The Critique article on “Loving Your Wife for Christ’s Sake” was very nice for the most part. Except the paragraph where the wife is referred to as the weaker vessel. As for wives not being able to handle stress as their husbands do or “too large a mental burden”, Hogwash! Time and again the Bible compares great pain to that of the travail of a woman. The dictionary defines travail as the pains of childbirth or intense pain, agony. The agony in turn is defined as great mental or physical pain. A woman suffers great stress and mental burden once she becomes pregnant (worrying if she will carry to term, or if her baby will be born normal and healthy), during childbirth (travail), and while she is raising the children of her husband. God cursed the woman for her part of the sin in the garden with sorrow and travail; but, I believe, He also gave her grace to be strong in spirit as well as physically to bear this curse. God created woman for man as a help meet both physically (which God limited; making her “fragile, delicate like a flower”) and mentally (which God did not limit). Physically she cannot lift as great a weight as a man can; but mentally she can lift the same weight stresses and burdens. If God limited her so she is not always the best help for her husband physically, then God must have made her especially mentally strong to be a help meet to her husband in times of stress and burden. A wife can only help her husband bear his stresses and large mental burdens.
Mrs. R. Huizenga
In reply to a Wisconsin reader who thought my statement (June/July Issue, 1984) of husbands protecting their wives from too much of a mental burden was “Hogwash!’’:
I am sorry not to have made myself clear enough. In the article I wrote, “She is the weaker vessel, not inferior, second rate, or in any way a lesser person.” God has spoken in I Peter 3:7 that she is the weaker vessel, and I believe that applies both mentally and physically.
Can she carry a large mental burden? Absolutely! I cannot agree more. In all her labors, pregnancies as you mentioned, rearing of children, caring for her husband and children whether healthy or sick, she has a heavy load. That was my point – she has enough stress, so don’t put any more on her. The tone of my article was for the husband to love his wife by fulfilling his God-given task. This task involves helping with the children, teaching catechism, Sunday School, helping with school work. He must handle his money wisely so his wife need not worry, and generally live in such a way that he doesn’t give her too large a mental burden. He must shoulder all of his own responsibility!
Thank you for your response,