Friday, May 25, 2007

Do we need duty?

You know, the comments I decide not to publish really give me a lot of material for thought. True, parts of them are rude and nasty, but they also contain some questions I like to ponder.

Here's the latest:
"Does God want your 'duty' or your heart? Do you want your husband to see you as his duty?"

Duty. The rarely used word. The long-forgotten virtue. The synonym of everything dry, boring, suffocating. Do we want it at all? Don't we simply need love, and creativity, and freedom?

Yet let's think for a moment where our lives would be if we didn't have duty. What would happen if soldiers didn't feel they have duty to fight for their country? What if parents didn't think they have duty towards their children? What if everyone always did only what their heart desires? What would happen if nothing kept us going on when times get tough?

It doesn't take much sacrifice to just do what we want. But commitment, self-discipline, the ability to put the needs of others first? Those only mark a mature and responsible person.

I don't see any contradiction between duty and love, either. On the contrary. See Deuteronomy 6:5 – "And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might" – what does that mean, then? We are told to love God. We are told to give our hearts to him – but this is not a suggestion. It is our duty to love Him.

I think the same can be applied to marriage. We should be committed to love our spouses. I'm not talking about just falling in love here – I mean the kind of love that takes a lot of work, sweat and pain. This means sticking together when our spouse doesn't exactly behave like an angel. This means the husband is supposed to provide for the family even when he doesn't have the job of his dreams, and the wife should not skip a cleaning day because she feels more like taking a walk outside. Our duties towards our loved ones should not be seen a suffocating burden, either. We should do them with joy.

If I get married one day, do I want my husband to feel he has duty towards me and our family? Absolutely. Otherwise, how are we supposed to feel secure in our marriage? I repeat, duty and love are not mutually exclusive. Quite the opposite – they go hand in hand.


Tracy said...

Amen! I totally agree. NO ONE feels like loving someone else ALL of the time. Without the feeling of duty, all would be lost!

Anonymous said...

It's sad that Duty is practically a "dirty word" anymore. Why should that be? Obedience to our base nature can feel really good, but it certainly doesn't serve those around us most of the time, & not even ourselves, ultimately! Duty, on the other hand, can be our best friend, and saves the day, so to speak, while "waiting til I feel like it" will almost always let us down, and create more hardship for those we claim to love.


Amber said...

I've been enjoying your blog quite a bit. I agree that duty and love are not mutually exclusive. In fact, duty is essential to a long-term commitment. Perhaps the lack of it is part of the reason that the divorce rate is so high. I've always liked the last line of a famous old poem: "I could not love thee, Dear, so much, loved I not Honor more."

Amber said...

I've been reading and enjoying your thoughts. I agree that duty and love go hand in hand. Duty is essential to a long term commitment. Perhaps the lack of it is part of the reason that the divorce rate is so high. I've always liked this line from a famous old poem: "I could not love thee, Dear, so much, loved I not Honor more."

Anna S said...

Brenda - indeed, if everyone waited until they 'felt like' doing something, our society would probably fall apart.

Amber - thanks for visiting! I definitely think that one of the reasons divorce rate is so high is because people are ready to do literally everything to avoid commitment. I prefer old-fashioned duty to modern no-fault divorce!

Candy said...

Very well said Anna! I couldnt agree more :)
Make no wonder I ALWAYS look so forward to reading your posts :)
Im so thankful to have found your blog. It encourages me.


Emily said...

Very interesting and well-argued post Anna! You always respond so well to these kinds of questions. Blessings to you.

PandaBean said...

Once again, reading your blog is one of the highlights of my day. It seems everything you write is so thought provoking, and my mind needs good stimulation.
Thank you for sharing yourself with all of us through your blog.

God Bless!

Country Rosebud said...

Amen, amen, amen!!!!! I couldn't agree more. As iron sharpeneht iron, so a brother sharpeneth another! The only way we are going to grow, is to allow others to help us. What a wonderful God!!!!!!
Country Rosebud

LtRand said...

It's refreshing to see blogs like yours. I wish you the best of luck, and look forward to your future posts.

Duty is an interesting subject. We can even observe very primal drives that push a multitude of species, humans included, towards some type of duty. It seems it takes much more energy to drive it out of us than ever took to uphold. Besides the obvious effects, it leads many of us to wonder on the end goals of these planners whom would wish to drive out individualistic duty from society and replace it with a sense of strict communal duty.

Robert said...

I agree with what you said.In a marriage both the husband and wife have duties or responsibilities to each other.

A lack of duty is also a reason for the high divorce rate these days.Because people don't take their vows seriously,when problems come up or they are not satisfied they will leave.

Coffee Wife said...

The total lack of duty is one of the major causes of our society's problems!

Anonymous said...

Hi Anna,

You have much wisdom. You're way ahead in your views of marriage than a lot of married couples.

Kaye M. :)

Anna S said...


The greatest challenge of all will be putting it into practice if God in His wisdom decides to bless me with a husband!

Alexandra said...

Shhh, don't tell anyone, but I skipped cleaning the bathroom yesterday to read a book! It was religous studies, so I get points for that. ;)

Seriously, you made an excellent point. Duty comes first, and we do it for love, of God and family. It is my husband's DUTY to love, honor and cherish 'til death do us part.

Buffy said...

Ah yes, duty has gone completely out of fashion hasn't it? It used to be really big in Victorian times.

I think the problem was that it became associated with having to do something that you really didn't want to do.

In reality it should give you pleasure just to do your duty.

Buffy said...

Thank you to amber for reminding us of the poem that ends 'I could not love thee, dear, so much loved I not honour more'. I have posted it on my blog.

Anna S said...

Country Rosebud said:

Great post! Have you ever read the book, Created to Be His Helpmeet, by Debi Pearl? It is something that every married or just going to be married young woman, to read. I read it, just because I am learning to be a good daughter.:) Also, Me? Obey Him? By Elizabeth Rice Hansford. Both of them are very excellent. If you want to read them, you can get Created through I highly recommend it!
Maybe I will do a short post on it, in Perennial Pioneer!
Country Rosebud

(I deleted a few comments by mistake... but fortunately I still had them in my email, so I could publish them. Oops. :P)

Anna S said...

Laura: I haven't read Created to Be His Helpmeet, but I definitely want to. I've heard so many recommendations for this book!

Buffy said...

Anna, please read it if you get the chance, I would love to know your opinion on this book.

Anna S said...

Buffy, if I get to read it, I'll post a review.