15 November 2017

Wondering Wednesday: Naughty Selfies for Mr. Husband?

Courtesy of Microsoft
Dear Ladies,

I hope that everyone is feeling well, doing good, and sharing her joie de vivre with others.

This week's Wondering Wednesday came from a perplexed wife.  She and her husband were separated due to his deployment and she wanted to send to her husband a photograph of herself in her underwear.

Sounds pretty tame, right?

As always, I never say, "Here is what you should do" because I don't know anyone who writes to me personally; rather, I say, "Here is what I would do or what I have done in a similar situation."  

In this case, I have a personal experience to share, so my answer is based on what I have done when presented with such a situation in the past.  

Let's start with some history.  When my late husband and I were separated due to his deployment in 2007, there was a fad of military wives sending their husbands photographs that were for his eyes only, to be carried on his phone where he could view them anywhere. (The ability to send photographs via cell phone was brand new then, and leave it to the military mind to come up with a new use for technology. [dry humor])  

Naturally, my favorite Marine wanted a photograph of me and asked why I had not joined in with the other wives.  I thought for a few minutes and decided he was shaking the pedestal, which I tried to treat as though he was playing a prank or joking, at least at first, so I wrote back:  "LOL: It must be April Fool's Day in [place]."

Nope.  He was serious.  Floating in a sea of loneliness and stress, he wanted me to do something with which I was very uncomfortable, at minimum, and which was probably a sin according to our mutually held faith.

This time, I thought for a few hours and made several "T-chart" lists, pro and con.  Here was the major "con" that I came up with and that ended the discussion:

"What if you lose your phone?  I don't want [name of enemy] or [name of a certain man who had expressed interest in me - ick!] looking at me."

(I didn't ask "What if you are taken prisoner?" because the thought was too horrible to bear.)

Where humor had failed, dread won the day.  And those remain my basic concerns about sending such photographs.  

A few years ago, I replied to one person's text, and another person received my text.  These mix-ups happen.  A photograph could be sent to Mr. Husband and end up someplace quite unintended.

"Mobile devices" as they are now called are lost or stolen every day.   

Co-workers and friends also snoop on each others' mobiles. 

Therefore, I personally would not take "naughty selfies," nor would I send them to my husband (or to anyone else, for that matter).

As always, I hope that my little "woman-to-woman" ideas have helped.

Agape always,
Cynthia

PS: If my husband had persisted and had made the photograph a submission issue, I would have spoken to our priest for guidance.



10 November 2017

An Answer to Prayer

Courtesy of Microsoft
Dear Ladies,

I hope that you all are feeling well, doing good, and sharing your joy with others.

For the past fifteen months, my life has been particularly challenging, and October and this month have been the worst.  In desperation, I cried out to the Lord; His answer was to provide for me through the gracious offer of an interest-free loan to meet our needs until my retirement is received next March, an offer that I have gratefully accepted.  

The couple involved did not want any public expression of gratitude, only wanting me to give praise to God, which I definitely do.  

Agape always,
Cynthia

04 November 2017

Femininity Friday: Let's Bring Back the Dowry!

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

A dowry can be simply defined as the money and property–including household goods–that a bride brings to her marriage.  

Prior to our postmodern times, a dowry was considered to be half of the woman’s financial contribution to the marriage, her labor after the marriage (cooking, gardening, sewing, etc.) being the other half.  A dowry could consist of almost anything of value: a few examples include sterling silver holloware, furniture, land, livestock, and sherry (for you David Copperfield fans).  If a bride lacked a dowry, one could be provided to her by her religious community or her husband could decide to forego a dowry.  If the marriage failed or if her husband died, she was, at the very least, entitled to receive her dowry or its value from her husband or his estate.

Today, however, most women, at least in the western world, are expected to bring property to the marriage, to work outside the home after marriage (or, perhaps worse, to have an in-home business), and after working outside the home for several hours a day, to return home to several hours of additional labor (see The Second Shift by Arlie Hochschild and Anne Machung) while any children are cared for by hirelings.  That arrangement is manifestly unfair, it seems to me.  No wonder that most women feel exhausted; no wonder that an increasing number of marriages are nearly devoid of physical intimacy.  

Today, when, Heaven forbid, a marriage fails, former loves claw and club their way to a property settlement that leaves neither of them happy and enriches only their attorneys.  

Today, when, Heaven forbid, a husband dies, his widow can be left owing massive medical debts that she did not incur, and whatever she contributed to the marriage can be taken by her husband’s creditors, in addition to anything she earns after his death.  Sometimes these debts bankrupt the widow for the rest of her life.

How could a dowry system work today?  A first step, it seems to me, would be to move past the idea that a prenuptial agreement is a bad thing.  A prenuptial agreement doesn’t have to be a negative; it can simply lay out the terms that the couple agree to prior to marriage, whatever those terms might be.  

Another important factor would be for most women to realize that they will, in all likelihood, marry someday and to prepare for that blessed event.  Rather than expecting wedding guests to provide expensive dry goods in exchange for an evening’s gaudy entertainment, gather a house full of furnishings.  Rather than spending huge amounts on clothes, entertainment, and vacations while you are single, save money for a down payment on a home.  If both members of a couple did that, perhaps a small simple home could be purchased without a mortgage or with very little mortgage.  

Finally, a change of attitude toward lifestyle is needed.  Learn to cook, garden, and sew.  Learn to be content with whatever you have (both men and women need this lesson, in my perception).  Learn to value the simple joys of life.  These attitudinal changes will start to inform general life decisions and help to return women's labor in the home to the place of value it once held.

I hope that my little woman-to-woman ideas have helped (and certainly my ideas do not constitute legal or any other type of professional advice).

Agape always,
Cynthia 

Thinking about taking a class?  You may find information on my website:

https://cynthiaberenger.wixsite.com/cynthiaberenger/classes

Thinking about studying my curriculum independently?  You may purchase it from my Etsy store:
https://www.etsy.com/shop/HomekeepingTreasures?ref=l2-shopheader-name

You may read an excerpt from The Second Shift here:  
http://www.unc.edu/~kleinman/handouts/second%20shift.pdf

01 November 2017

Wondering Wednesday: "Do Mrs. Andelin's Teachings 'Work' on a Mentally Ill Husband?"

Leighton's The Accolade - Public Domain
The question listed above was asked recently by a newcomer to my online group.  I have, however, received the question several times before, in relation to various mentally illnesses.  

Before we start on my answer, I want to remind everyone that I am not a mental health (or any other kind of) professional, so this is not a medical, psychological, etc., opinion.  

The key part of the question, it seems to me, is the idea that Mrs. A’s teachings are designed to work on any kind of husband.  Rather, I perceive that her teachings are designed to work on the wife, to change the wife.  After the wife changes, the husband may change or he may not.  That is his department.

In my experience living and teaching these principles, I have observed that they may need to be modified if a husband has a mental illness, and those modifications need to be handled gently and respectfully in a way that does not minimize his dignity as a man.  One example that I can think of is a dear lady whose husband struggles mightily with Clinical Depression.  When this gentleman is in the throes of a recurrence, he lacks the organizational skills to keep the finances going, so his wife steps in.   When he is well again, she steps back and he assumes this important “man of the house” role.

The wife’s doing her part to maintain her husband’s dignity as a man is key.  Let me give you an example.  When I lived in Utah, I knew a woman whose husband had been diagnosed with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.  I don’t know first-hand, but I would guess that living with someone who had Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder would be quite challenging.  I don’t want to minimize the stress with which the lady was living.  However, during a class one day she said, in a sarcastic tone, “And I’m married to Mr. Wonderful, Mr. OCD.  He’s a hand-washer.  That's why we have to have our own business now.  That's why we had to move from California to here.”  I felt sorry for him, not her.  Discussing Mr. Husband’s personal business behind his back, with people who do not have a "need to know," is disrespectful. 

What these teachings do, in my opinion, is give the wife coping skills during the stressful time of her husband’s being ill, whether that illness is temporary or forever.  Acceptance, Serenity, Character, Excellence in Homemaking, Femininity, Girlishness: All of these teachings would work together to help a woman whose husband has a mental illness, or a physical illness, for that matter.

I hope that my little "woman-to-woman" ideas have helped.

Agape always,
Cynthia

We continue to struggle to remain housed (and likely will through mid-March 2018), so if you can do so without damage to your own situation, please consider taking a Marriage or Homemaking class, purchasing a book, or making a donation.  For those of you who have done so already, please accept my heartfelt thanks, as we have remained housed for months longer than I thought we would.  Most importantly, please continue to keep us in your prayers, particularly that my efforts at self-employment would succeed and/or that I would find employment, all a.  Thank you.

31 October 2017

If You Celebrate Hallowe'en...

Courtesy of Microsoft

Remember to give Mr. Husband a treat!