A Married Man

Read, Piers Paul

J. B. Lippincott, 1979

pp. 237, 243

P. 237  John Strickland’s wife Clare consults a priest (Father Michael) as she contemplates adultery: he writes: “The problem which even celibate priests can appreciate is that marriages go stale; that husbands and wives grow to find each other less attractive–even unattractive. The longing for a lover is often an expression of nostalgia for youth. Even priests feel that, but they usually express it through radical theology.” You damage your own soul thru adultery.  P. 243 Clare back to him: “The trouble is . . . he isn’t quite as clever as he thinks he is . . . in many ways I’m cleverer than he is, wiser anyway. I think a lot of women are and they suffer from seeing their intuitive intelligence outsmarted by their stupid husbands’ clever talk. Yet men are such fragile egoists that if the wife shows her husband that she’s cleverer and abler and stronger than he is, then she emasculates him. He loses what little he has. I promise you, Father, I know dozens of women who hold themselves back just to bolster up their dull, pompous, insecure husbands. You say I shouldn’t be bored, but how can I not be bored when I’m stuck at home with the dirty breakfast dishes, the ironing, Women’s Hour, the children’s tea and at the end of it all a self-important husband expecting a gin-and-tonic, a hot supper, admiration for the ego-enhancing experiences of his day, commiseration for the sad fact that others have taken the wind out of his sails.”