“… surely every care should be taken on behalf of our own children’s mother…”
Aristotle, Economics

It can seem a flaw in nature’s plan. Those that attend most to the needs of others—especially children, and the weak and suffering—often want for such attention to their own needs. I think here of course of women.

You can see how this happens. A man feels that all is well in the world, finding himself and his children the object of his wife’s special care. He finds she has a feel, a greater sense for this; even more, she often has a greater willingness. It seems so good and right, we don’t really stop and take stock. We miss what should not be missed.

She didn’t have to do this. And we can and should learn from her, and grow to be more like her, even when beyond our comfort zone or what we expected to have to do. Here is a dramatic reality: even when we do learn from her and join her in caring for others (such as our children!), we can still miss what is right before our eyes, something she might never point out.

She deserves to be the object of an attention every bit as attentive and caring as the attention she gives others.  And she deserves it from her husband. She, my beloved, has consented to be my wife, which effectively removed her from the direct care of all other people in her life. Caring for her is now my sacred obligation and privilege.

I worry that even among those who greatly value marriage and childbearing, the good health and well-being of wife and mother can slip from the forefront of attention. Where it belongs.

Every care should be taken—to the extent it is within human control—that all her needs be carefully attended: physical, emotional, psychological, intellectual, and spiritual. Husbands need to make this the special object of our intention, deliberation, and action. Who else will?

This demands much of us. It will require a spirit of self-sacrifice, sometimes in non-obvious and difficult ways . Too many women, too many wives, are not the object of such care, even from those who truly do care for them. But we can start again, and rediscover the fuller gift of being man and wife.

 

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