“Seeing, then, that such care is lavished on the body’s food, surely every care should be taken on behalf of our own children’s mother and nurse, in whom is implanted the seed from which there springs a living soul.” Aristotle, Economics

Aristotle is reflecting upon the practices of a good husband. He draws attention to the care, for body and soul, that is due to a wife.

I worry sometimes that even among those who greatly value childbearing, the good health of the mother can slip from the forefront of attention. Where it belongs. This is she who is sacred soil; nurse and educator. Wife and mother.

Every care should be taken—to the extent it is within human control—that she be well-disposed for this undertaking. Husbands need to make this the special object of our intention, deliberation, and action. Who else will? This demands much of us. Among other things, it requires a spirit of self-sacrifice; sometimes even in the form of abstinence. Too many woman, too many wives, are not the object of such care, even from those who truly do care for them.

I’ve heard that in some African cultures men and women engaged to be married  observe a special diet together in preparation for child-bearing. An instance of common sense that has become uncommon. The vigilant care of husbands for the bodily and spiritual health of their wives leads both to such simple, and other more demanding practices.

 

Aristotle (384-322 B.C.), student of Plato, tutor of Alexander the Great, is considered by many to be the greatest ancient philosopher. The ‘Economics’ is attributed to him, but might have been authored by his students.

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