The Role of Husband and Wife in the Middle Ages

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Many pamphlets and books were written during the reformation era which explained how to be a good wife or husband. At this time there was a widespread change in the way people viewed the roles of husbands and wives.

Reformation thinkers believed that the role of the man in a marriage was to care for the needs of his family by providing for their shelter, food, and safety. The role of the woman in the marriage was to support the male, take care of the household, and raise the children. Neither the male or the female were considered to be higher than the other in the marriage. As Ozment states in When Fathers Ruled, the husband's duties were to ensure his families well-being and to rule over his family and servants with a firm hand.1 The bad husband was one that had no self control because without self control the husband could not provide for the family properly. A bad wife was one who did not know or respect her place in the family. Ozment writes that many reformer thinkers believed that the husband should have the rule in the household. This is because " a wife required proper deference... Because of her perceived physical and temperamental weakness, compared to men; magnanimity, patience, and forbearance befitted the superior nature and position of men."2 Reformation thinkers believed that husband and wife were on the most part equal with the male heading the household because of his stronger characteristics.

The ideas of the reformation thinkers on the roles of husband and wife differ in some ways to the ideas of their roles today. In the eyes of some the man is still the head of the household. More so the husband is considered to be a figure head in today's family. The man is seen to have the power in a relationship but in reality the power of both husband and wife is for the most part equal. In some instances the woman is considered to have more say or power over the family. In present times more women are going out into the job fields and...
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