Our Wives

Times have certainly changed - and, from this writer's perspective - for the MUCH better. In the past, husbands and wives had separate roles and responsibilities that they really never shared with one another. Each 'did their own thing' and was judged by everyone (INCLUDING their spouse) on the basis of how well they performed the role of 'husband' or 'wife'. One need only to look at the 'situation comedies' of the 1950s and earlier to see the conundrum such foolish compartmentalization caused. In World War II, women all over the world stepped forward into the 'man's world' performing tasks with previously unimaginable competency. Yet, upon their return from war, both sexes resumed - tentatively, uncomfortably, and only briefly - the stereotypes from which they had emerged.

As we moved through the tumultuous 1960s and 1970s, role reversal - often spurred by a disintegration of the nuclear family by divorce - was common. The great goal was to find a 'soul mate': one with whom every thought, no matter how irrelevant or unimportant, could (and WOULD) be shared. Somehow, we thought, we'd all benefit from this shared existence.

In truth, having someone with whom you can share your thoughts, feelings, cares, concerns, joys, sorrows, and more is perhaps the greatest gift of our Creator. To have a spouse who understands what makes us happy (and does everything they can to foster that) and what makes us sad (and helps us to avoid those things) is such a blessing. It is only natural, therefore, that seeing something which could cause a rift or separate that shared consciousness we become concerned and anxious.

Why can't I share my Masonic ritual with my wife?

Each day of our lives we have things happen to and around us that are both major and minor. Even for those who say "I share everything with my wife." the reality is that they do not. Were this to occur, there'd be no time for ANYTHING else in life. It would be all about YOU - and your wife would have no opportunity to share HER life (or to tell you how truly bored she is in hearing the unimportant details of YOUR self-importance). So what does one say when a wife asks about the evening's meeting? For most Masons, it's a recitation of who you saw there, what's going on in their lives, and other bits of relevance.

"Hi, Honey. You're home later than usual tonight. How did it go?"

"Oh, great. The meeting ran long tonight because we were voting on whether we're going to consider moving to a new building out in the western part of city. You know our current hall has really suffered this past winter and it's a question of whether or not we should spend the money to both update the furnace and repair the roof. There's a building out on South Central that might be a real buy and it's been suggested that we look at moving there instead. Wow! What a lot of discussion there was. Oh, and I learned that Bill Martin's wife is pregnant. They don't know if it's a boy or girl just yet but she's due to deliver in September. Maybe we could give them some of the things we've still got in the attic? And on the way to the meeting, I discovered there's a new office products store going in at the corner of Birch and Maple."

"Well, all of that stuff is certainly great, dear, but what about the ritual? I want to know every word of what was said...."

Does that sound like what your wife would say?

How about:

"Hi, Honey. You're home later than usual tonight. How did it go?"

"Oh, great. There was a lot of stuff about the building, somebody's wife being pregnant, a couple of guys who died including the fellow who came to the house just last month, and some details about the upcoming dinner-dance. But let's skip all of that and I'll tell you about the ritual! It was exactly the same as the last meeting but surely you'll want to hear about it again rather than about all those other things, right?"

Uh-huh....

Now it is possible, of course, to argue that if a wife was able to read the ritual just once, that would be sufficient. On the other hand, without the setting of the lodge, the interactions of the officers, etc., it really is just 'words on paper' and has little meaning whatsoever. If your wife - or ANYONE - is so intent on reading each and every word, there are hundreds of 'exposures' available in a variety of locations including your local bookstore, book-superstore, or even right on the web! Heck, there's a 'religious reading' rack at my local supermarket that has a 'Duncan's Masonic Ritual' right there. For less than $10, she can read to her heart's content and you two can spend precious time together talking about the important things in life!

But what should I tell my wife when she asks?

It's probably only the first few meetings that this will be an issue. After those, the dialog will be like that above.

Coming home from lodge the first time, however, it's always difficult to know just exactly what to say. There are SO many emotions that wash over us in a setting so different that anything we've ever experienced, whatever is said will likely be unintelligible. Even to those who may have taken the degree with you, trying to explain is nigh unto impossible. Nevertheless, there are certain things that you will understand on a very 'gut' level: the friendship, the fraternity, the caring and concern, the panoply of history, the depth of the imagery, and the dawning realization that you're a part of a very old tradition. The words are of little importance when compared with the emotions they evoke - and, to be honest, any astute wife should realize that you've just experienced something that simply cannot be explained at that time. What she should see is that you've embarked on a path that will make you a better man as the days go on - and for that, she should gain a great inner peace.

Rather than pepper you with questions, a caring partner will bask in the glow of your enjoyment of the evening. She will, as time goes on, want to know just what it is that has touched you so deeply and, in time, you may be more able to explain. She will also be attending various lodge functions to meet and share with other wives as they too seek to understand.

Taking Off My Wedding Ring

Something that's sometimes contentious for potential candidates is their understanding of the requirement that their wedding ring be removed during the ceremony. Freemasonry's detractors, in fact, make an elaborate point that this 'proves' Masonry seeks to disrupt the family. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

First, let's look at the practicality of it all. In some religions, the man does not even wear a wedding ring. In the Jewish faith, for example, it's highly unusual although some Rabbis do permit it. In many occupations, removal of ALL jewelry is mandated so as to ensure that a person will not become ensnared in machinery and lose a finger or hand. (Witnessing a person having their finger ripped off is not something that most folks understand: this site's author saw it occur and thinks that any person promising to never remove a ring is just plain stupid!) And finally, there are often tasks that are so dirty that taking off a ring only makes sense: cleaning a drain trap wearing a wedding ring is a great way to ruin its appearance forever!

And beyond all of that, FIDELITY - which is the symbolic purpose of the ring - is FAR more important than a piece of jewelry.

But, putting aside practicalities, let's address the objection.

Why does Masonry require that I take off my wedding ring?

Actually, it's not just the wedding ring that we require be removed before taking your degree. It's anything of a mineral or metallic substance. Why?  It's part of the 'Rite of Destitution'....

Freemasonry's degrees are actually a combination of several ceremonies together. Each degree has several of these. Some are repeated in each while in others, they stand independently. Each ceremony is designed to impart an important lesson in which the candidate is an active participant. One of these ceremonies occurs quite early in the progress of the candidate and in it he is taught one of the most important lessons of Freemasonry: charity. Having been divested of all things mineral or metal, he is called upon to practice that truly Masonic virtue yet he finds himself totally destitute. Despite his strong desire to prove his worthiness by complying with the request made of him, he is truly unable to do so - and thereby, he learns in a very forcible way that being poor and penniless can occur at any time to anyone and that it is his obligation and duty to relieve such distress if he is able.

Were the candidate to be in the lodge room with jewelry, for example, he might - considering the situation - be tempted to make a gift realizing that of all virtues, as the Bible reminds us, "...the Greatest of these is Charity." In fact, this possibility has been eliminated and the candidate can fully appreciate the helpless human condition where he may have never found himself before.

This, then, is the lesson learned. If you're a Mason reading this, you understand completely; if not a Mason yet, this description - these words - may be mumbo-jumbo. Suffice it to say, though, that millions of men who have gone before you have not felt this ceremony to be in any way derogatory or demeaning to their marriage or the vows of love, affection, fidelity and caring they've made to their wives.

The ceremony makes an indelible mark on one's conscience that may not fully manifest itself until years later. It is no accident, however, that SO many Masons are those who are involved in philanthropic endeavors and will readily give to others before partaking themselves. Read the death notices in your local paper and you'll see.... Not all Masons have fortunes to give away but every one will give whatever he can whenever he can do it without injury to himself OR HIS FAMILY! This is what Freemasonry is all about - and this lesson is learned in the Rite of Destitution - prior to which his jewelry has been removed.

For some additional readings, there's a very interesting (although, due to page formatting, difficult to see in order to read) essay here.

And you can read a excellent summary of the Rite of Destitution here on our website.

Wedding rings pictured on this page are available from:
The 'Mobius' ring at the top - Brown-Goldsmith Jewelers, Freeport, Maine who have some extraordinary custom pieces

The Milgrain rings in center page - Robbins Diamonds / weddingband.com who have a nice selection of Masonic rings also.

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Related Topics:

Rite of Destitution

In addition,
don't miss these:

The Illuminati
Cult
JFK Assassination
Denver Airport
The Great Seal
Eye in the Pyramid
Bloody Oaths
Elders of Zion
Masonic Handsigns
Racism
KKK and More
Favoritism
P2 Lodge
33rds RULE!
The Morgan Affair
Our Wives
Supreme Truth
Kenya's Devils
Murder/Treason Only
National Treasure

 

 

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