The marriage relationship is not wholly, or even chiefly, a romantic and ethereal social union far above and unaffected by material and practical considerations. While this spiritual union is an essential part of every true marriage, it cannot exist unless there is also a true union upon intellectual and physical planes. Marriage is, in one sense, a business partnership. In another sense, it is an intellectual companionship, and in still another sense, it is a friendly, social relationship.
A man and a woman are, therefore, mated in the true sense of the word, not alone by a mysterious and intangible spiritual identity, but by mutual beliefs, mutual ideas and ideals, mutual or harmonious tastes, mutual physical attractiveness, and mutual respect and admiration each for the other’s talents, disposition, aptitudes, and character in general. One of the reasons why there are so many unhappy marriages is because a blind instinct, which may be purely physical or purely intellectual or purely psychical, which may be a mere passing fancy, which oftentimes is based upon the flimsiest and shallowest possible knowledge of each other’s characteristics, is mistaken for love. Many marriages, of course, are consummated without even the existence of an imagined love—marriages for convenience, marriages because of pique, marriages arranged by parents or others. When such a marriage is a happy one, it is, indeed, by virtue of great good fortune, a happy accident.
KNOWLEDGE THE BASIS OF CHOICE
Since a true marriage, therefore, must encircle with its golden band and harmonize all of the psychical, intellectual and physical qualities, activities and interests of two people, it follows that it must be based upon knowledge as well as intuition. He who would choose a mate must, first of all, understand himself, so that he may know what qualities will be most agreeable to him. This may seem unnecessary, but, unfortunately, it is not. Any man who will compare his youthful tastes and judgment in regard to women with his mature inclinations will see the truth.
Second, he ought to know before he reaches the point of falling in love, the disposition and character of those to whom his fancy turns. When propinquity and mere physical attraction have aroused the emotions of a young couple, the ardor of their excitement so obscures observation and judgment that any careful analysis of each other’s characteristics is impossible. Even if such an analysis were possible, one could not be intelligently made by a mere observation of behavior and conversation, even under the most advantageous circumstances. As a general rule, young people associate together in their “company clothes and company manners.” Every possible endeavor is made to show forth that which is considered to be most desirable and to conceal, so far as possible, that which may be undesirable. Even traits and tendencies which do manifest themselves do so under disguise, as it were, and their full seriousness is not recognized. In fact, many a young man and young woman have found the very characteristics which appeared most charming in a lover or sweetheart the ugly rock upon which marital happiness was wrecked.