My dear young friend,
My humble apologies; I grievously erred upon your difficulty. The matter is
not with your wife; it is with you. You are caught in the sin of wrath, and
miserable your life will be until you free yourself.
Only seven sins are said to be mortal; this is one. Consider your own
example. You howl in rage at your beloved wife; afterwards you are the most
miserable of men. By your own words you know that her provocation was small and
your wrath far too great. So then, who is at fault in this matter? Is it not
Wrath carries with it a salty tang. Indeed, do you not rehearse your wrath in
the middle watches of the night, thinking anew of what you will say upon the
next occasion? The mere thought of an argument delights your mind – and this
is sure sign that matters are very grave.
It would be pleasant to tell you that I read your mind in this by weight of
careful thought and observation. There is a simpler method; I have been a man of
wrath myself. When younger, with me it was a word and a blow. But by God’s
grace my father was man enough to remonstrate with me. I did not enjoy the
experience. Never before had I heard him admit to any lack of control over his
passions, yet I found he had been a young fool such as myself. He begged me
leave off my anger – he whose presence spoke of self command.
Indeed, it was that which convinced me. If the man I feared most could speak
of it thusly, then important it must be. Many years of effort and much penitence
were required, but eventually I mastered my wrath. By God’s grace I did so
before it killed me.
What a blessing that became! My wife no longer cowered before me in fright;
rather, she admired me as one might admire a conquering hero. The golden chains
of love replaced the black whip of wrath.
I have seen wrath; I have seen control of self. The former brings disgrace;
the latter, blessing. Be wise, my young friend. Seek the counsel of those older,
those who have triumphed in the struggle over themselves. Put forth your
strength in this struggle, triumph over your own wrath. If the lady is the
beauty you paint her to be, should she not have a prince for a husband?
Alive, despite my mistakes,
Isaac, the Alchemist