The Role Of Husband And Wife In The Middle Ages


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Many pamphlets and books were written during the reformation era which explained how to be a good wife or husband. At this time there was a widespread change in the way people viewed the roles of husbands and wives.
     Reformation thinkers believed that the role of the man in a marriage was to care for the needs of his family by providing for their shelter, food, and safety. The role of the woman in the marriage was to support the male, take care of the household, and raise the children. Neither the male or the female were considered to be higher than the other in the marriage. As Ozment states in When Fathers Ruled, the husband's duties were to ensure his families well-being and to rule over his family and servants with a firm hand.1 The bad husband was one that had no self control because without self control the husband could not provide for the family properly. A bad wife was one who did not know or respect her place in the family. Ozment writes that many reformer thinkers believed that the husband should have the rule in the household. This is because " a wife required proper deference... Because of her perceived physical and temperamental weakness, compared to men; magnanimity, patience, and forbearance befitted the superior nature and position of men."2 Reformation thinkers believed that husband and wife were on the most part equal with the male heading the household because of his stronger characteristics.
     The ideas of the reformation thinkers on the roles of husband and wife differ in some ways to the ideas of their roles today. In the eyes of some the man is still the head of the household. More so the husband is considered to be a figure head in today's family. The man is seen to have the power in a relationship but in reality the power of both husband and wife is for the most part equal. In some instances the woman is considered to have more say or power over the family. In present times more women are going out into the job fields and making as much as if not more money then their husbands. In this essence the roles of husband and wife have switched since that of the reformation era. Today what makes a bad husband is much the same as it was in the reformation era.

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A man who can not control his behaviors and animalistic instincts is not an apt husband. Although, today a man is not necessarily at fault if he can not provide for his family since some have now become stay home fathers. What makes a woman a bad wife has changed drastically from the ideas of the reformation era. Wives are no longer thought of as bad if they speak their mind, or stand up to their husbands. Today women are thought o be bad wives if they cheat on their husbands or can not control their behaviors. Now a days, what makes a bad wife or a bad husband is much the same for each individual.
     Thus, many ideas about the roles of husband and wife have changed but some still remain the same since the reformation era. The roles of husbands have decreased in power and the roles of wives have increased in power. In present times both husband and wife are still considered equals, but many of societies views on what role they should play in the household have changed.




















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