“The love of husband and wife is the force that welds society together.”
~St. John Chrysostom
“It is not hard to obey when we love the one whom we obey.”
Marriage has been described in many terms. It has been called a vocation, institution, sacrament, bond, and building block. Its importance cannot be denied. Studies consistently show that healthy marriages and family lives are essential to a healthy society and nation. With this knowledge, it is easy to understand that marriage, being the pillar and representation of Christ’s bond with the Church, is also under constant and ruthless attack.
The leftist media would like readers (and listeners) to believe that marriage holds down women, forces them to be paid less, places undue stress and pressure on their lives, and causes regret and unhappiness. After all, studies show that primates, of which we are cousins, have a more natural set-up which shows all persons in the family or community are equally capable of raising and caring for young. The mother, in essence, is unnecessary. The worker, therefore, is vital.
And so, with the chasing of the Almighty Dollar, with the lust for the selfish fulfillment of the ambiguous “next event,” women have forsaken their divine office of wife and mother. It is no mystery what young women do today. Time is mostly filled with licentious television shows, magazine articles, or conversation. Excitement is saved for their favorite musical artist in concert or a weekend away. It is often hard to tell the difference between the life of the common Christian young woman and that of a woman of the world. Per their social media sharing, they are both interested in the same shows, the same music, and the same books, with the occasional addition of Mere Christianity to really signal their true beliefs.
Time is of little significance. The modern woman has learned all that she needs to know about time. What do you know of history? Slavery is bad. The Crusades were questionable. The Middle Ages were mostly just muddy towns and toothless men. Well, what do you think of the future? I think we need to move past racism and embrace one another and acknowledge all the hurt we have caused. So what about right now? Right now we just need to express ourselves and listen and enjoy life.
There is no meaning in this mindset, no perimeter to acceptable behavior. There wouldn’t be. Without a view into the future and an understanding of the past, there is no way to see a perimeter. A person with such a focus on the present moment can understand life only via sensation. In his book, Footprints in a Darkened Forest, Fulton J. Sheen notes that for the youth who focuses only on the present, “Existence is a perpetual inconsequence” (p. 14). This is a succinct description of the modern woman.
Flung about from one social movement to another, the modern woman, religious or not, would not be able to trace a logical line of meaning and thought to her life if she even were concerned enough to do so. Each new revelation on the “horror” of male conduct is a justification of their own abandonment of marriage and family. It is all and only sensation that guides these women. On Sunday, she learns a man once harassed a woman. On Monday, she learns that women are not as represented in STEM as men are. She is now fueled by anger. But on Tuesday, she sees a young family and coos at the children. She is now fueled by a desire for what just yesterday disgusted her: men.
History teaches us time. It teaches us mortality. It allows us to walk the rows of graveyards, reading names and dates, and carry with us the sober comprehension that someday we too will be added to the rows that we now tread. The future can teach us persistence. It can show us patience and perseverance and selflessness. It can remind us of the same truth we see in the graveyard: life will end. Both of these work hand in hand to orient our understanding of the present. The present is no longer a cup of lust never to be filled yet always overflowing. It is a tool and step to help us achieve goals.
The heavy-handed attack on both history, which shows us where we come from, and marriage and family, which prepares each generation for the future, is to be expected at all levels and in whatever manner is most suitable for the time and person. Everyone is affected by it. Each group has their own weaknesses to be nourished by the devil and his minions. Children are indulged. Men are spurned. Women are complimented. The elderly are isolated. But it is common now that women on one end avoid any criticism, and on the other are the main ones who receive it. Is there no other response?
There needs to be a shift in our thinking of this matter. It is not as simple as women being lost causes, hypocrites, and selfish simpletons. There is already a fire for the sin of pride and vanity within them. The fuel that is heaped en masse upon this fire first needs dealt with, for with it we are unable to approach the fire. The music, the clothing, even the toys, are constantly beating against the rocks of sanity, like the tide against the beach.
As if to further drive this truth home, I watched a documentary on the history of Barbie. Barbie was a staple toy in my life. I had many, and apart from the few that fell in battle against my brother and the dog, they were well taken care of. But from the beginning, regardless of what Barbie is wearing or how quaint she appears, she originated from a doll based off of a whore from a comic strip. The goal of this toy was and continues to be the subversion of a young girl’s desire for wifehood and motherhood.
These are the types of things that infiltrate even a well-guarded home. They are small shows or diversions that affect our daughters, pleasing their vanity and helping to create the present-minded egotist of the future. As parents, we have more say in the daily life of girls and young women. For young men seeking a spouse, it is not so easy. Even redeemable women often have a few inches of grime to clean off before they can readily accept and enjoy the duties of being a wife and mother, so effective has the rot in our culture been.
The fuel for this selfish fire needs replaced. If toys are subversively teaching girls that careers are more important than family, replace them with ones that actively encourage participation in family events and affairs. If her music, reading, or television is leading her to act impetuously and without regard to others or the future, find replacements that lead her to think outside of herself. For the man seeking a woman, lead her by example. Read virtuous books with her. Start a deep discussion in which she can partake. Attend classical music concerts where she can present herself in a chaste and modest way.
If she does not follow your lead, then you have discovered what lies under that couple of inches of grime: more grime.
But if she does follow your lead, have grace. You have won a battle, but the war will rage on in her heart until death embraces her, just as it does in each heart on earth.
I know of a number of young men seeking a spouse who, as they wade into the battleground, realize quickly that finding a mate is more akin to a search-and-rescue than it is to a playful game of Guess Who. They waver for months on whether a woman is worth pursuing, all the while holding a golden ideal in their minds that seems further and further away the more he gets to know her. It can be extremely frustrating to feel as if precious time is being wasted and no gain being achieved. But here it is essential to be reminded that the mothers and wives of the future are molded each day.
If, as St. John Chrysostom has stated, “The love of husband and wife is what welds society together,” then those of us who seek to mend our society should seek a future with this in mind. But here in the present, if indeed the present is to be a step towards the desired future, we should heed the words of St. Ignatius: “It is not hard to obey when we love the one whom we obey.” Those women who adhere to the teaching to obey their husbands have an incredible role to play. They, and they alone, can be on both sides of the battle.
Christ continues his miracles each new day. The woman, being the weaker, is easily preyed upon by the enemy. With her, the devil can succeed in demoralizing men, women, and children alike. Through her, he can destroy nations in a matter of generations. But Christ, forever using the wishes of the devil to create a more beautiful song, uses the humbled modern woman to build a stronger family for the future. She just needs time, patience, charity, and grace.
And a good bit of scrubbing.