"Your body is the first thing any child of man ever wanted. Therefore dispose yourself to be loved, to be wanted, to be available. Be there for them with a vengeance. Be a gracious, bending woman. Incline your ear, your heart, your hands to them.... To be a Mother is to be the sacrament - the effective symbol - of place. Mothers do not make homes, they are our home." from Bed and Board, Robert Farrar Capon

Saturday, September 22, 2012

In the Trenches

My son is getting married. He is our seventh born. At the bridal shower for his wife-to-be, I read the following part of  Capon's Bed and Board. I told everyone, this isn't for the the new bride, it is for those of us who have been in the trenches for a while.

"Marriage was instituted in the time of man’s innocency, but it has operated since under the shadow of the fall. Therefore its materialities, along with our other materialities, become the means of our cure. He who perished by a tree is saved by a tree. He who died by an apple is restored by eating the flesh of his Savior. Bed, board, rooftree and doorway become the choice places of our healing, the delimitations of our freedom. By setting boundaries, they hold us in; but they trammel [restrain] the void as well. By confining, they keep track of us—they leave the children free to play a little, rather than be lost at large. Marriage gives us somewhere to be. It is the place where, night by night, forgiveness and fair speech return, that the sun not go down upon our wrath…We ask, and are taken in marriage…and we find ourselves thrown down into a very small piece of ground indeed. A trench…Adversity has made us bedfellows. It is not what I imagined at all. Where are the two triumphant giants of love I expected? There are only the two of us, crouched down here under a barrage of years, bills, and petty grievances, waiting for a sign, which shows no sign of coming. Most likely we shall die in this trench. There is really no place else to go, so in the meantime we talk to each other. The sum and substance of what we manage to say, however, is “Well, here we are.”


  1. So good. I know I've only been married for 3 years but I was greatly encouraged by this and read it to my husband. Thank you!

  2. Thank you mom. This is one of my favorite books. Very light hearted and very encouraging.