I just finished reading Migene Gonzalez-Wippler’s book, Keys to the Kingdom: Jesus & the Mystic Kabbalah, which explores — among other things — whether Jesus Christ was ever married. This, of course, is religion’s hot topic du jour, what with Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code triggering a flurry of books debating the existence of Mrs. Jesus. I don’t know what the hubbub’s all about. It sure seems like a lot of authors are killing a lot of trees debating the obvious: Jesus was never married.
No, I don’t have any hard evidence to support my contention. I haven’t uncovered ancient manuscripts, nor have I been visited by anonymous members of a super double-secret society. My grilled cheese sandwiches don’t bear the image of anyone holy, nor have they spoken to impart divine wisdom — they just go well with Tab soda. All the same, I can prove my contention with a matter of simple logic.
Jesus was perfect. Husbands are not. Ergo, Jesus was not a husband.
It makes sense, really. Imagine Jesus trying to spread the truth with his wife, just a few sand dunes away, spreading the Truth about Jesus. Like how his twelve closest pals are always hanging around, breaking bread and getting crumbs all over the place, turning all of their jugs of water into wine and leaving it to her to clean up. Or how he never puts the palm leaf down after using the potty pit? Can you imagine how different the past 2,000 years would’ve been if there’d been a Mrs. Jesus who knew better than anyone else what Jesus was really like?
Not that anyone would believe her. We humans like to think that folks, including ourselves, act the same at home as they do in public, despite knowing that most of us don’t. We cover our mouths when we sneeze at the mall but let it fly in the confines of our own walls. At restaurants, we offer excuses to dining companions and hurry to the bathroom when, at home, we’d let our hindquarters thunderblast. (Watching us, our children master this duplicity early in life. Hence there are so many “perfect little gentlemen” and “well-behaved little ladies” in public, and not a damn one of them in anyone’s home.) I have a feeling that no matter how much his wife tried convincing people that Jesus was just a regular Joe at home, nobody would believe it. I can’t imagine that saints’ wives had it much better, but at least their husbands were dead.
Ok, if simple logic doesn’t disprove the existence of a Mrs. Jesus, consider the evidence that we should’ve discovered by now but have not. Maybe a Self-Help scroll written by some wise man consulted for advice on dealing with her self-esteem issues. Letters to her mother or to far-off female friends recounting Jesus’s latest antics. A diary, even. There ought to be something, at least. After all, we’re talking about a woman whose husband literally was God’s Gift to Mankind! Can you imagine the issues she’d need to work out, just to keep from going completely insane.
I wonder what her life must have been like, waiting around the house for Jesus to get tired of hanging out with his perpetually unemployed friends. I figure something like this:
“Where have you been?” Mrs. Jesus asks when Jesus gets home just minutes before the cock crows. Out late again, she thinks. It figures.
“Oh, you know, hanging with the guys,” Jesus explains as he enters the house, laying his right hand over his heart while raising his left palm outward.
“Please. Don’t pull that ‘blessing the house’ act with me. It’s your ulcer, isn’t it.” Mrs. Jesus stamps her sandaled foot. “I bet you spent the whole night wandering around aimlessly with your buddies, worrying yourself over how many hairs were on some strange man’s head or how many lillies there were in some field. Did you even have dinner?”
“I had some bread…” Jesus says, rolling his eyes heavenward.
“That’s it, bread? Man can’t live on bread alone, or haven’t you figured that out?” She squints at Jesus, then sniffs the air. “Why do you smell like the ocean? You weren’t fishing this late at night, were you?”
“Well, sort of.” Jesus starts fiddling with the hem of his cloak. “See, Pete wanted me to check out his new boat, so we took it out. But then a storm rolled in and the next thing I knew, they were all overboard. I got a little wet helping them back in the boat.”
“Pete and his boat. Last week it was John and his fishing nets. Why don’t you try spending a little less time with them and a little more time looking for a job? Then maybe we could live someplace nice, even have a few possessions in this world? Besides, you’re always doing favors for them, as if it’s better to give than to receive. Try asking them to do you a favor sometime and see what they do,” she grumbles, noticing Jesus’s dirty bare feet. “And what’s with the unwashed feet?”
“There weren’t any clean towels.”
“Let them air dry — and put some oil on them, for your own sake, or your heels will start cracking again.” As Jesus shuffles outside to the foot bath, she hurries to make a casserole, wishing once again that her husband would perform a useful miracle for a change, like stretching a hunk of bread and a half a fish into a meal for two.
Just then, a woman’s high-pitched giggle wafts through the front door. Mrs. Jesus hurries outside to find Jesus sitting on the front stoop, but he’s not alone. A garishly made-up woman kneels before Jesus, giving him a full-on view of her cleavage as she pours another amphora of water over his feet. Mrs. Jesus clears her throat to catch her husband’s attention, but he’s preoccupied with the view, not that anyone could tell by the beatific look on his face. When the woman begins drying Jesus’s feet with her henna colored hair, Mrs. Jesus shrieks: “Damn it, man, I said air dry! AIR dry! Can’t you get anything right?!”
On the other hand, perhaps it’s too much to expect evidence that confirms the existence of a Mrs. Jesus. Brides didn’t register with Bloomie’s back then. Clay tablets bearing bills for new sandals and hot oil treatments at the hair salon would’ve long since crumbled. With psycho-therapy still a couple of thousand years from discovery, Mrs. Jesus probably would have spent her days huddled in the confines of her house, withdrawn and depressed.
How else could a wife feel when even her own mother would consider her lucky to have landed a man as wonderful as Jesus? When everyone who knew Mr. and Mrs. Jesus would prefer his company to hers, and behind her back would wonder why the Son of God hadn’t held out for someone equally perfect? When her father-in-law proves to be the ultimate God Father who’d laid out an agenda for his son’s life long before the boy was ever born — one in which there was no room for a Mrs. Jesus — and who has since been pulling strings and wielding power to ensure those plans are carried out?
All of which is to say that if there was a Mrs. Jesus — and I think that’s a pretty big IF — she was easily the most wronged woman in history. There’s no worldwide birthday celebrations for her, no movement or wars started in her name, no weekly gathering of the masses to contemplate her suffering. Being married to a man whom everyone thinks can do no wrong (and who, apparently, was convinced of it himself) really ought to qualify her for some kind of an award, like Sainthood. Or at least a special place in Heaven — one where Jesus waits on her hand and foot and his twelve buddies clean up after themselves.