So over the weekend I decided to use some much-needed downtime to peruse the interwebs looking at ideas for our wedding. I mean, just because we don’t have a guest list, wedding venue, or wedding date picked out doesn’t mean I can’t find adorable cocktail napkins on Pinterest that say “eat, drink, be married” and then make CB come in from the other room to look at how awesome they are.
Plus, we’re still sort of settling into this whole engaged thing, and so while everyone else is anxiously awaiting actual action on our part, we’re just trying to enjoy the first few days in our new apartment and seeing how shiny my ring can be when I hold it up against the window to make rainbows on the floor for the cat.
We are fully functioning adults.
However, while doing the above-mentioned perusing, I came across this gem that, I must admit, really made me reevaluate this whole marriage/wedding thing and see matrimony – and the wedding night - in a whole new light.
Advice for Young Brides
The following is a reprint from The Madison Institute Newsletter, Fall Issue, 1894:
INSTRUCTION AND ADVICE FOR THE YOUNG BRIDE
by Ruth Smythers beloved wife of The Reverend L.D. Smythers Pastor of the Arcadian Methodist Church of the Eastern Regional Conference Published in the year of our Lord 1894 Spiritual Guidance Press New York City
To the sensitive young woman who has had the benefits of proper upbringing, the wedding day is, ironically, both the happiest and most terrifying day of her life. On the positive side, there is the wedding itself, in which the bride is the central attraction in a beautiful and inspiring ceremony, symbolizing her triumph in securing a male to provide for all her needs for the rest of her life. On the negative side, there is the wedding night, during which the bride must pay the piper, so to speak, by facing for the first time the terrible experience of sex.
First, let me say this: PREACH it, sister!
Second of all, I’m definitely a sensitive young woman, and I will embrace any article in which I’m described as such. I am a delicate flower of a lady. But since I’ve definitely had a proper upbringing, I’ve known all along that my one great triumph in life is to secure a man so that he can totally provide all of my needs for the rest of my life.
Also, I quickly jotted that down on a piece of paper to keep handy when writing our wedding vows.
However, when I came across the negative side, I must admit that I’ve been reading all of the wrong articles my whole life. I mean, I’ve been told that this is one of the perks of tying the knot – and since I’m young and pure and sensitive, I know not of what I speak until sometime next year. However, I’m a little nervous to pay the piper! Is the piper CB? Will there be someone else in the room? And do I really have to pay someone? I could’ve sworn that was illegal!
Now I’m stressed out. Especially since it’s such a terrible experience! I may need to re-think this whole thing.
At this point, dear reader, let me concede one shocking truth. Some young women actually anticipate the wedding night ordeal with curiosity and pleasure! Beware such an attitude! A selfish and sensual husband can easily take advantage of such a bride. One cardinal rule of marriage should never be forgotten: GIVE LITTLE, GIVE SELDOM, AND ABOVE ALL, GIVE GRUDGINGLY. Otherwise what could have been a proper marriage could become an orgy of sexual lust.
Ooooooo-kaaaaaaaaaay. I was TOTALLY off base on this one. Thank God I read this article. Oprah has been telling me for years that the whole “give little, give seldom, give grudgingly” thing will totally work against me. And she’s even been telling me that I should be anticipating this night with curiosity and pleasure!
What a ho.
Also, how do I know if I have a selfish and sensual husband who might take advantage of me beforehand? Should I ask him? Should I warn him that I will be doing this against my own free will (totally legal) and not very often and without any smiling or happiness!?
We have so much to cover in our vows!
On the other hand, the bride's terror need not be extreme. While sex is at best revolting and at worse rather painful, it has to be endured, and has been by women since the beginning of time, and is compensated for by the monogamous home and by the children produced through it.
Wow, this woman really missed her calling in sales.
It is useless, in most cases, for the bride to prevail upon the groom to forego the sexual initiation. While the ideal husband would be one who would approach his bride only at her request and only for the purpose of begetting offspring, such nobility and unselfishness cannot be expected from the average man.
Ok, I’m supposed to love this guy, right? He’s not, like, making me do this?
However, I’m confused by the notion that I’d ever take it upon myself to initiate this with CB if it’s, at best, REVOLTING. I’d be like “hey, wanna just go adopt babies like Brad and Angie and then you’ll never have to put me through this and I can stay young and pure forever?” And he’d be all like “No, I’m an average man who isn’t noble or selfless and so now that you’re my lady property you must go make hate-babies with me.”
Most men, if not denied, would demand sex almost every day. The wise bride will permit a maximum of two brief sexual experiences weekly during the first months of marriage. As time goes by she should make every effort to reduce this frequency.
I’m not gonna lie; my husband sounds like kind of a dick. However, I like the idea of negotiating these terms up front.
Me: “Ok, so this is going to be revolting to me, at BEST, and so I’m only going to allow you to make my life hell twice a week in the beginning. That’s how much I love you. But once a baby or two comes out of that hell, I’m shutting down shop.”
CB: “But I’m a man who has needs and will want this almost every day, even when I’m tired and busy from having kids and a horribly frigid wife.”
Me: “Sorry, no dice. I’m only in this for the babies and the fact that you’re providing for all of my needs for the rest of my life without me having to do anything but cook, clean, and look the other way when you cheat and drink too much.”
CB, thinking for a minute: “Ok, deal.”
Feigned illness, sleepiness, and headaches are among the wife's best friends in this matter. Arguments, nagging, scolding, and bickering also prove very effective, if used in the late evening about an hour before the husband would normally commence his seduction.
I knew that arguments, nagging, scolding, and bickering were the key to a successful marriage!This is what I’ve been trying to tell CB for years! However, what if he doesn’t commence his seduction late at night? I mean, if he’s smart, he knows that that’ll never fly as I go to bed by the time “Jeopardy” is wrapping up. I’m guessing that this just means that I should be sickly, sleepy, headache-y AND nag-y basically 24/7, right?
Should that go in the vows, too? Better safe than sorry.
A wise bride will make it the goal never to allow her husband to see her unclothed body, and never allow him to display his unclothed body to her. Sex, when it cannot be prevented, should be practiced only in total darkness. Many women have found it useful to have thick cotton nightgowns for themselves and pajamas for their husbands. These should be donned in separate rooms. They need not be removed during the sex act. Thus, a minimum of flesh is exposed.
I find this both practical and helpful to all parties involved. Let’s get real – once I’m no longer a delicate flower of a woman and I’ve eaten the leftover wedding cake, he would probably be grateful if I just disrobed elsewhere and shut off the lights.
This chick really knows her stuff!
One heartening factor for which the wife can be grateful is the fact that the husband's home, school, church, and social environment have been working together all through his life to instill in him a deep sense of guilt in regards to his sexual feelings, so that he comes to the marriage couch apologetically and filled with shame, already half cowed and subdued. The wise wife seizes upon this advantage and relentlessly pursues her goal first to limit, later to annihilate completely her husband's desire for sexual expression.
Boy, she really gets me! I am heartened by the fact that society is trying to beat all joy from my soon-to-be husband. That will DEFINITELY spell a lifetime of happiness for us both!
Also, I think we should register for a marriage couch for sure. I mean, probably from Macy’s or someplace where they make sturdy furniture because if we got an IKEA couch I’m pretty sure it couldn’t handle the pressure when I started annihilating his happiness and desire-filled expectations. This thing’s gotta hold up under pressure! Just like the hubby.
I can’t wait to plan this wedding now.
Happy Monday, everyone!