The Map of the Soul
articles on the nature of the human mind
By S.M. Zakir Hussain (Bangladesh)
(Author’s e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Mind of the Wife
It is common observation by both men and women that the psychology of a girl changes when she becomes a wife. Men even go so far as to think and comment that a girl gets to be a woman only when she gets married. And it is partly for this reason that in the Western societies they let girls get old while they are still girls all the time by not marrying them. Girls, not women, as it has become the notion, are the perfect friends of men. Rather, women are mothers and not friends. These notions are giving way to completely new concepts of wifedom: a wife, some Westerners seem to say, need not be one’s children’s mother. And most interestingly, it is nothing but the wife’s feminine, binding instinct and thornful nature that men are bored and scared of. As a result, rather than considering conjugal life a means of fulfillment, they have learned to see it as a prison-house, maybe a hell. They only see conflict and contradiction in family life, tending to limit freedom and destroy peace of mind.
However, in actuality the real knowledge of the psychology of the wife can throw light upon the core of the problem, which is not only not a problem but also a huge possibility that indicates how deep, harmonious, and meaningful is life really on earth. Knowing that, I believe, men would not only not be afraid to get married, but they, if their law and physical as well as financial conditions permitted them, would want to have more and more wives (HAHAHA!!) and be full-time husbands to them all, doing all the duties and loving all of them!
We will be proceeding by answering one by one, the questions that are usually, and in fact most frequently, asked by men when they have the experience of being husbands. Sometimes we will pose counter-questions and proceed by answering them first. I believe that this way of exploring the fact will provide the ability to directly access the mystery. So, in a sense, I am not answering as the author, but we together, you, the reader, and me, the author – are going to explore it. The real knowledge of life should and does expand the possibilities of a meaningful living. The real knowledge of life is nothing but the hands-on experience of living. Life must be a gift, and not a prison-house in any sense.
Question: The first question is: Why does a girl, who was so kind and sympathetic, full of love, always desiring to be with me before marriage, change so drastically after marriage? In the pre-marital stage of love she was prepared to sacrifice anything for me. She would even smilingly accept suffering for me. But what has happened now?
Answer: This is only a general question, an overall representation of the nature of the problem. If we must seek specific answers, we must first pose specific questions. So please be specific.
Question: Well, let us take the issue of greed. Why does she seem and is actually seen to be either greedy or selfish or both, thinking only about herself and not about me, whereas before marriage or in the beginning of the married life she seemed to have a sort of dedication, maybe devotion, in her love and affection?
Answer: What is greed? Simply put, greed is the desire for material goods, such as wealth, money, things, etc. in excess of the need or even when the situation does not naturally permit the acquisition of those things.
We must pay special attention to the phrase ‘in excess of’. When somebody desires for what she needs to survive or to develop personally or simply to satisfy the demand of the situation, she cannot be called greedy. Need is the perception of the vacuum waiting to be fulfilled. On the contrary, greed is the misperception of the need due to ambition, especially the ambition that arises out of the urge for competition or lack of self-respect or mistaken self-respect or lack of sympathy for others. Viewed with mechanical eyes, and not with any point of view biased with the desire to judge, that is, considered with the intention to observe the fact as it is, greed can be described as a tendency of the acquisitive mind.
Now, as many husbands allege, why does the wife seem to be greedy? Before answering this question, we need to see whether what seems to be greediness is actually so. The fact is that every woman, being a mother or a prospective mother, needs, and so has the instinctive urge, to be acquisitive. If she were not so, how could she feed and bring up her children and family? How could she be a shelter for the kids and adults, some of whom need to be protected against uncertainty and thus should be allowed to enjoy a period of playful freedom and care-free time, and some of whom need to be consoled and taken care of? Material power or wealth being a primary instrument of organizing activities and mental directions around the social unit called family, how could a mother bear such a massive burden of keeping the family united and stress-free if she did not have an acquisitive mind acting through her instinct? Just think about it in both ways: If, as a child, I desire for shelter from my mother, how can it be that my wife, who has her children, and so is their mother, should not be acquisitive and demanding? Why should she not tend to extract some financial energy from me?
Motherhood, the purest form of love acting through instinct, is a heavy, perhaps the heaviest, burden on a woman imposed by nature, according to the laws of God. A mother has to make her love actualized through a creative, constructive, and active process. That is not imagination but a reality demanding active involvement. The entire mankind has to be brought up and nursed. How can that be possible if the mother is not empowered by wealth?
Most often we think that love is an instrument of pleasure and enjoyment. But in actuality it is the biggest responsibility ever.
On the level of the body, LOVE gets expressed as beauty and sex-appeal. External beauty is a shroud promising to cover the difficulty of life and the sense of responsibility. Let us see the truth of this statement. Beauty attracts us with the promise of pleasure, satisfaction, and self-gratification. We, by way of enjoying ourselves, happen to get married. What is marriage? It is a promise to get united to let the waves of creation flow through us – through our enjoyment and activities, a commitment to extend mankind to its potential. Giving birth to children, rearing them, building a sense of identity in them, and educating them in all possible ways – could we do these things if we were to do so without ourselves going through a process of enjoyment and self-gratification? We can easily perceive how hard it is to bring up a child if we are forced to bring up a child of other parents without being allowed to conceal the identity of its own parents. Actually, rearing children seems to be easy to us only because we are only supposed to rear our ‘own’ children.
Thus it is clear that we happen to perform our duties to nature only because somehow or other we happen to enjoy doing so. So with any mother: she not only enjoys doing her duty to her family, she also does not feel good or satisfied if she does not have the opportunity to do so. That is why she is instinctively seen to be acquisitive.
In fact, all emotions and instincts expressed by a mother are essential to the family, and hence to the world, and bear express and implied commitment to the world. The mother has the entire future in her dream or instinct. However, not knowing why a mother becomes a different human being than when she was a girl, the mother herself may sometimes be a cause of suffering to her husband and in-laws. Also, husbands are no less prone to the same kind of error.
So it is better to satisfy, or willingly promise to satisfy, the need of the mother before she happens to be greedy in the external sense.