Very droll letters come to me sometimes, andDo Not Quarrel.XIX.
Every-day Thoughts in Prose and Verse
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
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How much time, in your opinion, ought
a wife allow a
husband to himself in any week of evenings without causing a
quarrel of being out too much? And what is the best way to
avoid quarreling with a husband? Hoping to see this answered
in the Evening Journal soon, I remain, A.G.M.
Evidently this wife ought to have had an under-
standing with her husband in the start regarding
his evenings "out," as a women do with their domes-
tics. Or if she had inserted a clause in the marriage
certificate regulating the matter it would have set
her mind at rest.
I know of no rule by which a wife can govern her
husband's conduct save the law of love. Person-
ally speaking, it occurs to me that I should like a
man to go out often enough to find how much nicer
home was than any other spot. If he went too
often I should begin to think something lacking in
his home and try and discover what it might be.
If after careful study of the situation, I found the
home to be neat and attractive and myself always
agreeable and sensible and affectionate, and still
my husband wandered often--very often--from the
family fireside, I should come to the conclusion that
I had made a blunder in my selection of a life
mate. No doubt I would resent his lack of appre-
ciation, and it would be very difficult to hide my
resentment. Yet I should endeavor to do so, re-
membering that my resentment would make me
unattractive. So I should strive to cover it by tact,
and to set my wits to work and to plan some way to
enjoy myself when my husband was out.
I would invite all the bright and entertaining
people of my acquaintance to come and help me
pass the time. After the "good man" came home
I would entertain him with the fine time I had had.
Sometimes I would go out, too. He should never
see me mope nor ever hear me beg for his society.
A woman's society should always be sought. She
should never be the one to seek.
No wife is justified in the supposition that every
hour of a man's time belongs to her, nor should she
allow him to think that she is setting a watch upon
all his leisure moments with the expectation of
monopolizing them. No man is justified in neg-
lecting his home. Marriage does not mean that
either is a galley slave to the other. I believe in a
woman cultivating resources within herself which
will enable her to pass an evening now and then
without her husband's assistance. And she should
expect him to take a vacation from her society now
and then. The same liberty is the right of both.
There are men who would never be contented to
remain at home two evenings in succession with a
paragon of beauty and wit for a companion. And
there are men who would drive the angel Gabriel
out of paradise in a few months of association and
who would then complain of his neglect.
In answer to the inquiry of my correspondent for
the best recipe for "how not to quarrel," it is sim-
ply, Don't. It takes two to make a quarrel. Don't
be the other one. The man who likes "an evening
out" too often will not be enticed to stay at home
by quarreling with him.
Every-day thoughts in prose and verse. by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Chicago: W. B. Conkey Company, 1901.