The human society is comprised of families. Christianity attaches great importance to real pleasure and prosperity of human beings through balanced, highly ethical, well-educated and well-behaved families and happy homes. Like in all the fields of human activity, Christianity has laid down clearly and in detail the rights and duties of men and women, husbands and wives and also parents and children. The happy homes having pleasant environment, in which husband, wife, children and other relatives live together merrily with good mutual understanding, tolerance and respect as well as fulfilling their respective duties towards each other, is indeed an index of the highest status the Almighty God has blessed, among the creatures, to all human beings.
Unfortunately, the lack of appreciation about these aspects, particularly by husbands and wives, leads to many problems for themselves as well as for the children-the future generations.
The greatest desire of all young men and women who reach the age of puberty is to marry. Through the establishment of a joint marital life, they would earn more independence, as well as have a kind and trustworthy partner. They regard marriage as the beginning of their lives of prosperity.
Man has been created for woman and vice versa. They are attracted to each other like magnets. Marriage and establishing a joint life is a natural desire of human beings responding to their instincts. It is considered one of the greatest Divine blessings. In fact, where else could one find a better shelter for the youth than a sincere family unit ? It is the desire of raising a family which preserves the youth from pursuing irrational dreams and internal anxieties. The marital union enables them to find a kind and faithful partner who could share the hard and difficult times. The sacred marital covenant is a Divine rope which links the hearts, calms them when they become unsettled, and focuses irrational dreams on one ideal goal. The house is the centre of love, kindness, and friendship, whereby it is the best place to relax and live comfortably.
Even though the Compassionate God has endowed human beings with such a precious blessing, they do not appreciate it and sometimes due to ignorance and selfishness, convert this warm and blessed union, into a dark prison or even a burning Hell! It is due to man's own ignorance that the members of the family have to live in this dark prison or that the sacred marital covenant has to be destroyed.
If a couple is aware of their duties and acts accordingly, then a house would be a place of friendship and would resemble heaven. But, if there are family-differences and arguments, the family home, could truly change into a prison. Family differences are due to various reasons, such as economic factors, family background of the man and woman, living environment, unwanted interference by fathers, mothers and relatives, and tens of other reasons. But according to the author, the most important factor is the ignorance of husband and wife regarding their duties and lack of preparation for their marital life. Generally, in order to accomplish a task, expertise and readiness are necessary requirements. If one lacks the necessary knowledge and readiness, then one cannot successfully achieve his desired goal. Thus, training classes are formed to educate people for different tasks.
Expertise, readiness, and knowledge are also needed in marriage. A young man must possess enough information about his wife's principles of values and internal desires. He must also be aware of marital problems and ways of solving them. He should not regard marriage as merely buying goods, or hiring a maid, but to acknowledge it as a treaty of friendship, honesty, kindness, partnership, and cooperation in a joint family life.
A young woman should also be aware of her husband's philosophy of life and wishes. She should not consider that marriage is like engaging a servant for fulfilling needs without any terms and conditions; but as a pledge for partnership and cooperation in making efforts for conducting the life. In order to obtain a successful partnership, there is a need for understanding, cooperation, and devotion.
Although the future of young men and women largely depends on a marriage which requires awareness of the importance of the concepts of marriage and preparation for undertaking such a task, our society unfortunately neglects the importance of these conditions.
The parents pay a great deal of attention to such points as dowry, beauty, and personality. However, they disregard the readiness for establishing a marital life as a necessary condition. They marry their sons and daughters off without providing adequate information about family life.
Consequently two young and inexperienced people step into a new life and confront many problems. Differences, arguments, and fights begin to develop. Their parents then interfere to help resolve the differences. But, since their interferences are mostly biased, the differences are exaggerated and the situation becomes worse.
The initial years of family life are eventful and critical. This is the period where many families can be torn between divorce and disintegration. Some of them continue their marriage and prefer this self-made prison to divorce and others learn more about each other and form a relatively comfortable life.
What a nice thing it could be had there been some means of educating and informing young men and women about the foundations and the establishment of marriage in the form of classes entitled "marriage preparation" which would prepare them for establishing their own families. I am hopeful of the day that such program is established.
THE DUTIES OF WOMEN: The Purpose of Marriage
Marriage is a natural necessity for every human being. It bears many good outcomes of which the most important ones are:
(1) The formation of a family through which one can find security and peace of mind. A person who is not married resembles a bird without a nest. Marriage serves as a shelter for anyone who feels lost in the wilderness of life; one can find a partner in life who would share one's joy and sorrow.
(2) The natural sexual desire is both strong and significant. Everyone should have a partner for satisfying their sexual needs in a secure and serene environment. Everyone should enjoy sexual satisfaction in a correct and proper manner. Those who abstain from marriage often suffer from both physical and psychological disorders. Such disorders and certain social problems are a direct consequence of the abstinence of youth from marriage.
(3) Reproduction: Through marriage the procreation of mankind is continued. Children are the result of marriage and are important factors in stabilizing the family foundations as well as a source of real joy to their parents.
What has been dealt with so far in this chapter has been only the worldly and animalistic side of marriage which the animals also share: the Benefits of companionship and reproduction. As such the true purpose of marriage for the human race is of a different kind. Mankind is not meant to have entered this world solely in order to eat, drink, sleep, seek pleasure or act lustfully, and then to die and be destroyed. The status of man is higher than such deeds. Human beings are meant to train themselves and their souls by gaining knowledge, committing good deeds, and behaving with good manners. Man is meant to take steps along the straight path to achieve nearness to Almighty God. Mankind is a creation that is able to cleanse his soul and by avoiding evil deeds and exercising good behavior reach a level of such high status that even the angels are not able to attain. Man is a creature that is eternal. He has come to this world so that by the guidance of the Jesus and the implementation of the programs set by the religion (of Christianity), to secure his happiness in this world and the Hereafter; so that he could live a peaceful life in the next world eternally.
Therefore, the purpose of marriage should be searched for in this spiritual context. The aim of marriage for a religious person should be a means of avoiding evil deeds and purging one's soul of sins. It should be a means of acquiring nearness to the Almighty God. It is in this context that a suitable and good partner assumes an important role. When two believers, through marriage, form a family, their sexual relationship would benefit them in strengthening their mutual love and kindness, for such a couple, there would not exist any dangerous threats of sexual perversion, dangerous addictions or unlawful deeds
A faithful, pious, and harmonious partner plays a crucial role in having a respectable and honest life. Indeed having such a partner is an important factor when wanting to avoid evil deeds and enables the commitment of oneself in performing the obligatory acts of worship. A pious couple, not only would not meet with any obstacle in achieving religious goals, but would be a source of encouragement to each other .
Is it really possible for a faithful man of God to gloriously fight in His way, without the approval of his wife? Is it possible for any pious person to earn his living lawfully, observing all religious aspects, paying statutory religious alms to avoid extravagance, and to spend on charitable deeds without the consent of his wife?
A pious person would always invite his partner to goodness, just as a corrupt person would tempt his partner towards corruption. It is then reasonable that, in Christianity men and women, who want to get married, are advised to regard the piety and good manners of their future partners, as essential conditions.
Living with Husband
The task of a wife is to maintain and take care of a husband. It is not an easy undertaking. Those women who are unaware of this feature of their role, may find difficulty in fulfilling the task. It is a job for the woman who is aware that the job requires a degree of sagacity, style, and ingenuity. For a woman to be a successful wife, she should win over her husband's heart and be a source of comfort to him. She should encourage him to do good deeds while dissuading him from bad ones. She should also provide adequate measures to maintain his health and well-being. The results of her efforts are directed towards making the man into a kind and respected husband who would be a proper guardian for his family, and a good father from whom the children would seek guidance and respect. God, the All-Knowing has endowed woman with extraordinary power. The prosperity and happiness as well as the misery of the family are in her hands.
A woman can turn the home into a lofty paradise or a burning hell. She can lead her husband to the peak of success or the dregs of misfortune. The woman with the qualities bestowed on her by God, who is aware of her role as a spouse, can elevate her husband to a respected man even if he had been the lowest of all men.
Everyone is thirsty for friendship and kindness; They all like to be loved by others. The heart of a human being thrives on it. A person who is not loved by anyone regards himself as alone and deserted. Dear lady! Your husband is not any different. He is also in need of love and affection. Before his marriage the love and affection of his parents fulfilled this need, but now, he expects you to fulfill it. The man looks towards his spouse to find friendship and love, which is a requirement of all human beings. He struggles hard to earn a living and to comfort you. He shares with you all the hardships of life and as your true partner cares for your happiness even more than your parents. Therefore, express your appreciation to him and love him, he will love you. Love is a two-way relationship which unites the hearts.
If love is mutual, the marital foundation becomes strong and the dangers of separation are averted. Do not proudly think that your husband fell in love with you at first sight, because such love is not lasting. A lasting love is through kindness and permanent affection in the form of a very close friendship.
If you love your husband and have a good friendship he will be happy and willing to strive and sacrifice himself for your well-being. A man who enjoys the love of his wife, rarely suffers from poor health or has emotional problems. If a man is deprived of a warm and friendly relationship with his spouse, he may become disheartened and may avoid his home. He may end up spending a great deal of time out of his home in search of friends and attention. He may say to himself: "Why should I work and support the people who do not like me. I might as well enjoy myself and try to find genuine friends."
A woman may sincerely love her husband, but does not show it or express it very often. It is not enough to establish the ties of friendship and take it for granted. Occasional expressions of statements such a "I love you," "I missed you," "I am happy to see you," help enormously in promoting a good relationship. When the husband is on a trip, the woman should write letters expressing that she missed him. If there is a telephone at the man's office, the wife should phone him occasionally, but not in excess. She should praise him among friends and relatives when he is absent, and defend him if anyone is talking against him.
The Husband's Respect
The desire for respect is an inherent one, but not everyone is willing to give it readily. Your husband is in contact with many people during the day while away from home. Some may be impolite and insulting him which eventually can upset the person. As his wife, he expects you to show respect and encouragement at home and thereby boost his trampled ego.
To honor and respect your husband does not belittle you, but it provides energy and inclination to struggle to make a better life. You should always greet him, and with your greeting, give him a feeling of veneration. Do not interrupt him when he is talking. Be courteous and polite when you are talking to him and do not shout at him. Let him enter first when both of you are going to a meeting. Praise him in front of others. Ask your children to respect him and reprimand them if they are discourteous towards him. Be respectful of him in front of guests and be attentive to his needs, as well as the guests. When he is knocking at the door you should try to open the door with a smile and a happy expression. This small act of happiness has such an effect that it refreshes the man's tired spirits. Some women may think that such behaviour is strange. Imagine greeting your husband as if he was a guest. This is not the correct attitude because the man has been struggling all the day for the well-being of his family and he deserves some consideration and respect when he returns home. That first greeting makes a big impression and what's good for a guest is good for the family members
Be careful not to humiliate him, do not talk to him harshly, do not abuse him, do not be inattentive to him, and do not call him by any obscene titles. If you offend him, he, in turn, will insult you. Eventually, the spirit of love and trust will erode. Consequently, you will have constant quarrels and arguments which may lead to a divorce. Even if you continue to live together, your lives will surely be filled with many turbulent moments. Feelings of antagonism and psychological disturbances may build up to the point that it becomes hazardous to the couple's life in that it may lead to crime. The following stories, illustrate some of these points:
Complaints and Grievances
There is not anyone who does not have problems and grievances with regard to daily life. Everyone likes to have a sympathetic person with whom he can confide and who will listen to his problems. But the point to remember is that "there is a time and place for everything". One should realize the proper time and occasion to complain. Some ignorant and selfish women do not realize that their husbands are very tired and nervous after a long day's work. Instead of waiting an hour or two for him to regain his spirits, they start attacking him with a barrage of complaints
Dear lady! if you care about your husband and your family, then you should give up this improper and illogical attitude. Have you ever thought that your misconduct may lead towards breaking up your family life?
Anyone who is good-natured with a pleasant disposition would also face the hardships and problems of life in the same manner. These are the kinds of personality that people are attracted to and continually seek. The pleasant disposition and attitude of a person would be immune to psychological disorders since their outlook to life is to overcome their hardships in the best feasible manner.
But an ill-natured person would likewise find life unpleasant since the relationship of such people promote anxiety and tension. Such a person enjoys complaining and voicing one's dissonance with life. This type of attitude is avoided by most people whereby the person ends up with very few friends, These are then the conditions which are susceptible to various psychological problems, and other illnesses due to the anxiety and emptiness with which the person with a bad attitude views life.
A good and pleasant attitude is essential between all people in general and between couples in particular since the couple must be together to form a joint life.
Dear lady! if you want to enjoy a pleasant life with your husband and children, make your attitude and disposition pleasant and agreeable. Be good-natured and not quarrelsome. You have the ability to turn your house into a lofty paradise or a burning hell. You can be an angel of mercy whereby your husband and children can find peace through you. Do you know what a beautiful impression you would leave on their souls with your smiling attitude and good language. The pleasant impression is fresh in their minds as they start off to school or work and helps them to make a good start of the day.
Therefore, if you care about the quality of your life and the relationship you have with your husband, do not be negative in nature. Be positive in your attitude and disposition since the best supportive pillar of security to marriage is a good set of ethics leading to a pleasant disposition.
Most instances of divorce are due to the incompatible nature of man and wife. The statistics on divorce conclusively indicate that the compatible attitude, moral values and disposition was non-existent in the couples. The main source of family rows and discord is due to the incompatible character of the couple's ethical principles and values.
Most of the family conflicts may be resolved with kindness, compassion and a pleasant disposition. If your husband is unkind, if he goes out for dinners alone, if he is abusive, wastes away all his wealth, speaks of divorce and separation or a number of reasons for family conflict, there is only one way to resolve them. The way is by being kind and good-natured. The results of exercising such behavior are miraculous.
Dear lady! you are the mistress of your household. Be wise and understanding. Keep an account of your expenses. Budget your expenditures in a way that it is not detrimental to your wealth and honour. Do not compete with others and be envious of them. If you see a nice dress on a woman, or if you become interested in some furnishings that you have seen at a friend's or relative's house, do not compel your husband to purchase them which is beyond his financial means and would force him to borrow. Isn't it better to wait until your budget is higher or there is some extra saving to make non-essential purchases?
It is mostly the ignorant and selfish women who succumb to extravagance and rivalry. These women force their husbands to be under debt and they become exhausted and disgusted in trying to satisfy the unsatiable demands of their wives. Sometimes, the only solution to these problems for the men is to go for a divorce or even commit suicide.
The women who have not perceived the true purpose and meaning of marriage and instead they regard it in terms of bondage where the husband is acquired to fulfill their childish desires and material needs. They want a husband who will serve them like a slave and will not object to their way of spending. These women sometimes even go further . They make their husbands spend more than their means which may entail bankruptcy, murder, and other disastrous consequences.
Such women are a disgrace to other women. If her high expectations lead to divorce, the woman will be deprived of the love of her children, and will have to live a life of loneliness. For these women remarriage will not happen easily. Even if it does happen, it is not certain that the marriage will work out since most human beings do not like to be kept in unreasonable bondage and the new husband may not be able to meet their demands any better than the previous one.
Dear lady! instead of being covetous, try to be reasonable. Spend more time and effort for the well-being of your family and husband rather than trying to imitate everyone. If your husband spends lavishly, then stop him and curb his unnecessary expenses. Instead of buying non-essential commodities, it is better to save some money for a rainy day