to talk. Some people make a good audience. They stimulate conversation purely by the manner of their attention. They are alive, and thus they register. Because they are interested they are interesting. They bring out the best in others.

A clever girl can do wonders by the way she listens with animation to her boy friend. The boy friend or the husband is only human. There will be times when he is going to want to tell "all about it." He is loquacious for a change. Then for heaven's sake, let the wife give him the stage. Or, perhaps, he is taciturn and yearns for quiet. The wise wife senses these various moods of her husband.

I remember a case in which the wife hauled her husband down to the Chancery. Her major complaint was that her husband would not talk things over with her, would not confide in her. "He just never talks with me." This poor woman talked "like a blue streak" for an hour and a half. A number of times I tried to break in. At each failure I got a knowing look from the husband as much as if to say, "Know how you feel. For years I've been trying to get a word in edgewise."

There is a theory of counseling based on letting the estranged husband and wife talk themselves into their own solution of the problems vexing their marital happiness. There are enthusiasts of this school of thought who maintain that they can solve any case by just letting them talk. I wish they had been in on the case just mentioned. I finally had to run from her one day later on, when she came down alone to see me. I could not take any more than two hours of it. I imagine that she is still talking, whether at her husband or not I do not know. How he could stand it, I do not know either.

While at school a girl should "make hay while the sun shines." It is then that she can acquire and develop ability at conversation. As she learns to swim, to play tennis, to figure skate, and to sing, she can talk with interest and intelligence about these things. If she knows nothing about music, a girl will have to be pretty clever to be able to "get away with" talking about music. On the other hand, as she develops her personality by learning to do various things, she should acquire facility in conversing about these things. If she reads good literature, she opens another tremendous potential for conversation. True, she must practice, and school affords that opportunity not only in the classroom, but even during moments of recreation. Practice on your girl friends? Why not? They do on you!

Friends have been defined as those between whom there need not be conversation. Husband and wife can spend a quiet evening at home with a minimum of conversation and be happy and content. They are aware of each other's presence, and that is enough. Yet intelligent conversation will add immeasurably to their lives. A dumb Dora may have her moments; but, if she cannot formulate two consecutive and coherent sentences, let us all pray for strength for that husband of hers.


Another medium for development of personality for the school girl is vacation time. Leisure time is most necessary for the acquisition of some abilities. When in the third year of high school, I unbelievingly heard our English teacher tell us that in no other period of our lives would we have more time for reading. He was correct. As a matter of fact, I must admit that I read more and better literature during high school days than during any comparable length of time. So girls, let us be honest and admit that there is considerable free time during school years. If it is used intelligently, it can be just as important as school time for personality development.

Unfortunately, too many "sad sacks" have a rather mean opinion of vacation. It is nothing more than a chance to lie in bed every day till noon. When I think of the many golden hours I had as a boy watching the sun come up over Lake Michigan as I fished or swam in the quiet waters of dawn, or of the joy of playing golf at dawn with the morning mists still on the grass, I wonder if these chronic noonday sleepers have soul to fathom how much of the beauty of life they are missing. The beauty of God's creation is all about us. They ought to get out of bed and drink in some of it. It can do their souls much good. So much of life slips past the habitue of the inner spring mattress.


A girl's parish church affords another opportunity for personality growth. Frequently I have heard girls say that they do not attend the young people's club of their church. They went to it a few times, but did not "get anything out of" the club. How often I have heard that criticism. I always wonder what they expected to "get out of" the sodality or young people's group. Was the young assistant to put on a three ring circus for their entertainment, while they sat like a cabbage in a movie house? Was a prodigy similar to Fr. Malachy's miracle to be brought off? Or did they even expect a more stupendous work: the pastor himself spinning through the hall like a whirling dervish spraying out twenty dollar gold coins? Hardly. Who has seen gold coins for ever so long?

These girls, disappointed in the parish group of young people, are always looking for what they can get out of things. It never enters their imagination that they might contribute to things. Obviously, girls with this attitude of sitting back and waiting for life to come to them will go away empty handed from any project. If they would enter the parish group with the idea of giving themselves to its success, in the long run they would be the ones to gain.

Self-seekers always end up holding the bag--an empty one. Those who give of themselves carry off the prizes. One of these rewards is growth in personality. Girls who give their time, energy, and imagination to the parish group cannot fail to promote their personality, albeit unconsciously.

A stranger in a big city gets lost in some side street. He asks directions to his hotel. Well, your hotel is down this street, then to the left two blocks then to the right a block. No, that's a dead end street. It runs into the railroad yards. Let's try it this way. Take this street we are on till you come to the stop sign. Then turn left for three blocks. Then take a right turn till you hit that side street running diagonally. No, by golly, that takes you to the bank of the river. Say, stranger, I don't think that you can get to your hotel from here!

This story often comes to my mind when I am dealing with a marriage all washed up because the wife was a total loss in personality. Where do they go from here? How are they going to get back to a happy marriage from here? Marriage is a contract, in which the parties give as well as receive. This poor creature seems to have nothing to give.

"He married me. We have children. It's his moral obligation to stay with me as my husband." Yes--it is his duty, but not many marriages endure on moral obligations. Husband and wife came together because they were attracted to each other and learned to love each other. This love includes a physical, intellectual, and spiritual attraction.

The moral obligation to which our imaginary wife is appealing will steady a marriage and carry it through a crisis here and there: but happy, successful marriages are not built on moral obligations. Too many failures have appealed to moral obligations but have done little to merit a contented and loving husband. Many of these appeals to the moral law do not have the ring of sincerity, because the authors of them paid little or no attention to the moral law before the estrangement. For years they threw stones at the policeman. Now they are screaming for his help. Besides, the policeman is no solution anyway. Their clamor for him is totally in vain.

Anybody can make serious mistakes. The saints did. The ideal wife with personality may make a serious mistake and thereby bring about a temporary alienation of her husband. If she possesses a well developed personality, the conflict generally will be resolved to mutual satisfaction. Of course, I am supposing that the husband is not a basket case and that he has the capacity of forgiveness and will say the Our Father from time to time with realization of what he is saying.

Personality development is a most interesting process which can go on till the grave. We are born with certain temperaments. We have no control over whether we are to live with a choleric or melancholic temperament, for example. Seldom are these temperaments ever changed. Yet, they may be modified. We may hold in check and even subdue the bad aspects of our particular temperament. Likewise, the good features may be developed and encouraged in our daily lives.

In some quarters there is the extreme opinion that we are pretty much the victims of our temperament and the first few years of our lives. By the time we are six or seven it is fairly well determined what sort of lives we shall live. At this early age, so we are told, it has already been determined whether we shall be a shining light or a public nuisance. The only contingency is whether the stage for us will turn out to be Paducah or Keokuk.

The only trouble with this theory is that it runs head on into the teachings of Christ, nineteen centuries of Christian living, and our own personal experiences. And that is some collision. Unless we can develop and improve our characters and personalities, unless, with God's help, we are the master of our destiny, Christ should never have given the sermon on the Mount. "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven." It seems to be natural for little children to be selfish and greedy--anything but poor in spirit. Poverty of spirit must be acquired with effort.

St. Francis Xavier's youth had little in it to distinguish him from others. Yet he learned to live the beatitude of poverty of spirit to the extent of giving himself into slavery, that he might reach the China coast and Christianize the natives. St. Francis changed his whole way of life, his whole personality because he changed his whole attitude of life and program of activity.

Teachers certainly have been struck by evidences of personality growth and improvement. Many a little first year high school bunny wakes up and becomes a charming and personable lady ten years later.

When a girl is born into this life, her personality and character might be likened to a solid piece of gold of goblet shape and size. Thus, as a baby, the solid goblet cannot hold a single drop of the joy of living. Should the baby grow into childhood and womanhood with only physical development, this abnormality would eliminate the poor creature from normal participation in life. Without growth in intelligence and personality and character she would have to be cared for as a little baby all the days of her life. Her golden goblet remains solid and untouched as it was at birth. However, physical, mental and spiritual development usually goes on apace.

As the child begins to contribute consciously to the happiness of her parents by being affectionate and helpful, she begins to grind out her goblet. As she learns of God and her own purpose in existing, as she grows in the virtues and subdues the selfish instincts of childhood, real progress is apparent in the goblet. It now approaches the appearance of a hollow cup. During adolescence and full-blown womanhood the capacity of the goblet increases in direct relation to the development of her personality. Because she has grown in personality, her capacity for living has increased. Her golden goblet has become so delicate that it is almost translucent. Her cup is full to overflowing with the joy of life. And her greatest happiness comes from being able to share her cup of happiness with the man she loves, the husband of the desired wife.


Webster's Dictionary has this to say about patience. Patience is "uncomplaining endurance of wrongs or misfortunes." Patience "denotes self-possession, especially under suffering or provocation." It also suggests "quiet waiting for what is expected" or persistence in what has been begun. Forbearance, leniency, and sufferance are given as synonyms.

Patience is a quality of maturity. Little children are not noted for "uncomplaining endurance of wrongs." Mother would begin looking for the thermometer should she notice anything resembling "quiet waiting for what is expected." It takes a bit of living and dodging of the "slings and arrows of outrageous fortune," before people get enough sense to value patience.

Patience connotes a "self-possession, especially under suffering or provocation," and it brings to one a quiet confidence. The patient wife is master of her own soul. She, and not every imp to come flying into her mind, is in charge of her own fort. Since no one can be truly successful without patience, it should be expected that the possession of the virtue is a requisite for every desired wife. Indeed, no vocation or profession in life requires patience more than that of husband and wife. The first reason for this that they live in such proximity to each other. They rub elbows day in and day out. There is bound to be a little chafing here and there. Among saints there would be. Patience is the soothing oil preventing the irritations from becoming running sores.

Some years ago I was faced with the necessity of working up a talk on the ideal wife. Naturally, I was open for suggestions, particularly from a few ideal wives whose friendship I highly prize. One evening, as I visited the home of one of these friends. I mentioned the task with which I was confronted.

"Mary, if you had to give an hour talk on the ideal wife to high school seniors or to a woman's club, what would you discuss?"

Here was the voice of experience talking. I was not asking any air scout how to fly that Constellation. The senior pilot of the air lines was briefing me now. I was not asking any camp fire girl how to whip up that batter of soda biscuit mix. Grandma herself was looking over her glasses at me.

I think that it is of interest to point out here that, although she did not indicate that she considered patience the most important quality of the desired wife, she unhesitatingly suggested it first. Not only did she mention patience first, but she also explained what she meant by patience in the wife. Notice that the discussion deals with the patience required of the wife, not of the mother in her relations with her children. A woman is first the wife of her husband before she is the mother of his children. Later I hope to say a few words concerning the twofold role which the woman must play. At present I just want to make it clear that Mary is no rattle brain. She was on the ball and stayed there. She was explaining what she meant by the patience in the wife and her dealings with her husband.

Marriage is not a fifty-fifty proposition. (This of course, is Mary talking through my memory.) The wife who enters marriage with the misconception that it is has failure lurking just around the corner. Often she will think that she is giving her fifty per cent. As a matter of fact, it is only fifteen or twenty per cent. On many other occasions the husband unconsciously is demanding ninety per cent. The fifty per cent proffered falls miserably short. The result is two people at loggerheads. A fight begins and love takes a beating, if it is not turned out of doors.

The understanding, the sympathy, and the patience required for happy living cannot be measured out. The stupid expression "marriage is a fifty-fifty deal" implies yardsticks, tape measures, half cups, full tablespoons, and the like. Love has nothing to do with these things--will not be fenced in by them, for love partakes of the very limitlessness of God. A wife's parsimonious measuring out of her imagined fifty per cent produces many serious fights. She wins these fights too and loses her husband.

Let us illustrate the above by concrete examples. The wife was getting supper ready. John was fighting the traffic on his way home from work. She was humming softly as she busied herself contentedly about the kitchen. He was muttering loudly the red light blues. She felt fine. He was half sick and out of sorts. Things had not been going well at work. He was upset and unwittingly looking for a fight.

As he entered the house and gave Mary a little hug and kiss, she noticed that he looked tense and jumpy. A few minutes later she could hear him scolding one of the children. The storm warnings should have been flying by now. They had better steer clear of him tonight.

Before the family was called to the supper table, Mary had been fully on guard. Unless she was very mistaken her husband was going to demand much more than fifty per cent somewhere along the evening. So the measuring devices, the half cups and full tablespoons were behind her for this evening. The meal was already prepared. She would not use them on her husband. She would not measure out her patience and understanding. Her husband was definitely off color this evening. She would give him her all. No matter what he said, she would pass it off.

The supper got off to as good a start as could have been expected with the cloud hanging over the table. Soon one of the children massacred table etiquette in such manner as to cause Emily Post to wince. Before her husband could draw in sufficient breath to let out a blast at the culprit, she quickly took the wind out of his sail by firmly correcting the child. Before the dessert appeared, she took in her stride a caustic remark about the quality of the pot roast and a criticism leveled at her through one of her children.

Mary was nobody's dish rag. She had a lot of fire and spirit. She could have stood up to him that night, "let him have it," and have had a fight which she might have won, or, at least in which she would have held her own. But, did anyone ever win a fight of this kind?

This ideal wife had made up her mind to carry her husband through the evening, come what might. He was not himself. Tomorrow would be another day. If he had been physically sick in bed and needed her care, would she have given only fifty per cent? Of course not. She would have nursed and lavished upon him all the warmth of her nature. Well, he was sick that night--sick in mind and spirit. He needed her intelligent, loving and patient consideration. She would have considered herself a very shallow person to have reacted otherwise. She was in love with her husband that night too, unreasonable though he was.

A few weeks later the tables were turned. She was the one who was at wits end with herself. She started the day with a headache and things went from bad to worse. It was a rainy day, and for some unfathomable reason the school shut its doors on the children. They were under her feet all day. Often she had to act as referee in their squabbles. As the afternoon wore on toward supper time, she was becoming conditioned for more adult opposition.

An unsuspecting husband made his entry. He was back to his little castle in the suburb with roses round the door (metaphorically speaking) and babies on the floor (literally speaking).

During the meal Mary "blew her top" about something. Oh yes, the car did not start that afternoon. The battery or something must have been dead. Some junk! It was time they had a new car.

So it was a junk, was it? John could think of the days of work it had taken to buy that old bus a few years previous. It was still a good car. What did women know about cars anyway ? There ought to have been a law against women ever----. There is no future in this kind of thought, so John quickly banished the hideous little devil from his mind. Mary was worked up tonight. He would have to be cautious. Did he defend his car against his wife? John was a little too sharp for that. He jumped on the band wagon and lambasted the car too. Yes. we would have to do something about that nuisance. He felt like going out then and burning it up. He knew that by the time they got to the dishes, she would have forgotten all about the car.

Mary purred through the rest of the meal contentedly with that wonderful feeling that her husband was all for her. Together they stood against the whole world.

Suppose that John had been a little thick between the ears and that he took exceptions to her remarks about the car and defended the car against his wife. A fight would have ensued. Feelings would have been hurt. And there was danger that their tempers would have swept them on to the name calling stage. Once this has been reached, real harm frequently has been done to a marriage.

Mary finished her explanation of what she meant by patience by saying that she and her husband had never had a fight in the twelve years of married life. Then she added what I thought was the epitome of her whole conversation by saying that she and her husband did not intend to have any fights. This determination not to fight was indicative of their intelligence and maturity. Surely it was one of the factors contributing to the happy stability of their marriage.

This couple have had arguments and disagreements I believe that I have been in on a few warm ones. An argument is not a fight. People with minds of their own will not always see eye to eye on every phase of their daily lives. Viewpoints will vary and disagreements will result even as to whether or not junior should have a crew hair cut. But let us not make junior a ward of the divorce court because husband and wife cannot agree on the proper length of junior's hair. After all, it is not that important.

Arguments and disagreements degenerate into fights, when ill- feeling, name-calling and bitterness come into the picture. The ideal wife, fortified with the virtue of patience, sets her face against such loss of harmony. Whatever be the cost she wisely realizes that her effort at peace is worth the price.

No good comes from fights in married life. I have been asked whether it is not a good idea for husband and wife to have a fight once in a while. The air is thus cleared. The very young, theorizing about this, often add that it is so sweet when they make up. In connection with this question one inquirer quoted Bishop Fulton Sheen as saying that a couple never really know how much they love each other until they have made up after their first fight. Nothing was said about how many found out how little they loved each other and never made up.

It is very true that sometimes good comes out of evil. Yet, how insane it is to seek or even permit avoidable evil, on the chance some good might come of it. Fights among married people are evil things and bring untold misery into lives. So many broken marriages have come before me in which there was no third party, no drinking, no in-law trouble, no major difficulty. They just fought. So often people are less mature than their children, whom they have brought into the world to endure their bad tempers.

Fights begin between human beings because of pride. We have a will of our own. When we do not get our way pride suffers. Like children we want to fight the opposition to our will. So far we have no control of our reactions. We are made this way. If we are adults, however, we have learned by bitter experience that our pride is the surest destroyer of happiness and love. Unless we are psycho- masochists, we crush our insurgent pride and prevent ourselves the stupid and dubious pleasure of hurting the one who has stung our pride.

Once a fight has begun between man and wife it is clear that one or the other must win the struggle against pride. One or the other must curb the desire to win the empty victory. If the wife makes the first effort at reconciliation, her humility will make it difficult for the husband to nurse his pride. Pride cannot face up to humility. It is shamed out of existence.

Even when husband and wife make up completely after a fight, a fight is still unfortunate. Fights leave scars. The wound heals, but there ever remains a scar in the mind. I have had many estranged married people tell me that their partners did this or that to them twenty-five or thirty years ago. Happy years had intervened between the fight and the present estrangement. But they could not forget, even if they had forgiven.

The wife desired meditates deeply on the hatefulness of fighting. She has made up her mind to suffer anything rather than fight and thus wound her husband. Remember that there is always the danger that we begin to hate whom we hurt for the same reason that we begin to love whom we help.


Some years ago a questionnaire was published in the Religious Bulletin of the University of Notre Dame. It listed some fifty virtues, qualities of mind and body and accomplishments. The list included such virtues as purity, humility, and justice; such qualities of the mind as tolerance and humor, of the body as figure and beauty: such accomplishments as skill at tennis, swimming and music. Five hundred young men were asked to choose one virtue or quality or accomplishment which they would have above all others in their future wives.

Most of the choices were sensible and mature. However, out of five hundred young men we could expect some to be immature if not juvenile. I remember that one demanded of his future wife that she be an expert swimmer. He would have this above all else in his companion for life. He must have been an habitue of the swimming pool; perhaps he was on the swimming team. Evidently, he could visualize his wife swimming along through life by his side.

We should not be surprised that a dozen or two were not too serious or intelligent in their selections. You might not agree with the remaining choices. Although you might not decide on honesty, for example, yet you would probably hesitate in passing up this virtue.

Well over three hundred of these young men picked the virtue of purity. Instinctively young men realize that the virtue of purity is a prerequisite for marriage. The girl who lacks it is a bad risk for marriage, whatever else be her assets. No self-respecting young man will seek out for his wife a girl who has been pawed over by every Tom, Dick and Harry in the neighborhood.

A girl who develops the reputation for being "fast" with the boys will win dates from inconsequential young men. She will have what she thinks is a good time for a few years. But she is wasting her time as far as finding a good mate for life. The worthwhile young man looking for the girl to be his inspiration, his faithful companion, and the mother of his children, will pass her up; or, if he should unknowingly become acquainted with her, will on learning of her real worth, drop her like a hot potato. Allow me to say that this is not just theory. Remember the three hundred men at Notre Dame who chose purity in their future wives above all else.

Lest anyone need more convincing, it should be mentioned that authorities on family life are in agreement that violation of purity to the extent of sexual experience before marriage is a handicap for a future married life. No one says that the handicap cannot be overcome. Yet, it remains a handicap, and the girl who is preparing herself to be the ideal wife heeds the voice of experience and avoids this obstacle to future happiness.

These opinions are held by some with no religious convictions about purity. Some of them do not seem overly concerned about religion. Their experience in dealing with marriage problems tells them that lack of purity often wrecks a marriage. This is their observation, and it is honestly stated.

By nature a girl is strongly inclined to modesty. It becomes her and enhances her charm. "Depart not from a wise and good wife, whom thou hast gotten in the fear of the Lord, for the grace of her modesty is above gold." Eccu. VII, 21. A good home life, her religion, and her school promote this natural instinct and carry it along to the full-blown, delicate flower of purity. It is a drastic change in the life of a girl for her to abandon, even temporarily, the virtue of purity. The cause must be considerable. One great cause for loss of purity among girls of high school and college age is an inferiority complex.

Take Hattie for example. She was not a ravishing beauty. Yet, she was attractive enough; or at least she could have been if she worked along the correct lines. Hattie missed a prom or two. She was being passed over by the boys. Visions of her old maid aunt haunted her. Panic set in and she lost confidence in herself and in the future. She began throwing herself at the boys. The word got around. And it was not long before she was receiving the attention of several of the most odious young reprobates of her neighborhood. You may be sure that these characters who contributed to the destruction of a girl's virtue would not hesitate to ruin her reputation.

Hattie was now getting the attention which she craved. She now had dates, but she was a marked young lady. And time was quickly running out. Opportunities for a happy married life were growing dimmer with each succeeding "fast date." Remember the choice of the young men at Notre Dame?

It is obvious that Hattie's frantic efforts to have dates were her undoing. She lacked confidence in herself, the quiet confidence, which comes to the girl who is developing her personality. It is not necessarily true that the girl who has the most dates during high school years will catch the best husband in the shortest time. This is especially true if she compromises her purity in order to acquire these dates.

The young lady who abandons purity or allows it to become tarnished sells herself much too cheaply. She is not preparing herself to become the ideal wife. In fact, she is frittering away her chances of becoming a wife at all.

How stupid it is to think that purity will scare away young men. If a girl is a "wall flower," it is not because of her purity. It is in spite of it. Purity of itself attracts. The introvert has the makings of a "wall flower." While the introvert sits on the side lines, she has plenty of time to reflect. Often her reflections indicate a not overly generous soul. If she attributes her own lack of popularity to the virtue of purity, to what does she attribute the popularity of many of her acquaintances? She refuses or is too dull to see that it is their vivacity. They are interesting people and can have a good time and can promote fun for others.

"Ah! sweet mystery of life, at last I've found thee. Ah! I know at last the secret of it all . . . For 'tis love and love alone the world is seeking." No truer words were ever sung than these in the famous love song. The only excuse for our existence is the love of God. For this He made us, to love and be loved.

The virtue of purity is not an end in itself. It is the guardian of love. As we ascend toward God through His creatures, we are waylaid by a host of enemies. One of these is lust of the flesh. Its most subtle and overpowering assault is to masquerade as love. Purity guides us around this booby trap. The path it takes us over at times is stony. This is particularly true for young people who are seriously courting or are engaged.

To love a person is to wish him well, to hope for and plan for and work for his happiness with all your being. A real Christian wishes all mankind happiness and thereby fulfills the great precepts of Christ to love his neighbor. This love of neighbor, all embracing and including the little Pigmy in far off Africa and even our enemies, is a spiritual thing. It emanates from the soul, from the mind and the will.

We know that the opposite sexes were made by God to attract each other. This attraction in itself is not love, unless it includes the spiritual side of our nature. Many people physically attract each other even to the extent of marriage. Yet, many of them are not really in love. They do not seem capable of love. They are too self- centered. Love is just the opposite. It looks outside for self, forgets self. The marriage built on physical attraction alone will last just as long as the infatuation lasts, and this generally is not very long.

For a normal, happy marriage there should be both the spiritual and physical attraction between husband and wife. Ordinarily, love begins for a young girl when she becomes well enough acquainted with a young man to develop a spiritual affinity with him. She admires his qualities and abilities. She likes his attitude toward life in general. She begins to feel at ease, at home in his presence. Then other things begin to happen. A simple phone call brings a flutter to her heart. Her pulse quickens when he calls at her home. She has eyes for no one but him.

With reason she wonders whether she is in love. Her doubts will vanish when she reaches the point of growth in love where all her being reaches out for him in the effort to bring him happiness. Her own whims and desires fade into the background. His happiness is her only real concern.

Obviously, this early stage of love, undeveloped and untested by actual married life though it be, poses a real problem for engaged couples. Their spiritual love for each other readily flows over into the physical side of their nature. These emotions quickly enkindle the sexual impulses. Here the virtue of purity, the watch-dog of love, must come into play to steady the two lovers.

Champions are not made overnight. Long and tedious practice must precede real success. The daily exercise of purity over the years is required to build up the virtue or facility of purity. It will be a safeguard for these engaged couples when they need it most in times of emotional stress. Intelligent reflection in moments of calm will show them the foolishness of hasty desires and the danger to their love and respect for each other in stealing privileges from their future married lives. The period of engagement is a challenge to the sincerity of their love. It is a test of sacrifice and self denial, without which loves flies out the window. How often the nascent flower of love has been choked off by the rank weeds of impurity.

The sham and insincerity of pretending to be better than one is renders the hypocrite obnoxious to all. The failing is more common after middle age, when the tendency of hiding sins and blemishes of character grows. Young people are more likely to be the victims of another hypocrisy, the pretense of being worse than they actually are.

I saw so much of this when I was overseas with the Air Forces during the war. Many of the young fliers, half-way through their allotted missions, seemed to feel it necessary to impress the recent arrivals from the States as to how reckless they were with the female population of Paris. With divers winks and knowing looks these self-styled old reprobates (many were only nineteen or twenty) would have the young lambies believe that they had plumbed the depths of Pigalle from one end to the other.

I suppose that we should not begrudge the young blades the foible of parading as overwhelming lady killers. Yet, half of these fancied "wolves" would find themselves hard put later on in married life to fill the bill emotionally for all but the most feckless of wives. Obviously, only the very young would be taken in by this display of masculinity. But that is just the trouble. These hypocrites were dealing with the young. The hypocrisy of pretending to be better than reality hurts no one. The hypocrisy of pretending to be evil has led many a person into serious sin. The power of example is prodigious, and what a calamity it is when failures in the virtue of purity have followed such a will o' the wisp as the feigned example of the hypocrite.


With marriage a few mental adjustments must be made concerning the virtue of purity. To project virginal ideals of purity into married life is unfair to both her husband and to herself as well as harmful for a girl.

Marriage is an institution of God, in which two people cooperate with Him in the creation of the human race. God could have created all of us as He created Adam and Eve. He chose a more wondrous and mysterious way. Male and female were created and so constituted by God with faculties and propensities as to be able and want to reproduce themselves. Thus the function of sex is just as important as the continuation of the human race. God has placed an attraction for each other in the male and female. It is natural for this attraction to lead to love and marriage. The manifest purpose of marriage is, therefore, the begetting and rearing of children.

The obligations incumbent upon and the problems arising from marriage are limitless. To compensate for them God has attracted pleasure to sex, psychological as well as physical. The pleasure of sex is consequently no more an end in itself than is the pleasure of eating. God did not gives us stomachs and appetites for the sake of pleasure, although He did join pleasure to this function of self preservation.

Sex pleasure is God given and, therefore, to be gratefully accepted in the normal and natural relations of man and wife. Because so much of the sensuous world has gone mad in its misuse of sex, there is no reason for the Christian to be in the least ashamed of what God has graciously given. In this regard it is worth mentioning that in the early centuries of Christianity the Church had to condemn the heretical teaching that sex pleasure in itself was sinful and, therefore marriage was to be avoided.

Concerning the subject of sexual relations it should be indicated at the outset that it is utterly silly to imagine that the newly-weds should have a romantic and amorous technique at their finger tips. That will come only with time, with living together and having children, raising them and making a home. Their tender solicitude for each other through the years brings a maturity to their love that has nothing of staleness in it and everything of the refreshing newness of eternal things to come. Thus, any girl who is well disposed toward marriage should have confidence that she will sufficiently adjust herself to meet the requirements of the ideal wife, as far as sexual relations are concerned.

The ideal wife is a happy wife. She enjoys marriage. It is almost a maxim that in order to be successful at anything a person must be contented and happy in what she is doing. It is difficult to imagine a successful and ideal doctor who is miserable in the practice of medicine. No wife will be happy unless she is properly disposed toward marriage.

Two glasses of the same size are equally well disposed toward receiving the same amount of water if placed under a water faucet. If one glass is half filled with cement, then it will be only half disposed toward holding the same amount of water. Suppose a water tight cover of some type is fastened to the top of the glass. In this case the glass would not be disposed at all for fulfilling its purpose.

From all outward appearances two girls may approach marriage with equal chances of being successful wives. Both have average intelligence. Both are attractive physically and personality-wise. Yet, one may be poorly disposed. She may have some mental quirks or phobias about marriage which constitute a real obstacle to prevent the normal excitement and happiness of married life from flowing into her being. The wife who is not receiving the normal, natural enjoyment and satisfaction from her husband through her own fault will drift into some form of neurosis that will threaten the very stability of the union. At best she scarcely will be an ideal mate.

All too frequently wives bemoan the fact that they do not get any satisfaction out of marriage. Their husbands have all the enjoyment, they think. Husbands with this type of wife are not beside themselves in the enjoyment of marriage. Soon these women begin to feel that it is a man's world. They have all the joy. This is a dangerous attitude. Besides the judgment is not true. These wives will devise ways and means to even up the score. Most often an unhappy marriage, if not a broken one, is the result.

In dealing with failures in marriage I often find that many never did enjoy relations with their husbands. Very few knew of any physical reason. The great majority were laboring under some erroneous concept or vexed themselves and their husbands with some phobia or other, fear of conception and children, for example.

The ideal wife has enough common sense to realize that marriage relations are normal. God-designed expressions of love between man and wife. To experience a sense of shame or to imagine that the marital act is unlady-like is utterly ridiculous. The deep sense of purity and modesty of girlhood days must be adjusted to a new mode of life. She will have many opportunities to practice the virtue of purity in her married life.

Since marriage relations are holy acts in the sight of God, all activity of love making and caressing between husband and wife in preparation for the marital act is good, if the act is completed. Efforts at birth control are the only unnatural and sinful acts in connection with marriage relations.

The husband and wife who are motivated by love for each other and thus strive through their sexual relations to bring to the other happiness, pleasure, and contentment will receive as reward for their unselfishness the greatest measure of joy God gives to man and woman on this earth. The ideal wife thanks God that He gives her a capacity for sexual enjoyment. If she has a husband intelligent and good enough to promote during their married lives this capacity, she has additional reason to be grateful.

Another erroneous idea ill-disposing a young wife for happiness in marriage is the concept that it is never proper for her to be the aggressor in any emotional display. She must never appear to be eager. The husband is always supposed to be the Don Juan sweeping her off her feet with loving attentions. All the while she coolly and with great decorum maintains an affected, dispassionate front. With patronizing air she submits, for his sake only, to his caresses. Such women are fundamentally dishonest, not accepting the fact that they are human and in need of affection as well as their husbands.

I find it very discouraging to deal with these prim and prissy little wives so small that they could high jump under a dresser and possessing faces never once lit up with the ecstasy of love. This matter of affection is not a one-way street. The normal husband would like to see some signs of response to his efforts at affection toward his wife. If he seldom or never gets it, how can he be blamed if he wonders about his wife's love for him? Is he just her social security number?

The desired wife has a mischievous streak in her and can be even a little "naughty" with her husband. Some "dead pans" become so blase about their marriages that they never flirt with their husbands. They miss a lot of fun in life, and little wonder it is that their husbands wear a "hang dog" look.

Another erroneous concept with a copious history of disharmony in married life is the assumption on the part of the wife that the emotional needs and capacities of her husband and herself are equal. Seldom is this true. The difference of temperament, to say nothing of sex, often calls for sympathetic understanding on the part of the wife. The ideal wife is willing and able to adjust herself to the emotional needs and wants of her husband. For example, if she is of an affectionate and warm nature, she should realize that perhaps her husband simply is unable to keep up with her, much as he might want to. He is more limited by his nervous system from frequent and prolonged display of emotion.

Some wives spend too much time reading over romantic and even erotic novels. These dubious heroes are generally Casanovas and gigolos with no counterpart in the everyday world of successful husbands. The young wife who is disappointed because her husband does not measure up to these dreamworld standards of romantic endeavor must come down to earth. More often than not she fails to realize how well off she is to have the type of husband who is a good, sound, responsible man. Perhaps he is not the absolute ideal from the romantic viewpoint. The intelligent wife will see the favorable aspects in her husband's nature, and the clever wife will patiently and lovingly work for the gradual development of her husband that he come to better meet her emotional and sexual needs.

It is not surprising that young ladies of pre-marriage age imagine that any future husband of theirs will be expert at love making. This misconception could easily come from the observation of the aggressiveness and "know it all" attitude of young men. Actually both wife and husband will have much to learn together.

In this connection there comes to my memory the painful recollection of a young wife estranged from her husband. She was of good, God-fearing parents. She lacked nothing in her environment from a religious and educational standpoint. Her girlhood was virtuous and exemplary. Friends and relatives reasonably assumed for her a successful marriage. Presently her whereabouts are unknown. In shame she left all behind her after her infidelity. Although her husband was something of a knuckle head, fundamentally he was a "right guy." His last mistake before her disappearance was in excoriating her in the vilest language. In his lonely bitterness he began to see that he overreached himself. She was a vivacious young woman, strong in her feelings and in need of a real man for a husband. He was not very demonstrative, and I do not believe that he actually understood her hunger for affection. In any case he did not quite fill the bill.

The young wife experienced a growing sense of frustration for the first two years. Then during the last two years of their married lives she began to sulk. This later attitude put the finishing touches to their marriage. Instead of lovingly and patiently encouraging the development of her husband's love-making potential to complement the needs of her warm nature, she withdrew within herself in disappointment and resentment. Moreover there was little earnest effort on her part to adapt herself to her husband's emotional nature. Perhaps he never could have risen to the heights of the greatest romantic lover of all time. Yet, if she had helped him and had given him a chance, he could have brought happiness and stability into her life.

Offhand I cannot think of a single successful marriage in which there has not been mature, intelligent adjustments on the part of both husband and wife. Very few wives will find marriage exactly as they had visualized it. The actuality is always somewhat different from the story book picture or the girlhood dream. By this I do not mean that marriage is less than what was expected. It may turn out to be worlds more than what was looked for. In all cases it will be quite different.

Regarding the measure of happiness to be expected, a well-known ritual of marriage has this to say, "If true love and sacrifice guide your every action, you can expect the greatest measure of earthly happiness that may be allotted to man in this vale of tears."

Except in matters of principle and questions of right and wrong, the ideal wife is not going to hang on to her preconceived concepts of marriage. She will not try to put her husband into a mold, which she has built up from romantic novels read during girlhood. That plain, prosaic husband of hers is a much more real and interesting being than the fleshless, soulless figment of the imagination, to which she wants to cling. He has a spark of the divine waiting to be fanned into a flame of love. The soul of a human being with all its potentialities is not developed in a vacuum. Only through love does the human soul begin to really live. And love requires at least two beings. Only through concourse with his fellow man will love come into being in the soul of a husband. Who can play the role of this second party in the life of her husband better than the wife?

The ideal wife is in love with her husband. Therefore her whole nature reaches out to him in an effort to bring him happiness. Her joy in life can come only through success in making him happy and content. Because her first desire in life is for his well being, all her emotional and physical attentions to him are aimed at satisfying his needs. No one can arrive at happiness through oneself, through self-seeking. Thus the wife's display of emotion has as its object the comfort and the contentment of her husband. If this is her way of acting, she need not fear for herself. Only those who seek themselves need fear for themselves.

Those who seek first their own pleasure out of marriage and make the happiness of their partners only a possible by-product, so to say, are doomed to misery. It is an inexorable law of our lives that only through making others happy can we expect happiness. So many wives seem to want to learn this lesson the hard, bitter way.


No one is self-sufficient. We are dependent beings, dependent upon God as well as upon many of His creatures. Too frequently some wives worry themselves with the erroneous idea that dependency is a sign of weakness. The honest truth is always a position of strength. Dishonesty is always a position of weakness. And it certainly is just as dishonest for a wife to imagine that she is independent of her husband, as it is for him to think that he is independent of her.

As a married couple grow older and deeper in love, do they grow less dependent upon each other? How can you love and be loved without having someone beside yourself, outside of yourself, upon whom you are dependent?

The wife who struggles against this dependence upon her husband is a little crazy. Does she want to love and be loved? Then she will not achieve her desire without dependence. The ideal wife does not hide from her husband her realization of this dependence. She glories in it. If he is only half a man, she will have his love and affection to her heart's content.

When a man falls in love he gives up his freedom. No longer is he as carefree as the wind to go and come as he pleases. In a sense he becomes his wife's man Friday. His whole being gravitates toward and becomes bound to the object of his love. There are moments of alarm over the new situation. Strains of part of a song, "I'll never fall again," may run through his mind during wistful thinking of his past freedom. Yet, even if he could, he would never trade his new sweet servitude of love for the past emptiness of his life. When a woman falls in love, she likewise gives up her freedom. She too becomes dependent upon the object of her love. But God has made her more realistic. She has no misgiving about her lost freedom to be alone in the world.

Obviously a wife must rely upon her husband for many things, as for example, companionship and financial security. In this discussion we are limiting ourselves to consideration of interdependence of man and wife for their emotional and physical wants. A wife needs the physical manifestation of her husband's love for her. Too many wives realize this fact about themselves only after they have separated from their husbands and have burnt the bridges behind them.

"I'm sick and tired of marriage. It has been nothing but a headache. I'll never look at another man as long as I live. I have my two little children to live for. I'll be all right. Don't worry about me." I know this refrain by heart; I have heard it so often. After the lonely nights and days of two or three years they change the tune. They are interested in another man. They want a declaration of nullity for their first marriage. Because the validity of the marriage is incontestable many of these wives who did not want or need (they thought) one husband end up with two--the civil divorce courts and all their legalistic jargon to the contrary notwithstanding.


So far this chapter has concerned itself with erroneous ideas which can badly dispose a young wife for success in marriage. Some of these false ideas are simple misconceptions, which once recognized as such by the wife, cease to exist and cause trouble. Now consideration must be given to something more serious. It is the phobia or fear of conception and having children.

A phobia is a much more dangerous obstacle to good and proper living than a simple misconception. It is built up over the years and may spring from several sources. It is much more than just a matter of ignorance or misinformation. The will is involved as well as the intellect. So often the victim of a phobia supinely watches it grow and does not really desire to be rid of the mental disease.

A young husband comes to my mind who had a fear of darkness. He could not sleep without the light on. He was wholly a mama's little boy, brought up carefully by his possessive mother to be ever in need of her. As a child she was his comfort in the dark. When she left him alone in his room at night, she left a light to reassure him. Should he wake up at night without the light on, he would scream and bring mama running to his side.

You can imagine the run for her money which he gave his wife on this score. Why did he not snap out of it and act his age? I do not know. There were possibly a number of reasons. I suspect one reason was that he could punish his wife by retaining his phobia. At long last he felt that he was living with one over whom he could assert himself. She would have to adapt herself to him and his phobia. The little mama's boy was trying hard at playing the strong man.

No young wife will be cured of her phobia of child bearing just by reading the following pages. Perhaps some might prevent the psychosis from getting a hold on their lives by recognizing how it can jeopardize the happiness of their marriage. The victims of the phobia will be healed only by the effort of their own wills. They must want to get over their mental sickness. They must be willing to sacrifice the small comforts and imagined security of living within the confines of their phobia. They must learn by mental hygiene to concentrate upon the real joys of married life, joys which lie beyond the prison walls of their fear.

Some young ladies enter marriage with a fear of childbirth. Death from childbirth has become so rare that it merits no concern. The rare and abnormal cases are dwelt on. The average and normal births are ignored as of little news and gossip value. Whatever be the devious ways these girls build up the fear, they have a full- blown phobia of childbirth by the time they are physically and emotionally ready for marriage. They have about as much chance of happiness in marriage as a glassful of cement has of holding any water. They are not disposed for marriage. Their poor husbands are in for a rough ride.

Life is beset with uncertainties and dangers. Even breathing is dangerous. If you do it enough, long enough, it will kill you. Nothing is certain except death, and we know not how or when it will come. If these girls wish to nurse a phobia of death, let them concern themselves with the tens of thousands killed yearly in automobiles. Other thousands drown or are struck with lightning. If a person concentrates on all the possible ways she might be killed accidentally, she might easily end up cowering in the corner of her bedroom afraid to move.

Think of all the fun she would miss hiding from life. It would be her dismal lot never to see from an airplane the wild, blue yonder or the jeweled cities by night: never to experience the exhilaration of the open road: never to feel the salt spray in her face as the sail stiffens to the wind: never to know the joy of its inception and the mystery of its growth within her and the victory of motherhood as she cuddles the new little life to her breast. What does she know of life? Actually she is hardly alive. All that remains are the obsequies and the floral wreaths of disappointed friends.

Conception, childbirth, and young motherhood and all that goes with these experiences are the full life for a young woman. For these God has well prepared her by nature. It is as normal for her to have children as it is to breathe, and, from general observation, as healthful physically, psychologically, and spiritually. For this reason the young mother becomes more beautiful as she has children. Contrariwise, the light seems to fade out of her face as she prolongs the frustration of marriage without the normal consequence of children. I am so sure that this observation is founded on fact and is not wishful thinking, because in my youth, I confess, I expected the opposite; I was genuinely surprised to observe the real facts. Nature does not look upon pregnancy as a disease. The idea of pregnancy as a disease is the result of gyrations of a mind warped by the mental sickness of a phobia of childbirth.

In order to live well and enjoy life we must be casual about keeping it. The mountain climber who went about his activities biting his finger nails in fear would not be a very happy mountain climber. In fact he would not be a live mountain climber at all very long. The mountain climber knows that there is an element of risk in his life. Any woman knows that there is an element of risk in her life. She accepts the obvious and then goes about her business of accepting life, not denying it.

Few wives will admit that they have a phobia against childbirth. Instinctively they seem to realize that they would be comparable to a doctor or a nurse, who was nauseated by the sight of blood, to an electrician afraid of electricity. Thus most of these misfits in married life hide behind various smoke screens. Poor health is a common one. Various mysterious aches and pains are advanced as an excuse for not playing the role of the normal wife. Husbands are kept at a distance or are degraded into sinful birth controllers.

As a matter of fact, of course, many of these women are the healthiest characters in their neighborhood. Admittedly, some of these wives will develop some neurosis or other as the penalty for outraging nature and its normal demands on married people. But these conditions are the after affect of the phobia and not an excuse for it.

Few of us go through life without aches and pains, some of which may even be of a partially disabling nature. These nuisances are taken in stride by people of character. Indeed, frequently marriage and child bearing bring to a young woman a glow of health which she has never experienced previously.

Another attitude toward life which poorly disposes a young woman for happiness in marriage and for being an ideal wife is the selfish and worldly concern not to become too tied down by her family. She will measure out just so much of herself and no more. So after one or two children her husband notices a decided change. The old spontaneity of affection is gone. In its place there is a calculated aloofness, which has nothing of the saving qualities of coquettishness. She does not want any more children.

With eyes tilted toward heaven she gives out frequent evidence of being a modern day pelican. She is careful to make her husband realize what a slave she is. She has no time now at all to receive from or to give him any affection. Little Buster gets all the attention now. If Buster's father becomes, as well he might, a little apprehensive about this excessive care for his solitary offspring, and feels that she is developing a sissy and mama's boy, he is told that he is unreasonably jealous. He should be happy and grateful that she is such a wonderful mother. But the blackguard is not.

He is quite confused by all this, but at times he has a suspicion that she does not become the all-American mother simply because she has ceased to be his wife. These little ladies fool nobody, even though half their waking hours are an effort to do so. They are pitiful failures as wives.


Of late years a lot is heard of so called frigid women. I venture to say that frigidity is a fairly modern concept. I cannot recall meeting the expression in the literature of the past centuries. We are told now that a majority of women were made by God to be incapable of being ideal wives. They have no relish for marital relations. The whole business is obnoxious to them. They only suffer it with varying degrees of grace. According to the theory most women marry only out of curiosity and in quest of security. I humbly suggest that this is a lot of blabberdash, if it does not border on the blasphemous, to blame the Creator for such a monstrous situation.

God created the two sexes to propagate the human race. Between them He placed an attraction which would develop into real love during marriage. Their offspring are to be the fruit of their act of love. God is so interested in this union of husband and wife, that His Son, Jesus Christ, dignified it by making it a sacrament. It is a queer idea to maintain that most women are duped into marriage and a way of life for which by nature they are doomed to discomfort, unhappiness, and misery.

It is also real cynicism to say that women marry only out of curiosity and in quest for security. To say that they marry out of curiosity and for security is obviously true and not in the least startling.

All of us are "curious." God made us so. When I cease to want to know, may someone please bury me. Besides, who wants to be insecure? The human being yearns for the security which will ultimately come only with complete union with God in knowledge and love.

There are other reasons why women marry. Love is one. This love increases with married life. As the years go on there is growth in capacity of enjoyment and happiness in marriage. Have you ever noticed two elderly married people who have begun, it does seem, to look alike? It is normal for love to grow with the years, unless the wife allows the phobia of children and consequent self- induced frigidity to come into her life and rob her and her husband of the joy of living.

What I am trying to say is that God is not in the habit of making frigid women. Yet, no doubt, there are many frigid women. I know of too many instances of them and too many confused husbands wondering what happened to their wives several years after marriage. There was an expression among the old Romans to the effect that whom the gods would destroy they first make mad. It is utter madness for a married woman to bring on this condition of frigidity. When the madness of self-imposed frigidity enters her life, the destruction of her happiness is just around the corner.

There are, no doubt, a number of reasons why foolish and selfish women develop this coldness, so that, as many husbands have told me, they just want to play house. Incidentally, many of this type are good at playing house; they are good cooks and housekeepers. They seem to be trying to compensate. I shall give only a few reasons for this frigidity, which I have encountered many times in clear cut cases.

The wives of whom I am thinking were fundamentally dishonest. They were normal emotionally and really enjoyed marriage relations. Yet, they would neither admit nor give more than just a polite indication of pleasure to their husbands. During the very first months of their marriage they developed an unnatural attitude. They would put on a front of being entirely uninterested in relations. The husband must seek them. If their husbands behave themselves they will, with considerable show of heroism, consider their attentions.

This whole business becomes a sort of game with these wives. The wife's cooperation is essential. To get it the husband must pay the price in one form or another. She is studied in her reserve and careful to disclose a very minimum of pleasure. She feels that for doing this violence to her own nature, she is being more than compensated by the domination she gains over her husband. This mean person is not seeking her happiness through her husband, the only way she will have any in this life. She is justly rewarded for her selfishness by becoming a wizened and shriveled person.

A calculating coldness replaces the warmth of her nature, and in her there is no generosity. If she does not actually become a frigid person, she is doing a good job of masquerading as one. The end result is pretty much the same--a person in whom the light has gone out, unloving and unlovable.

Those who imagine that these frigid women should have become nuns know nothing of the life of the religious. The vocation to the sisterhood is founded on love and sacrifice. These frigid women, often so constituted by their own littleness of soul, know not the meaning of love and bear no resemblance to nuns.

The next group of frigid wives of whom I am thinking are married any time up to ten years or so. They had one, two, or three children. They were ideal and desired wives at first. Both husband and wife attest to happiness for the first years of their marriage. Now they are almost at the parting of the ways. What happened? Simply, the wife developed a fear of conception and children.

In her nightmares she would see a whole flock of children eating them out of house and home. Children were all over the place, under the dresser, on top of the refrigerator, looking out of the TV set, and chinning themselves from the chandelier. When they began flying in through the windows, she could stand it no longer and would wake up in a cold sweat.

She was a normal woman, loved her husband, and appreciated his love and affection. Then somewhere along the line after her first or second child was born she began to feel sorry for herself. She was being tied down too much. She could seldom get to an afternoon tea. Moreover, the children were putting a big dent in her budget. She started to dwell on the hard and difficult aspects of raising children. To have no more of them was the solution.

The old spontaneity of love and affection was gone. In its place came a calculated caution. She avoided marriage relations as much as possible. Her husband now was a source of anxiety. She avoided any show of affection and kept him at a safe distance.

She may not necessarily have been overly happy about this new turn of events, but she felt that she had no choice. She had her heart set on a new TV or car or fur coat. A child would upset the plan.

The husband was all for these things, but he felt that first things should come first. He knew that their real happiness would have to come from themselves: never could it come from TV, a new piano, or anything else.

When she began to fence herself in with the phobia of children, he saw the real fullness of their lives shrinking away. The growing frigidity of her demeanor frightened him. He pleaded with her and in desperation fought with her. With a heavy heart he had to realize that their love was not absolutely the first thing in her life. She had to choose between him and children and what she thought would be an easier life. It might be an easier life, but it is not a fuller and happier one.

Real, lasting happiness can come to a married couple only from themselves and their children and their sacrifice for each other and their offspring. Sooner or later TV sets, phonographs, and automobiles end up in the attic or the junk yard. And, by the way, that is about where a couple's happiness ends up, when they put their hearts on these things instead of on each other, letting come what may.


A person may have a sense of humor without being a professional humorist or comedienne. Relatively few are gifted to travel in this rarefied air. It is more difficult to write humor than scientific treatises. One obvious proof of this is that there are libraries full of scientific books while works of humor are few.

One person is able to appreciate or even be enthralled by a sunset. Another is able to put the sunset down on canvas and thus convey it to others. One can love music. Another can create it. The second person is an artist. It takes special talents, the right environment, and application to bring about an artist. Comparatively speaking, real artists are rare. Although we could use more of them, yet life would become unbearable if all people became artists. God keeps a balance in nature. All birds cannot be singing canaries, and we are happy for it.

Not many wives can be humorists or comediennes. Again, for this we can be grateful. But wives can have a sense of humor. They can have the fine perception of seeing things in their true perspective.

A sense of humor is the faculty of being able to see through things, to see the real worth of things. It could be called a sense of equilibrium. Not being lopsided herself the woman with a sense of humor can detect the lopsided. Because her vision is in focus, she can see and enjoy the incongruous.

A flower or a sunset is a reflection of a spark, so to speak, of God. But these beautiful things are not a part of God: so, a sense of humor keeps even the artist from going daffy over flowers and sunsets and becoming a Pantheist. The wife may feel strongly about flowers and sunsets, but she doesn't lose her sense of balance and become too serious about them.

The most serious thing in life is sin. Food, drink, and gold are just materials to keep us alive, means whereby we work out our eternal destiny. They exist for us. When we begin to exist for them and become gluttons and misers, we sin. We lose our sense of humor. Our ability to see through things, our sense of humor, prevents us from getting too serious over gold, roast beef, and martinis.

A sense of humor might be likened to a sort of casual sense of balance. It is mental relaxation. The bane of all athletes is to "tighten up." to get too serious over hitting home runs, high diving, and so forth. As soon as a golfer or bowler "tightens up," she is off her best form. A person without a sense of humor has a sort of mental "charley-horse." She "tightens up" mentally to the extent that her brain becomes sort of lame, unable to see things in their proper perspective.

Many years ago an effort was made to involve me as referee in a sort of neighborhood civil war. Little junior, let us call him Willie Baxter, was three years old and full of lemonade one day. He wandered two doors down the street under the window of an aged spinster. With a reputation of being a neighborhood crab she lived alone on the second floor of her two-flat building. She had had her eye on Willie before he began to poach on her property. As he began to pick flowers under her window, she was all ready for this affront with a pail of water. Willie was not too sure what happened, but his instincts told him that it was time to high tail it for home.

Before he could reach home base, the defender of public morals and private property had Willie's mother on the telephone blessing her out. Willie arrived looking as if he had just swum the Channel. His appearance spurred mother on to a more direct contact with the assailant of her child. She ended up a few safe yards from the spot of Willie's dastardly act and entered a screaming contest with the old lady.

By this time the old retired fireman on the first floor came to life from a nap. Thinking that the building surely was on fire, he rushed out the side door with a pail of water. Misinterpreting the designs of the erstwhile firefighter, the young mother beat a hasty retreat to her home. She felt that at least one of the Baxters should keep her powder dry. In the meantime Willie had pretty much become used to his soggy breeches and was having another glass of lemonade. Mother could carry on and finish the feud. Willie felt that he had done his bit in starting it.

Willie's mother lacked a sense of humor or at least lost it momentarily. Instead of sitting down and having a good laugh over the lesson, which her little Willie had learned the easy way, she lost her sense of perspective and ruined her disposition for the rest of the day. Unwittingly, of course, she provided high comedy for the neighbors. The world is full of unremunerated comediennes.

Willie's mother went so far as to attempt to enlist her husband's support in feuding with the old lady. I am afraid that she even tried to nag him into "putting in his two cents." He, however, seemed to know that the poor old lady was a character and that little Willie received no mortal hurt. In fact, I would not be surprised if he did not have to force back a few chuckles over the episode in the bringing up of Willie.

Anyone can understand that her mother's instincts might carry her away at first. A sense of humor would bring back balance as the hours passed. She would begin to see the humorous side of the episode and bear no resentment against the spinster. She would have been spared the nuisance of contending for hours and days with revengeful thoughts.

If people are fortunate to be able to recover their mental equilibrium through a sense of humor, twice blessed are those who can see the humor of situations as they are developing. These wonderful people are a joy to themselves as well as to all who are privileged to know them. A young woman who possesses this crown of spiritual growth is a pearl of great price.

If it is dangerous to get too serious over roast beef or gold or martinis, it is fatal to get too serious over oneself. The devil certainly lacked a sense of humor when he vaunted himself in the face of God. He took himself just a little bit too seriously and laughter went out of his life forever. The light bearer before the God of life became the demon of the shadows of death.

Life is not a stage for buffoons. It is deadly serious. We walk a tight rope between heaven and hell. Of ourselves we can never make it. As long as we keep our faces turned up to God and our hands in His, we shall not lose our nerve and fall. Only those fall who think themselves to stand by their own merits.


Since humility is the foundation for all virtue, it is not surprising that it is the requisite for a sense of humor. Humility is the proper and correct appraisal of ourselves. We are the creatures of God. Of ourselves we are nothing. Whatever we are or have is from Him and His. Because we are able to see ourselves in proper perspective, we are able to laugh at ourselves as well as at others. Our foibles and fancies and past blunders are a source of amusement to ourselves as well as to others. We are not completely unremunerated comediennes.

I have never forgotten the scene of a small boy crying with a banana in his mouth and a loaf of bread under his arm. Too many of us go through life in this comic fashion, sad-eyed-Sams with God's blessing all about us. On the other hand many wonderful people keep their cheerfulness with one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel. If sick people can remain cheerful, how ashamed the rest of us should feel for being wet blankets.

The real difference between a gloomy Gerty and a cheerful person is that the latter is tuned into the harmony of God's never ending and always new symphony. The gloomy Gerty is out of tune and full of static, a nuisance to herself and to all within earshot.

We must admit that there is an undertone of tragedy to real humor, as is evidenced in the works of Dickens. However, a sense of humor is productive of a cheerful attitude toward life.

The living are more attractive than the dead. The interested wife is interesting because she is animated to the joy of living. Gayety appeals to all. The gay wife is a pleasure to her husband. She is a pearl of great price.

The wife who has a sense of humor will make a much more stable wife as well as a much more lovable and desired one. She is safeguarded against many repelling characteristics. Conceit and a sense of humor do not get along together very well. Adolph Hitler was not famous for a sense of humor, nor are any of the other tyrants, who plague the world.

Some people are perfectionists. They want to do things perfectly all the time. Because of their aim they are in a dither with themselves and others too frequently. A wife who is a perfectionist must watch herself. Unless she be on guard, she can easily commit one of the mortal sins of marriage by nagging her husband. A sense of humor will temper this tendency and save her from becoming a veritable shrew.

Possessing a sense of humor the wife is prevented from getting too excited over the idiosyncrasies of her husband. She can see the amusing side of things and thus is saved from many heartaches. Besides, because she is humble, she is less sensitive. Consequently, it is hard for anyone to hurt her. She will have little temptation to go around brooding over real or imagined slights. For the give and take of every day life with her husband she is well equipped.


The wife desired is the companion of her husband. Hand in hand they walk through life sharing their joys and sorrows. Together they stand against the world. They have secrets shared with no one else. Their union goes beyond that of friendship, for in it are found the little intimacies of lovers. Together they meet life fortified with each other. Their hearts leap for gladness in the merry month of May of their lives. In the grey December their sorrows are softened with the comfort of carrying each other's burden. No pain can equal the pain of the loss of each other. Their loneliness when death takes the other has no counterpart in this vale of tears.

Marriage is a partnership in the business of living. Just as most phases of life are specialized, so marriage itself is specialized. To the husband fall certain obligations, to the wife others. He must bring home the bacon. She upholds her end of the bargain by being the queen of the home. "As the sun when it rises upon the world in the high places of God. so is the beauty of a good wife for the ornament of her house." Ecclus. 26, 21.

In this chapter we consider a number of aspects of married life which may seem to have little or no reference to companionship. A girl contemplating marriage and especially the phase of companionship which it brings may wonder what sewing, cooking, and housework can have to do with companionship. The answer in a nutshell is that, unless the wife takes care of her end of the bargain, there will be little companionship.

If the husband is irresponsible and does not support the family, how can there be the normal companionship of marriage? Likewise, if the wife is remiss in the specialized chores which are her lot in life, she will make a very poor companion. In other words, the husband's support of the home and the wife's cooking and housework are the basis upon which it is possible for them to build a companionship without which marriage is a bleak affair. As we have already said, marriage is a partnership, and companionship is the reward beyond reckoning for those who accomplish the duties befalling them as partners in a glorious enterprise.

Suppose that a young lady married a man unequipped for and irresponsible about his obligations. After a few days of honeymoon--he did not have the cash for a more extended one-- they returned to live with her parents. He had a few more days of freedom, she understood, before getting back to his job. The first day or two passed well enough: but then she became worried. As she busied herself about the house under mother's watchful eye, her man seemed unconcerned about the future. As the days went by, his naps on the davenport became more frequent and prolonged. She could not hide her anxiety any longer, so she asked him whether he was going back to his job soon. "What job?" he frowned up at her. It did not seem that he had a job at the time, but, like Micawber, he felt that one might turn up soon.

To be sure, a wife in this position would be in for a very difficult marriage. I have seen very many men of this type--lazy, selfish, irresponsible, and as well prepared for marriage as a jackrabbit. Occasionally, he will be a very likable individual. He is good natured and easy going and dances like a gigolo--a wonderful fellow with whom to pass a holiday at the lake, but not a man to settle down within the partnership of marriage.

Let us return to the wife. After all, she is our wonderful subject. Again we can imagine the opposite case in which the wife was delinquent. The husband was a fine, responsible young man. He was industrious and had saved money for his marriage. In fact, he had bought a home albeit with a fat mortgage. After ten days of honeymooning they returned to their little home. He had several more days vacation before returning to work. It was summer, and they were going to make the most of it at the beach. The wife suggested the first day that, instead of wasting time in the kitchen, they have a sandwich and milk shake on their way. They could thus have more time at the beach. The husband thought it was a good idea.

On the way home in the middle of the afternoon the wife mentioned that Aunt Susie wanted them over for dinner that night. Remember Aunt Susie? She went all out for us in the generosity of her wedding present. Splendid. Aunt Susie's it was.

The next day and the next it was the same story--clever maneuvering away from the kitchen. By now the husband wondered why he did not save construction costs on the home by eliminating the kitchen This poor little wife could just about manage to boil water. She had never cooked a thing in her life and did not evidence any concern for the future.

Although these two imaginary cases are extreme, do not think that they are out of this world. One would think that a girl would pride herself on being able to cook, to sew, and to keep house. Sometimes an over efficient and fussy mother keeps her daughter from having a chance to learn these things. More often her inefficiency indicates an indolent and even selfish girl. She prefers to let her mother spoil her by waiting on her hand and foot, while she ensconces herself on a sofa with a book and bonbons. Of course, many of these girls rise to the occasion with their marriage and learn to be efficient wives in respect to the home. The love of her husband and children does the trick. The worst offenders in this important phase of marriage are those who stagnate after marriage and lose interest in their homes.

One instance comes to mind in which the husband would come home from work and wash several days dishes and tidy up the kitchen. He had hoped to shame his wife into a realization of her position. She merely laughed at him. She was slovenly in the care of her child. When she got around to changing the baby's diaper, she was more than likely to throw it into a corner to remain there for some distant future reference. This woman did little more than visit her girl friends all afternoon and gossip with them. She flounced into the home a few minutes before her husband's return from work. Her preparation of dinner consisted of opening a can of beans, unwrapping some cold cuts, and placing on the table a loaf of chaff and straw dust commonly called bread by a generation unfamiliar with the joys of eating homemade bread. Had this woman married another Okie it is possible that they could have been happy. Not many people can live in a pigsty like this and be contented.


The following story may serve to introduce a lighter vein in this discussion of the art of cooking. A young wife was determined to satiate her husband with waffles better than his mother ever thought of preparing. She had never before attempted to make waffles, so she proceeded gingerly with the recipe in one hand, the iron newly bought in the other and faith in her heart. Thus and thus went the directions on the iron ending with a caution. "Throw away the first waffle." As the years went on she hewed to the line. This flipping away of the first waffle of every batch was mysterious, but there it was in black and white on the directions.

The ideal wife takes pride in her cooking. Her sensibility to what is right and decent prevents her from massacring good food bought with her husband's hard earned money. Many people make an enjoyable hobby out of cooking. So it certainly is within the realm of possibility that the average wife can become sufficiently interested in one of her obligations to do a passable job. If she can read, she can learn to cook. There are such things as cook books.

The old saying that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach is still true for a number of reasons. Anybody who knows a thing about human nature knows that the time to seek a favor from or to put over a deal with a fellow human being is immediately after a fine dinner. His sales resistance is then at lowest ebb. In this defenseless condition he will agree to his wife's silliest notions. Literally he is eating out of her hand now. The ideal wife does not miss these opportunities. She is not a heartless schemer but she is intelligent enough to accomplish things the easy way with less wear and tear on herself and her husband. Moreover, the wife who does right by her family in the matter of cooking will learn the esteem of her husband. He will be proud of her and love her all the more for her interest in his behalf.


Concerning the ability of the wife to sew there comes to mind the beautiful picture of a young bride at whose marriage I recently assisted. I would never be able to remember her wedding gown except for the fact that her husband proudly told me at the reception that his wife made the gown herself. Would that all young ladies looking ahead to marriage could have seen the stars in that young man's eyes as he spoke of his bride's accomplishment.

As the years of marriage roll by, her knowledge of sewing will stand her in good stead. It does for another young wife and mother of whom I am thinking. Finding herself in very moderate financial circumstances with three little children to care for, she easily could have resigned herself to a wardrobe growing more shabby and bleak with the years. Not Mary. She is approaching thirty, and she knows how to wear clothes. Furthermore, she knows how to make them. Through her nimble fingers the best and latest creations of the designers come quickly into being. To her comes the satisfaction only creation can bring. To her husband comes the delight only his smartly dressed wife can bring. Within her meager budget for clothes she is the envy of her circle of girl friends.

Then there is the run of the mill sewing for the family--mending of the children's clothes, stitching, patching, and refurbishing of hand-me-downs. A tear in Bobbie's breeches is like the sounding of a tocsin. Out comes the needle. The rip is mended in quick order, and Bobbie's dignity is restored.

Life is made up of little things. In doing them well we live the good life. If we ignore or become bored with these little things and wait for something big to come along, our ship will never come in. Life will pass us by.

About eighty per cent of marriage is the daily task of cooking, dishes, laundry and shopping, and caring for the children. Unless these tasks, humdrum in themselves, be sublimated by love of husband and children, life becomes a lackluster affair. The ironing of a shirt for her husband can be an act of love or merely a drab job to keep the wife from her own enjoyments of reading and friends.

To keep house well takes intelligence, initiative, and spirit. The ideal wife puts her mind and heart into her specialized work. However, she keeps clear in her mind that she is not her husband's housekeeper: nor does she ever let him think so. Within their financial means she should be ready and willing to get away from the house and the children and be alone with him. A husband can be remiss in this respect more easily than the wife. He may fail to realize the monotony of her daily housework. He has been away all day. After dinner he is content to play with the children, put them to bed, and spend a quiet evening at home. This will be the normal happy routine of life. But the wife needs an occasional release from her tight schedule.

A certain wife seldom wears perfume. When she does, it is the signal for the man of the house to spring into action. She wants out. Her husband sometimes has a severe cold in the head and cannot smell a thing, but, because she keeps her requests within reason, he generally rises to the occasion and waltzes her out of the house to dinner, to a movie, or to the home of friends.

There are many little tricks along with the use of common sense in the clever head of the ideal wife to prevent home life from becoming too monotonous for herself and her husband. Situations will vary. Yet there are some old and tried bits of advice no wife seeking success will ignore. One is to "pretty up" before the husband comes home from work. No one expects a wife to go about her housework looking like a fashion model; nor does she have to go to any silly extreme in the evening. However, if she is wise, she will stop working before he comes home. She will relax, perhaps have a cigarette, freshen up, and slip into a fresh house dress. She will make herself attractive because her husband is going to sit down to dinner with his wife, not his housekeeper. She may say that it is not necessary in her case; her husband does not work at an office with pretty secretaries about. There is no chance of his making any invidious, mental comparisons. He is a plumber, or he does outside work of some sort. His occupation makes no difference. If she is wise, she will get out of her scrub clothes before he comes home.

In the second half of this chapter I shall consider a few of the most common dangers to companionship of man and wife. Since the husband can be at least as guilty, if not more so, of allowing attachments of one sort or another to come between himself and his wife, it is necessary once more to repeat that we are concerned only with the ideal wife.


The late W. C. Fields of the stage and movie used to enjoy repeating that you can never cheat an honest person. He knew whereof he spoke. Confidence games take in only the avaricious, who are willing to lean over the line of honesty. There is a close parallel to the statement that you cannot trust a suspicious person. Fundamentally, a suspicious woman is a cynic who believes that all human conduct is directed wholly by self-interest or self- indulgence. Insecure in this cold, evil world, she must protect herself. She trusts no one. All must prove themselves innocent, else they are guilty.

There is something in her of the hypocrisy of Diogenes, shuffling along with a lantern looking for an honest man. He was blinded by his own light and not very honest. In his most desperate moment of loneliness no one should ever trust a suspicious woman with any confidence.

The suspicious being is a petty, beetle-browed parody of a son of God. The suspicious wife is obnoxious to all, and it is little wonder, seeing what mental company she keeps. Satan, ever ready to whisper into her ear a choice little morsel of gossip, suspicion, or rash judgment, is her boon companion. Suspecting sin of others, especially her husband, she herself drones through life in sin. It is a sin of injustice to suspect another of wrong doing, to put evil motives into the minds of others.

Most suspicious wives fall into a definite pattern. Suspecting their husbands of infidelity, they them selves are unfaithful to the trust and confidence out of which grows real companionship. The suspicious wife generally informs the whole neighborhood of her husband's imagined infidelity. Relatives are dragged into the sorry picture. She makes a nuisance of herself even where he works by continually checking on him over the phone or by waiting for him at his place of business. He becomes the butt of nasty jokes from his fellow workers. He is suspected of irresponsibility by his employers. If he is not released from his position, at least he is considered a poor risk for any advancement.

Often the suspicious wife makes a liar of her husband. In order to allay her apprehensions over some trivial matter, he takes what he foolishly thinks is the easy way out. He lies. One lie usually demands another. Sooner or later the truth will out.

Once she has caught her husband in a lie, the suspicious wife goes to work on him with the eagerness of a bloodhound on the scent. An innocent highball with the boss on the way home from work might be misconstrued by the little woman so he fabricates some excuse for being a half hour late for dinner. On finding the truth later she belabors him with it. He is perpetually in a turmoil whether a truth or a falsehood will stir up her suspicions. For him it is either the frying pan or the fire. His silence is construed as guilt, and his protestations of fidelity are its proof. In this connection the sad picture of a husband comes to memory. After telling his story of a suspicious wife and his gradual alienation, he sat in silence for a few moments and then said, "A ghost woman ruined our marriage."

The short and the long of the matter is that these women are capable of very little love. Love brings trust and confidence upon which companionship can be built. Most of these suspicious women complain of the lack of companionship with their husbands. They do not stay home in the evening. They never have any holidays together. Their conversation is meager. These wives do not seem to be able to see that they are driving their husbands away from them--even at times into the infidelity of which they are suspicious.

The wife desired is in love with her husband, and therefore she has absolute trust in him. Because she is a practical woman, she knows that there is no other possible course. She realizes that her husband carries with him the weakness of humankind. So she is poised more in readiness to forgive than to drive herself into mental illness by constantly fretting about the possibilities.

She is only human, so the devil will use sundry situations to drop suspicions into her mind. He will play on her imagination. She wisely pounces upon these dirty offerings at the first consciousness of them and flings them from her mind. In this action she recalls the wisdom of the ancients--obsta principiis, resist beginnings. An evil suspicion willingly harbored in her mind quickly sends out roots to sap the very life blood of her love. The longer it is nursed the more difficult will be the extraction. She knows this and tosses the devil's garbage back at once. The tranquillity of her soul is not to be whipped into turmoil so easily.

Jealousy and her twin sister, Envy, have spawned more mischief upon this world than is generally realized. These are the vices with which the devil is most tormented. Little wonder it is, then, that he takes particular delight in seeing jealousy or envy bring about the moral downfall and consequent misery of a human being. These vices have a frightful history of human tragedy strewn in their wake stretching back from the latest divorce to the murder of Abel.

It is hard to imagine a vice less rewarding to its victim than jealousy. Conceivably, the robber derives some enjoyment from her spoils, the adulteress from her passion, the deceiver from her deception. Jealousy produces nothing but sadness and grief. A jealous wife makes me think of the picture of a wounded snake biting itself.

If it were not for the tragedy of broken marriages arising from jealousy, the situations springing therefrom often would be comic. One wife complained one day that her husband gave his affection to everybody but her. At a wedding reception she saw him kissing his cousins. He explained that there was nothing to it. Simply they were kissing cousins. She made a searching study of the propensities of his side of the family and proclaimed that his cousins were not kissing cousins.

A jealous wife watches her husband like a hawk. He had better not show any affection even to his sister, or he will be in hot water. A momentary, furtive glance at a beautiful woman always alarms and makes her uneasy. Because a jealous wife is an unhappy wife she contributes no happiness to a marriage. From jealousy it is one fast, easy step to suspicion and all its incumbent evils.

A wife striving to be desired by her husband will be ever on guard against jealousy. It is a petty sin in the sense of its meanness, not in its consequences. Lest some feel that the language concerning suspicion and jealousy has been too severe, harken to the words of Scripture. "With a jealous woman is a scourge--he that hath hold of her, is as he that taketh hold of a scorpion." Ecclus. XXVI, 9, 10.

Once a friend gave a bit of sage advice concerning friendship and companionship for those on long vacations with a group of friends. He advised going off by oneself for a day. A week or ten days of constant companionship begins to wear. After having spent the day alone, one will come running back to one's friends and be happy to be with them again.

The wise wife will realize that it is good for the husband to have an evening out once in a while to attend some club or lodge, or to bowl. She will not want to keep him under her eye constantly. She should be free likewise, of course, to get out by herself and visit her girl friends. No hard and fast rules can be given for guidance on a question like this. Yet the principle must be recognized that deep and lasting companionship does not suffer from occasional, brief separation.

Some silly wives begin to pout, if the husband ever ventures out for an evening. By their childish and short-sighted attitudes, sometimes even clouded with suspicion, they become less desirable companions. Little wonder it is then that the husband starts to wander off more than he should. The ideal wife will be successful in some phases of companionship in the same proportion as she is successful in developing her personality.


It has been said somewhat captiously that a person can choose her friends but not her relatives. Marriage brings with it a new group of relatives for better or for worse. A few thoughts may be beneficial on how these new found relatives can work out for "better."

There is no question that the problem of in-laws has earned for itself a very high rating among the causes of broken marriages. One need not be occupied in the work of counseling to be aware of this fact. The problem will vary in magnitude for each marriage. Fortunately, for many, the problem will be of such small consequence as to be of little concern. After all, it is expected that every human relationship will give rise on occasions to the need of patient understanding. Between the best of friends there will be times when one will have to exercise resignation to the whims of the other.

It is most important that the ideal wife develop by the time of her marriage the attitude that there need be no conflict with her in- laws. Too many women acquire a real in-law complex even before they are married. They are determined that they are going to have difficulties with their husband's relations. You may be sure that these people realize their expectations.

Let us suppose that her husband has a very normal mother. The wife cannot expect the mother to drop dead because she married her son. His mother still loves him and wants him to be happy. She does not know her daughter-in-law too well. It is going to take time for the mother to learn to relax in her presence and give her confidence. Unless the wife realizes this, she may misinterpret this initial uneasiness on the mother's part as suspicion of her or latent antagonism.

In-laws can be a great asset to a young wife. It is normal for grandparents to love and dote on their grandchildren. Financial help can come from them indirectly in the form of toys, gifts, and clothes for the children. As long as these things are given with no "riders" attached, and as long as they do not "move in" and try to take over, their help can be accepted graciously. They are often a great help in times of sickness and other crises. Besides, they are good, dependable baby-sitters.

More than a girl perhaps realizes, she gets out of life just what she expects. If she expects opposition from her mother-in-law, the chances are high that she will get it. Why should she look for trouble? Let her cross bridges when she comes to them. Let her realize that her mother-in-law and her husband's relations are fundamentally his concern and possible problem. If he is half the man she married, he will handle any possible situation arising from that quarter.

It should be apparent that courtship and its problems do not fall within the scope of this chapter. Yet I feel that I must warn any young woman not to marry a boy who is still tied to his mother's apron strings. No matter what are his assets--wealth social position, or good looks, she should flee from him as she would flee from a plague.

If a woman finds herself practically married to a possessive mother-in-law, then she must marshal all the forces of her soul for the conflict. She will need the character and heroism of the saints. My hat is off to the young wife who has been successful in aiding her husband to mature. The experience gained will stand by her in the raising of her own children. Some men are still little boys at the time of their marriage, in spite of all the outward bluster of manhood. Incidentally, all the "hoopla" in connection with Mother's Day notwithstanding, many a son has been ruined for life by a possessive mother.

Recently I talked with a young husband who was deeply attached to his mother. She was at fault in almost wrecking her son's marriage. In this case mother insisted on doing his laundry. Like a dutiful little boy he marched over to mother every week with his little package. If some one could have slipped up behind him and elevated him from the sidewalk with a strong foot vigorously applied in the right spot, he might have come to his senses. His wife was not capable of doing this, nor did she have a big brother noted for any football punting prowess. Her attack had to be more subtle.

Carefully she saw to it that no batch of laundry was carried over to mother without one or two nice big lipstick smears. It was not long until these smears began to annoy mother. Somebody else was kissing her own little boy. With all her petty soul she wanted him just for herself.

As the weeks wore into months, the wife continued her little game. With a sparkle of triumph in her eyes this ideal wife told me how this nonsense with the laundry stopped one day. Of what happened she still was not certain. Supposedly mother pushed him too far one evening. Apparently they had a fight. The little husband began to grow up. There was more to the story of how this wonderful wife helped her husband mature into manhood and thus save his marriage. It was not as easy as might appear from the story of the laundry.

This case of a wife dealing successfully with perhaps the most difficult problem of marriage is presented because very many wives give up in the face of possessive mothers-in-law. Admittedly it is primarily the husband's problem. He should solve it. Indeed, he should have solved it long before marriage, but he did not. What a wonderful tribute to her that she possessed the personality and character to bring success out of what generally leads to the divorce courts. Their companionship now can weather any storm the years might bring. Through her leadership in their victory, mutual esteem and appreciation of each other presaged many happy years of loving companionship.

While a good wife may be unable to deal successfully with an in- law problem, there is no excuse for failure to handle her own blood relations. With them she is on familiar ground. She knows the personalities with which she must deal occasionally.

The ideal wife remembers the words of Scripture that she and her husband are to cling together as one. If it is necessary, she will resist the inroads of her relatives. First of all, she has enough sense to keep her husband's confidences and never talk them over with her mother. There may be a great temptation to run to mother for comfort and advice if she has a spat with her husband. To mother she pours out the sorrows of her poor, wounded soul. Mother, be she ever so good, will find it difficult not to give in to black thoughts of revenge against the beast who has hurt her own flesh and blood. At the very least it will be more difficult for her mother to be natural and easy in the presence of her daughter's husband.

The small consolations she may receive from confiding in mother are more likely to be far outweighed by future grief so deservedly earned. There is entirely too much of this running to mother with petty problems. Perhaps mother is a sensible person and wants to stay out of her daughter's affairs. Then why keep tempting her to interfere? The immature wife who acts this way is asking for trouble. Generally she gets more than she ever expected.

Too many young couples have begun their marriage by living with relatives. Although few are crazy enough to want this arrangement, yet too many feel that it is necessary. A housing shortage and poor finances are the common reasons given. It has almost never worked out and never to complete satisfaction. Two families cannot live happily and comfortably in the same house or apartment. The first year or so is very important to marriage. It is most difficult to get off to a good start under this abnormal and awkward situation. Everybody steps on everybody's else's feet. Irritations are bound to appear. Nerves become frayed. Words are said and feelings hurt. Moreover, it is rather difficult for the husband to make love to his wife with "Pop" grinning behind his newspaper and "Sis" giggling in the next room.

Whatever financial advantages may be had from doubling up with parents, it is not worth the price. This is not theory. I am sure that all married couples, who have survived a situation like this, will shout assent on reading this.

An over ambitious wife may fall into the mistake of coaxing her husband into living with her parents. She might think that they will save money more quickly. She should realize that she is doing the thing most likely to sap whatever "get up" her husband may have about him. There is danger that his ambition to get somewhere in the world will ebb away. Others are calling the tune all the time. Let them worry about responsibility. All this rationalizing brings him little peace of mind. He knows that he is in a mess, and the only way that he can solve it is by getting out on his own. The wife who resists his effort to break away does not know where her happiness lies.

Furthermore, this living with the in-laws is not always very economical. To escape the scrutiny of all eyes the young couple find themselves going out more and more evenings. This can be expensive.

In closing the discussion on living with parents it should be sufficient to say that all counselors on marriage advise young couples to endure almost any hardship rather than submit to this false security. The wife desired will resist the temptation to think that her case will be exceptional.

The ideal wife cannot miss being a mother, unless God in His wisdom denies her this privilege. Her children are her crowning glory. Without them there is a big void in her life, and she suffers much more than the loss of motherhood. Without children she will maintain herself as an ideal wife only with effort.

When it is apparent that a couple cannot have children the husband who is wise will encourage her to adopt several. Little babies have a mysterious way of opening the hearts of the most selfish. It is practically a truism that love of man and wife does not really come to full fruition until the first baby arrives. The companionship which they might have been afraid of losing because of the child broadens and deepens instead of diminishing. The child draws them closer together. More sacrifice comes into their lives, and sacrifice is the green pasture wherein their love feeds and grows.

While motherhood is closely allied to the concept of the ideal wife, specifically it does not fall within the scope of this book and enters our discussion only in so far as it has bearing on the subject matter.

It must be obvious that motherhood adds to the charm of the wife desired. Other avocations may be an obstacle in her quest for this ideal. An opera star, a movie heroine, a career woman of almost any type will find it difficult to be an ideal wife. She will have to struggle constantly against the public phase of her life.

Motherhood brings to the wife a fuller capacity for love. If you ever wonder whether it is possible for a person to love more than one with all her heart think of a good mother and her children. She does not divide her love as she would portion and serve a pie. She gives each child all her love. Likewise she gives her husband all her love.

One afternoon during the first year of World War II, I visited a good friend. I was practically a member of the Murphy family. Judging that no one was home, I walked in the back door and began to make myself at ease. I was in the act of helping myself to something from the refrigerator, when Mrs. Murphy suddenly appeared red-eyed. She had been crying. Her youngest of seven children had just left for the war with the Navy. I feebly tried to console her, and in my youthful ignorance made the comment that she should not feel sad. She had six other children, all of whom were living close by in the same town.

A new flood of tears met this sagacious remark. She did not care how many children she had near her. Her own little Bob was being abducted into the Navy.

Obviously love is not something that is doled out in measure. This mother's grief was full over the loss of her son because her love was full to overflowing for each child.

Any man who has observed a young mother in her daily chores of keeping house and caring for three or four young children faces the fact that he belongs to the weaker sex. There seems to be no limit to the patience and energy of such a woman, perhaps because there is no limit to her love.

I recall a number of husbands of broken marriages who listed among their complaints the grievance that their wives had no time for them; they gave it all to the children. However, as the story unfolded it invariably turned out that the wives had little time for the boobs because they sat on their breeches and let their wives do all the work in caring for the children. Had they pitched in to help with the children they would have had more companionship and love in their joint effort. Furthermore, the wives would have had also a little more time and energy left for their husbands. After all, there are only twenty-four hours in one day.

Sociologists interested in the welfare of family life in the United States have expressed alarm over the growing number of wives and mothers employed outside the home. Some years ago a survey was made of women thus gainfully employed.

To many, one surprising feature of the survey was the finding that nearly ninety-five per cent worked only because they felt that it was necessary. An overwhelming percentage of these women expressed little enthusiasm for having to leave their homes for work. They felt that financial conditions at home necessitated their decision. In many cases the husband's annual income simply was not sufficient to support the family.

Frequently the couple regarded additional income as a temporary necessity. The husband had lost his job. Hospital and medical bills had to be met.

It is a sad commentary on our modern, industrialized country that so many thousands of these wives and mothers have to hire themselves away from their homes and children. There are cases in which the family is kept from falling apart at the seams economically only through the valiant efforts of a stout-hearted wife. Although family life suffers because of her absence, no one can criticize her. It seems that the more real is the urgency for her additional income and the more she regrets leaving the home, the more chance she has to remain an ideal wife and mother.

There is no doubt that working away from home brings greater problems for the married woman as a mother. But remember that we must here distinguish as much as we can between the married woman as a wife and as a mother. Here we are limiting ourselves to a discussion of how working out of the home is a real handicap to the married woman ever approaching the ideal wife in respect to companionship.

Picture for yourself the wife who works. She returns from the factory, the office, or the schoolroom with a day's work behind her. She is tired, but other tasks face her. She has to care for the home. She must do the shopping for the breakfast and evening meals. If she has children, especially those of school age or younger, she has another demand upon her--a demand for which she cannot possibly have time and energy, if she works outside the home.

On such a merry-go-round she wears down physically. Her nerves become frayed. She retrogresses mentally and spiritually. With all this varied activity she has no time or desire for companionship with her husband.

Is the additional income worth the price she has to pay? Her net income is usually much less than she might suppose. Because she has not more time for them, her shopping and preparation of meals are more expensive. Her carfare to and from work and her extra clothes for work also draw from her income. Is the net remaining income worth the sacrifices she and her family have had to make? It is almost impossible for the wife to remain queen of the home if she works.

The disadvantages of working are so numerous that a wife should resist the economic pressure of keeping up with the Jones family. She should leave the home only under the greatest urgency.

Then, of course, a word in passing must be given to the married women who work just so that they have some extra "pin money." Many of them feel that this money, hard earned at some factory or store, is completely theirs. This income is not pooled into the family resources. No accounting is made to the husband, who may not know whether she has five dollars or five thousand. "It is none of his business," many of them say.

Is it his business that she has to neglect his home, their children, and him in order to work? It is incomprehensible how these wives can be so selfish and stupid. A high percentage of them eventually get acquainted with the divorce courts or at least are a thorn in the side of some marriage counselor.

One day an irresponsible sort of happy-go-lucky husband was keeping me from a good book, or the golf course. He had no work and seemed little concerned about his unemployment. On being asked whether he was not worried about the future he naively told me that he was not and that his wife was working and was in good health.

There are enough unmarried characters around similar to the husband just mentioned to put a girl looking for a good husband on the alert. However, the vast majority of men do not appreciate the wife wanting to work.

It does their ego little good. If they are weak-kneed enough to give in to the wife leaving the home, often they will be the type to sit back and stagnate. I know offhand of no case in which a working wife spurred her husband on to the heights. Likewise, I know of very few working wives who were able to remain their husband's companion.

There are other things to a home besides new appliances and expensive furniture which a working wife may contribute to the home. It is in the home where the husband and wife can have the greater part of their companionship. This will be possible if she has the bulk of her work done when he gets home from his work. With the children tucked away early they have a few hours to themselves in the comfort of their own home. Occasionally they will be able to and should get out for a dinner, a show, or an evening with friends. A working wife will hardly be able to accomplish these things, and if she does it will be only with strain.


The problem of finances for a married couple is a two-edged sword. It is a factor in their lives which can cut to pieces their happiness and peace and even their marriage. It can also bring them closer together in companionship as they stand as one in slashing at the wolf at the door. Through their use of money husband and wife can evidence their love for each other or their selfishness.

It has been stated that money is the root of all evil. Money represents the material possessions of this world, the things which militate against the spirit and the good in mankind. Because money and selfishness are boon companions and because there is selfishness or lack of love in all evil, the truth of the statement becomes clearer.

Money is a consequence of original sin. We never should have had to bother with it except for Adam's disloyalty and fall. We could almost say that money in itself is an evil. Yet, out of evil good often comes. Christ and Redemption was a good to come out of the evil of Adam's sin.

In having to wrestle with the mutual problem of money man and wife generally are brought closer together in fighting a common enemy. Thus the good of love and companionship is occasioned by an evil.

It is a particularly sad thing, when man and wife fall out over finances, because the common problem of money easily could have promoted their love for each other. The use of money can afford limitless opportunities to manifest unselfishness and love through their sacrifices for each other.

Thus the question of finances, even poverty, cannot be considered in itself a cause of disharmony in marriage. True enough, it is listed as one of the common causes of broken homes along with fighting drinking, and in-laws. It is so listed, because often it comes into the picture of unhappy marriages as a contributing or primary cause of their troubles. Yet, it should be realized that their finances were not the real cause of their troubles. There was a deeper cause. It was the foolish, almost sinful idea, that they could have their happiness through themselves and not through each other.

Happy married people have the same problems as unhappy or estranged married people. The happy ones are still happy because they knew that there is no happiness in this world or under this world or above this world except through another. Once a person seeks her happiness through herself, she is doomed to eventual misery along with the person through whom she should have sought it. There is no other way of being happy except by making someone else happy.

Money is thus truly a two-edged sword. The self-seeking husband or wife will cut happiness from under themselves. The couple who use their money to promote the other's happiness cut themselves in on additional connubial bliss.

Of its nature this book is one-sided. It deals with the wife and brings the husband in occasionally only as a necessary distraction. So, you see, it is not wholly a man's world.

Because husband and wife must work hand and glove in regard to finances, and because family income is primarily a husband's responsibility, an exception will be made here in the discussion of money matters. At times a struggle was necessary to resist the temptation to bring the husband into the picture. Let us give in to the one temptation for once.

Many young married couples have made the mistake of assuming that they could begin their married lives in the economic circumstances of their parents. They forgot that it took their parents thirty or forty years to get where they are. And it took lots of struggling and sacrifice unbeknown to their little children growing up.

The young couple had it nice and easy before marriage. They lived in fine homes with all the modern conveniences. They had frequent use of the family car. Both worked for several years before marriage and thus had a considerable amount of money to spend on themselves. In fact, for so many this was a rather selfish period in life. A good time and few, if any, sacrifices made up the picture.

Then came marriage with all its joys and its responsibilities as well. The husband, instead of giving ten dollars a week to his parents for board, or nothing at all, now had to pay rent. Food had to be bought. Babies were arriving along with outrageous doctor bills. Something had to give somewhere. Were they going to attempt to maintain the same standard of living they enjoyed before marriage? Frequent parties, fine dinners at expensive places, numerous and costly gifts freely exchanged between relations and friends, and many other luxuries were part and parcel of their lives. Were they to continue? Then how would the family expenses be met?

The average husband, just getting a start in the economic arena, simply cannot maintain his previous standard of living and decently support his family to the satisfaction of his responsibility.

Over and over again marriages have come to grief because husbands have spent too great a proportion of their incomes on themselves to the callous disregard for their wives and children. The naivete of some of these selfish monsters is hard to fathom. With hardly a blush some of them will admit to removing as much as twenty-five per cent of their incomes for their own pleasures in the form of golf, fishing, drinking, or some other activity unshared with the family.

A young woman must be very careful not to give her heart to any man, until she is certain he is responsible and unselfish. What is his attitude about money? Does he spend the greater part of his income before marriage merely on his personal gratification?

Many girls have been deceived into thinking that a young man was generous and unselfish, because he seemed to throw his money around freely. Many disillusioned wives have had to come too late to the realization that he was throwing his money around pretty much on himself. The good times which he gave her were good times which he gave himself as well, and her good time was incidental to his. These characters save nothing for their future marriages.

It takes sacrifice to forego present pleasure in order to have the wherewithal to begin married life. The man who was unable to deny himself by saving for his marriage may rise to the occasion during marriage. But he may not. He is a poor risk. His happy-go- lucky attitude about money is as likely to carry over into married life. With a situation like this, heartaches more than companionship will be her lot.

The ideal husband made the choice where his real happiness rested. He gave up his pre-marriage pleasures as being inconsequential in comparison to his new found happiness. He cast his lot with his wife and their children. To curb himself from previous pleasures, even such innocent and seemingly unselfish customs as the exchange of expensive gifts with every relative in sight, required sacrifice. The sacrifice was rewarded by a growth in love. There was no other way in which love could develop.

The ideal wife was sensitive to her husband's struggle to adapt himself to a new way of life, not only because she loved him but because she was faced with the same problem of change. She too had to forego the pre-marriage butterfly existence of spending right up to her income with no provision for future contingencies and necessities. She, even more than her husband, was interested in saving for the down payment for their new home.

The home was to be her work shop. If it should be inadequate for the needs of her family, she would be the one to suffer most. If she was pigeon-holed in a cliff dwellers' apartment building, she found the confinement of herself and the children nerve wrecking. How could she keep an eye on the children in their third-floor flat, as she ground out a week's laundry in the dingy basement with an old broken down washing machine? Obviously then, she had more motive than her husband for putting aside cash for the building of a better day.

Yet we meet young wives who are still too immature for marriage. One situation occurs to illustrate the lack of an effort on the part of the wife to be a real helpmate in this question of money. She visioned herself as something of a glamour girl. Wishing to have her pie and eat it at the same time, she wanted to continue her night clubbing along with her new married life. Her main objective each day seemed to be to rest up for the night's activities. As soon as dinner was finished, she was raring to go. Tonight it was the Panther Room; tomorrow it had to be the Leopard Room at some downtown hotel.

For some weeks the husband made a gallant effort to satiate her girlish whims in this direction of frivolous entertainment. Then he began to run down at the heels. His work was suffering. Moreover, he saw that he could not continue the squandering of money at this merry clip.

His first efforts to reason with her brought the rejoinder that he no longer was any fun. When he finally put his foot down and said that they had to stop the silly business, she became petulant. She could not be serious with him. She simply would not bother her pretty little head about finances. Did he not love her anymore? Had she married a "tight wad?" Then why did he squirm at the cost of giving her a good time? A husband should like to show off his pretty wife elegantly dressed, well fed, and expensively entertained at some fashionable spot.

His exasperation at her immaturity drove them farther apart. Their eventual separation could no more be blamed on money problems than on the man in the moon. In fact, inasmuch as the word lunacy comes from the Latin word for moon, perhaps that man up there was her undoing.

She was incapable of real love. She did not have the slightest concept of seeking her happiness through her husband. The self- seeking type of wife could never be a helpmate and companion for her husband. If she had not fallen out with her husband over finances, it would have been something else.

Although this example of the glamour girl unwilling to settle down to marriage is drawn from real life, perhaps it is a little extreme. The wives who are unfair with their husbands in money matters are more likely to manifest their selfishness by spending beyond their husband's income on clothes, jewelry, and perfume. They were accustomed before marriage to expensive things. After marriage they do not want to sacrifice for their husband and children because they have not really learned to love.


While no system of caring for family finances will work unless husband and wife unselfishly are looking out for each other's welfare and that of the whole family, yet some sensible method of handling money is necessary. Thus, the subject of a family budget must be considered. No matter how high the husband's income may be, some attention must be given to a budget, lest their finances end in chaos.

An individual may live a happy-go-lucky existence and get away with it, but not a husband and wife with responsibilities to each other and to their children.

There are all sorts of methods of keeping a budget. No hard and fast rules can be given. Personalities differ. What has been found successful for one couple might bring disaster to another.

In all cases it is essential that there exist between husband and wife absolute trust and confidence in each other. How many couples live with little or no trust and no habit of sitting down and frankly and intimately discussing their finances has been one of the greatest revelations to me.

The first requisite is that husband and wife come to frank understanding and mutual agreement as to what they are going to do with their income. For the vast majority a high percentage will have to go for current household expenses. Because they are no longer children, they will want to save some for the future, for their own home, the children's education, contingencies of sickness, and so on.

Their earnestness in this direction will be indicated, if they remove a pre-determined amount from the weekly check and bank it before they begin spending for their current need and expenses. Incidentally, it is interesting to observe what are considered needs and what are thought to be luxuries by different couples. Those who confuse luxuries for needs usually are drumming along no farther ahead economically years after their marriage.

Foolishly some parents will squander amazing amounts of money on, for example, toys for their little children. As often as not a big spoon would keep a little child as contented as some intricate and expensive toy. It lasts longer, too. A doting parent accedes to the myriad requests of his little children. Besides spoiling them this weak-kneed and misdirected affection looks not to the future. Money kept from them, when they could not possibly appreciate it, is saved by intelligent parents for them for the time when they will be able to understand the advantages of a fine home, an education, and vacations.

In this difficult task of saving for the future, it is a great help to a couple to have a definite goal, such as a new home of their own. I do not know whether or not there are any statistics on the percentage of divorced couples who rented or owned their own homes. I have a strong suspicion, though, which way the wind blows.

Once the couple understands what they want to do with their money, another question comes up as to who will handle the finances. Since the husband is the breadwinner and head of the family, the ultimate responsibility would seem to rest ordinarily with him. Of course, if he is wise, he will work out with his wife a weekly or monthly budget for the daily household expenses. The big item here will be the purchase of the food. The wife is by far the more competent to do the ordinary shopping. She should have a set and agreed upon amount of cash for this purpose. From time to time adjustments as to the amount will have to be made to keep at the level or standard of living upon which they have agreed. The husband does the banking. He takes care of the other expenses such as rent, mortgage payments, phone bills, and the like.

This system of caring for family finances seems in theory to be the most sensible. In actual practice the procedure seems to be the one most successfully followed by the great majority of happy couples.

Some husbands with little background of true sportsmanship will expect, apparently, in their own peculiar, dumb way that the wife should be able to take care of her personal expenses out of a limited budget for food. It would be just as unreasonable for her to expect him to be able to take his personal expenses out of the phone bill or the rent money.

She should have some leeway in her budget, so that she does not have to skimp on food or does not have to come to him and beg him for a dollar for some personal item or other. Within their income, of course, both should have a little personal expense account as part of their over-all budget.

Another method of caring for family finances is for the husband to hand over his check to his wife. She returns him an amount necessary for his daily expenses such as carfare, lunch money, and cigarettes. She does the banking and takes care of all the family expenses and sees to the regular saving of some money. This system has many successful adherents. However, it has several latent dangers which must be pointed out.

Even though they have come to an accord on the above mentioned system, too many husbands lose a big part of their responsibility. They develop a lazy sort of "let the little lady take care of it" attitude. Also, some husbands who are met at the door on pay day with an out stretched hand of an efficient wife begin to feel just a little henpecked.

There is another weakness in this method which has caused all sorts of mischief. Many husbands who hand over their checks and then do not bother their heads over the family finances have a tendency to think that their wives are spendthrifts or at least rather wasteful. Otherwise, why does she not have any money saved up at the end of the month? Where did it all go? All sorts of wild ideas enter their minds. Is she buying groceries for that no good brother of hers? In some cases they even become pantry detectives. They keep secret count on the canned goods.

The wise wife will begin her married life by keeping an itemized account of absolutely every purchase, even if she is taking care of expenses only for food. If she spends five cents, she lists it. After several months of this it becomes obvious where the money is going. A good deal of it is going right down his gullet.


Although sex is an important aspect of marriage, yet it is really a small part. Especially is this true in the marriages where all is well as regards sex. The companionship of marriage is what brings the real fullness of peace and contentment to a couple. And after all, peace and contentment are the real day in and day out ingredients of happiness.

The full flaming moments of ecstasy of love, rocketing a soul into the very presence of God, are few and far between for the average mortal. These moments are cherished as a glimpse of eternal things to come. Now we have not even the capacity to long endure them.

A human being is not very self-sufficient. A person needs others to fill the emptiness of his own being. Husband and wife fill this need for each other. They complement each other in this manner much more even than they do in any physical sense.

There is something beautiful about the companionship of man and wife as it bridges the years. Especially is this true for those who have kept something of the chivalry of the first days of their love.

Familiarity does not have to breed contempt. Perhaps it does among savages. The natural, easy familiarity between man and wife, springing from their daily companionship can easily remain, and does in very many instances, a fine influence in their lives.

All wives appreciate the little courtesies of respect and esteem from their husbands. Some do nothing to promote this attitude on the part of their husbands. A lady will receive attention, and courtesy if she merits it, and if she is gracious enough to acknowledge the efforts of the male.

By nature a man has a deep-seated sense of respect, of chivalry for the lady. It does something for him to manifest this feeling. It helps to make him a better man.

At an early age, I was somewhat disillusioned about the female in this matter of chivalry. During high school years I rode the "El" in Chicago during the morning rush hour. I shall never forget my first efforts to be courteous with the female passengers. I was almost trampled to death. It was impossible to show these women any deference. They had become callous. For them life was a matter of dog eat dog. They shoved and gouged and grabbed any preference before a man could offer it to them. A man on the "El" during the rush hour had about as much opportunity to be chivalrous as a polite hog at a trough has of getting in a bite.

I have often wondered what kind of wives those little ladies became. Perhaps they were tired or confused at being thrown into the vortex of the economic struggle for survival. In a saner world they would have been at home, where the true nobility of their lives could find its proper environment for growth.

Intelligent couples never take each other for granted. Of course there is a natural easiness and relaxation in each other's company shutting out any stiffness or lack of intimacy. The bright husband will never relinquish the prerogative of being a gentleman. Thoughtfulness is his watch word. A kindness here and a consideration there go a long way to promote companionship with his wife. The opening of a car door for her, helping her with her coat, seating her at table, these and a dozen other little actions evidence his tenderness for her. She is precious to him, so he surrounds her with attentions.

What wife could be so dull as not to yearn for such interest? Then she makes an unobtrusive but very real effort to keep for her married life the chivalry of her days of courtship.

Many married couples never lose the evidence of chivalry and romance of their days of courtship. Actually all their married lives they court each other. So blessed with this disposition they walk through life leading each other to their eternal reward in loving companionship.


Mrs. Brown walked through the vestibule of St. Luke's and out into the evening mist with a handkerchief held to her nose. She looked to the little group of women standing under the street light. Mrs. Julia Thup, the Brownie leader of Troop Sixteen, surely must have been to services. It was a pity if she had not been. The Reverend Towne talked with glowing terms about public spirited citizens who left their homes and gave unstintingly of themselves. Yes, mused Mrs. Brown, Julie was an asset to the community. Having only one child herself, a delightful little Brownie, she could be a sort of mother by proxy to all the girls making up Troop Sixteen. Mrs. Thup did not believe a mother should have too many children. Else how could she be active in community affairs? Julia was emphatic on this score. Mrs. Brown could remember how having her little girl almost forced Julia to give up her work with the Orphans of the Storm, the anti-cruelty to animals society.

There were few women with the force of character of Julia. If it had not been for her Mrs. Brown was sure that she never would have given two thoughts to the suffering little animals. In fact, just that afternoon she did not feel too kindly about Snap, the next door neighbor's poodle. Snap barked incessantly all afternoon and robbed her of several hours sleep. As she walked up to the group of ladies, her cold seemed to go before her and introduce its victim.

"Why Mrs. Brown," exclaimed Mrs. Thup, "What are you doing out on a night like this with such a heavy cold?"

Now wasn't that just like her kind friend, Julia. Mrs. Brown tried hard to reply with a look of fierce heroism that said she would sidestep three weeks' ironing, if necessary, to come to church services. Her reputation of being a religious and church-going woman would not suffer tonight, thanks to Julia.

Julia deserved some reward for pointing out to the other less discerning ladies what suffering the evening attendance at church had caused Mrs. Brown. As they left the front of St. Luke's to walk each other home, Mrs. Brown began to tell Julia something perfectly awful. Julia was a Brownie leader and she should know. Besides, the information would help her better understand little Ginger, who was a Brownie. Of course, Julia was not to whisper a word of these scandalous goings on to a soul.

Could Julia ever believe that Ginger's father and mother were seen - - - ? Mr. Brown wanted to take her to one of those places some years ago. The very idea! Why, she was furious, and gave him a tongue lashing he would never forget. Mr. Brown, as Muriel was sorry to say Julia must know, was not a churchgoing man. It was her cross, as the Rev. Towne had consoled her. She tried to make up for him.

"And you do such a wonderful job. Muriel."

"Thanks, Julia, you know how much that means to me."

The two friends parted company, and Mrs. Brown stalked into her home. It was not a very happy home, nor a very tidy one tither. Muriel did not get around to the house work or the ironing that day. She rested for the sake of her cold. Since Mr. Brown was not a church-going person and since Mrs. Brown was one with a vengeance, it was crystal clear to Mrs. Brown where the fault lay for their shabby marriage.

Mr. Brown got more than his share of good example. He was always right up to his ears in it. He could never rely on a clean, ironed shirt, but he could ever depend on Muriel's giving him the best advice about going to church. If Mr. Brown looked askance at some old friends returning to the table from the refrigerator by way of the pot on the stove, he was informed of how the Rev. Towne suffered in his early missionary days. His food was most primitive and meager. Mr. Brown never seemed to be comforted by reference to the past austerities of the Rev. Towne. The present trials and tribulations of his own appeared more real and pressing. Once, however, he was so overcome with emotion concerning his wife's recital of the fearful missionland experiences that he pitched the pot of "old friends" out the kitchen window.

He had no intention of hitting Snap next door. Yet he could not convince the imbeciles who belonged to Snap of his innocence. They, being regular members, felt that the Anti-Cruelty to Animals Society of dowagers should come into the case. Julia, living down the block, was the nearest Field Representative and was contacted quickly by the central office. Her appearance at the Brown threshold caused strong emotional reactions in both of the Browns. Mr. Brown slammed the door in her face with a house rattling crash, which did not quite drown out his imprecation. Mrs. Brown fell away into what was the nearest thing to a faint she could manage. Her recovery from this episode was slow. It was some time before she ventured to show her face at St. Luke's. What would Julia and the rest think?

Only the irreligious would call Mrs. Brown religious. We doubt that they would consider her an ideal wife. Thus at the outset it behooves us to understand that affiliation with and even regular attendance at church in itself does not necessarily bring into being the virtue of religion, at least not in the sense in which it should be exercised by the ideal wife. Granted that it is a step in the right direction, there are too many Muriel Browns around for any church-going wife to be complacent. No wife can assume that she is an ideal wife because she goes to church. It does happen that she can be a pillar of the church and a pillory of grief for her husband.

The word "religious" is used here in its true etymological sense. The Latin word "ligare" means to bind, to tie, to connect something with something. The "re" signifies "back." Thus the English word, really a transliteration of the Latin word means a binding of the creature back to its Creator. When the creature acknowledges its Creator and translates this knowledge into its daily life, we say that person is religious. In other words, when a person recognizes her real worth as an image of God and her ultimate destiny in a union of love with Him, she is said to be religious. For our purpose we use the word "religious" in this sense and shun any secondary meaning of the word, any false concepts of the word amounting sometimes to a very travesty on true religion.

The little penny catechism told us that we are images of God, made after His own likeness. We were created in closer likeness to Him than any other creature in the world because He desired us to love Him and be loved by Him. No one can love unless she possess intelligence to know and free will to choose. Because of these powers of God Himself, we are His children and closer to Him than a child is to its human mother.

A human being is a most lovable being because she is an image of God. The goodness and lovableness of God shines through her. When a young man becomes aware of this wonderful and exciting fact, he has already fallen in love with her. He has rubbed elbows with thousands of other images of God during his life, but for some mysterious reasons she disclosed to him a preview of and glimpse of God. She became for him an image of God. Of course, she was this all the time. No one else noticed it. At first he did not either. Then the lightning struck. He was in love. He had found the Ideal Woman of all the dreams of his life, and he was content. Others may be blind and unable to see the image of God in her. To him has been given the happy privilege of seeing what others cannot see. "The beauty of a woman cheereth the countenance of her husband, and a man desireth nothing more." Ecclus. 36, 24.

How often have we heard the question of how John could possibly have married the girl he did. She was a rather plain girl, perhaps even a little bit on the homely side. As frequently as not people who were perplexed at John's choice admitted that the couple were deeply in love. John thought that the sun rose and set on his wife. They were happy and made an ideal husband and wife. The reason is simple. They saw the goodness of God in each other. They wanted this goodness above all else in life. They were in love.

It is thus obvious that no young man falls in love with a girl because of the evil in her life. He may fall in love with her in spite of evil or in ignorance of it but never because of it. He never is really in love with her, unless he sees that she is an image of God. Certainly he may become physically attracted and infatuated and marry her on this basis. Though this may lead to love, still it is not genuine love. Love is something spiritual and must have reference to God. It has repercussions in the physical order of our natures, but of its essence it transcends the biological. Human love could never exist but for God. It will never endure, if God is shut out of the picture. In the words of the poet, "All things betray thee who betrayest Me." Sooner or later love will betray the wife who betrays God, for the simple reason that devoid of God she has pitifully little wherewith to command love.

A person, no matter how evil she becomes, always remains an image of God. But, if she should allow evil in any form: dishonesty, lying and deceit, racial or nationalistic hatreds, gluttony and sloth to come into her life and practically obscure the beautiful image she is or could be for her husband, who could be attracted to her, who could love her? Young people often ask whether true love can ever die. They seem to expect the answer in the negative. The sad fact is that it happens every day.

Some women think that they can dispense with the precepts and counsels of their youth. As children they learned from their parents and from religious instruction that they could never be happy in sin. Lying, they were told, would hurt them much more than anyone else whom they might deceive. No lie could be justified, even if it would spare the whole world its aches and pains. Somewhere along the line in their lives they felt that this was impractical. Life was a matter of dog eat dog. A lie here and there made things much easier.

I wonder how many marriages I have seen ruined by the untruthfulness of a wife. These lying creatures, caught in the mesh of their vice, had to learn the hard way the wisdom of their youthful religious training. Truth was lightly regarded, if not condemned. They felt, apparently, that as long as they did not kill or steal they were doing all right. That the truth is worth living and dying for never entered their minds.

Cases of lost love and respect because of a lying wife crowd in upon my memory. These husbands loved their wives with sufficient love at least to marry them. With the years this love normally would have deepened had they been able to continue seeing the image of God which had originally attracted them. Soon after marriage the true worth of these lying wives disclosed itself. Instead of seeing in their wives the beauty of God these men saw the deceit of the devil. Instead of the God of truth they saw the father of lies. Is it any wonder that they were repelled and came to the parting of the ways?

Without truth there can be no trust, and without trust there can be no love. The lying wife so often learns only through bitter experience in her remorse that by lying she flees from God, who is truth. She should also know that by separating herself from God she is in the greatest danger of separating herself from everything worth while, her husband included.

"Lo, all things fly thee, for thou fliest Me. Strange, piteous, futile thing . . . And human love needs human meriting: How hast thou merited-- Of all man's clotted clay the dingiest clot? Alack, thou knowest not How little worth of any love thou art!"

Francis Thompson did not write these lines about lying wives. Yet, any woman careless of the truth could well ponder them. No one can expect to merit human love by lying. Although no woman becomes a desired wife by the possession of only the virtue of truth, yet this virtue is an essential part of the picture of the ideal wife. Without it all her other accomplishments and attributes may be wasted.

Whatever has been said of truth holds good for all the other virtues. Honesty, humility, kindness of manner, and generosity in judging others, her husband included--these and all the other virtues found in the truly religious wife make her a desirable companion for life. How many wives have diminished their lovableness in the eyes of their husbands by judging them rashly. Generosity is an attractive quality of soul. All gravitate toward a person generous in her opinions and judgments of others.

I remember a wife who guaranteed the everlasting love and devotion of her husband by being kind and generous in judging him. Although this husband foolishly, yet innocently enough, allowed a series of circumstances to arise which seemed on the surface to implicate him with another woman, he was entirely innocent of any wrong. There was plenty to arouse the suspicions of any wife. The wife of our story did not rashly judge him. She never mentioned the episode. On the contrary she went out of her way to show her husband her complete confidence and love.

When he told her the whole story and asked her if she was not worried she told him, as her actions already had indicated, that she trusted and loved him and could never stand in rash judgment over him. She did not know all the facts and was confident that there was an explanation. This wife merited by her bigness of soul the admiration, fidelity, and love of her husband.

The religious wife is a wife desired because she merits the love of her husband. She deserves and will have his love. Because she remains close to God, the source of all true love, because, in other words, she is religious and virtuous, she remains lovable and desired by her husband. "A virtuous woman rejoiceth her husband, and shall fulfill the years of his life in peace." Ecclus. 26, 2.

Christ did not wish His work of redemption to be a single historic act dead and past. In many ways He has perpetuated Himself down through the centuries. He wished to remain among the people of the world until the end of time.

To point out and explain all the ways in which He has accomplished this desire would carry us too far afield for the purpose of this chapter. Suffice it to say that Christ still remains in the world for those who want Him. Between Himself and His followers there is a union of love all the more real because it is spiritual. To ever remind us of this union of love He chose the love of man and wife as a symbol and sign.

There is an old saying that all the world loves a lover. The love of a bridal couple is always new and exciting. In other words, Christ wished the visible union of man and wife in love to keep the world aware of the invisible union between His followers and Himself. Obviously Christ wished the love of husband and wife to be a sacred thing. To effect this He raised the natural contract of marriage to the dignity of a sacrament for His baptized followers.

Marriage is not all moonlight and roses. To enable husband and wife to meet all the manifold problems and difficulties of married life Christ gives them a title to His help for all their married lives. They need and have His help to manifest to the world through their love of each other the love which Christ and His followers have for each other. Because the ideal wife is religious she realizes the sacred character of her marriage and treasures it as her most precious possession.

Although each must work out her eternal happiness alone in the innermost recesses of her soul, yet to the wife God has given many helps in the order of nature as well as in the supernatural sphere. The greatest of these aids is her husband and the sacrament of matrimony administered to her by him. He brings love and companionship and warmth of life to help bridge the long nights and days of self insufficiency. Realizing what a gift from God her husband is to her, the ideal wife clings to him in appreciation. To a greater extent than the average wife ever takes time to fathom, he is her means of salvation. Divorced from him, particularly in the earliest years of her life, she is a rudderless ship on the cruel sea of life doomed to destruction in most cases.

The ideal wife has a sense of the right order of things. This is religion in the right sense of the word. Just as she understands her connection with God as creature to Creator, she also realizes the proper relation between herself and her husband. The religious wife knows and accepts the words of St. Paul on obedience. These words of the Apostle are found in some marriage ceremonies. We quote them at length because no one has ever given clearer expression with more authority to the right order between man and wife.

"Let wives be subject to their husbands as to the Lord; because a husband is head of the wife, just as Christ is head of the Church, being Himself savior of the body. But just as the Church is subject to Christ, so also let wives be to their husbands in all things. Husbands love your wives, just as Christ also loved the Church, and delivered Himself up for her...."

"Do wives actually have to obey their husbands?" is a sure fire question from some lady in any panel discussion on marriage. I usually try to soften the blow by remarking that any man who enters marriage under the delusion of ordering his wife around is in for a sad awakening.

It goes without saying that there are many equalities between man and wife. Both are human beings. Both have souls to save with inalienable rights. Yet there must be a head for the home. The husband is it. No wife in her right mind will try to "wear the pants." By trying to do so she forfeits the most charming and irresistible aspect of her femininity, her surrender and submission. Likewise, she hardly succeeds in making herself a man, try as she may. She ends up being neither flesh nor fish.

Recently the newspapers carried a decision of the supreme court of an Eastern State that a woman worker has no redress against a male worker who swears at her. The court felt that, seeing that women had won equal rights and responsibilities with men workers in the factories, they must accept the same hazards--to wit, being sworn at.

In a Christian society women need not worry about acquiring "equalities" with men. They are head and shoulders above men-- way up on pedestals where they belong. It is the wild eyed feminist who has won for her sex the dubious privilege of being sworn at.

An acquaintance of mine many years ago got himself so involved in his personal affairs that he decided to move downstate and begin all over. He was a physician. His wife resented leaving the city for a small town. She felt that there she would waste the sweetness of her social charms on the desert air. She began her exile--so she considered it--in a petulant spirit soon degenerating into a nagging of her husband to return to the city.

She had no concept of her obligation of obedience to go wherever her husband knew that he could make a living and a home for themselves. Finally she left him with the ultimatum that, if he still wanted her, he would find her back at their old home in the city. Because the doctor was still mentally confused over his past difficulties and quite lacking in confidence in himself and because he was very much attached to his wife, he shortly followed her back to the city. The reunion was none too promising for their future for he resented her domination over him and her failure to be a real helpmate.

Her struggle for dominance, and his anguish continued until the wife found him one day in the garage dead of monoxide gas. The forlorn picture of this wife standing at the grave alone without children and with only the memory of her fatal attempt to lead her husband around by the nose--this melancholy picture remains with me.

Once an old lady came to me asking for a letter of recommendation of some type or other. As I wrote the letter the best I could, for I had never seen her before, I began to question her about her attendance at church. She admitted that she seldom if ever went. On being asked if she did not think that she could better her life by practicing her religion she replied, "I never steal or kill anybody. Why should I go to church?"

Apparently she considered church a refuge for criminals, cutthroats, and outlaws. The likes of such she eschewed for she was a law abiding citizen.

On another occasion I was confronted with the declaration that a certain young wife never went to church for she did not want to be a hypocrite. Her assumption seemed to be that church should be some sort of nursery for young innocents. Whether she judged those going to church to be innocents or hypocrites it is for the reader to decide. In any case, she felt that only the spiritually sound should be caught in church, should it burn down on a Sunday morning. If a person felt the sting of the flesh she had no business at church.

That a person neither a saint nor a devil could be found without shame in a church never occurred to her. She must have thought that it was down right dastardly for a sick person to go to a doctor, a hungry person to go to the grocery store, a dirty person to take a shower.

No doubt many hypochondriacs go to doctors about one more or less imaginary ache or another. Should the sick be such victims of human respect as to shun doctors lest they be considered hypochondriacs? There may be some hypocrites in church. But who is to pass that judgment? Are the self-appointed judges looking down their noses at their poor, weak, sinful neighbors at church--are these the real hypocrites vaunting themselves in self- rightfulness over churchgoers?

Since it has been rumored around that the Son of God became man, redeemed mankind, and became the way, the truth, and the light for all to attain their eternal happiness, lots of people have acquired the habit of going to church. They go to church because they believe that there they will find the blueprints for a good life. Briefly, they believe that at church they will find God. There they will receive the help which they need to measure up to the ideal of their state of life. They go to grocery stores because they believe that there they will find bread and butter. They follow a doctor's advice in order to guard their health. These beliefs are rather deep seated in the human mind. It will take a good deal of sophistry to disabuse mankind of these beliefs.

It is always exasperating to hear stupid statements of the type that such and such a wife, admittedly a failure as a wife, went to church. The innuendo always is that going to church was a waste of time. Did her attendance make her less a wife? Who could criticize a wife for frequenting the grocery store because she had carelessly killed her husband with ptomaine poison?

The wife desired must be religious because she must love her husband. The best and simplest definition of love is to wish another well. How can a wife wish her husband well except she wish him the only absolute good ? She will not even think of leading her husband to God, much less be successful at so doing, unless she herself makes an effort to remain close to God. If a wife does not find God at church, it is not the fault of the church. A wife approaches the ideal all the more by practicing her religion.

Surely every marriage counselor has dealt with church-going failures at marriage. Yet from my own experience I am certain that this type of failure is more the exception than the rule. The failure as a wife is much more likely to be one who never had any religion, or who abandoned it, or who became indifferent and careless about its practice.

The truly religious wife finds God at church and from Him receives the strength to become the ideal helpmate to her husband. She does not leave God at church but keeps Him with her every minute of the day in every nook and cranny of her home. Each menial, repetitious task she must perform is a work of love for her husband and children, and through them, a work of love for her Creator.

Reverent conversation with God is one of the best and simplest definitions of prayer. The habit of prayer springs from a consciousness of God in our lives. He is all about us. Through prayer we become more aware of His presence.

No woman will attain the goal of success and happiness as a desirable wife, unless her efforts are supplemented with God's help. She who builds without God builds in vain. No woman can reach by the natural powers of her soul the ideals set forth in this little book. God must help her, is willing and anxious to help her if she but dispose herself.

The wise wife recognizes her need of God. Frequently she tells Him of her insufficiency. To inspire her husband, to be patient, to be unselfish and loyal, to be the dozen and one other wonderful things a desirable wife must be without in the least ever appearing to be a "goody-goody"--all this postulates the presence of God always at her side.

Since no woman can hope to escape completely the failings of our weak natures, the ideal wife will have her moments of failure. She goes down on her knees, in spirit at least, and asks God for the courage to begin anew. Because gratitude is the badge of nobility of soul, the happy wife tells God of her joy. She thanks Him for His many graces not the least of which is a husband capable of bringing out the best in her.

The pastor of old Saint Mary's approached the entrance to his parish church. He felt the weight of his years more than ever that damp winter evening. As he stood for a moment looking down the street where grimy factories and lonely warehouses loomed over a few remaining dwellings he felt chilled and puzzled over the cause of his low spirits.

It could not be the dilapidated neighborhood. He was used to it, had long ago resisted, and had never regretted so doing, the importuning of his confreres to accept the ready willingness of the bishop to move him up the ecclesiastical ladder to a better parish. That expression, "better parish," had always galled him since seminary days. He knew that life had passed his parish by and was fast passing him by. He had no regrets. Only the poor remained. They had no escape. He desired none.

It could not be the light rain falling. He had always loved the outdoors and all the moods of the weather. Perhaps it was his failure to accomplish any visible good over at the Smith home.

Mrs. Smith had the father of the house evicted by a court order. The pastor had reached down into his bag of psychological tricks and used them all on Mrs. Smith to no avail. He could not touch her heart. She seemed not to have one and was as cold and hard as ice. All his efforts to patch up her marriage were in vain. For a moment he reflected upon one of the perversities of human nature evidenced by Mrs. Smith, the obstinate refusal of help when most needed.

Well, he would forget about Mrs. Smith and go into the church and pray a little. As he opened the front door the light of the street lamp fell upon his face and disclosed a rather expressionless, if not hard, face likely to mislead one interested in knowing his real self deep down inside.

The pastor was a romanticist, a little bit of a visionary, with stars in his eyes which the years had failed to dim. His friends from time to time had twitted him about his idealism. He was out of touch with reality, wore his heart on his sleeve, and so on.

"Yes," he reflected as he passed into the dark church, "perhaps my head has been up in the clouds too much." But he chuckled to himself that he was still in harness and had his big flat feet hard on the ground. In fact he wondered why the center aisle did not give way with their weight as he went up toward the altar.

He knelt at the center of the altar railing for a while. His eyes were on the tabernacle and his thoughts on God. "My King, my everything. I am Thine and Thine I wish to be. But to be more surely united to Thee . . . Why won't Mrs. Smith see a little of the joy of life, of living and letting live? Why do married people so readily lose the happiest road there is in this life to eternal happiness?"

"What a scatterbrain I am," he muttered to himself as he rose to his feet. He turned to the left and could just make out the statue of our Blessed Mother. Vigil lights were a nuisance to take care of, and they smoked up the church. However, they served some purpose. He had to admit that they saved him from turning on a light. In the dim rosy glow of a bank of vigil lights he looked at the statue and knelt down.

"My love, my dove, my beautiful one. Lily of the King with eyes of blue the better to let our God through." His face was turned up slightly and his eyes were closed. He did not like the statue of the Virgin. It gave him no help at all in visualizing Mary.

Only a few years previous he had been high pressured by a sharp young salesman of a statuary firm. The formless, modernistic shaft of marble resembling no human being ever found on earth was his daily reminder to build up sales resistance for the future. Since he seldom opened his eyes to look at the statue we could wonder why he knelt there so often and so long. Perhaps it was an act of humility and penance for all his past blunders, the statue included.

Although the pastor had never seen a statue of the Mother of Christ with which he was enthralled, he had come with the years to be less critical of artistic efforts to create in stone, wood, or plaster an image of God's most beautiful creation. After all, how could any artist come close to recreating in base materials her upon whom God had lavished His infinite creative powers? Any statue of the Virgin then was merely a feeble effort of some sculptor to capture the fleeting visions which he had conjured up of the loveliest of all creatures.

In whatever church the pastor might find himself and before whatever statue of the Virgin he might kneel he always closed his eyes to shut out the image before him. "No thanks," he seemed to say to the sculptor, "I'll have my own image of Mary. No offense, understand, but my statue is a living, pulsating one, and I much prefer it to yours."

So, in place of the dead marble statue there would come to life one of a number of women whom he had met over the years. For a moment it would be Madeleine. In his imagination Madeleine would stand on the pedestal all smiling.

In the long ago when he had known her, Madeleine was a young lady who worked at the Red Cross attached to his bombardment group. She was as ebullient and effervescent as champagne and as steadfast in her goodness as a French soldier defending his homeland. Perhaps her most noticed characteristic was her joy of living. The fun of being alive bubbled over in her eyes and at times set her feet to dancing. Once--the pastor smiled to himself- as he recalled the time--like a colt in the spring of the year she took off running across a meadow with head back and hair flying until she was out of breath and stopped, panting.

To have known Madeleine was to want to be alive and to be grateful to God for existence.

Her modesty was so genuine and unobtrusive that many rough, sinful soldiers experienced a reverence in her presence they had never before known. Many young men were better men for having known Madeleine. The pastor was sure that he was.

Madeleine had always made the pastor think of the Virgin Mary. In the French girl he had seen so many of the graces, the beauties, and the virtues of the Mother of God, and not without wonder, since the girl had modeled her life after Mary. One day the pastor had come into the little village church near his squadron. Madeleine was standing with face upraised before the statue of the Virgin.

From that day on he had no more trouble with distracting thoughts critical of gaudy plaster statues, sleek marble statue, weak and clumsy wooden statues. Madeleine and subsequently many other wonderful images of God, patterned after His own Mother, took their place upon the pedestal before which he prayed.

Now Sister Mary stood before him. He had observed her work years ago with the children in the school. There was something outstanding and even unique about her smile. It was not only that it was wholesome and warm; there was something else, an indescribable quality. Perhaps her smile could best be said to have depth, a depth which carried one beyond the surface into her soul which in the generosity of its immolation did magnify the Lord in imitation of the Handmaid of God.

The pastor's own mother always appeared in his vision on the pedestal for a moment. Of all the women he had known she best illustrated the self-sacrifice of the Virgin Mother. He could no more imagine his mother thinking of herself than he could visualize her robbing a bank.

Mrs. ** was sure to appear in the pastor's memory as he knelt in prayer. He never meditated long on Mary without thinking of St. Joseph, the Virgin's companion in sacrifice to God's plan of redemption of mankind. Mrs. ** gave the pastor a glimpse of the inspiration Mary must have been to Joseph to keep him faithful to the humdrum daily tasks of his life. Mrs. ** was a similar inspiration to her husband whose physical disabilities would have caved him in had he been married to a lesser woman.

Then there was Mrs. * *, petite of figure with golden hair and blue eyes. He could still see her bouncing along the side walk on the way to church of an early morning. In her life she had evidenced a courage of soul and acceptance of God's will. Mrs. * * always made him think of Mary's flight into Egypt with all its dangers and uncertainties. Yes, valiant was the word for Mrs. ** whose rosary was daily in her hand in spite of her multitudinous tasks of caring for her husband and children.

"My love, my dove, my beautiful one. Lily of the King with eyes of blue the better to let our God through . . . Salve, Regina, Mater misericodiae . . . Woman! above all women glorified, our tainted nature's solitary boast; purer than foam on central ocean tost." Contentment and peace of soul came to the pastor as he thought of the Virgin standing before his mind's eye.

When the pastor rose to leave the church he felt grateful to God for having given him the ability to see Himself in all the multitudinous creatures of the world. He could remember St. Paul saying that from the visible world about us we arrive at a knowledge of the invisible God. Flowers, sunsets, a child's face were not just flowers, sunsets, a child's face. They were announcements of God. As he stepped out into the rain he thanked God, too, for having led him to an acquaintance with His own Mother. He reflected for a moment upon the various creatures which had given him an ever deepening vision of the Virgin Mary. And not the least of these were many ideal wives.