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Tertullian - On the Apparel of Women - Book II

Concerning the Plea of “Pleasing the Husband.”

Chapter IV.--Concerning the Plea of "Pleasing the Husband."

As if I were speaking to Gentiles, addressing you with a Gentile precept, and (one which is) common to all, (I would say,) "You are bound to please your husbands only." [170] But you will please them in proportion as you take no care to please others. Be ye without carefulness, [171] blessed (sisters): no wife is "ugly" to her own husband. She "pleased" him enough when she was selected (by him as his wife); whether commended by form or by character. Let none of you think that, if she abstain from the care of her person, [172] she will incur the hatred and aversion of husbands. Every husband is the exactor of chastity; but beauty, a believing (husband) does not require, because we are not captivated by the same graces [173] which the Gentiles think (to be) graces: [174] an unbelieving one, on the other hand, even regards with suspicion, just from that infamous opinion of us which the Gentiles have. For whom, then, is it that you cherish your beauty? If for a believer, he does not exact it: if for an unbeliever, he does not believe in it unless it be artless. [175] Why are you eager to please either one who is suspicious, or else one who desires it not?