“Behold I do not give lectures or a little charity, When I give I give myself.” Walt Whitman

The miserable days of yore . . .
The miserable days of yore . . .

We seem to imagine every last woman of the past in forlorn servitude to a carefree man. But what if things weren’t so simple? What if being human was tough and wonderful at the same time? What if the reason we often feel so at odds with the other sex is because we are selfish? (both man and woman)

Even in a corset she looks joyful.
Even in a corset she looks joyful.

Maybe we laugh about it sometimes. Maybe we grudgingly admit that in every generation there are men and women who smile and make do. These people stay when it’s tough to stay. They play cards with children when they’d rather sail to China.

Aw, c'mon! One more hand.
Aw, c’mon! One more hand.

Some people don’t like to hear it these days but there was a time when men and women thought God, not their partner fulfilled the BIG needs. Our partners strain under the weight of being false gods. They can’t make us what our selfish selves want to be. A partner may take lovely photographs of us on our best days, but despairingly hold up the mirror on those ugly days of anger at having not gotten what we wanted.

A real god sends these partners not as a torture, but as a lesson in humility we should try our best not to run away from. Unhappy partners are often happy five years later if they stick it out–so say the studies. So says the dusty family Bible you save because grandma said to. Things in there are read out of context sometimes. There’s this thing about submitting to a husband I don’t like, but then there’s this thing about laying down your life for your wife. No one gets off easy– even today– but there’s something to the secret of SELFLESSNESS. I admit that this seems absurd and alien.

As I said, life can be tough and unfair, but some people smile and play the cards they’re dealt. They roll up their sleeves looking tough and beautiful.

Give me the lemons and I'll make lemonade.
Give me the lemons and I’ll make lemonade.

Images courtesy Chapman Historical Museum

WHAT IT REALLY MEANS:

Provocative Bible Verses: Wives Submit To Your Husbands

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