Thursday 6 March 2014


The Husband’s Duty is the title of a book by Juan Luis Vives, but you know what? It’s a misnomer. It’s all about the problems women cause. Well, maybe Vives means it’s the husband’s duty to find a wife that isn’t problematic.

In the Renaissance it was hard to get a divorce unless you had the clout of Henry VIII. And even he had to take extreme measures to get rid of his wives, such as beheading them and founding his own religion. This wasn’t an option for the average guy. So Vives’ advice is to get a wife who loves you.
  • Otherwise, no matter how rich she is, or how elegant and beautiful in appearance, she will be a source of trouble.
  • Mind you, women are troublesome one way or another. To begin with, their health is inferior because of the greater amount of waste they generate, which their insufficient degree of warmth cannot dispel; to discharge them, women have fixed monthly periods. Except during pregnancy, when all bets are off.
  • Another troublesome feature of women is their loquacity. It comes partly from the variety of their thoughts and emotions, which follow upon one another in quick succession and rapidly go from their mind to their mouth. Whereas men’s thoughts get stuck in their mind and swell up their heads?
  • Question: would education tame the flood of women’s thoughts and emotions? Nope. She will not be able to vanquish her passions altogether and rid herself of them any more than she can cease to be a woman.
  • But all those words which come out of a wife’s mouth are good for something, it turns out. Female loquacity, provided it has some limit, is sometimes soothing to a man’s spirit when he is weary of private and public cares.

Ultimately, men just have to put up with women. Who is so hard-hearted that he cannot take pity on their condition? We must overlook many things in them. The creature weaker in nature must be tolerated by the stronger.

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