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One way or another they lived, and perhaps the two happiest people in that town were the pastor and his wife, who were fighting month by month a game fight to make ends meet and to do a good work, and were winning.

The preacher and his wife divided the housework. He rose first, made the fires, drew the water, put the kettle on. By that time the wife was dressed. He dressed the children and made the beds, by the time breakfast was ready. The beds never looked right, but it made no difference when every one was asleep. It was just as fine as could be.

BS , January 7, 1915, p. 21.

The spiritual and intellectual companionship that characterized such a marriage was openly celebrated; the sexual dimension that was present was not forthrightly discussed. Baptists were adherents of a Protestant view of sexuality: promiscuity outside the marriage vows was strictly forbidden, sexual relations within marriage fulfilled both males' and females' desires for pleasure and intimacy, as well as reproduction.

George D. Kelsey, Social Ethics Among Southern Baptists, 1917-1969 (Metuchen, N.J., The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1973), pp. 160-161.

Texas Baptist women did not leave accounts of their sex lives beyond the obvious presence of offspring. They were exposed to the physical aspects of farm life and domestic animals, but they were often naive about human sexual behavior far into adolescence. They were definitely responsive to males and bore a sensuality capable of being aroused. Sexuality in marriage was never disparaged, as the following correspondence indicates. Although the writer had been inexperienced and had not even addressed her fiance by his first name before their marriage, she later wrote him:
I want you and I love you so. . .My lover, never do I want to leave you again. . . .You are my pet and my darling and I want to be with you so much.
Annie Jenkins Sallee to W. Eugene Sallee, March 30, March 23, April 5, 1929. Jenkins-Sallee Papers, Texas Collection, Baylor University, Waco, Texas.

The benevolent authority that was described in the Bible as personifying Christ's relation to the church as well as the husband's to the wife, therefore, was softened in its most idealistic state to a partnership, with the wife voluntarily submitting to the husband's judgment on controversial matters (the exception was her Christian faith which he had no right to dispute).

BS , August 10, 1916, p. 11.

The system allowed for reciprocity, but it rested on a basis of male privilege and a belief that power was finally man's right and subordination woman's duty. In many marriages—those that did not measure up to the beneficent model—the power that was the male's because he was by divine edict somehow closer to the godhead was reduced to power for its own sake. The husband's activities and ambitions were an end in themselves; the wife's contributions to the family were means to serve that end. Not valued by her partner, she often discounted her own worth and suffered from low self-esteem.

Evidence that wives felt inferior to their husbands is most abundant for the 1880s and 1890s and gradually diminishes in the twentieth century. Demonstration of that inferiority is given in comments that indicated women wanted more consideration, but were defensive about asking for it. "Some Advice to Husbands," given by a woman in 1887, used anti-feminist reasoning to encourage men to treat their wives with more kindness. The list included 1) thinking of her happiness

("she will reverence you next to God
), 2) indulging her whims
("comfort yourself with the reflection of man's superiority
), and 3) being a companion to her (it will elevate her).

Texas Baptist and Herald (Dallas), May 4, 1887, n.p. Hereafter this newspaper will be referred to as TBH .

Another article on neglected wives did not suggest lessening women's tasks--cooking, taking care of the house and children, making clothes, milking cows, churning, keeping a garden, washing, and ironing--but urged men to appreciate women more for what they did.

TBH , January 26, 1887, n.p.

A woman whose husband had refused her money for the church, claiming that she had overstepped her place (that of obedience to him), countered him with another scriptural directive:
He that provideth not for his own household has denied the faith and is worse than an infidel.
She concluded on a pathetic note:
Give women a chance and then tell her [sic] of her faults kindly.

TBH , March 23, 1887, n.p.

Questions & Answers

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nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
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Source:  OpenStax, Patricia martin's phd thesis. OpenStax CNX. Dec 12, 2012 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11462/1.1
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