FEW marriages are free from occasional misunderstandings. In fact, life at its best is rarely serene and calm day after day.
There are almost sure to be troublesome periods.
A man and a woman marry. During the courtship period the delights of their association have harmonized all their differences. But the closer relationship of marriage naturally brings out characteristics which do not harmonize. So long as the love attraction is sufficiently intense to gloss over these differences, no difficulties need be feared.
But the time comes in nearly all marriages when complete harmony cannot be maintained. There are differences of opinion. There are misunderstandings. For a time at least Cupid hangs his head in sorrow. These “lovers’ quarrels” are as a rule of no importance. They seem necessary in most marriages to amalgamate the differences existing between the characters of man and wife. In most marriages they become less severe as year after year passes by, though in some cases the inclination to quarrel never entirely disappears. Naturally it would be unreasonable to expect that there would be absolute harmony between two individuals who have no doubt grown up in different environments; a certain amount of misunderstanding or contention must be anticipated.
It is a man’s duty under such circumstances to avoid as much as possible the spirit of contention or anything that approaches a domineering attitude. Human instincts demand harmony in marriage. Quarrelling and strife bring their own penalties. There is no experience that brings a more poignant misery than the knowledge that you have quarrelled with your loved one. In fact, this reaction must have been planned by the Almighty for the purpose of insuring the permanence of marriage. A lovers’ quarrel always brings suffering of the most extreme sort to each of its victims and this distress usually brings the trouble to an end very quickly. It should be remembered, however, that a contentious spirit or a domineering attitude will lead to a too frequent repetition of these quarrels and under such circumstances really serious results often ensue. In other words frequent differences may mean a gradual decay of love, naturally_ resulting in a final separation.
It is not the object of this book to go into the psychological aspects of the lack of harmony in marriage. We would say, however, that if one adheres to the physiological laws of marriage, the sex attraction will be maintained at its greatest strength and intensity, so that whatever differences may arise, temperamental or other, they will be harmonized and smoothed over because of this attraction. Naturally it may be suggested that points of difference should be avoided as much as possible, or else discussed calmly in moments when the affection between the lovers is so strong as to preclude any possibility of irritation.
Real lovers cannot quarrel. The delights and joys that are found in the presence of each other eliminate all contention, harmonize every difference. If this attitude can be maintained at all times within the marriage relationship, there should be no fear of quarrelling, and when there is a difference of opinion under such conditions, or an actual quarrel, it should be of slight importance.
Husbands should also remember that there are periods when a wife is not herself in every way. For instance, during the menstrual period a woman often suffers from what is sometimes termed “nerves,” and is extremely liable to be irritable, sensitive and cross. At such times, at least, the husband should give her due consideration, and more than ever he should avoid any spirit of contention. The stronger and more healthy a woman may be, the less is she affected by this periodic function, but unless she is at her physical best, she is at such a time, to a certain extent at least, an invalid, and should be treated with the consideration due one who is weak or ailing.
During pregnancy there are often times when the wife suffers in a similar manner. She is frequently nervous and depressed, sensitive and irritable to an extreme degree. She is really not herself under such circumstances, and she is not to be held entirely responsible for what she may say or do. She is likely to be cross and peevish, and it is the husband’s duty to make due allowances for the difficulties associated with her condition. At such times at least a woman should not be held strictly to account for any unpleasant characteristics that she may manifest.
If you are a husband you should remember at such times that you are a man. And you should try to be a man. Be chivalrous. Be generous. Play the big part rather than the small part in your associations with your wife. Make up your mind that nothing that she can say or do is capable of offending you.