Charles H. Spurgeon
(From Spurgeon’s “Plain Advice for Plain People” or “John Ploughman’s Talk”)

When a couple fall out, there are always faults on both sides, and generally there is a pound on one and sixteen ounces on the other. When a home is miserable, it is as often the husband’s fault as the wife’s. Darby is as much to blame as Joan, and sometimes more. If the husband won’t keep sugar in the cupboard, no wonder his wife gets sour. Lack of bread makes lack of love; lean dogs fight. Poverty generally rides home on the husband’s back, for it is not often the woman’s place to go out working for wages. A man down our parts gave his wife a ring with this on it, “If thee don’t work, thee shan’t eat.” He was a brute. It is no business of hers to bring in the flour: she is to see it is well-used and not wasted. Therefore, I say, short commons are not her fault. She is not the breadwinner, but the breadmaker. She earns more at home than any wages she can get abroad.

It is not the wife who smokes and drinks away the wages at the “Brown Bear” or the “Jolly Toppers.” One sees a drunken woman now and then, and it’s an awful sight; but in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, it is the man who comes home tipsy and abuses the children—the woman seldom does that. The poor drudge of a wife is a teetotaller, whether she likes it or not, and gets plenty of hot water as well as cold. Women are found fault with for often looking into the glass, but that is not so bad a glass as men drown their senses in. The wives do not sit boozing over the taproom fire; they, poor souls, are shivering at home with the baby, watching the clock (if there is one), wondering when their lords and masters will come home, and crying while they wait. I wonder they don’t strike. Some of them are about as wretched as a beetle on a pin or a mouse in a cat’s mouth. They have to nurse the sick girl, and wash the dirty boy, and bear with the crying and noise of the children, while his lordship puts on his hat, lights his pipe, and goes off about his own pleasure, or comes in at his own time to find fault with his poor dame for not getting him a fine supper. How could he expect to be fed like a fighting-cock when he brought home so little money on Saturday night and spent so much in worshipping Sir John Barleycorn? I say it, and I know it, there’s many a house where there would be no scolding wife if there was not a skulking, guzzling husband. Fellows not fit to be cut up for mops drink and drink till all is blue, and then turn on their poor hacks for not having more to give them. Don’t tell me I say it and will maintain it—a woman can’t help being vexed when, with all her mending and striving, she can’t keep house because her husband won’t let her. It would provoke any of us if we had to make bricks without straw, keep the pot boiling without fire, and pay the piper out of an empty purse. What can she get out of the oven when she has neither meal nor dough? You bad husbands, you are thoroughbred sneaks and ought to be hung up by your heels till you know better.

They say a man of straw is worth a woman of gold, but I cannot swallow it; a man of straw is worth no more than a woman of straw. Let old sayings lie as they like, Jack is no better than Jill, as a rule. When there is wisdom in the husband, there’s generally gentleness in the wife; and between them, the old wedding wish is worked out: “One year of joy, another of comfort, and all the rest of content.” Where hearts agree, there joy will be. United hearts only death parts. They say marriage is not often merry-age, but very commonly mar-age; well, if so, the coat and waistcoat have as much to do with it as the gown and petticoat. The honeymoon need not come to an end; and when it does, it is often the man’s fault for eating all the honey and leaving nothing but moonshine. When they both agree that whatever becomes of the moon, they will each keep up their share of honey, there’s merry living.