It’s as simple as that—unless you’re married. Which is where Victoria found herself in 1840. Her honeymoon with Prince Albert was over in three days. Literally.
Then it was back to Buckingham Palace. (And I use the term palace loosely.)
. . . (More on that later.)
Since coronation, Victoria had been busy. First there was the whole taking poor council from dear Lord M. Then she, uh, started a rumor that one of her ladies-in-waiting was with child. (Admittedly, not her best move.) After the baby scandal, she was keeping it low key. . . until, that is, she shared an opera box and sweet nothings with the Grand Duke Alexander. *gasp*
England decided their queen needed a husband. You know, because that would fix everything.
Her wedding was damage control.
Power struggles reveal insecurities.
Still, lots of clean-up remained. Albert, bless his heart, wanted to help. . . I will give you one guess as to how that offer was received.
Because a person or more (cough cough. Sir John Conroy and her own mother) had attempted to force her from her birthright, Victoria was adamant to have her crown and wear it too. She suspected Albert would attempt to usurp her.
And it showed.
Power struggles cripple households.
Albert wrote, “I am very happy and contented; but the difficulty in filling my place with the proper dignity is that I am only the husband, not the master in the house.”
Speaking of house, remember Buckingham “Palace”? Well, with all that spare time, Albert couldn’t help but notice issues in staff responsibilities. For example: servants of one department prepared the hearth. Servants of another were charged with actually sparking it to life.
Finally, a project!
But she did not want help in the house. She did not want help with a mouse. She did not like a helping hand. She did not trust him, Sam I Am.
That sparked quite the row [pronunciation: rhymes with cow], and unfortunately not their last.
Power struggles lock out peace.
“The marriage of Victoria and Albert was great not because it was perfect, but because it was passionate and complicated,” says Carly Silver in her article on 12 Books to Read if You Love ‘Victoria.’
I think we know who brought the passion considering Victoria’s flair for theatrics. One fight she stormed out of their apartment. After a spell she returned only to find the door locked.
She knocked (one source puts it) “imperiously.” Exactly who did Albert think he was, locking her out?
In total calm, he answered: “Who is there?”
“The Queen of England!”
Well then. . .
This is where I feel for Victoria. She was all riled up, and I can just see her shoulders fall, as she realized. . .
“Your wife, Albert,” she whispered.
The door unlocked, and Albert gathered a crying Victoria into his arms.
I honestly believe her heart was in the right place. You know, she insisted on keeping “obey” in her wedding vows?
Victoria just. . . She liked control. And she’s not the only one.
Genesis 3:16 goes into the fine print of women’s punishment since The Fall. (Ahem.) To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”
However, we know the wife is called to submit (Ephesians 5:22-33). The husband is called to be head of the home. Which Albert became once Victoria relented Buckingham to his purview. Let’s just say: hearths got lit.
Victoria learned to trust, and, in his own words, Albert became “the natural head of the family, superintendent of her household, manager of her private affairs, her sole confidential adviser in politics, and only assistant in her communications with the officers of the Government, her private secretary and permanent Minister.”
I’m convinced that for a truly happy marriage, a wife must not only love her husband but respect his position.
Where do you find balance between leading and “bowing out”?
1 Corinthians 13:4-5 (ESV)
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way. . .