How does this poem express Anne Bradstreet's values?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Anne Bradstreet's poem expresses her values as it acknowledges the Puritan belief that woman was created to be man's helpmate, subordinate, and to be in harmony with her husband.

The very title, "To My Dear and Loving Husband", establishes the relationship that Bradstreet has with her husband: they both love each other. Yet, there is the sense that she is somewhat subordinate in that she feels that she cannot repay the love that she receives. She says, "Thy love is such I can no way repay."

Bradstreet's use of parallelism also connotes the harmony of their marriage and the relationship of wife and husband:

If ever two were one, then surely we. 
If ever man were loved by wife, then thee; 
If ever wife was happy in a man, 

That they both feel the same way about each other is reaffirmed at the poem's end:

Then while we live, in love let's so persever[e]
That when we live no more, we may live ever.

With its repetition of the sounds of the 'w's and the 'l's in these last two lines, there is a certain harmony. In fact, throughout the entire poem there is a balance that appropriately parallels the feelings of Mr. and Mrs. Bradstreet. Certainly, this symmetry is suitable to a poem that celebrates a happy and satisfying marriage.