What is the highest ideal of man's love for
It is a more difficult question to answer than its
companion--Woman's ideal love for man--because
woman is a more difficult being to satisfy in the
matter of affections than man.
Given an orderly home, a well-supplied table, and
a tactful, cheerful woman to reign, and the average
man is content with his domestic relations. But
emotional woman wants more than these conditions
grant. She wants continuous praise, a frequently
occurring touch of sentiment, and even a misunder-
standing, now and then, followed by a reconcilia-
tion, is sweeter to her than a monotony of unex-
The ideal lover takes into consideration all these
peculiarities of feminine temperament, and adapts
himself to them in a reasonable degree.
Almost every woman, the most ardent and roman-
tic as well as the phlegmatic, realizes at times the
maternal element in her love for a man. It is this
which aids her in being his patient nurse in hours of
illness, and his stimulus in times of despondency;
and it is that lack of graver and more paternal ele-
ment in man's love, which detracts from its ideality
When he does possess it, man is liable to overdo
the matter, and to become the slave of his lady's
hysterical moods, and to encourage her weaknesses
and her selfish whims.
The lover who is at once kind, sympathetic and
masterful, is seldom found, yet he alone illustrates
the highest order of love.
The ideal lover is he who commands his wife's
or sweetheart's respect and admiration, together
with her love; who makes her realize that his stand-
ards of womanhood and of life are high, and that
he expects her to do her part toward maintaining
them, and who is capable of drawing a fine line be-
tween devotion and servility.
The ideal lover of either sex is not a slave, or a
The moment those elements enter into a love, its
standard is lowered.
I once heard a wife say that she would not live
with a man who told her he thought another woman
beautiful. She felt that his love for her should
blind his eyes to the beauty of all others. The man
loved his wife, but while his lips were silent on the
subject of others' charms, his furtive glances of ad-
miration often bespoke the sentiments of his
That man's love was not ideal, since it lacked the
courage to make his wife understand how she belit-
tled herself in his eyes.
The ideal lover does not entertain his wife by ex-
patiating on the charms of other women for hours,
but he does express his respectful admiration on
He strives to bring out the very best and noblest
qualities in the woman whom he has chosen for his
life mate, and to aid her developing into a perfect
womanhood. He is her friend and her protector as
well as her lover and admirer. He looks out for
her best interests, but he never forgets that she has
an individuality of her own which is to be respected
and considered. She is his mate and his companion,
not his chattel or servant.
She is to be advised and guided, but not com-
manded or coerced.
The highest type of lover realizes that a woman
has a spirit and a soul, as well as a body.
The man who hides a woman away and tries to
keep her from all association with her kind, and all
pleasures not directly bestowed by him, is not an
ideal lover, however madly he adores her.
His love savors too much of that of the bear, who
carries the lamb to its cave to devour it at leisure.
Neither is that the highest type of love which
encourages a woman's foolish ambitions and un-
I have known a man to plume himself as a model
husband because he gave his assistance to a silly
wife--the mother of his children--who conceived an
aspiration for a theatrical career. She possessed
no atom of talent, and made herself only the object
of ridicule and pity to all observers, while she left
her husband--a good man, of ample means--and
her children to the care of domestics.
Had the woman been a great genius, born to do
some special work in life and no other, the husband's
unselfishness would have been "ideal."
A man must be a woman's truest friend in order
to be also her ideal lover. He must posses appre-
ciation of all her best qualities, sympathy for all her
feminine weaknesses, the courage to warn her when
her highest good demands it, and the wisdom to
direct her when counsel is needed. He must be
delicate enough never to make her feel her financial
dependence upon him, and he must possess the will-
power and self-control to make his loyalty to her,
under all conditions, that which he expects of her.
Yes, he must be strong enough to keep her from
leading him into financial ruin, and lover enough to
keep her responsive to his demonstrations of affec-
tion. Friend, defender, lover, comrade, mate--all
these must be he who possesses "the highest type
of love" for woman.
Every-day thoughts in prose and verse. by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Chicago: W. B. Conkey Company, 1901.