I got this comment the other day and thought I would reply to it in a separate post, since it was made in reply to older post and I didn't want it to be lost in the thread.
I must admit I'm not sure I understand what precisely is meant here by feminine or maternal authority. Surely in a family both the father and mother are meant to be figures of authority, though the father is ultimately the leader. I have seen families where the father's authority was pushed aside and the mother dominated the scene, and on the contrary, families where the husband and father was so aggressively authoritative that his wife had practically no voice of her own. In both cases I didn't see a healthy family environment. A key factor that was lacking was that of both parents demonstrating respect to each other's authority, particularly in front of the children.
As to the difference in the application of talent between young men and young women, I have never said that young women must be confined in a way that would make them sorry for their lack of opportunities. It's true that the single years provide a leisure of time and possibilities which probably won't be repeated at any other stage of life. But this precious time must be used wisely.
The vast majority of young men and women will be eventually married and will become parents, and for many, it will happen sooner than they realize. That's why I'm puzzled by the modern attitude of not thinking about the prospect of marriage and children until it actually comes knocking at our door. When I talk to my single friends about their future as wives and mothers, I often get statements such as "I'm not even seeing anyone yet", or "I can't think about this right now, I have more pressing matters". I don't think such an attitude is right, because eventually, the highest ambition of these girls is to start a family, yet right now they are wasting years and years focusing entirely on things which will have nothing to do with wifehood and motherhood. They spend far too much time and money pursuing college educations and careers, and get emotionally involved with men who are clearly unfit for marriage. Somehow thinking ahead looks inappropriate and prudish, while it is in fact the most logical thing in the world.
So, what is it that I'm trying to say? Since both men and women ideally aspire to become husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, they must adequately prepare for such important tasks. For men, the preparation will include setting the foundation for providing for one's family – acquiring a profession, possibly accumulating some property and savings. I'm not saying a man must be rich when he marries. He might not even be well-off. But he must be prepared to provide for all the necessities of a wife and possibly, very soon future children. The practical side is far from being everything. A man must learn his duties as a husband, father and leader in a family, and his responsibility towards a wife and children.
For a woman, the tasks are mainly centered on supporting her husband, raising children and running the home. Therefore, her preparation is different – practically, she learns all that is concerned with household tasks and what it takes to keep a good home. She learns how to be wise with finances, how to stretch what she has and be content with what is available, and make the most of it. She learns how to provide adequate nutrition for her family and especially for herself, as a future mother. Here, again, I have seen opposite cases – of women who were so self-centered that they didn't think they ought to contribute anything at all to a household and wasted a lot of the hard-earned family money on trifles, and women who were so devoted that it came to self-denial and they didn't see fit to point out to the husband that skimping on food is inappropriate when there is an expectant or nursing mother in the picture. This ultimately resulted in harm done to herself and the child.
Spiritually, the aspiring wife learns what it means to be a help mate to her husband and a mother to children. For some lucky girls who come from good, stable families this spiritual preparation is almost soaked in by seeing the example of their parents. Some are misfortunately unprepared for marriage when they enter this sacred covenant. I consider myself among the latter – I did grasp the importance of being a wife, mother and homemaker before I was married, but I only started learning in my early twenties what I believe girls should be taught from their early teens. And still, you won't believe how helpful even those crumbs of knowledge had been. Everything I had to learn after marriage, was so much more difficult than it could have been for a single.
Not all the talents of a woman are directly related to being a wife and mother. Many of us have talents and interests which are apparently unrelated (though many of them may eventually come in handy while raising a family). Some women are artistic, others have particular interest in health and medicine, there are also those who are entrepreneurial and want to try a hand in running their own business. If they have time to actively pursue these talents at any point of their lives, it will most likely be during the single years. But even then, these pursuits must be seen in the light of her highest, most important calling of a wife and mother.
Let's say we have a woman who has always had a particular interest in physiology and in the human body. She also happens to be especially talented, and is prompted by all who know her to try to get accepted into medical school, without thinking what being a doctor, practically, means. By the way, I don't know about where you live, but here in
getting accepted into medical school is so difficult and so prestigious that many people try out for it just because they can. It's a sort of challenge which can be highly destructive for a person who undertakes it without proper consideration. Myself, I was told I ought to try out for medical school just because my grades were high enough to get me accepted. I never had any particular interest in becoming a doctor, but that sure seems like such a petty consideration, doesn't it? Israel
But then, suppose this young woman goes to medical school, which takes her fast forward to ten years of exhausting studies (including specializing in a certain field), during which she has hardly a spare moment to think about anything but exams and internship, and during which, possibly, several young men who would make a great husband are denied because she "can't think of marriage at the moment", or perhaps she never even had the time to meet them. She must also pay a hefty sum for school, rent and possibly keeping a car, so she is very lucky if she avoided student debt. Let's assume she is fortunate, and when her studies are over and she is nearing her 30-th birthday one of those good men is still around. He wants to start a family, while she is just beginning her career. However she is already tired from the race, and realizes that she, too, wants a family – and then she sees that the profession she chose is largely incompatible with family life as she envisioned it.
What happened to this woman? Her intentions were good, she had it all thought out, she just wanted to do some "real change" out there in the world while she had the time as a single. Generally speaking, she got bogged down in pursuing something that was interesting, socially acceptable and gratifying to her sense of self-worth, while forgetting that in the long run, what would make her truly fulfilled is something entirely different. Many women come to this sobering realization after they have already invested their single years in something that only drove them farther away from marriage and motherhood. They are either on the verge of being done with their studies, with heaps of debt upon their shoulders and realizing that now they have to work in order to pay off that debt, or they already launched a successful career, which means they are powerfully propelled forward and getting off the track is considered a "terrible waste".
I truly cannot and will not give instructions on what it is that a young woman should do, specifically, in that period as a single adult, be it a short time or many years. However, I believe any woman aspiring to be a wife would be wise to ask herself the following questions: am I investing my true vitality in something that will eventually be incompatible with being a wife and mother? Am I, under the pretext of being productive and doing good in my single years, putting my time in pursuits that might actually cause me to deny or postpone the prospect of marriage? Are my heart and mind free to lay aside anything I might be doing, and focus on the highest calling of wifehood and motherhood as soon as the Lord blesses me with such an opportunity?
Of course, both men and women should be prudent. For men, too, there are certain professions which are not exactly compatible with peaceful family life, and they must take it into consideration when choosing their path. Both men and women must be responsible with their money and avoid debt. However each should focus on the future demands which will be made of him or her as a husband or wife, and prepare accordingly..