Duties of Husband and Wife
So much for their duties that be further off from equality in the family, as parents and children, masters and servants. Now those that are more equal are husband and wife, whose duties are either common to both, or more particular to either of them. The common duties. First, they must love one another with a pure heart, fervently. This duty both husband and wife must perform mutually one to another, which that they may the better strive for, let us consider of some excellent commodities that will proceed from this love. First, this benefit will certainly ensue: if there be fervent, and dear, and matrimonial love betwixt themselves, it will preserve and guard them from all unchaste actions and strange lusts, as appeared, Prov. 5:19-20. Rejoice with the wife of thy youth, delight in her love continually. For why shoulders thou delight in a strange woman, or embrace the bosom of a stranger? As if he had said: if thou do not love they wife, thou wilt look after harlots, or at least art in danger so to do, but if thou love thy wife truly, thou art strengthened against lusts and temptations to adultery. And so it may be said of the wife concerning her husband. For it is not the halving of a husband that makes a wife chaste, and kept her from filthiness, but the loving of her husband is it that will keep her. And likewise it is not the halving of a wife that makes a man honest and preserveth him from adultery, but it is the loving of his wife that will do it. For many married men and women live filthily and impurely; but if they did love one another, they were safe from this fault. This then is one benefit; it is a most sure defense of one's chastity, to love each other. Another benefit that constant love will bring is that they shall be very patient. Abundance of love brings abundance of patience, for love hopes all things, and suffers all things, and love is not provoked. But where there is little love, there is little bearing, and little hoping, and there they be quickly provoked. Upon every light and small defect or fault, they grow to brawls and chasing. And then, whoever was troubled with such a husband, or such a wife? Nay, they might rather say, who ever had such an unloving and unkind heart as I? For if there were that love that should be, and in that measure that it ought, they would bear with patience, and with meekness such infirmities, and would not be so quickly provoked to bitterness. As the mother that dearly loves her little child, though it cry all night, and break her sleep, and disquiet her very much; yet she will not throw it out of doors, nor lay it at the further end of the house, but she useth it kindly, and will do what she can to still it when it cries. And in the morning they will be as good friends as ever before, and she feedeth it and tendeth it never a whit the less for all the night's trouble. One that were not acquainted with the love of a mother would wonder at it. Did it not disquiet her all night, and can she be so merry with it now? Yea, she can, for she loveth it, and hath forgotten all the night's griefs in the morning. And so indeed, could the husband and wife love one another with a pure and Christian love, they would bear much, and endure much, and not suffer their affections to be diminished. For love is alway a breastplate against distemper, discord and bitterness. A third profit that springs from love is that it edifies, and seeks not his own things: therefore if they love one another, they will in all things seek the good of one another. And then, if the husband see a fault in his wife, he will admonish her of it meekly and gently, and labor to bring her to amendment. And if she see any fault on his part, she will with all reverence and humility tell him of it. But on the contrary, where there is not love, they will regard their own ease more than the salvation of another. Then if the husband see his wife in any fault, he thinketh, Indeed it is a...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document