This section of the book is from "The Complete Herbalist" by Dr. O. Phelps Brown. Also available from Amazon: The Complete Herbalist: The People Their Own Physicians By The Use Of Nature's Remedies.
Finally, when the scandal has assumed its worst aspect, some order-loving Christian (!) will with considerable embellishment acquaint Mrs. Smith of her husband's crime, and Mrs. Jones of his wife's sins, and then comes the sequel. The fact would scarcely produce a ruffle, at best but a gentle breeze, but the monster created by scandal producs the commotion of a tornado. Then these vampires who feed upon the peace and reputation of society are satisfied, but they at all times go round like "roaring lions seeking whom they may devour." It is to these scandal-mongers that matrimonial infelicity is often due, from the fact that a husband or a wife may be guided by their opinion rather than to rely implicitly upon each other's honor. If respect is shown to scandal connubial peace is at a discount. The only way to circumvent it, is to isolate adjustment of differences to the family circle, and not allow it to be the property of the unconcerned. The advice of disinterested and honorable people may at times be very serviceable, and not to be disregarded, but to array any or every matrimonial variance before the public for their comments is reprehensibly imprudent and foolish.
It is, however, not to be understood that selfishness should extend to social intercourse with the neighbors, for next to an affectionate family an agreeable neighborhood and good society become objects of desire, because calculated to create happiness. As far as friendship is not abused it should be freely given to the neighbors, and it should be the endeavor of every one to make the relations of a neighborhood of a most friendly and accommodating character. How consoling it is to the bride, who leaves the bosom of her own family and accompanies her husband to a locality where all are strangers, to find in her new home neighbors who manifest a friendly spirit, and are willing to extend cordial greetings to the stranger. She is at once set at ease. The duty that families owe to society is only second in importance to the duty that husband and wife owe to each other, and domestic happiness is not complete unless its social surroundings are congenial and agreeable. An ascetic married life is abusive of the order of nature.
The conjugal pair should in reality be helpmates. They should (to use a homely phrase) pull in one direction, and, if the direction is proper and right, pull together. The combination of similar forces has a two-fold effect, but forces opposed to each other weakens one and annuls the other, or brings them both to a quietus. This simple law of physics is peculiarly applicable to the behavior of the married pair. A harmonious progress requires a combination of purpose and exertion. If the husband is devoted to literature or science, the wife should manifest interest in the same, but if her taste is not for either, she should by no means show displeasure at her husband's devotion to them. It is her duty, in case of improvidence on his part in consequence of his studies, to ask him to improve his negligence, but never in a tone of anger or reproach. The husband should, in like manner, never frown upon any of his wife's delights. If she is devoted to flowers, to music, to painting, etc., it should be he that should stimulate by approval. In case the husband is desirous to accumulate a fortune, and exerts himself to that effect, the wife should not dispirit him, or render his efforts abortive by extravagance. If he is not successful, or fails in business, she should be his comforter and stimulate him to further exertion; and in case the manner of living will in consequence be rendered less luxurious, she should exhibit such a contentment and willingness as to rob the misfortune of half its bitterness. The noble wife is one who does not sink under the crucial test of her husband's misfortunes, but rises to a higher mount of greatness and action by her cheerful resignation to the loss, and encouragement to her husband's drooping spirits. The husband should ever be ready with his approving smiles to cheer his wife's labors, even if to him it appears but a trivial affair. Woman only thrives under the approbation of man, and if that is withheld, especially from the one whom she values most, she soon becomes purposeless and fretful. How many a good wife's heart has been wounded by her husband's indifference with regard to matters which she in her simplicity of heart hoped would delight her companion? It may be but a trifle, but so exceedingly tender is the plant of connubial love, and so susceptible of being lacerated, that "trifles light as air" often impede its growth and embitter its fruit. It is the "little foxes that spoil the vines." A single tart remark or unkind tone of voice will penetrate the inner recesses of the heart of the wife who loves, and render her most wretched. Oneness should be particularly exhibited in purpose and design, the respective action should be one of accord and the faculties of each other should be mutually gratified. It is only by such a concert that love is perpetuated and wedlock made an Elysium.
If the husband or wife have vices, the conduct to be pursued is peculiarly delicate. If it is judicious, the vice may be corrected; if otherwise, the habit may become intensified. If the husband is intemperate, the wife should address his highest sentiments, and not attempt to bring about repentance and reform by angry reproach, unkind remarks, or undignified aspersions. No one has a keener sense of his depravity than the drunkard, and he is by no means dead to the finer sensibilities, hence any inhumane treatment, or reproof insulting to inherent dignity, is not calculated to achieve reformation. He is to be approached as a man, his nobility is to be addressed, and his better feelings excited. He is to be shown that he is none the less loved for his noble qualities, that aside from his folly he is still the being who possesses his wife's affections, and that only his vice and not he himself is abhorred. It is only by such a procedure that vices, or a disposition to vice, can be cured. It is the mild and gentle force that works reform, revolutions scarcely ever do.