J. I. Packer zitiert in seinem Buch “A Grief Sanctified” aus der magistralen Ethik von Richtard Baxter (Umfang: mehrere tausend Seiten, auf Kindle günstig zu erwerben). Hier kann der Teil über die Ehe heruntergeladen werden. Es ist beeindruckend, wie konkret und klar der puritanische Gelehrte das Eheleben beschrieben und aus christlicher Weltsicht durchleuchtet hat. Ich zitiere drei längere Auszüge:
Unannehmlichkeiten einer Ehe
Auszug aus einer Liste von 20 Punkten:
- Marriage ordinarily plungeth men into excess of worldly cares. . . .
- Your wants in a married state are hardlier supplied, than in a single life. . . . You will be often at your wit’s end, taking thought for the future. . . .
- Your wants in a married state are far hardlier borne than in a single state. It is far easier to bear personal wants ourselves, than to see the wants of wife and children: affection will make their sufferings pinch you. . . . But especially the discontent and impatiences of your family will more discontent you than all their wants. . . .
- By that time wife and children are provided for, and all their importunate desires satisfied, there is nothing considerable left for pious or charitable uses. Lamentable experience pro-claimeth this. . .
- And it is no small patience which the natural imbecility [weakness] of the female sex requireth you to prepare. . . . Women are commonly of potent fantasies, and tender, passionate, impatient spirits, easily cast into anger, or jealousy, or discontent. . . . They are betwixt a man and a child. . . . And the more you love them, the more grievous it will be to see them still [constantly] in discontents . . . .
- And there is such a meeting of faults and imperfections on both sides, that maketh it much the harder to bear the infirmities of others aright. . . . Our corruption is such, that though our intent be to help one another in our duties, yet we are apter far to stir up one another’s distempers. . . .
- There is so great a diversity of temperaments and degrees of understanding, that there are scarce any two persons in the world, but there is some unsuitableness between them. . . . Some crossness there will be of opinion, or disposition, or interest, or will, by nature, or by custom and education, which will stir up frequent discontents. . . .
- And the more they [husband and wife] love each other, the more they participate in each other’s griefs. . . .
- And if love make you dear to one another, your parting at death will be the more grievous. And when you first come together, you know that such a parting you must have; through all the course of your lives you may foresee it.
The common duty of husband and wife is,
- Entirely to love each other . . . and avoid all things that tend to quench their love.
- To dwell together, and enjoy each other, and faithfully join as helpers in the education of their children, the government of the family, and the management of their worldly business.
- Especially to be helpers of each other’s salvation: to stir up each other to faith, love, and obedience, and good works: to warn and help each other against sin, and all temptations; to join in God’s worship in the family, and in private: to prepare each other for the approach of death, and comfort each other in the hopes of life eternal.
- To avoid all dissensions, and to bear with those infirmities in each other which you cannot cure: to assuage, and not provoke, unruly passions; and, in lawful things, to please each other.
- To keep conjugal chastity and fidelity, and to avoid all unseemly and immodest carriage [conduct] with another, which may stir up jealousy; and yet to avoid all jealousy which is unjust.
- To help one another to bear their burdens (and not by impatience to make them greater). In poverty, crosses, sickness, dangers, to comfort and support each other. And to be delightful companions in holy love, and heavenly hopes and duties, when all other outward comforts fail.
God calls you to a married life, expect . . . trouble . . . and make particular preparation for each temptation, cross and duty which you must expect. Think not that you are entering into a state of mere [pure and unmixed] delight, lest it prove but a fool’s paradise to you. See that you be furnished with marriage strength and patience, for the duties and sufferings of a married state, before you venture on it. Especially,
- Be well provided against temptations to a worldly mind and life. . . .
- See that you be well provided with conjugal affections. . . .
- See that you be well provided with marriage prudence and understanding, that you may be able to instruct and edify your families. . . . [Extended families with servants was the seventeenth-century norm.]
- See that you be provided with resolvedness and constancy. . . . Levity and mutability are no fit preparative for a state that only death can change.
- See that you are well provided with a diligence answerable to the greatness of your undertaken duties. . . .
- See that you are well provided with marriage patience; to bear with the infirmities of others, and undergo the daily crosses of your life. . . . To marry without all this preparation, is as foolish as to go to sea without the necessary preparations for your voyage, or to go to war without armour or ammunition, or to go to work without tools or strength, or to go to buy meat in the market when you have no money.