Getting Married eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 173 pages of information about Getting Married.
so jealous and implacable that the least step from the straight path means exposure and ruin, it is almost impossible by any extravagance of misconduct to provoke society to relax its steady pretence of blindness, unless you do one or both of two fatal things.  One is to get into the newspapers; and the other is to confess.  If you confess misconduct to respectable men or women, they must either disown you or become virtually your accomplices:  that is why they are so angry with you for confessing.  If you get into the papers, the pretence of not knowing becomes impossible.  But it is hardly too much to say that if you avoid these two perils, you can do anything you like, as far as your neighbors are concerned.  And since we can hardly flatter ourselves that this is the effect of charity, it is difficult not to suspect that our extraordinary forbearance in the matter of stone throwing is that suggested in the well-known parable of the women taken in adultery which some early free-thinker slipped into the Gospel of St John:  namely, that we all live in glass houses.  We may take it, then, that the ideal husband and the ideal wife are no more real human beings than the cherubim.  Possibly the great majority keeps its marriage vows in the technical divorce court sense.  No husband or wife yet born keeps them or ever can keep them in the ideal sense.

MARRIAGE AS A MAGIC SPELL

The truth which people seem to overlook in this matter is that the marriage ceremony is quite useless as a magic spell for changing in an instant the nature of the relations of two human beings to one another.  If a man marries a woman after three weeks acquaintance, and the day after meets a woman he has known for twenty years, he finds, sometimes to his own irrational surprise and his wife’s equally irrational indignation, that his wife is a stranger to him, and the other woman an old friend.  Also, there is no hocus pocus that can possibly be devized with rings and veils and vows and benedictions that can fix either a man’s or woman’s affection for twenty minutes, much less twenty years.  Even the most affectionate couples must have moments during which they are far more conscious of one another’s faults than of one another’s attractions.  There are couples who dislike one another furiously for several hours at a time; there are couples who dislike one another permanently; and there are couples who never dislike one another; but these last are people who are incapable of disliking anybody.  If they do not quarrel, it is not because they are married, but because they are not quarrelsome.  The people who are quarrelsome quarrel with their husbands and wives just as easily as with their servants and relatives and acquaintances:  marriage makes no difference.  Those who talk and write and legislate as if all this could be prevented by making solemn vows that it shall not happen, are either insincere, insane, or hopelessly stupid.  There is some sense

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Getting Married from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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