Sunday, November 13, 2005

A Peaceful Retreat, Part 1

This is such a multi-faceted subject, that I hardly know where to begin. To understand the elements of creating the peaceful retreat at home, I find that I must first educate the young women about its intricate value.

Why do young women shun the prospect of marriage, home, and family? Why is it boring to them? Why do they want to pursue careers instead? Why are they willing to endure the insufferable repitition of factory work, office politics, or industrial labor, instead?

I invited a young couple to my home once, for dinner. The young man was tired after a day's work at a paper mill, where he had also become responsible for a certain department and the employees. His wife stayed at home and educated their two children herself. She was also tired, but not as in need of encouragement as her husband. Because many of his co-workers were women, the subject turned to that of women working outside the home.

As he related to us his observations of the women in his department, his voice got louder and louder, and soon he began to shout.

"WHY OH WHY do they want to work, when they don't really have to?

" My job is hard and it is exhausting. If I could stay home, I would. So why won't the women stay home? There is less stress for them there. They function better there. Men need to come home to a real home that is a peaceful retreat. If the wife is gone all day, the home is anything but a retreat, for she can't put the atmosphere into it that makes it so.

" I can't understand why the women WANT to do this, when they can stay home. I don't LIKE going to work every day--why do they like it?"

Somewhere in all this ranting and raving, was some simple reasoning that always stuck in my mind. I have my own ideas about why women don't want to stay home, don't like it, are bored by it, and don't plan on becoming homemakers and leave the working world to the men. The first is education. Excuse me for daring to touch such a sacred entity, but there you have it.

While it is wonderful that women have the opportunity to be educated, to read and write and cipher, one thing I learned from homeschooling my own children, is that one has to be discerning about what one reads or listens to.

Learning and reading can be used for good, or for ill. That is basically the difference between government education and private education. Education can be a detriment to a girl's life, when it directs her into things that distract her from the things that should come second nature to her.If she spends four years in the University studying marketing, she isn't going to be inclined to be a homemaker. As the twig is bent, so the tree will grow.

Women naturally love the home, until they are trained out of it by education. Little girls play house, folding little blankets for their dolls, and playing with their little tea sets. If a girl spends many hours in college, she will either be shamed out of these early instincts or trained out of them. She will not come away from that experience more determined to have a lovely home, manage it, and guard it. She will not feel the challenge of having a good family and helping her husband in his life.

I know a woman who married a man who had nothing but a bicycle. Although she never pursued outside work, she helped her husband and encouraged him so much, that today he is one of the most successful farmers in the area that they live. He has modern barns, nicy shiny tractors and hay balers, his own gas station to fuel his farm machinery, and a brand new house with floor heating. If they chose to give it all up, they would still have enough to keep a small home and have future security. Her fulfillment was in forging a life together with him, raising their children, and pursuing her own talents. More about her, later.

For this reason, I find college education for girls very distracting, and very subversive. Sorry about that, girls, but those of you who have gone to college, let me ask you about your college days.

How much time did you spend at home, caring for it? How often did you show hospitality? Did you sew your own clothes? Did you dress femininely? How much time did you think about having a husband and how you would love and care for him? Did you dare even dream about it in the politically correct environment of the University? In however number of years you spent in that institution, was your importance based upon how you would lovingly decorate your home and how faithful you would be to your husband, or was value placed on your degree? Was your laundry caught up? Was your room clean? How often did you bathe or take a shower? Did tests and research papers take priority in your life? Did your college experience increase your yearning for a happy marriage, home, and a family of your own?Compare your education to the real life of home and family. How much of it really applies to the way you live in a home?

I spoke to a 40 year old woman the other day, who just came home from work, and is trying to adjust to managing her day at home and being a homemaker. She confessed to me that she would have been far better off to use all those years in college to learn how to run her home efficiently and learn to take care of her husband and children. Her years in college prepared her to work away from home; they did not prepare her for all the things that would confront her in homemaking. Homemaking is often mocked and scorned by the college elites.

She told me that when she was in high school and she was asked in a class what her plans for the future was, she said she wanted to be a wife and a mother. The teacher said, "You have to be something. Being a wife and a mother is not a viable career." Many a young girl, full of natural hopes and dreams about marriage, is humilated and discouraged by the educational "experts," and forfeit their right to have a beautiful life at home.

The other thing that prevents young women from pursuing marriage and homemaking as a career, is regulation. If they've gone to schools all their lives, they are used to getting up in the morning and going somewhere else. There, they are regulated by bells and time schedules which are imposed on them by someone else. They grow dependent on having someone else regulate their lives. The same thing happens at work. Life is regulated by hours, lunch breaks, shipments, order, and the like, and rewarded with paychecks.

Home is another matter. Instead of head knowledge, it requires heart. The heart is not something that is educated much in colleges. People are admired for their smarts, not for their hearts. We need to educate our girls not so much to earn a living but about good living. Peter Marshall, the US Senate Chaplain during the Truman presidency, said (

It remained for the twentieth century, in the name of progress, in the name of tolerance, in the name of broadmindedness, in the name of freedom, to pull her down from her throne and try to make her like a man.
She wanted equality. For nineteen hundred years she had not been equal--she had been superior. But now, they said, she wanted equality, and in order to obtain it, she had to step down. And so it is, that in the name of broadminded tolerance, a man's vices have now become a woman's.

Twentieth-century tolerance has won for woman the right to become intoxicated, the right to have an alcoholic breath, the right to smoke, to work like a man to act like a man--for is she not man's equal? Today they call it "progress"...but tomorrow,oh, you Keepers of the Springs, they must be made to see that it is not progress.

No nation has ever made any progress in a downward direction. No people ever became great by lowering their standards. No people ever became good by adopting a looser morality.

It is not progress when the moral tone is lower than it was. It is not progress when purity is not as sweet.

It is not progress when womanhood has lost its fragrance. Whatever else it is, it is not progress!

We need Keepers of the Springs who will realize that what is socially correct may not be morally right. Our country needs today women who will lead us back to an old-fashioned morality, to an old fashioned decency, to an old fashioned purity and sweetness for the sake of the next generation, if for no other reason.

Girls going home to grandmother's house may sense that there is something different about these homes, but they think it might be because Grandma has old fashioned tea cups in a china cabinet. They don't realize that the peaceful retreat of Grandmother's house didn't get there by grandmother's education or her dedication to the business world, trying to climb to the top of the ladder. She came by it through diligent effort. It takes years and years of living at home, oberving how the family operates and watching their ways, in order to figure out how to create this peaceful retreat. Homemaking requires a woman to be self-motivated. There will be no bells, tests, paychecks, or special motivational meetings. Your education doesn't count, when it comes to creating a schedule that suits your family. No one is going to tell you when to get up in the morning, when to rearrange your furniture, and when to do the laundry. Home requires a completely different mindset. The way you approach the work at home is dependent upon your love for your family.

For those of you waiting to be lifted up into the glorious clouds of interior decorating, I'll post part 2 of the Peaceful Retreat, which includes some of the things that the woman that married the man with the bicycle, taught me. ;-)

"Aria byFirelight" by Judy Gibson


Anonymous said...

Allow me to congratulate you for being who you are!

I am a 24 year old man living in India, and feminism has taken root here of late. Families have begun to disintegrate, society has begun to decay and love is truly hard to find. My thanks to you and other women like Wendy Shalit for standing up to a system that finds financial gain in societal ruin. Your words serve as a beacon of hope in such troubled times, even to men.

May I offer some light criticism? While the content of this blog and your site are largely secular in content, I wonder how many non-Christians are positively affected by it. I was able to appreciate the good work you're doing in part due to my having read the Bible, amogst other religious texts - I am a Hindu myself. I mean no offense, but would your words not have a larger reach if it didn't seem Christian - specific? For instance, my perception of God is quite different from the Roman Chatholic view, yet both religions share the same opinion on the importance of women at home as a helpmeet. I understand that Hindu people in India could start a site like yours, but I doubt if the feminists here would let it stay for long.

I have visited many antifeminist sites, and yours seems to be the best, in terms of ideology and content. You seem to have the right words for the every idea. I hope I'm not asking too much when I look up to you to extend your reach.

Thank you, and may you experience all the happiness you have earned.

Lydia said...

I appreciate the thoughtful comment.

Since much of our language and culture is rooted in the History of the Bible, it would be impossible to eliminate the flavor or Christianity while reaching out to the masses who do not believe in Christ. However, I think other religious people can benefit from reading this material.

I try not to get into doctrinal issues (such as whether or not God exists, how old the earth is, if the flood really happened, or if there was a CReation or a big bang)--choosing instead to leave that to other sites.

I write a column called "Lady Lydia Speaks" on which is owned by Jennie Chancey, who also has the site

To show you a sample of how our basic language is rooted in Christianity, even the word "Goodbye" is a shortened form of "God Be With Ye," which was apparently slang of students at Harvard in the 1700's. It was so outrageous at the time that it got the attention of Congress, where speeches were made to try to force a vote to put a stop to it!

In including so many Christian concepts in these articles, I am trying to invoke the blessings of God upon my life and the lives of those who read the material, for He says that he will acknowledge those who acknowledge him, and honor those who honor him.

All that aside, there are still many articles to come that do not contain references to my Christian beliefs, yet by the very act of pursing what is good and lovely and beautiful, do fulfill the commands of Christ.

While I do hope to encourage women of all religions to return to the high calling of marriage, home and family, I ultimately hope to influence them in the higher calling of Christian values, for, everywhere the teachings of the Bible have gone, women have become more liberated and treated with more respect and gentleness, and valued more.

I'm terribly behind on some things, and didn't realize that India, of all places, had gotten away from the values of home and family. There was no need for the Indian women to "escape" the home, but I believe it is a result of industry luring women into jobs, as well as schools and Universities being infiltrated by the Marxist teachings about women. (Karl Marx said in his Communist Manifesto, that women ought to leave the home and "contribute" something to society.)

We have the same problem here, for even in our Christian colleges, many ideas contrary to the women's true role, where she can be fulfilled and excell the most, are being taught to our young women.

Lydia said...

Perhaps the man in India could start a blog where he could post links to his favorite articles about women's role. That way, he could find the ones which would be most likely to reach the women in his culture.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lady Lydia,
I have never had any desire to work outside the home. Considering that so many woman seem to want to so badly, I have often wondered why I just don't have this same strong desire.
When I was young my Father insisted that I learn to type, and learn business. One statement that he made once was that I would need to have typing skills in case my marriage didn't work out. Weird, because we were raised to believe that divorce was not right. I can tell you that I felt such anger at that statement. Yet, when I had asked him to go to college, he refused to help me do so. Whether he was right or not, he claimed I wasn't that type. Maybe I wasn't. Funny, my desire for college really was not about having a career, if he knew this, I don't know. My heart was always set on marrying, raising a family. To me, college was one step in becoming a better educated woman, from my young point of view, college would have helped me be a more refined, better equipped wife and mother. Being young, it was not something I discussed in much detail with my parents or anyone.
I worked as a secretary for eight years, up until the day my first baby was born. While I had a job, my heart was always home. What a blessing it would have been, if I could have been home preparing for my little one. Working all the way up till the very day he was born was hectic. Many times, I had to rest due to swelling. My husband was going to seminary, he was a part time youth minister, I was also involved in helping him out with youth events. How crazy we were. When my son was born, we were in a chaotic mess. We both regret this now. I was a jumble of nerves. I wanted so badly to create an orderly, peaceful home, but even after I stopped my working, there was just so much catching up to do. With a small infant, it was impossible to feel caught up. On top of it, my baby cried a lot.
I would often hear woman say that when they stayed home, they were so bored and that they had nothing to do. To me, there is always plenty to do, and always room for improvement in my skills as a wife and mother, and keeper of the home.
It is nice to meet other ladies who like being home and not out in the work force.

Gina said...

I look forward to hearing more about the woman that married the man with the bicycle! I'm always inspired by your blog--thank you!!

Watered Spring said...

I am a young wife and mother and I really enjoy your posts especially on makeing home a refuge and place of blessing. My husband is a college student and works full time so that I can stay at home with our daughters, so I am always looking for ways to make our home a "retreat" for him. With two children 3 and under it's very hard to make things "peaceful", so encouragement is always appreciated. We also host people in our home many days out of the week so I am always looking at ways to bless those who enter our home. Thank you for seeking to encourage us, especially young, in these ways. I always look forward to your insight as well as reading from the resources you often share. Thank you.

Emily said...

I think a college education *can* actually be useful and positive for women who desire to stay at home, to be a helpmate, and to raise godly children.

I am a 24-year-old mother of one who was sent to a prestigious secular university, which had a very strong Christian group, where I studied physics. (I had finished advanced calculus by the age of 16 and had excelled in science growing up.) My father wanted me to marry a Christian man who was smarter than me and saw such an environment as the ideal place for meeting such a man. Mercifully, I didn't go into much debt in college and had paid back my loans in about six months from graduation.

I began working right out of college (having been taught that one should wait at least a year before having children, something I have since rethought, but this was taught by my parents, not my college), but God, in His grace and mercy, provided me with projects at work that have helped me to be a *better* helpmate for my husband. I've learned the computer languages he uses and can help him when he, a physicist, writes for journals or puts together presentations. He tells me specifics about his projects and I can actually give him feedback, something which would have been impossible if I hadn't studied physics.

Incidentally, my husband, always desired a wife who would listen to and understand his work, something that all the women he was related to growing up had no desire to do. I can do it, but I doubt someone with a high school level of education could!


Anonymous said...

This is a sensitive topic indeed, and one where my views differ. Education, in my opinion, is extremely vital to the growth of a person, and colleges, academies, and universities are, at least in theory, the focal points of scholarship. To ask a woman to miss out on that seems akin to asking my better half not to develop herself.

I do believe that women ought to be homemakers, and I do accept Lady Lydia's stand that colleges do not provide a heart-centric grooming base. However, I suggest that it might be an excellent idea if college would provide specialised cirricula for women, which would allow them to learn a subject of their choice apart from a standard homemaking skillset. I would like to beleive that a woman who understands what her husband does at work can serve him better at home, understanding the essential elements of his troubles and helping him keep them at bay. Also a woman who has an excellent knowledge of the outside world would be better equipped to teach her children.

What do you think?

Lydia said...

Still, a lot of negative press, both in colleges and the media, about the role of homemakers. My own son in law said that at the University he was told that women were who stayed at home would not be as interesting, or have the brains to interest her husband, and besides, if she didn't work, she would be just "freeloading." This is simply propaganda.

As Peter Marshall said, for centuries, women were revered for their roles as wives, mothers and "keepers of the springs." It took the 20th century to pull her down. All you have to do is compare the large singles population of today, to that of even 50 years ago. Because of the mistrust that has come between the sexes, and because of the blurring of the roles, and the lack of distinctness between male and female, we have an abnormal amount of singles today. Marriage, family and home are the basis of society, not education or even industry. These are nice embellishments but they are only held up as long as the family exists.

Lydia said...

Logic and reason would tell you that an educated woman and a working woman, would have a more diverse knowledge of the world, and be more interesting to talk to than a homemaker.

However, my conclusions come from my own observations of the last 40 years or so (I was born in 1951).
I'd much rather talk to a homemaker today; I find their conversations very stimulating and uplifting. They are well-informed and well read. They get to choose what they read and study, as opposed to some of the books and materials they would be required to study, that might have less meaning to them, in an educational establishment. The homemakers I know make it their business to know what is going on in their husband's work, and are their top "advisors" and managers of their money. I know one woman here, married at 15 when her husband was 15, who managed their money from the onset, and who has saved up so much of her husbands' money that they were able to stay out of debt, buy property, and start a business of their own. That is some "smarts" from a woman who didn't study to become an accountant. It isn't being educated that I object to. It is the vehicle by which one becomes educated, that I challenge. Today there are so many avenues of information and education, that one begins to see that the education establishments are businesses that have to survive. If a person wants an education, there are alternative ways of getting it without having their minds swayed by liberal teachers, away from the concept of marriage, home, and family.

Women don't have to know every single detail of their husband's studies; they just have to know how to understand a man, how to appreciate him, and how to love him. These are not learned in Universities.

Anonymous said...

Yes! It WOULD be great if universities offered more in educating women to be homemakers.
I guess that is what homemaking classes are for, but I never took them because my mom and grandmother had already taught me most of what was offered in high school, because they offered such basic skills. Now, in college, I'm sure I could have learned a great deal more, such as reupholstering furniture, etc. However, I chose elementary education. I felt it would also help me with my children and should I never find the right man to marry or my husband die or be disabled (the reason for a degree in the first place), I felt I would prefer working with young children.
Yet, how far your good idea could be taken. It could include so much!