MARRIAGE PREPARATION COURSE
Masculine and Feminine Psychology
In Matrimony a man and woman agree to live together for the rest of their lives. Will they be happy or wretched? That depends on many factors. One of the most important bases for marital happiness is mutual understanding. The pity is that so many married couples so often fail in this respect. In order to acquire this basis of mutual understanding, they must realize that the gift in marriage is the complete giving of self. It is a giving that marriage demands. It is not a partial giving according to what or how much the individual may wish to give. It is, on the contrary, the unreserved gift of oneís self to completely fulfill the morally lawful desires of the one to whom this gift is made.
"In order to give oneself, it is necessary to know oneself. Nothing is more rare than two young people who really know each other . . . and this lack of knowledge causes most of the misery in the new home ... The good, the wise, the prudent, the Christian, know enough to give themselves, each to the other but, as a general rule, they lack the knowledge of how to make each other happy. Take my word for it, they must make a very deep study of each other, and particularly must the man study the woman." (Mgr. Dupanloup) The purpose of this lesson is to provide a solid foundation for your study of male and female psychology.
Young men must realize that they are greatly mistaken when they judge their future wife according to their own masculine way of thinking, acting and loving. On the other hand, young women likewise make a grave mistake when they judge their future husbands by their own feminine methods of thinking, feeling and loving. Hence, this study of male psychology and female psychology is one of the most important lessons offered to you in your Course in Preparation for Marriage.
I. PRELIMINARY REMARKS
Before delving more deeply into the subject, a few important introductory remarks are necessary.
1. TEMPERAMENTS We do not intend to make a psychological study of temperaments and characters. However, the following chart should be of some help to you in your analysis of temperament and character.
good - Inclinations - bad
These diverse temperaments rarely are found in the perfect state but are found in combination in each individual to a more or less marked degree, usually in the following combinations : a) nervous-sanguine, b) nervous-bilious, c) nervous-lymphatic, d) bilious-sanguine, e) lymphatic sanguine.
2. INFLUENCING FACTORS It is obviously impossible for us to make a personal study of the temperament and character of your future husband, or of your future wife. We shall content ourselves with some general information regarding the psychological tendencies of each sex. To you is left the task of studying your friend and noting to what degree the characteristics we describe apply to him or to her.
Here, we draw attention to the fact that temperament, state of health, education, environment, all affect the psychology of the individual to such an extent that a young man may possess certain feminine characteristics, and a young woman may possess certain masculine traits. In this case, God permits a young man to seek in his partner the characteristics that he himself lacks. In this way, the marriage has a greater chance of turning out happily since one partner complements the other. Consequently, you will find a man who is inclined to be indolent and easy-going, marrying a domineering or Ďbossyí type of woman, etc. (to complement: to complete, to make up what is lacking in another).
3. TENDENCIES In the characteristics that we assign to each sex, it is to be noted that we speak of tendencies or inclinations, not of qualities or faults. A tendency is merely the influence exerted on us by our nature. Thus, some tendencies are peculiar to the male; others are proper to the female. Where a tendency grows into a quality or a fault, it is because that growth has been consciously, willfully agreed to. A moral responsibility is thereby implied.
It is with tendencies or inclinations, however, that we are dealing - not with qualities or faults. Thus, men are inclined to be proud and egoistic ; women are inclined to be talkative and vain. By this we mean that the tendency towards pride and egoism is more pronounced among men; at the same time, the tendency towards talkativeness and coquetry is more pronounced among women. Nevertheless, these inclinations or tendencies do not burden either sex with defects that could not, through self-mastery, be transformed into qualities.
II. THE PSYCHOLOGICAL PROBLEM
When we penetrate into the life of some homes, we are astounded at the vast amount of mutual lack of understanding: "My husband does not understand me," laments the wife, while the husband complains "My wife is incomprehensible". The reason for this situation is that no serious attempt has been made to understand the opposite sex. We realize that man and woman differ psychologically but we make no effort to understand what this difference is.
In practice, a man will act as though a womanís reactions are the same as his own: he will reason with her when he should appeal to her emotions; he will forget the word of love or the expected caress ... and the result may be almost disastrous. He must realize that there is a basic difference in each oneís manner of reacting. As a man, he reacts according to a manís way of reacting. She, as a woman, will react according to a womanís way of reacting.
On the other hand, the woman will act and react, as though a manís reactions are the same as her own She will worry over what he meant by some action, some thoughtless word, give it a meaning which the poor man never intended. She, too, must realize that there does exist this basic difference in the manner of reacting according to whether one is male or female: She, as a woman, will react according to her sexís way of reacting; he, as a man, will react according to his sexís manner of reacting.
If you want to understand your future partner, be sure to apply yourself sincerely to a study of this lesson.
A. GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS
This radical difference along every line between the sexes is not the result of chance. God made the sexes different and He never acts without a purpose. The purpose for which God created the sexes is the mission or vocation to which each is called. When God calls anyone to a special vocation, He gives him everything that he will need to do that work. Therefore, the psychology of each sex (its tendencies, reactions and the manner of acting) depends upon the purpose (vocation) for which God created that sex.
What is manís vocation? Womanís vocation? Answer these two questions, and you will have a better understanding of the particular psychology of each sex.
1. MANíS VOCATION: TO RULE Manís vocation in the world is to rule-first, as master of the home, and then of society. It is to his care that God confides the two gentle beings, the mother and child. He must assure their sustenance, security, and protection. It is on him that they will lean during the trials and tribulations of life. He will make all the decisions bearing on the life of the family.
He is the head of society also. It is his place to guard the common welfare of society. In the supernatural order of grace, man alone may become a priest, that is to say, ruler in that society which is the Church. In the natural order, it is manís duty, much more than womanís, to direct political destinies, economics, the social life of society.
To the master belongs authority. God therefore gives man all that is necessary to him in order to be a good head of the family, a good leader of society. Also, he is more sure of himself, more individualistic, more self-sufficient, than is the case with the woman. We have said that he is egocentric, tending to make himself the center of his life. It is a fact that, by this seeking for personal perfection, man develops the power that makes him a leader. Here, a word of caution is needed: It is only a step from the egocentric to the egoistic and man should avoid taking that step if he desires happiness whether in marriage or elsewhere. Rather, let his steps be in the opposite direction: towards making Christ the center of his life. Only in this way can he be sure of attaining true personal perfection.
In order that the man may fittingly fulfill his role of master, God gave to him the following characteristics:
from a physical point of view strength
from the intellectual point of view reasoning
from the emotional point of view procreative and protective love
2 WOMANíS VOCATION: MOTHERHOOD God ordained woman for the role of motherhood: Physical motherhood for those destined to give natural life; spiritual motherhood for all others. It is to woman that God has assigned the sublime role of carrying the child in her womb, of modeling it after her characteristics, of giving it her blood and nourishing it with her milk; of supervising its tender years, of being its confidante and friend If we describe as an artist one who chisels out of cold marble resemblances of humans, all the more reason for recognizing the talents of a very great artist, the mother, who forms the little limbs of a child destined to an intelligent and supernatural life, a child of God, and an heir of heaven - a child called to become a Christian and a saint!
But there is another kind of motherhood for those to whom God does not give the vocation of transmitting physical life God demands that these devote themselves to works of love, both corporal and spiritual, such as the education of children, care of the sick, social service, etc He will ask certain ones to consecrate themselves to Him and His works by taking the religious vows From others He will require total devotion to works of love even though they remain in the world. From all, He insists upon a life aglow with the light of love and usefulness to humanity: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind, and with thy whole strength; and thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself"
To successfully fulfill her vocation of motherhood, the woman should possess great qualities of heart Her entire life should be devoted to procuring happiness for those around her Only in this way will she find her own happiness We have said that she is Ďaltruisticí in the sense that her entire being seeks to devote itself to the welfare of others, for a cause or for a person It is natural for her to be devoted On the other hand, egoism, when found in a woman, is much more detestable than it is in man: Self love is entirely contrary to her true nature as a woman and hence, so much the more disastrous
To clarify our explanation of feminine psychology, we shall say that God has endowed woman with the following gifts to aid her in fulfilling her role of wife and mother:
from the physical point of view gentleness
from the intellectual point of view intuition
from the emotional point of view devotedness
From these general principles, it is plain that God created man and woman psychologically different, because of the special role assigned to each These humans, so opposite in many ways, are not made to battle each other They are made to live harmoniously complementing each other
B PHYSICAL ASPECT
Strictly speaking, psychology does not deal with the physical structure of a person However, the physical structure does affect the relationship between the two sexes, determining to a great extent both the mental outlook and the emotional attitude It is essential therefore that we note this influence of the physical upon the mental and emotional
Man, being the master and wage earner of the family, will be endowed with the special characteristic of strength. On the other hand, the woman will be gifted with gentleness in order to fulfill her role as mother and teacher.
1. STRUCTURE Man, as a rule, will be more solidly built than a woman. His bony skeleton will be more developed as will his muscles. His constitution will be stronger, his shoulders broader. Since it is his task to earn the living for the family by the strength of his arm, nature has developed, to a greater degree, the upper part of his body - the chest, shoulders and arms. In general, he will tire less easily: he is made for hard work.
Womanís constitution will be weaker though she will enjoy much more physical suppleness. Her entire system is fragile and this is particularly true of her nervous system and her sexual organs. To fulfill her maternal role, the lower extremities of her body will be more highly developed to enable her to carry with ease the child in her womb.
2. WORK AND SPORTS Hard work away from the home is the lot of man, whereas nature confines woman to a life of domesticity. In order to accomplish this work, man has been endowed with strength as his major physical characteristic. It is for him a natural force. He will be attracted by the violent types of games such as football, baseball, hockey, boxing, wrestling, etc ... If he is unable to participate in the games, he will be a constant, ardent spectator. His superior physical strength endows him with the role of protector of the woman.
Woman, admitting her comparative weakness, is ideally fitted for taking care of the home. House-work, cooking, sewing, embroidering, knitting, all are suited to her ability. As for sports, she should avoid the strenuous kinds and seek her relaxation in physical exercises such as swimming, tennis, Ďwalking, which will help her develop all her muscles but particularly those of the extremities. In these sports she should be careful not to over-exert herself. She should be averse to tournaments and competitive games, where ambition may cause her to continue beyond her limit and so impair her health.
The feminine sex has been designated the weaker sex. Some girls have a feeling of inferiority towards the stronger sex, a feeling which is manifested by a foolish effort to imitate men. They dress like men, smoke like men (usually far more than men), assume mannish habits, play strenuous games. All this is dangerous to their health and almost invariably completely fails in its purpose of attracting the masculine eye other than to win their silent evasion. Be feminine! Itís your grandest characteristic, your greatest attraction.
3. HEALTH AND DISPOSITIONS Health is an important element in the future happiness of the home. The health of the parents, and particularly that of the mother, will be reflected in the children. Guard your health and that of your partner. (More detailed information on this subject will be supplied in the thirteenth lesson.)
Both of you should realize that the woman has a more difficult time than the man. The fragile nature of her entire system, especially of the nervous system and of the reproductive organs, the diverse phenomena occurring periodically (ovulation, menstruation, pregnancy, birth, nursing) all react on her disposition. The man must be understanding and sympathetic. On the other hand, the woman should not permit herself to be whimsical nor force her husband to undergo with her every little inconvenience that she undergoes.
C. INTELLECTUAL ASPECT
There are two important methods of understanding, of grasping truth: reason and intuition. Man is endowed with reason, woman with intuition.
Reasoning, in the larger sense we give it here, is that slow, cold, exact knowledge, more or less lacking in sentiment or imagination, that man acquires from his surroundings. It is speculative and intellectual: Man thinks, calculates, deduces, makes plans, foresees obstacles, draws conclusions, gets the general, over-all effect. In a word, he studies every angle, weighs every possibility.
Intuition, on the other hand, is a knowledge that is spontaneous, warm, colorful, circumstantial, detailed. It is a knowledge that permits woman to grasp and photograph mentally everything that she sees. Her heart and feelings influence her understanding much more than her power of reasoning. She possesses the faculty of putting herself in the other personís place and thereby appreciating their sentiments and wishes. A woman will grasp details and react spontaneously, change ideas rapidly, and be whole-heartedly sympathetic.
1. ATTITUDES: GENERAL, PARTICULAR From what we have just said, it is evident that man will grasp a problem in its entirety: woman will grasp the details of this same problem. Man proceeds from the general to the particular; Woman grasps the particulars and builds towards the general idea.
Man has the responsibility of the family on his shoulders. For the family he will seek means to increase his income: he will foresee the maturity of his accounts, etc. He loves to discuss actual problems: he is passionately interested in politics; he seeks to be well informed on the prevailing social ideas, reforms, etc. On the other hand, the unexpected will confuse him ... details escape and unnerve him. He lacks flexibility of action.
Woman has her role of mother to fulfill. Her gentleness will cause her to attach great importance to the most minute detail of daily living. The housework, cooking, sewing, and, on a higher sphere, the care and education of the child are a continuous attentiveness to little things. This minute attention to detail in understanding and action she will carry over to her social relations. As a result, she will appreciate or disparage a person because of apparel, etc...
This mental attitude which causes man to view things in their entirety, and which causes woman to view these same things in their minutest detail, fits them for the fulfilling of their respective vocations. It is easy to see though how, unless the newly-weds are aware of the difference in their mental outlook, it would be a cause of mutual lack of understanding. The young husband will err in thinking his wife superficial, whereas she will consider him a schemer. She will attach an exaggerated importance to some household item, to which he will attach very little or no significance. Let each intelligently contribute his and her share for the welfare of the home. Certainly, the husband should not expect his wife to stand in front of a newspaper office so that he may have the very latest news! Neither should the wife drag her husband out shopping with her, etc.
2. LOGIC Another stumbling-block is the difference in the method of reasoning of the two sexes. Let us admit at once that both are logical, but he in his own way, she in hers.
Man is logical in the sense we usually attribute to him: logical in his ideas and in his actions. Ordinarily, a man will act only after he has considered the matter and, once he has decided upon a certain plan, he will carry out that plan. But if something unexpected happens, he is at a loss what to do. He will have to review his plan and alter it to fit the new situation before he can proceed.
Womanís logic is of an entirely different pattern. Manís is one of ideas, womanís is of events, occurrences. One word describes feminine logic: it is the sense of Ďadaptationí. She will make no elaborate plan of action; she adapts herself spontaneously to anything that may occur. Her intuition prompts her to the most advantageous solution of the problem until she gains the desired objectives.
It is because of this difference in their ways of thinking that the man must make an intelligent effort to understand his wife. Spontaneous, he will find her necessarily changeable, constantly contradicting herself, tearing down today what she built yesterday, etc. He must sincerely seek to find in these apparent contradictions her striving, very often eager, towards a certain goal. An opportunist, she will alter her course, adapt herself to any event or person as long as it assists her in reaching her goal.
This talent for adapting herself, a talent with which has endowed her, imposes certain duties on her as a wife. It has been said that married people can be happy only if they meet each other half-way. It is a fact. But if one of the two should find it necessary to go more than half-way to ensure that happiness, then it is up to the wife to do so, because it is much easier for her to adapt herself to her husbandís ways than it is for him to adapt himself to hers. This applies to all circumstances relating to the home, food, way of living, tastes, etc.
3. IMAGINATION AND EMOTIONS These are two more points on which the masculine and feminine temperaments oppose but complement each other. Woman has a lively imagination and delicate sensibilities. It is chiefly a visual imagination: With a single glance she will grasp, encompass everything, colors, forms, etc. Then binding them together, according to the impressions of the moment, she weaves them into fantasies, often very remote from reality. Her "castles in Spain" are often, therefore, a source of unhappiness. On the other hand, her ingenious imagination will endow her with a special aptitude for delicate and decorative work: styles, interior decorating, crocheting, etc. A true genius!
Woman is also gifted with a very sensitive nature. A trifle will give her pleasure, but a trifle will also cause her to dissolve into tears. She will note things that ordinarily go unobserved by a man. She is never satisfied with the external appearances of things, but looks for the underlying motives in every word and deed. She projects feeling, a soul into inanimate things. Her sympathies are easily aroused by suffering, her delicate sensitiveness will permit her to understand her child before it is able to talk. There is nothing more beautiful than to eavesdrop on the intimate conversations carried on between a mother and her baby.
To man we often deny any imagination. In the sense that we apply it to woman, man has little or no imagination. His imagination, in effect, is not one of things. It is, if we may say so, an imagination of ideas. Man makes plans and makes them in every realm: economy, literature, philosophy, art, etc ... His imaginings, being more intellectual, render him more apt for mental work.
His feelings, on the other hand, are not so delicate as those of his wife. In many ways, he is quite unobservant. His judgment, though, is less likely to be wrong as it is based not on feeling but on reality.
It is easy to see how these differences in the imagination and the emotional reactions of the two sexes could give rise to frequent clashes and misunderstandings. Constant, mutual understanding of the basic differences of the sexes is vitally important. The womanís imagination will cause her to dwell on and exaggerate some lack of tenderness on the part of her husband; she will try to connect it to some other incident, some other trifling occurrence, and will arrive at conclusions that, if not erroneous, are at least exaggerated. And the husband, to whom it never occurs, that his wife might like such a present, such a delicacy or such a caress, goes casually, blissfully, on his way, totally unaware of the pain he is causing her by depriving her of these things.
4. JUDGMENT Womanís judgment is more rapid, manís more accurate. Womanís intuition aids her in readily grasping a situation, a state of mind, a mood, an obstacle. Her judgment will therefore be hasty, her decisions spontaneous. Usually, this first impression should be tempered by a more considered second thought. Otherwise, there is a good chance that she may be wrong ... the more so because a woman tends to judge according to her likes and dislikes, and usually her likes and dislikes are very intense. Her first impression, good or bad will influence her later judgment of a person or occurrence. Hence, the need for the more considered second thought.
A man, on the contrary, before passing judgment, will usually study the problem, weigh every possibility, measure it from every angle and make his decision only after every possibility has been considered. This takes time, it is true, but the result will be more accurate.
This difference will almost certainly provoke a certain amount of friction. The wife will find her husband slow; she will complain that he does too much figuring before making a decision, that he takes all the pleasure out of life. She should console herself by remembering that God made her husband this way in order to act as a counterbalance to her spontaneity. Nevertheless, the man should not abuse this slowness. He must place his confidence in God and make his decisions accordingly. He must help to correct, without being too critical, the subjective judgment of his wife when it is obviously wrong.
5. MUTUAL INFLUENCE Matrimony permits the husband and wife to complement and to influence each other. Words will serve as the means by which they exchange ideas. In this realm the principle to be remembered is this: The wife should accept what her husband says as a fact: the husband must try to understand what his wife Ďmeans by what she says.í
Unless he is a hypocrite, a man says what he thinks. As a general rule, he has no use for diplomacy or guile. A woman will gravely err if she insists on giving to his words interpretations that he never intended. She has only to take him at his word: If she does this, she will avoid uselessly complicating their relationship and that of the family.
On the other hand, because a woman does not always say exactly what she means, she leaves a lot to the imagination. It will be a happy home where the husband can read between the lines and interpret his wifeís wishes. She should make a practice of telling him clearly her most secret desires if she expects him to understand exactly what she wants.
The art of tactfulness that God has granted to woman imposes duties on her where her husband is concerned. She must be his guardian angel ... and very often, without letting him suspect it! She must circumvent him, sway him, influence him so that he will always remain on the right road - a womanís natural work if she is a loyal wife. But, and note it well, in her methods of doing this, there must be absolutely no trace of deceit. Her influence will have been worthwhile if her husband can say "My wife is much better than I am."
6. SELF-ASSURANCE Manís self-assurance is much more marked than womanís. At the same time, it can be for him a very serious temptation. As we have mentioned before, it is but one step from self assurance to self-sufficiency and egoism. This one step must be avoided! This self-assurance must be based on the humble recognition of his absolute dependence upon God: dependence for continued life and strength, dependence for the ability to do his work efficiently, dependence for all the other graces, whether recognized or unrecognized, that enable him to fulfill the duties of his state in life. No better principle could guide him through life than the one enunciated in Lesson Two: "Seek first the Kingdom of God and His justice, and all these things shall be given you besides."
Based on the two principles of a) absolute dependence upon God and b) the promise of Godís providential care for those who place the emphasis on striving always for spiritual improvement, the self-assurance of the husband will lead to both spiritual and material security and peace for the wife and family. They, in their turn, can rely with complete confidence on the husband and father as upon a channel of divine grace through whom flow the means of their temporal and eternal happiness.
The normal woman psychologically is entirely devoted towards others. She finds her happiness only in the happiness of others. The husband should realize that, if he wants to see his wife supremely happy and entirely devoted to the welfare of the family, he must be attentive and foresighted towards her. His efforts to train himself to anticipate her immediate desires, her needs, to take her and keep her into a vital partnership (instead of merely allowing himself to take her for granted), will reward him to an extent that will be surprising. A note of caution may be necessary, however: he must be careful not to spoil her by catering to every selfish little whim or caprice that may be sought only for her own self-glorification.
What we have just said about the self-assurance of man explains why he can laugh freely at the jokes poked at him, whereas the woman would be greatly upset. The man would be well advised to be more attentive to the judgments of others; the woman to be more independent of these same judgments. In this way she could rid herself of the slavery of fashion and so come to the development of and dependence upon her own initiative.
Do men and women love in the same way? This question must be answered by the emotional aspect of masculine and feminine psychology. The answer will throw light on the way the newly-engaged and the newlyweds should conduct themselves towards each other if they wish to avoid tragedy.
1. AFFECTION AND GRATIFICATION As has been said in the third lesson (Differences in Conjugal Love), men and women do not love in the same way. Man has one idea of love, woman another, and this difference lies as much in the spiritual and supernatural point of view as in the sexual.
When it is a question of love with regard to the man and the woman, this love will have certain characteristics; its "color", if we may so describe it, being drawn from the very roots of the sex which gives it birth:
a) From the point of view of entirely sexual love, man, representing the aggressive generative element will engage in a daring, venturesome love. He will take the initiative. He will seek the conquest of the opposite sex. He will seek to possess the female. His will be an aggressive love which will lead him to act.
Womanís role is to receive. Her love, therefore, will be the receptive type. Woman will show her love by seeking and accepting the marks of affection, whereas man will show his love by giving them to her. She will want to be conquered; but, more or less knowingly, she will play "hard to get" in order to excite his interest. She will avoid him, but only inasmuch as it will make her seem unattainable and consequently more desirable in his eyes.
We have repeated over and over again that the male, more than the female, seeks carnal gratification. A distinction and clarification should be made on this point. Man being necessarily aggressive, his love, his search for pleasure, for sexual satisfaction, will appear more audacious in their exterior manifestations. As we have said, man goes out in search of sexual gratification and finds it normally in the opposite sex.
The female, on the other hand, being receptive, awaits manís pleasure for her sexual satisfaction. She does not show her love as he does. For her the search for pleasure, for love, consists in a desire to be conquered by the opposite sex. She will seem less eager for sexual enjoyment. This does not imply that, left to her own resources, her nature may not drive her to the gratification of these pleasures. Natural decency may save her from "going the limit" in indulging her passions, but she will quite possibly give free reign to her imagination. Also, much more so than the young man, she will literally become enslaved by stories dealing with romantic fiction. Reading them, she gives herself over to day dreaming, and may find therein pleasures and satisfactions to an extent that is sinful in the eyes of God. With an ease equaling that of man she will indulge with her companions in dirty jokes and conversations.
It is true that many women are disgusted by the blunt, open efforts of so many men to gratify their carnal instincts outside marriage. On the other hand, it is a sad thing that even such men have been heard to remark, "If you want to hear a really dirty, disgusting joke or story, go to the girls." Certainly, there is considerable room for improvement among both sexes.
b) If the manifestations of sexual love vary so much between the sexes, it is not surprising that the manifestations of their spiritual and supernatural love will be equally different. Let us repeat, it is not that one has more depth or sincerity: It is that the love of man and woman differ to the extent that it is impossible to compare them.
It must be noted, however, that, of the two sexes, the young man has far greater difficulty to preserve his chastity than does the young girl. The freedom and lack of restraint in factories and business offices are a constant source of temptation, whereas the young girl, more carefully supervised, is more protected against this onslaught of evil.
Unhappily though, in these days the young girl is drawn into factories and business offices where, too frequently, a deplorable state of promiscuousness exists. In this environment, she is faced with assaults against purity as violent as are those of the young man.
Here are a few means for the preservation or the reconquest of purity and chastity. These are both natural and supernatural means.
1. The natural means are cleanliness, devotedness to work, avoidance of occasions of sin (persons, books, pictures, movies, conversations, songs, etc.) self-discipline and wise use of time.
2. The supernatural means are sincere love for Our Savior Jesus Christ, our most tender and loving Friend, and an ardent desire to make Him known and loved; a devotion to the Blessed Virgin; the heartfelt prayer: "Savior, keep me pure in heart and soul;" the frequent reception of the sacraments of Penance and Holy Eucharist. With these means, there is no young man nor young woman who can honestly say "I cannot remain chaste!"
Education and environment play a big part in the practice of chastity. By his nature, man is actively attracted by women. Consequently, everything that emphasizes her physical build will certainly tend to stimulate, excite, and enliven his interest in her, and rouse his passions. Too many a young woman often seeks in this way by her behavior, by her manner, by her dress, to attract men. Styles that would compel all women to dress in this fashion are nothing less than a curse! When such clothes (or lack of them) are worn with the deliberate intention of thus attracting men, it is nothing less than an eternal tragedy! Here we have a woman whose interest lies in attracting men, even at the possible cost that her methods of so doing may lead to his eternal damnation!
Many a young woman who so stoutly condemns the boldness and forwardness of young men of her acquaintance might do well to check up on the modesty of her own attire! Much of this boldness may be only the reaction of her acquaintances to her own lack of consideration for modesty in dress. If a girl dresses suggestively, then she should not be surprised if passions are aroused. Unconsciously perhaps, but none the less certainly, it is she herself who is drawing to herself the attention of young men; it is she herself who appeals to their senses - and is the very cause of their temptations.
Remark to the young women of today that such a dress is indecent or immodest and the majority of them will exclaim "But there is no harm in it!" Maybe they do not see or realize the harm. It is an absolute fact that young men of today realize it: their passions are inflamed by the sight of our modern young women with their seductively scant attire.
Thank Heaven, there are still many women who disdain such contemptible tactics as those mentioned above. Thank Heaven, there are still many who choose their clothes with Christian consideration for their own modesty and with some forethought for the possible reaction of their choice upon their male friends and co-workers.
Among these truly noble women, however, the sad cry often arises, "Yes, we dress modestly, live clean - but itís the other kind of girl who gets the best husband!" This is a false conclusion. Honestly now, what is your evaluation of the young man who is so easily led astray by such girls? Has he the strength of character that you do want in your husband? And what would be your guarantee of future fidelity in marriage if he is so easily duped by such obvious shameless tactics outside marriage. Is this what you would consider "the best husband"?
Persevere, then, and pray that when God will have completed His preparation of you for marriage, and you have cooperated by helping in this preparation, He may then send you the one who to you will be undoubtedly, the best husband. God richly rewards those who place their entire trust in Him.
The young woman can do much to help preserve the chastity of the man who will one day be her husband, and she should do everything in her power. It is to her advantage to have her fiancť love her with a love that is clean and respectful. If, by her easy manners, her dress, her behavior, she arouses his passions, she will be the first to suffer.
Christian charity, the true love that she should bear her future husband, should make her seek to be his inspiration and strive to elevate his thoughts to the heights of purity and modesty instead of dragging them down to the sensual. It is inspiring to see so many young women who, by their reserve, and by their modest demeanor, succeed not only in making themselves respected, but in raising as well the love of their fiancť from the sensual to the spiritual! Blessed, indeed, is the young man who is so fortunate as to meet such an ideal young woman! To quote part of the Gospel, "he has found a pearl of great price".
Let us conclude by saying that a young woman must be reserved also in the expression of her affections. A caress which to her will be meaningless, a mere token of affection, may be to the young man a sexual stimulus that may very well be an occasion of sin. May the young woman always remember that she should be his guardian angel.
2. DESIRE TO CHARM The physical features of the female exert a profound attraction on the male. On the other hand, the woman has a deep-rooted desire to charm, to attract attention and love. This desire to be noticed may result in her being coy and coquettish. Let her ambition be to please, but to please by her modesty and reserve.
This very desire of the young woman to be showered with attentions will make her exceptionally sensitive to the compliments paid her by her husband. The young fiancť or husband should recognize the true qualities of his wife or future partner. He should appreciate fully her labors and her devotedness. A new dress, a tasteful ornament for the home, a good meal, all should be made the occasion for a well-merited compliment. That it be recognized and appreciated is the sole recompense a woman desires in return for her devotion. But it would be deceitful to exploit this feminine trait for an evil purpose. The young woman must be able to distinguish the sincerity or the knavishness underlying such a compliment. Otherwise she will fall easy prey to the self-love that we have described in this lesson.
This desire to charm is at the root of the jealousy that exists between women. Unconsciously, in feminine rivalry, there is jealousy at seeing another more successful than themselves, attaining the happiness that eternally eludes them, this one winning a suitor that she herself desired, that one getting married sooner than she herself, etc. It is a defect that must be overcome since it tends to lessen the worth of the one tainted by this outlook.
3. TO LOVE AND TO BE LOVED We know now what we should think of the question "Does man love more than woman or vice versa?" For us this question has been answered by what we have said above.
Each should love wholeheartedly and not bother wondering whether they love to a greater degree than they are loved. The aggressive nature of man and the receptive or passive nature of woman will have repercussions even in the realm of love. Manís love should be a never-ending conquest of his wifeís heart. The woman should always seek to incite and merit this love.
Man instinctively seeks "to love" in preference to "being loved". He will select a young woman who pleases him without her seemingly having made any effort to do so. He will lose interest in the young woman who seems to be running after him and who does not seem sufficiently indifferent. Even after matrimony, a slight amount of unconcern should persist in the womanís attitude, if she desires to keep aflame in the heart of the male the spirit of conquest which is essential to his nature.
As the female has an insatiable need to love and to be loved, she is capable of every sacrifice and of total devotion, if she is only assured of her husbandís sincere and constant love. This love she should arouse spontaneously, maintaining it by the allure of all her most feminine charms, particularly those of the soul. Never should she relax in her desire to please him, to charm him.
Poor deluded wife, sure of herself, taking her husband for granted, ceasing in her efforts to please him by a lively character, a charming manner, a beautiful appearance! She must not forget that every day her husband is thrown into contact with other women, beautiful young women who, sometimes unconsciously, seek to attract and charm him. Wives must never forget that the winning of a husband does not end at the altar rail with the pronouncing of the marriage vows. This conquest of his love is only beginning!
Two warnings we would offer before we conclude this lesson. The Christian family is the foundation and support of a sound, happy, peaceful world. You can expect the devil to do his utmost to wreck your marriage. In addition to the study of psychology which you have just made, we urge that you make constant, full use of the graces that are yours through the Sacrament of Matrimony.
Problems may arise when the husband or wife (or both) may, for one reason or another, hesitate to speak out, may hesitate to consult the other partner. It is an unwise course to follow. Openly discuss your problems, attitudes - and ask the Holy Family to sit in at your conference. Do not keep your differences stored up in order to indulge in self pity over some real or fancied hurt. Mutual understanding is not to be won through secrecy. "You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free."
The second warning follows from the first. Many a person who would otherwise speak out in an attempt to produce the solution to a problem, fears to do so because of the partnerís impatience, irritability, or stubbornness.
Both partners must strive to the utmost to develop the virtues of honesty and patience if there is to be mutual understanding. Be patient when your partner mentions a problem that touches you. Impatience, like a smile, is contagious. One sign, one word of impatience, leads to another; impatience leads to anger and resentment; resentment leads to hate. Only, too gleefully does the devil rejoice over the home ruled by fear of a nagging wife or of a stubborn husband.
It is a loveable quality to be able to honestly, quietly admit that we have such-and-such a fault, and then make efforts to correct it. It is a serious fault when touched pride rears up in anger. Be honest, humble, patient, generous and open.
"In patience you shall possess your souls."
What may have seemed too difficult, impossible, before undertaking this study, is now clearly defined. It is to the help of the Holy Ghost that you must have recourse in this study that you have just made, one of the other. With the graces of Strength and Generosity obtained through the Sacraments and prayers, you will find the courage to undertake the psychological adjustments necessary to meet with equanimity the problems inevitable in the making of a home.
Come, Holy Ghost, fill the hearts of Thy faithful and kindle in them the fire of Thy love.
Send forth Thy spirit, and they shall be created.
And Thou shalt renew the face of the earth.
Let us pray.
0 God, who didst instruct the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Ghost, grant us in the same Holy Spirit to be truly wise and ever to rejoice in His consolations. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.