Extracted from the book “The Man for Her” by Fr Leo J. Kinsella
He was a man, take him for all in all, I shall not look upon his like again.” Every girl in dreaming of her future husband, has the right to imagine him measuring up to the appraisal Hamlet made of his father. Whatever else he is envisioned as being, The Man for Her must be a man, not just a sorry excuse for one.
No healthy woman wants a docile lap dog for a husband. True, most every wife, given half a chance, will try her hand at wearing the pants. A weak husband is a constant invitation to her to assume such an ill-becoming role. All of us become confused at times and do not know what we want. Any good wife may be tempted to drop out of character and challenge her spouse as to who is boss; if she wins no one is more disappointed down inside than she herself.
A real woman wants to look up to her husband as her strength and her master.
It is in the nature of a woman to want to submit (for want of a better word); but not to any poltroon. She may rise on occasion to the heights and evidence the valor of a Joan of Arc. Yet, she does not stand well alone against the uncertainties of the dark night. She craves the protection and security of a husband worthy of her trust by reason of his manly virtues and character. To fill the bill the Man For Her must give leadership, firmness during her moments of weakness, and decision in her hour of uncertainty.
A husband must have qualities of leadership because he is the head of the wife and the home. The foot does not lead the head. From the head comes direction to the path the foot may take. Confusion springs from a situation in which the head forfeits its role of leadership.
Once I lived next door to a household in which disorder reigned because the husband made only fitful, if at times violent, attempts to be head of the house. The relationship of this man and wife was summed up one day by a delivery man who found himself between the husband and wife. Apparently the couple were arguing in the presence of the delivery man about the acceptance of some article recently purchased. As the man finally left he muttered aloud; “Too many chiefs in there.”
Obviously one wigwam is large enough for only one Chief.
Somebody has to be plain Indian. As soon as you say that a wigwam has two Chiefs you say that the wigwam has no Chief. Ahousewife would be the first to recognize the truth that no home kitchen can survive two cooks. Too many fingers in the pie do the pie no good. How many times has a harassed housewife laid down the ultimatum during the preparation of a holiday dinner, “Now, everybody get out of this kitchen, if you expect anything to eat!” In the kitchen she is boss and rightly so, if she is expected to do the job there. What is true of the kitchen is true in a broader sense of the complete home and family.
If the husband is responsible for the coordinating of all the varied activities of a family, he must be the big Chief. Just as no one in his right mind would deny that a family must have a head, no one would excuse the husband of this responsibility. By nature he has been ordained to be in charge of the family. By Divine Revelation, as expressed by St. Paul, his position is reaffirmed. “Let women be subject to their husbands, as to the Lord; for the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ is the head of the Church…. Therefore, as the Church is subject to Christ, so also let the wives be to their husbands in all things.”
From my own observation I suspect that wives take over only, as a rule, when husbands fail to provide leadership. The husband may be wanting for a number of reasons. He lacks energy and initiative and is lazy. He is short on ability, or he has a debilitating sickness, or his interests are elsewhere than with his family. Because the wife desires the partnership to endure she takes over functions proper to the husband. Suppose that a wife goes to work because the husband is irresponsible in his support of the family. Can anyone be surprised if she begins to call the tunes since she is paying the fiddler? Likewise, ifthe husband provides no companionship and training for the children, especially the boys, is it any wonder that an efficient wife and mother begins to lay down all the rules of discipline? Again, if a husband is generally indecisive and wishy-washy can a wife be blamed for taking the bull by the horns in an attempt to save the marriage?
The conclusion seems to be that if a husband rightly wants to wear the pants, then let him keep them on his own backside. Not many women were made to wear pants becomingly anyway.