This has been really bugging me. It seems many vocal people seem to feel that The Catholic Church is waging a war on women. They say this, of course, while ignoring another growing religion which I have seen to be barbaric in its treatment of women. I’d like to think that they have been brainwashed and do not actually know what Catholics believe about women and marriage, but they are too well conditioned to accept words. I feel the time has come to do as St. Francis admonishes us and preach the Gospel always, using words only when necessary.
The War on Women, is it really being waged by men, or by a few women trying to accomplish I know not what? Everyone has a scapegoat for their unhappiness that they vilify to make themselves feel empowered rather than trusting in God. Ask a woman and its all about gender, ask a black person it’s all about race, ask a devout Christian and it all about the proliferation of non-Christian beliefs into the main stream. The point is that nobody wants to admit its really about them.
Now the part that’s going to really bake your noodle, if it’s all about them then why am I writing this? Lets us start with some basic background, and then move to how you as a husband, father, fiancée, boyfriend, or single man looking for the right woman can help to change things for the better.
Given the state of women in today’s society, I don’t see the liberation they thought they were signing up for. I see a lack of respect, a lack of responsibility, and a general lack of good manners in how men are seeing women thanks in large part to the attitude changes some women have propagated. Those of us left who try to hold a door for a lady, stop to help change a tire, or carry groceries are frequently reviled and or rebuffed for our efforts. Sexual liberation hasn’t accomplished much either. I see women being passed around like a tap at a keg party. Used, and then handed off to the next person. Sex is so frequent and liberal that men expect it by the second date (or sooner) – because women have been obliging and in doing so set that expectation themselves. The number of rapes and sexual assaults continue to rise as liberated women have imbued men with a false expectation of no-strings sex. Divorce runs rampant as women have become disposable. Think of the term “Starter Wife” which came into vogue only in this generation.
When a man sees a scantily dressed woman acting seductively, is he thinking marriage or sex? Is he thinking wife or sexual plaything? Does he see the mother of his children? A woman whose company and counsel he will value forever? For men this is rhetorical question, but for many women it becomes problematic. A woman may feel pressured to dress and act a certain way to compete when it comes to being noticed, but by dressing and acting a certain way men will tend to assume her intentions are carnal and short term with little thought that they might be otherwise. Whether we like it or not, how we dress and act sends very clear messages to those around us. We accept this as fact when it comes to success in business but not in pair-bonding. Why not?
As a husband, I have to admit that I enjoy when my wife dresses seductively or uses body language to say the same thing to me. The feeling I get when such signals are sent to me by the one person in the universe I want most to receive them from are one of the great gifts the sacrament of matrimony bestows. I also admit it makes me uncomfortable when others ogle or send signals of their own, especially when they persist in spite of the ring she is wearing or her making her disinterest clear. It bothers me most that so many in this world ignore the sanctity of marriage, it’s not like a wedding band is hard to miss. I don’t feel alone in this though, as I can be pretty oblivious at times and my wife has noticed other women sending such signals even when I missed it, until it became blatant, and also had a definite reaction to it. There is a sense of exclusive belonging between bonded partners in a sacramental marriage that manifests itself in a sense that you belong to your spouse and they to you. Before you get all worked up, open your bible (even you protestants) to 1 Corinthians 7:4 where it will say:
“The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.”
Pray on it, think on it, sleep on it… Take note that each has authority over the other, one of the hardest things in marriage can be surrendering yourself to your wife and for her the same issues can exist. You must care for each other, nurture each other, and work together in achieving salvation.
As a man you can make a huge difference by acting with a sense of chivalry and respect. Open doors for ladies, be respectful in your speech both with and around them, avert your eyes when faced with lust provoking sights, treat all women as though Christ were standing next to you watching your every move. Teach your daughters what they should expect in a husband, and show other women that they can be respected and recognized without resorting to degrading themselves in dress or action. Build up your wife and daughters. Their self esteem will be both a sword and shield. Ensure that they know with certainly that they do not wear their value on their face or chest, nor do they carry it in their groin. With a proper example, they will demand better from then men around them. Change will not be instant – but neither was the decline, but change will happen and things will improve if we persevere. If this constitutes a war on women then so be it, but I prefer to think of it as winning the hearts and minds of women to restore the partnership between couples which God himself ordained.
A sacramental marriage must be freely chosen by both parties. A couple must remain free to choose throughout their marriage. Love itself is a choice one must make anew each day, as husbands you must work to make that choice an easy one. No husband wants a wife who’s heart is not in the marriage, who’s love and commitment are forced, half-hearted, or given with reservations. Marriage is like making love, it’s always at its best with an enthusiastic partner who is fully focused and actively participating.
Sacramental Marriage has lost its revered place in society. Why are women who take pride in the husbands, homes, and families ridiculed, belittled, or even scorned for doing so? Why are women who choose to be homemakers asked by other men and women alike why they are wasting their lives? What about being a success and having a career? Since when was being a Mother not a full time Job? How is letting strangers raise your children, teach them their ABC’s, witness their first steps, anything but a destruction of motherhood? All for what? A few dollars that barely pay for day care and other expenses associated with working only because a woman has been convinced it is necessary for her to feel important? Why the shock and surprise in our society when a woman freely chooses such a life and finds great joy and fulfillment in her labors? In the end is that not what we all seek, but few ever find? Can we not be happy for those who have found it instead of looking down on them? Motherhood is the most important job in the world, you’ll only have children a short time in your lifespan. Focus on them, you can have a career later. Teach them well all the things one cannot learn in school. You’ll get one shot at this only, there are no do-overs.
A husband has a duty to ensure that he does whatever he can to ensure his wife’s hopes and dreams become reality, especially because he realizes that as they become one, her dreams become their dreams and her happiness becomes their happiness. As a husband and father of 3 daughters, I fear for them greatly in finding a man who understands commitment and responsibility. Being married should help a woman achieve her dreams within her marriage and not end them. A sacramental marriage should provide the freedom to explore interests, not quash them. Granted there are restrictions and both must work before play, but it is in both working and playing together toward each others goals that an unbreakable bond is forged. If you expect your wife to support your dreams you must support hers. Sharing in those dreams with her will be your greatest source of joy and happiness. I’ve found myself exposed to all manner of things I would never had pursued of my own interest by sharing some of my wife’s dreams like becoming a HAM radio operator, and I discovered that in encouraging and sharing her dream I also shared in the joy and happiness the hobby has brought her. When was the last time your wife expressed a dream or desire and you went to work to make it happen for her? If its been too long, then maybe it’s time to do it again.
Remember one man cannot hope to singlehandedly change the world, but one man’s actions in the imitation of Christ can change another’s persons life and outlook. Paid forward, it can become a wave of positive change the world over.