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Be “The Wife” is it the same as Be My Valentine???

Evolution has created great illusions about love and marriage over the past 100 years. Emily Dickinson’s poem “The Wife” speaks about a young woman who moves from childhood to adulthood, assumed to have fallen in love and accepted the proposal for the honorable duties of becoming a wife and a mother. Somewhere within the relationship her mixed feelings of love and responsibility reveals to her that all that glitters is not gold. The hard work and labor of maintaining a home, rearing children, performing wifely duties, meeting societal needs can be overwhelming to a young and bright eyed girl in the year 1860, when this poem was written. Ms. Dickerson implies that the woman’s soul is just as deep as the sea which develops riches from pearls that are untouched by human hands, yet left unattended that beautiful soul will be choked by uncontrollable weeds, that only the gardner, her husband is privy to. So in her submission to be the good dutiful wife, her pearls of wisdom and childhood dreams die.
Does asking someone to be your Valentine mean the same as be my wife, husband or significant other??? After reading how Valentine’s Day originated, it is believed that a Christian priest named Valentinus perform marriage rituals to soldiers of war against the king’s orders. The soldiers were forbidden to marry because the King believed that the men could not be perfect soldiers if their alliance were torn between their families and their duties as soldiers. Therefore Valentinus was jailed for performing this humanitarian act and disobeying. While in jail he healed, assisted, or fell in love with the jailer’s daughter. But before his execution he sent her a letter that said from your Valentine.
So the question is, by asking someone to become our Valentine do we really understand what we are asking them to do for us? How we asking them to make a heroic, humanitarian sacrifices and forget themselves to help fulfill our destiny in life? Just like in Emily Dickerson’s poem “The Wife” we are asking them to make the ultimate sacrifice without giving full disclosure of what this means to their dreams and aspirations in life for as long as the relationship last.


2 Comments

  1. alemara123 says:

    Thanks for sharing the story of Valentine. I was wondering why having such an occasion is important, but now I understand. It is nice to have such time when the husband tells his wife how much he loves her and appreciates her sacrificing herself for him and their kids. We women are human beings who have emotions and feel happy when someone respects and appreciates what we have done in this life. I am happy we have such an occasion called Valentine’s day.

  2. hebasha says:

    I really appreciate your post, considering I too, knew little of the origin of Valentine’s day. I wonder, though, although mothers do sacrifice much of their own personal pleasures for their husband and children, can she still maintain and go after her dreams and goals? If she were to seek a career that involved going through a long-term education, as in the field of medicine, could she still decide to work in a hospital, or is she driven to work part time, or seek a career option with more reasonable working hours? It’s been a struggle for me as I try to think of any possible compromise here, as many older, more traditional women tell me that it’s far too difficult for a woman to be a surgeon and take care of her “duties” in the household. Why can’t we have both?

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