By Benjamin Wadsworth, A Well Ordered Family
About the Duties of Husbands and Wives
Concerning the duties of this relation we may assert a few things. It is their duty to dwell together with one another. Surely they should dwell together; if one house cannot hold them, surely they are not affected to each other as they should be. They should have a very great and tender love and affection to one another. This is plainly commanded by god. This duty of love is mutual; it should be performed b y each other, to each other. When, therefore, they quarrel or disagree, then they do the Devil’s work; he is please at it, glad of it. But such contention provokes God; it dishonors Him; it is a vile example before inferiors in the family; it tends to prevent family prayer. As to outward things. If the one is sick, troubled or distressed, the other should manifest care, tenderness, pity, and compassion, and afford all possible relief and succor. They should likewise unite and their prudent counsels and endeavor comfortably to maintain themselves and the family under their joint care. Husband and wife should be patient toward another. If both are truly pious, yet neither of them is perfectly holy, in such cases a patient, forgiving, forbearing spirit is very needful. You, therefore, that are husbands and wives, do not aggravate every error or mistake, every wrong or hasty word, every wry step as though it were a willfully designed intolerable crime; for this would soon break all to pieces: but rather put the best construction on things, and bear with and forgive one another’s failings. The husband’s government ought to be gentle and easy, and the wife’s obedience ready and cheerful. The husband is called the head of the woman. It belongs to the head to rule and govern. Wives are part of the house and family, and ought to be under the husband’s government. Yet his government should not be with rigor, haughtiness, harshness, severity, but the greatest love, gentleness,...
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