Getting Married eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 213 pages of information about Getting Married.

6.  Place the work of a wife and mother on the same footing as other work:  that is, on the footing of labor worthy of its hire; and provide for unemployment in it exactly as for unemployment in shipbuilding or an other recognized bread-winning trade.

7.  And take and deal with all the consequences of these acts of justice instead of letting yourself be frightened out of reason and good sense by fear of consequences.  We must finally adapt our institutions to human nature.  In the long run our present plan of trying to force human nature into a mould of existing abuses, superstitions, and corrupt interests, produces the explosive forces that wreck civilization.

8.  Never forget that if you leave your law to judges and your religion to bishops, you will presently find yourself without either law or religion.  If you doubt this, ask any decent judge or bishop.  Do not ask somebody who does not know what a judge is, or what a bishop is, or what the law is, or what religion is.  In other words, do not ask your newspaper.  Journalists are too poorly paid in this country to know anything that is fit for publication.


To sum up, we have to depend on the solution of the problem of unemployment, probably on the principles laid down in the Minority Report of the Royal Commission on the Poor Law, to make the sexual relations between men and women decent and honorable by making women economically independent of men, and (in the younger son section of the upper classes) men economically independent of women.  We also have to bring ourselves into line with the rest of Protestant civilization by providing means for dissolving all unhappy, improper, and inconvenient marriages.  And, as it is our cautious custom to lag behind the rest of the world to see how their experiments in reform turn out before venturing ourselves, and then take advantage of their experience to get ahead of them, we should recognize that the ancient system of specifying grounds for divorce, such as adultery, cruelty, drunkenness, felony, insanity, vagrancy, neglect to provide for wife and children, desertion, public defamation, violent temper, religious heterodoxy, contagious disease, outrages, indignities, personal abuse, “mental anguish,” conduct rendering life burdensome and so forth (all these are examples from some code actually in force at present), is a mistake, because the only effect of compelling people to plead and prove misconduct is that cases are manufactured and clean linen purposely smirched and washed in public, to the great distress and disgrace of innocent children and relatives, whilst the grounds have at the same time to be made so general that any sort of human conduct may be brought within them by a little special pleading and a little mental reservation on the part of witnesses examined on oath.  When it conies to “conduct rendering life burdensome,” it is clear that no marriage is any longer indissoluble; and the sensible thing to do then is to grant divorce whenever it is desired, without asking why.

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Getting Married from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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