Helen Keller and Your Marriage


We all know who Helen Keller was, and what she became: a brilliant writer, lecturer, and inspiration to millions. But do you recall her beginning?

If you’ve ever read her biography or seen a movie or play about her life, you must remember the famous breakfast-table scene that took place when her parents brought in Annie Sullivan, the woman who would become Helen’s teacher and friend for life.

Helen, the object of her parents’ sympathy (and no doubt, their feelings of helplessness) had been allowed to grow into an uncivilized little tyrant, doing absolutely as she pleased. Her own will was all that existed in her mind.

When her new teacher, Annie, refused to allow Helen to grab food off of Annie’s plate with her grubby little fingers, a brawl ensued that lasted all day, and changed the world for Helen Keller.

She didn’t understand the words Annie was trying to spell into her palm—not yet—but the beginning of all her knowledge was the realization that there were other people in the world whose feelings mattered, and that she could not always have her own way.

To have a happy marriage, we all need to learn to reign in that selfish child who screams, “I want, I want… and I want it MY way.” Our husbands, much like Helen’s parents, may give us our way because they are soft-hearted, because they love us, or maybe just for the joy of making us smile for a moment. And in response, rather than being grateful and seeking to bring happiness to them in return, we may come to expect indulgence, and grow ever more demanding, ever more convinced that our own selfish will is the only thing worth considering.

How easy an existence would that be? “I do what I please and nobody dares to question me or stop me.”

And yet it would not exactly be a good thing for us to be allowed to go on that way. Suppose Helen Keller’s parents had never brought in Annie Sullivan? And what if Annie Sullivan had never fought that battle over breakfast with her little student?  A frustrating six-year-old would have become an incorrigible twelve-year-old, and the twelve-year-old would have eventually become a large, strong, overpowering adult woman…miserable in her complete isolation, screeching and muttering, eating with her hands, having no conception of hygiene, much less manners. Let’s face it; she would have wound up in an early 1900’s mental institution, suffering brutality and neglect, her brilliant mind wasted.

Instead, she became the first blind and deaf person to earn a bachelor’s degree. She read books and wrote them. She met authors and presidents. She campaigned for causes she believed in. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and was elected to the National Women’s Hall of Fame…and all because she learned, little by little, that other people mattered, too. That there was more to living than being given whatever she craved at any particular moment.

So consider that, and then tell me, ladies, which will you choose to be? A childish brat, ferociously battling to prevail over someone who loves you and wants life’s best for you? Or a wise, graceful, dignified lady who knows what deeper victories may come from working with him, not against him, and from loving him even more than you love yourself?


About these ads

13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. outstandingbachelor
    Nov 14, 2014 @ 02:53:29

    Excellent article.

    This is on a related topic: fatherless children, often so because their mothers unilaterally filed for no-fault divorce.



  2. Stephanie
    Nov 17, 2014 @ 21:17:28

    Isn’t it funny how when it is spelled out so clearly it is easy to see the errors of my way, but it’s so easy to act like that spoiled little child. I have always thought Helen Keller’s story is so amazing but I have never heard it tied to marriage like this. I like it and I can see I need to make some improvements!!


  3. Adelaide
    Nov 18, 2014 @ 02:09:42

    I remember hearing this story in Helen Keller’s life years ago and have often thought of it. Thank you for personalising it all the more for me:)


  4. Debbie @ Bible Fun For Kids
    Nov 19, 2014 @ 12:36:22

    Loved the post and the lesson! It seems like just about everyone could learn from this! Since you made the analogy so well, I think you should write one to remind today’s parents that they are not helping their children by giving them everything and not having discipline. Just a thought! Thanks for sharing.


  5. Terri Presser
    Nov 21, 2014 @ 10:29:52

    Seems that respect and honour and love for our husbands is on a few minds. Thanks for linking up a great post at Good Morning Mondays. Blessings


  6. Tania Vaughan (@TaniaJVaughan)
    Nov 21, 2014 @ 12:29:51

    What a wonderful post – really challenging, certainly made me think, especially in relationship to my husband. Thank you for sharing over at Fellowship Friday :)


  7. Ellen Chauvin
    Nov 21, 2014 @ 18:17:41

    Great analogy. I do so love the Hellen Keller story! That’s what grabbed my attention from the Equipping Godly Women link up! Thanks


  8. Joanne Norton
    Nov 22, 2014 @ 21:08:17

    Every time I’ve heard of her since I was kid, I’ve been amazed. She could have so easily been ignored or having died early. Always makes me become a “WOW!” person. Thank you for sharing.


  9. Donna Reidland
    Nov 23, 2014 @ 04:51:57

    What a beautiful comparison. How easy it is to fall into selfishness, always wanting out own way and controlling others with our moods. Thanks for the reminder and for linking up at Mondays @ Soul Survival. Have a blessed Thanksgiving!


  10. Lux Ganzon
    Nov 24, 2014 @ 18:37:59

    Now that’s another way of looking at the story of a person of history…and marriage. Thanks for sharing this! Have a wonderful week ahead!


  11. Brittany at EquippingGodlyWomen.com
    Nov 25, 2014 @ 04:18:01

    Very interesting. It’s easy to be selfish–but we really do have to consider our entire family. I try to.


  12. jesthepilgrim
    Dec 01, 2014 @ 14:42:23

    How many families are in debt because of this very thing… So sad! We women can be both a blessing or spoiled brat that can cause ruin. Thank you for pointing out how ugly the temper tantrum is…

    Thank you also for sharing each week on the Art of Home-Making Mondays!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 63 other followers

%d bloggers like this: