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How to Be a Good Husband.
1. Show Your Love.—All life manifests itself. As certainly as a live tree will put forth leaves in the spring, so certainly will a living love show itself. Many a noble man toils early and late to earn bread and position for his wife. He hesitates at no weariness for her sake. He justly thinks that such industry and providence give a better expression of his love than he could by caressing her and letting the grocery bills go unpaid. He fills the cellar and pantry. He drives and pushes his business. He never dreams that he is actually starving his wife to death. He may soon have a woman left to superintend his home, but his wife is dying. She must be kept alive by the same process that called her into being. Recall and repeat the little attentions and delicate compliments that once made you so agreeable, and that fanned her love into a consuming flame. It is not beneath the dignity of the skillful physician to study all the little symptoms, and order all the little round of attentions that check the waste of strength and brace the staggering constitution. It is good work for a husband to cherish his wife.
2. Consult with Your Wife.—She is apt to be as right as you are, and frequently able to add much to your stock of wisdom. In any event she appreciates your attentions.
3. Study to Keep Her Young.—It can be done. It is not work, but worry, that wears. Keep a brave, true heart between her and all harm.
4. Help to Bear Her Burdens.—Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of love. Love seeks opportunities to do for the loved object. She has the constant care of your children. She is ordained by the Lord to stand guard over them. Not a disease can appear in the community without her taking the alarm. Not a disease can come over the threshold without her instantly springing into the mortal combat. If there is a deficiency anywhere it comes out of her pleasure. Her burdens are everywhere. Look for them, that you may lighten them.
5. Make Yourself Helpful by Thoughtfulness.—Remember to bring into the house your best smile and sunshine. It is good for you, and it cheers up the home. There is hardly a nook in the house that has not been carefully hunted through to drive out everything that might annoy you. The dinner which suits, or ought to suit you, has not come on the table of itself. It represents much thoughtfulness and work. You can do no more manly thing than find some way of expressing, in word or look, your appreciation of it.
6. Express Your Will, Not by Commands, but by Suggestions.—It is God’s order that you should be the head of the family. You are clothed with authority. But this does not authorize you to be stern and harsh, as an officer in the army. Your authority is the dignity of love. When it is not clothed in love it ceases to have the substance of authority. A simple suggestion that may embody a wish, an opinion or an argument, becomes one who reigns over such a kingdom as yours.
7. Seek to Refine Your Nature.—It is no slander to say that many men have wives much more refined than themselves. This is natural in the inequalities of life. Other qualities may compensate for any defect here. But you need have no defect in refinement. Preserve the gentleness and refinement of your wife as a rich legacy for your children, and in so doing you will lift yourself to higher levels.
8. Be a Gentleman as well as a Husband.—The signs and bronze and callouses of toil are no indications that you are not a gentleman. The soul of gentlemanliness is a kindly feeling toward others, that prompts one to secure their comfort. That is why the thoughtful peasant lover is always so gentlemanly, and in his love much above himself.
9. Stay at Home.—Habitual absence during the evenings is sure to bring sorrow. If your duty or business calls you you have the promise that you will be kept in all your ways. But if you go out to mingle with other society, and leave your wife at home alone, or with the children and servants, know that there is no good in store for you. She has claims upon you that you can not afford to allow to go to protest. Reverse the case. You sit down alone after having waited all day for your wife’s return, and think of her as reveling in gay society, and see if you can keep out all the doubts as to what takes her away. If your home is not as attractive as you want it, you are a principal partner. Set yourself about the work of making it attractive.
10. Take Your Wife with You into Society.—Seclusion begets morbidness. She needs some of the life that comes from contact with society. She must see how other people appear and act. It often requires an exertion for her to go out of her home, but it is good for her and for you. She will bring back more sunshine. It is wise to rest sometimes. When the Arab stops for his dinner he unpacks his camel. Treat your wife with as much consideration.
Also check out these chapters
- The Road to Shame, page 430
- The Curse of Manhood, page 433
- A Private Talk to Young Men, page 437
- Remedies for the Social Evil, page 440
- The Selfish Slaves of Doses of Disease and Death, page 441
- Object Lessons of the Effects of Alcohol and Smoking, page 445
- The Destructive Effects of Cigarette Smoking, page 449
- The Dangerous Vices, page 451
- Nocturnal Emissions, page 457
- Lost Manhood Restored, page 459
- Manhood Wrecked and Rescued, page 461