Unphilosophical this, and severely to be deprecated as unworthy of woman. This has been done so often and so effectively(?) by divines, reformers, press, that a mere physician begs leave to remark that it is a natural sequence of the publicity luxury to-day has. The most successful commercial minds of America are in a conspiracy against the poor Housewife to make her discontented with her lot by increasing her desires; they are on the job day and night and invade every corner of her world; well, they have succeeded. The divines, etc., who thunder against luxury have no word to say against the department store and the advertising manager.
THE HOUSEWIFE AND HER HUSBAND
The husband differs from the wife in this fundamental,—that essentially he is not a house man as she is a house woman. For the man the home is the place where he houses his family and where he rests at night. Here also he spends his leisure time in amount varying with his domesticity. Man writes songs and books about the home, but the woman lives there. Perhaps that is why women have not written sentimental verse about it.
Marriage is variously regarded. “It is a sacrament, a religious sanction, and not to be dissolved by anything but Death.” So say a very large group of our people. “It is a contract, governed by law, entered into under certain conditions and to be dissolved only by law.” This is the attitude of practically all the governments of the world and rapidly is becoming the dominant point of view. Though the religious combat this conception of marriage, no marriage is legal on religious sanction alone, and the increase of divorce among those claiming to be Catholics is an undisputed fact.
It is only in the last century that the contract side of marriage has been emphasized and become dominant. There has resulted a conflict between the sacramental, sacred point of view and the secular. This conflict, like all other social conflicts, is a part of the inner life of most of the men and women of this generation, influencing their attitude toward marriage, the home, the mate.
For when we say a thing is part of the “spirit of the times” we mean merely that arising as a development of, or a change from, old ideas in the minds of leaders, it has become propagated among the mass. It has become part of their thought, incentive to their action, source of their energies.
Thus sentiment and religion proclaim the sacredness of marriage, its eternal nature, its indissolubility. The law asserts it to be a civil relationship, to be made or unmade by law itself; experience teaches that if it is sacred, then sacredness includes folly, indiscretion, brutality, and crime. Therefore the marriage relationship has become a source of conflict for our times, with opposing champions shouting out their point of view, with books, the movies, the press, the stage, with daily experience adducing cases. The scene of conflict is in the moods and emotions of all of us.