Every-day Thoughts in Prose and Verse
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
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The Management of Husbands.
    When we consider the different conditions
under which the majority of wives and hus-
bands have been reared, it is not surprising that life
under one roof frequently becomes a difficult exist-
ence for both.
    I have known an ardent love marriage to end in
a life of discord, over the question of open windows.
The man objected to a current of fresh air, the
woman objected to close rooms.  The wife knew
she was right, the husband knew he took cold.
Cupid hurried out of the house and left them to
settle the question between themselves, which they
never did.  The last I knew of them, the woman
was opening windows, and the man following her
about closing them.
    A little wisdom and mutual sympathy would have
saved all this.
    The wife should have asked the family physician
to give his influence in the matter, by convincing
the husband that fresh air was indispensable to good
health.  Then she should have avoided aggravating
her husband by draughty rooms.  A room can be
ventilated without direct currents.  She should
have said to her spouse, "I want to compromise
with you in this matter as much as is possible for
our mutual comfort.  Try and accustom yourself
to a little cooler air than you have been used to, and
I will accustom myself to less direct currents.  By
both yielding a few points, I am sure we can learn
to be comfortable in the same atmosphere."
    Most any man, unless he were a selfish crank,
would meet a wife half way if she reasoned the
matter with him in this spirit.
    Too many girls marry, believing themselves to be
in love, while they only love to be loved.  The
praise and flattery which their lovers bestowed
upon them, they found pleasing incense to their own
vanity.  When they face the realities of married
life and discover that it means merging one's
aggressive self in the dual personality, forfeiting
one's selfish whims for the family good, they have
not the strength of character to meet the demand.
Instead, they weep over vanished dreams, and
declare marriage to be a failure.
    Marriage seems to the average American bride a
succession of small sacrifices, at least during her first
year.  The American husband is the best in the
world, and the American wife is a queen, to be sure;
yet the American girl is such a petted and spoiled
creature, and she dominates such a wide kingdom,
that marriage seems to her a sacrifice of freedom
and power.
    But an absolute spirit of love dominates a
woman's heart, and small sacrifices are easy for her,
and she realizes that her gain is ten-fold what her
loss is.
    A great many young wives grieve over the
thought that their husbands do not compliment or
praise them as they did before marriage, and
they never stop to ask themselves whether or not
they are saying as pleasant  things as they might to
their husbands.
    Men are quite as susceptible to praise as women.
A good husband likes to be told he is good, and he
enjoys the thought that his wife appreciates his
efforts to make her happy.  American women too
frequently take a man's devotion and liberality as a
matter of course, while they expect constant praise
    A foreign lady said to me one day: "If only
American women could realize how fortunate they
are to have such liberal, patient, loyal husbands--
men who work year in and year out with no pleas-
ure but to see their wives and children happy and
well dressed.  They are veritable queens, American
wives are, but they do not seem to appreciate it."
    The speaker was one who had seen much of vari-
ous classes in America, from the fashionable home to
the homes of the working people, and this was her
impression.  Meantime there were some men she
had not encountered.
    Cupid is often amused and entertained by the
arguments, disagreements and quarrels of lovers.
He hovers near, never doing more than to take an
occasional nap.  But so soon as he finds a husband
and wife addicted to disputes on every possible sub-
ject, he quietly packs up his arrows and goes away.
    He does not demand that married people should
agree on everything.  Individual tastes, individual
opinions, often lend spice and savor to united lives;
but constant expression and reiteration of these
different ideas of things, without conversion, dis-
turb love's peace and he abandons the field.  He
goes slowly and with downcast eyes, and the hus-
band and wife are often so engrossed in their argu-
ments that they do not know he is gone until he is
too far away to recall.  And then it is more than
likely that each blames the other for his departure.
Every-day thoughts in prose and verse. by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Chicago: W. B. Conkey Company, 1901.
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