One of the poignant paradoxes in the life of a woman is that when a man comes to her, he so often comes to recover his simple humanity, and to rest from being at his best. So a woman frequently has to forgo his better side, taking it on trust as a matter of heresay, and she accepts his lesser side as her usual experience of him…While she wishes to admire him she may lack the knowledge, and perhaps the intelligence, to understand the side by which he wins acclaim. She indeed receives him with every antenna alert, yet she may forgo his superiority with regret. She longs to see his greatness, but has to meet the claim of his smallness.

-Helen Andelin

A poignant paradox indeed. Do we have the love and courage to serve and understand our men in this way? What a gift for our husbands on the days that we are able to care for them like this. Sometimes we wait for them to make the first caring move, but that can become an ugly game.

Sympathy is comprehension…for to understand one human being so completely that you feel his feelings and think his thoughts is really like gaining possession of a new world…it is as if the heart got room to expand…

-Charlotte Mason, Ourselves

Sometimes us wives lack sympathetic understanding for our men. This can come from many directions. Often from feelings of not being understood or appreciated by our husband. Happily, there are ways to side step some of those nasty feelings.

Kindness is simply to make every day pleasant and comfortable to others…people can be kind only when all their thoughts are given to the [person] they are kind to, and when there is no backward glance to see how the matter affects self…

Chiefly, let us beware that we do not say to ourselves, ” I have done this and that for so-and-so, and now see how he serves me!” …worse still is the notion that having been kind to another gives us a right to expect great things from that other, and to be ungracious and disagreeable if the claims we set up do not seem to be recognized.

-Charlotte Mason, Ourselves

Do we want an understanding, gracious, kind, and joyful atmosphere in our homes? Well…the atmosphere in the home is quite a bit what women make it. We have the ability to infuse our homes with peace and happiness.

The world is quite a bit what women make it. If our sojourn here below is a triumphal parade to the tune of swinging music, to women go the bouquets. If it is a forced march through a vale of tears, to our lady friends go the brickbats. On the one hand we have Mary (Jesus’ Mother). On the other hand we have to contend with Eve. Women have a way about them of sweeping men on to the heights of nobility or of plunging them into the depth of degradation. To women God has given a mysterious power of bringing out the best or the worst there is in a man.

– Leo Kinsella

This week I came across a line that stayed with me.

“I can, because I ought.”

It is part of our school motto, courtesy of Charlotte Mason. She reminds us that we have the God-given power to act on what He has called us to do. In so many areas of home life, we as wives have been called to love and serve in selfless ways that seem to defy logic. But because of His gracious mercy to us, we can continue to love and serve selflessly, because we ought.

For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.

-Philippians 2:13

We are memorizing a beautiful section of Scripture right now. Accountable is what I feel as I look into those precious faces while we say these words.

Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant.

-Philippians 2:4-7