Husband-The Little Things
Young married people expect too much from each other, partly because they have formed an artificial ideal of married life, which is far removed from the real, human, actual relationship. It is something of a shock when the young wife first discovers that her life's partner can get into a good healthy rage because the dinner was half an hour late or the cook has forgotten the salt.
Men are proverbially supposed to have a keener sense of humour than women, but it is rarely evident when a young husband first discovers that the girl he has married is an everyday woman with nerves, a temper, and a will of her own. Whenever two people have to live in close human companionship, little differences of opinion must inevitably arise, and it is the failing to realise this fundamental fact that makes marriage difficult in so many instances. Every individual has little defects of character, which prevail in spite of genuine, sincere effort to overcome them. Unless husband and wife will make allowances for each other's idiosyncrasies they will not get on in the real sense of the word, however great the mutual love between them. is very much what we make it ourselves, because, speaking broadly, men and women are, in the main, good, kindly, anxious to do the right thing by each other. They fail generally in the little things, the small courtesies and acts of thoughtfulness and consideration. That is why the give-and-take policy is so valuable. It is a workable basis for getting on together when both make up their minds to make " allowances." As a general rule, they begin by expecting too much of each other. Perhaps it is the wife who is over-sensitive, over-critical of the man she has married, and over-kindly to her own little faults and failings.
It is not so much lack of humour that makes life difficult for so many women, but lack of knowledge and understanding of human nature. The young wife who realises that all men are more or less selfish, but unintentionally so, would avoid the pitfalls which beset the unwary in married life. It is stupid of a woman to resent a man's absorption in his work, and short-sighted also, because at the back of their minds most men have the idea that they are working for the girl they have married more than for personal and selfish motives.
When the give-and-take policy is adopted, many jars and discords are avoided on both sides. The wife knows that the husband's business or professional work is more important to them both than temporary pleasure. So she gives up, easily and pleasantly, the social engagement she has been looking forward to and which has to be broken at the last minute. The husband, also, makes allowances if the meal is unpunctual, and refrains from tactless remarks when his wife is nervy and out of tune for no apparent reason. One of the most useful qualities in married life is cheerfulness, the habit of good humour, which is a very important part of the give-and-take policy. It is an excellent creed to make the best of things, the best of one's home, the best of one's life's partner in good times and bad. In most homes little economies have to be practised, luxuries done without, especially in the early days, when young people have probably to begin in a small way, without the comforts they have been accustomed to "at home."
The wife who accepts such things in the right spirit, who does not sigh audibly for the pleasures the household purse will not run to, who makes the best of her home, however simple, is wise in her generation. We can, if we like, find pleasure in the simplest environment, and the clever woman will always have a dainty home whatever her financial and social position may be. The Well-ordered House
The well-ordered house is the outcome, not of a man's income, but of the brains, self-respect and good management of his wife. Indeed, the whole atmosphere of a house is very much dependent upon the wife. It is the wife who gives tone even to the conversation of daily life. If she grumbles and nags, if she airs her worries whenever she can dig her husband out from behind the newspaper, the spirit of cheerfulness will fly from her abode. It is a great pity that more wives do not try to cultivate the sunshiny atmosphere which makes some homes so delightful, restful, and altogether satisfactory to everyone who enters them.
It requires a good deal of effort, no doubt, to talk cheerfully with household worries at the back of one's mind, to have a bright face and a cheerful welcome for the husband whenever he comes home. But it is worth an effort, as the man who has been jarred and whose nerves are on edge after nine hours on duty knows so well. The old-fashioned virtues of sympathy, affection, and unselfishness go far to make married life a success. The man who feels that his wife believes in him, who is sure of her sympathy and understanding, will regard the woman he has married as his best friend, his partner on life's journey.
The give-and-take policy does not admit of nagging and worrying on the part of the wife or discourtesy and fault-finding from the husband. Constant fault-finding on either side will soon make an end of that sunshiny atmosphere which is so evident in the really happy home. The man has a right to expect that his wife will manage her household well, but a woman soon loses heart if she gets nothing but criticism for all her efforts. There is only one thing worse than a nagging woman, and that is a man who is habitually scolding, fault-finding, criticising in the home sphere. Discourtesy is taboo with the husband and wife who adopt the give-and-take policy.
Few husbands realise how much happier they would be themselves if they cultivated sympathy and understanding. In most homes the wife's sphere is limited compared with the man's, somewhat monotonous, lacking in the stimulus which competition in business and professional life provides for a man. The man who has the tact to give sympathy and encouragement in the lesser worries of domestic life is repaid a hundredfold. Many a woman secretly resents the fact that her husband takes it for granted that she is housekeeper, nurse, and cook for the general household. Let the husband say to his wife that he is sorry she has so much drudgery and household labour to get through, and her work is immediately converted into a pleasure. It is all a matter of sympathy, of ability to realise the efforts other people are making. The reason why sympathy is the finest and the most important quality a husband can possess is because it means so much to the wife when she is working up to the very edge of her strength and capacity.
Sympathy is just as valuable a quality on the wife's part, and in the give-and-take marriage tact and understanding are cultivated on both sides. The wife who remembers that men have business worries, and cannot always, therefore, be expected to show invariable good humour, will not harass a tired man with petty questions and personal remarks as to his deterioration in manners with married life.
It is so easy to spoil a happy marriage that young people should begin with the determination to avoid, as much as possible, the little miserable matrimonial mistakes which do more than anything to spoil married life. Disregarding each other's feelings, little jealousies, petty quarrels about nothing at all, little discourtesies, lack of charity-these all combine to bring discord and disunion into the home and to make shipwreck of two lives. The give-and-take policy will go far to avoid them; just as a determination to resist making sharp retorts and cutting speeches will prevent many a quarrel. It requires effort, of course, but so does everything that is worth doing.
Life, especially married life, is made up of little things, and happiness can be earned as the result of little sacrifices and unselfish acts, which may appear small in themselves, but, regarded as a whole, are of the greatest importance,