Recently I was at a baby shower seated with women I didn’t know well. Everyone was married except one, she was getting married soon and so the conversation went from small talk to her upcoming marriage and then to husbands in general.
One comment after another the conversation quickly deteriorated to what I can only describe as husband bashing. Everything was fair game, from morning breath to smelly work shoes, snoring and so on. It left me wondering if the ladies had ever smelled their own breath in the morning. And more importantly, I left wondering what kind of a message we are sending to our children, especially our boys, regarding honor, respect and love in general.
Don’t get me wrong, marriage is hard, and if you’ve been married for more than a few months you know that there are seasons where it’s so, so hard. But our husbands, at the very minimum, are our children’s fathers, an honor and privilege that demands respect.
Yet this kind of undermining of men has become a cultural norm. Next time you are on social media pay attention to the number of memes portraying men as dimwits who can’t get out of their own way.
It’s a dangerous phenomena related to the cultural effeminacy prevalent today. It’s true that as a country we lack a strong paternal culture, and I’m not talking about macho men. Men aren’t who men used to be. I’m also not talking about wife-beater wearing abusers. Our country thirsts for men with tender hearts and God-fearing spirits. The kind of men that St. Paul talks about in Ephesians 5:25, men in the image of Christ who love their wives as Jesus loves His church. It’s a sacrificial love, the agape kind of love.
But in order to raise such men, we women have to reclaim our roles as loving mothers and submissive wives (read Ephesians 5:22). Not unholy submissiveness, but the obedient meekness that’s expected of Christian women. Do you know that the Greek word in the Bible used for “meek” is “práos?” When the Bible was written práos was the word used to describe the state of a wild stallion who passed the stringent training requirements to become a military horse. Meekness, in the Biblical sense, is a fine-tuned combination of strength and discipline.
St. Mother Teresa said that “the woman is the heart of the home. Let us pray that we women realize the reason for our existence: to love and be loved and through this love become instruments of peace in the world.”
So the next time you hear “meek wife” think “war-horse strength wife” and when you hear “happy wife, happy life,” think of it as a sign of our confusing and deteriorating times.
Mother Mary and St. Joseph, pray for us.