My previous questions have referred to engagement. Turning to the topic of marriage, what would you advise married women to do to ensure that their marriages continue to be happy with the passing of the years and that they do not give way to monotony? This question may not seem very important but we receive many letters on this subject.
I think it is in fact an important question and therefore the possible solutions are also important even though they may seem very obvious. If a marriage is to preserve its initial charm and beauty, both husband and wife should try to renew their love day after day and that is done through sacrifice, with smiles and also with ingenuity. Is it surprising that a husband who arrives home tired from work begins to lose patience when his wife keeps on and on about everything she thinks has gone wrong during the day? Disagreeable things can wait for a better moment when the husband is less tired and more disposed to listen to them.
Another important thing is personal appearance. And I would say that any priest who says the contrary is a bad adviser. As years go by a woman who lives in the world has to take more care not only of her interior life, but also of her looks. Her interior life itself requires her to be careful about her personal appearance; naturally this should always be in keeping with her age and circumstances. I often say jokingly that older facades need more restoration. It is the advice of a priest. An old Spanish saying goes: 'A well-groomed woman keeps her husband away from other doors.'
That is why I am not afraid to say that women are responsible for eighty per cent of the infidelities of their husbands because they do not know how to win them each day and take loving and considerate care of them. A married woman's attention should be centred on her husband and children as a married man's attention should be centred on his wife and children. Much time and effort is required to succeed in this, and anything which militates against it is bad and should not be tolerated.
There is no excuse for not fulfilling this lovable duty. Work outside the home is not an excuse. Not even one's life of piety can be an excuse because if it is incompatible with one's daily obligations it is not good nor pleasing to God. A married woman's first concern has to be her home. There is an Aragonese saying which goes: 'If through going to church to pray a woman burns her stew, she may be half an angel, but she's half a devil too.' I'd say she was a fully-fledged devil.