Strife in the home

Monday 4 July 1664

….and very much  and at home find my wife this day of her owne accord to have lain out 25s. upon a pair of pendantes for her eares, which did vex me and brought both me and her to very high and very foule words from her to me, such as trouble me to think she should have in her mouth, and reflecting upon our old differences, which I hate to have remembered. I vowed to breake them, or that she should go and get what she could for them again. I went with that resolution out of doors; the poor wretch afterwards in a little while did send out to change them for her money again. I followed Besse her messenger at the ‘Change, and there did consult and sent her back; I would not have them changed, being satisfied that she yielded. So went home, and friends again as to that business; but the words I could not get out of my mind, and so went to bed at night discontented, and she came to bed to me, but all would not make me friends, but sleep and rise in the morning angry.

I’m sure that you as well as the writer could come up with some commonsense observations. All I want to do is to speak out of my experience which may or may not resonate with something my reader is going through. It is clear that Pepys’s wife wanted to buy something for herself and trinket caught her eye. She may have been concerned about her appearance and wanted to give herself a morale boost, who knows?

One wonders why Samuel Pepys came up with foul language. 25s is not a fortune. She has hardly been unfaithful to him which is more than can be said of his behaviour sometimes. Perhaps it was a trigger. Perhaps there were too many things which his busyness had prevented him from discussing. Perhaps Mrs Pepys felt devalued as a woman.

It is possible to get into a rut although being very busy. I think Pepys was in this category. We have read in the diary that he does spend considerable amounts of time with his wife particularly in the evenings and that she is generally supportive. However, unwittingly, a customer of mine has given me the ideal storyline to talk about strife.

She announced that  she had separated from her husband of 28 years and had returned home to her mother. She felt a little self-conscious about this but was welcomed by the mother and realised that they could both be companions for each other. she said that she had finally had enough of her husband who had obviously had some trauma when he was young and refuses to face it. It is most difficult to break this vicious circle. If you were traumatised, there is pain and you don’t want to face the pain. However, unless you do, you will not break the effect of the trauma.

She has told him to go and get some help, feeling that she is too close to him.  He promises to change when things get bad but it never happens. I did suggest that  once there has been a loss of respect it is very difficult to get it back again and she really does need her life back. I also said that she was not a qualified therapist or psychologist and was not in a position to help him.She agreed fulsomely and happily to this. I said I would buy her a bottle of wine at the end of the job so we could celebrate the starting of her new life. That’s the great thing about this job, you never know who you’re going to meet and what they are going to say. What I like is that you never know when you’re going to make a difference



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