From the Archives: The Wife's Domain
Below is an excerpt from a homily by church father John Chrysostom (c. A.D. 349-407), entitled “The Kind of Women Who Ought to Be Taken as Wives.”
A wife has just one purpose: to guard the possessions we have accumulated, to keep a close watch on the income, to take charge of the household. Indeed, this is why God gave her to you, that in these, plus all other matters, she might be a helper to you.
Our life is customarily organized into two spheres: public affairs and private matters, both of which were determined by God. To woman is assigned the presidency of the household; to man, all the business of state, the marketplace, the administration of justice, government, the military, and all other such enterprises. A woman is not able to hurl a spear or shoot an arrow, but she can grasp the distaff, weave at the loom; she correctly disposes of all such tasks that pertain to the household. She cannot express her opinion in a legislative assembly, but she can express it at home, and often she is more shrewd about household matters than her husband. She cannot handle state business well, but she can raise children correctly, and children are our principal wealth. At a glance she can detect the bad behavior of the servants and can manage them carefully. She provides complete security for her husband and frees him from all such household concerns, concerns about money, woolworking, the preparation of food and decent clothing. She takes care of all other matters of this sort, that are neither fitting for her husband’s concern nor would they be satisfactorily accomplished should he ever lay his hand to them—even if he struggled valiantly!
Indeed, this is a work of God’s love and wisdom, that he who is skilled ...