It requires but one to strike the keynote of respect and personal freedom in marriage; the other will soon come into harmony.
You can readily see that all marital jars come from this lack of equality in the individual mind. If a man thinks he is perfectly able to take care of and to judge for himself he resents interference from another. On the other hand if he believes his wife is equally able to judge for herself, he never thinks of interfering with her actions. Of course the same is true of the wife. It is lack of respect and confidence which begets the making-over spirit in a family, and from this one cause arises all in harmony.
Individual freedom is the only basis for harmonious action; not only in marriage but in all other relationships of life.
And individual freedom cannot be granted by the man or woman who considers his or her judgments superior to the judgments of another. A man must accord his wife equal wisdom and power with himself, else he cannot free her to act for herself. A woman must accord her husband that same equality, or she cannot leave him free.
It is human (and divine) nature to correct what we believe to be wrong. Only in believing that the other “king (or queen) can do no wrong,” lies the possibility of individual freedom, in marriage or out.
The man or woman who knows he or she is believed in and trusted is very careful to deserve that trust. Did you know that? The sure way to have your wishes consulted is to exalt and appreciate the other party. Did you know that a man or woman will cheerfully sacrifice his or her own opinions in order to retain the respect and love of the other? But if he thinks the respect and love of the other party is growing less he will give free reign to his own desires.
Married people “grow apart” for the one reason that they find fault with each other. Of course it begins by their being disrespectful to each other’s faults, but it soon develops into disrespect of each other. From “looking down” upon a husband’s faults it is only a few short steps to looking down upon him. His faults keep growing by recognition, and his good points keep shrivelling for lack of notice, until in your mind there is nothing left but faults. From trying to make him over you come to despair, and give him up as an altogether bad job.
And there isn’t a grain of sense in all this madness. Stick to the TRUTH and you will get rid of the madness and the friction, too. The truth is that your husband, or your wife, would be an egregious fool to follow your judgments. You don’t know beans from barley corn when it comes to the actions of anybody but yourself. The One Spirit which enlightens you as to your actions is also enlightening your other half as to her actions; and do you suppose this Spirit is going to favor you with better judgment about your other half’s duties, than it has given her? I guess not. Don’t be presumptuous, my boy. Do you own little best, and trust your other half to do hers. Trust that she is doing the best.