A wife I know from the Internet writes:
“Blogger Judgybitch recently wrote an article on her husband’s physical strength being part of the reason for her remaining faithful and respectful towards him. I find myself agreeing with her. Wives remain faithful and virtuous partially because of his physical strength and the possibility of its exertion. A husband’s physical strength over his wife inspires admiration and respect. And what’s wrong with that?
Corporal punishment within marriage was largely accepted in the past and playfully shown in advertisements, plays, literature, movies. It’s a legitimate exertion of authority. It is not an intrinsic evil. It can even portray a form of loving care. To spank a child is sometimes necessary to instill a sense of right and wrong and urgency to a matter. But women are not children! I hear readers protest. And this is true, women are not children; they are not men either.
Judgybitch was not talking about abuse or beatings, she was expressing a man’s intrinsic power over a woman. Not harsh treatment rather discipline, husbandry, a taming. After all, Man was meant to tame. He was given headship and dominion over the fields, the earth, animals and his wife. There is a beauty to this domestication and certainly a tension, but in this tension great meaning is carried. How often do we see marriages deadened by the obsession of equality! It lacks any spark! For it is this tension, the difference, the inequality which creates interest, respect, attraction. Society has tried to make all things equal. The very idea of any discipline or husbandry has been cast aside. How dull.
In my own experience being reprimanded by my husband is extremely effective in gaining virtue, rooting out my defects. I can not stand to disappoint my husband. But why? It is because of his love and authority. That authority is written in my heart and his. It is further reflected in his body and mine. His strength, my weakness. His voice, his presence, his masculinity moves me- I want to please him. At once original sin fills me with desires to control yet I know my virtue will only be found in submission and his only in dominion.
Once, I said something very rude, laughed, thought nothing of it. Until my husband’s calloused palms scratched my upper arm and I felt his grip. I looked up to a stern face and calm voice, Don’t ever say something like that again. I was dumbstruck. He was right. I immediately regretted my words. I apologized to him. It was a brief moment. Seconds! Would I have I seen just how rude I was without that? No. That was four years ago now, believe me, gossip is no longer my major defect.
This taming is not demeaning I assure you. One can not tame anything without great respect and love. The author Antoine de Saint-Exupery writes of the relationship between tamer and tamed in his book, “The Little Prince” It is hauntingly beautiful and I believe many parallels can be drawn from it. In the story the fox wishes to be tamed by the prince. The prince, intrigued, asks him “what does tamed mean? The fox replies:
It’s something that’s been too often neglected. It means, ‘to create ties’ . . . If you tame me, we’ll need each other. . . One only understands the things which he tames . . . if you tame me then shall we need each other. To me you will be unique in all the world . To you, I shall be unique in all the world. . . if you tame me my life will be filled with sunshine. I’ll know the sound of footsteps that will be different from the rest. Other footprints will send me back underground, Yours will call me out of the burrow like music . .. you become responsible forever for what you have tamed.
And isn’t that how it is in a loving marriage? the husband protecting, loving, guiding, taming thus understanding his wife and responsible for her. The wife so understood and protected that a love forms, such that even the footsteps heard are a calling known only to the beloved and his mark a music. Yes, this has been too often neglected. We are afraid of creating ties. We are afraid of the tension needed to create any worthwhile connection. We are afraid of the work involved and the responsibility held to such a relationship.
Loving discipline, a man exerting his God-given authority over his wife is a good. It may never resort to physical punishment but let’s not demonize it. Like all forms of husbandry there is a tension, both a roughness and sweetness, a mixed gall.”