Chapter 66

  1. Married Life

The marriage institution is the bond of social order, and if treated with due respect, care, and consideration greatly enhances individual happiness and consequently general good. The Spartan law punished those who did not marry, those who married too late, and those who married improperly. Though positive law has long since ceased to exercise any discretion as to whether a person marries or remains single, yet, as the foundation of marriage is fixed in the law of God, written in our physical being, it follows that it is none the less true now than in the morning of time that it is “not good for man to be alone.” For ages history has shown that the permanent union of one man with one woman establishes a relation of affection and interest which can in no other way be made to exist between two human beings. Hence marriage, both from a theoretical and a practical point of view, becomes to him an aid in the stern conflicts of life.

Many a man has risen from obscurity to fame who in the days of his triumphant victory has freely and gracefully acknowledged that to the sympathy and encouragement of his wife during the long and weary years of toil he owed very much of his achieved success. The good wife! How much of this world’s happiness and prosperity is contained in the compass of these two short words! Her influence is immense. The power of a wife for good or for evil is altogether irresistible. Home must be the seat of happiness or it must be forever unknown. A good wife is to a man wisdom and courage, strength and endurance; a bad one is confusion and weakness, discomfiture and despair. No condition in life is hopeless when the wife possesses firmness, decision, energy, and economy. There is no outward prosperity which can counteract indolence, folly, and extravagance at home. No spirit can long resist bad domestic influences.

Man is strong, but his strength is not adamant. He delights in enterprise and action; but to sustain him he needs a tranquil mind and a whole heart. He expends his moral force in the conflicts of the world. In the true wife the husband finds not affection only, but companionship—a companionship with which no other can compare. The family relationship gives retirement with solitude, and society without the rough intrusion of the world. It plants in the husband’s dwelling a friend who can bear his silence without weariness; who can listen to the details that affect his interests or sympathy; who can appreciate his repetition of events, only important as they are embalmed in the heart.

Common friends are linked to us by a slender thread. We must reclaim them by ministering to their interests or their enjoyments. What a luxury it is for a man to feel that in his home there is a true and devoted being, in whose presence he may throw off restraint without danger to his dignity, he may confide without fear of treachery, and be poor or unfortunate without fear of being abandoned. If in the outer world he grows weary of human selfishness, his heart can safely trust in one whose indulgence overlooks his defects.

The treasure of a wife’s affection, like the grace of God, is given, not bought. Gold is power. It can sweep down forests, raise cities, build roads, and deck houses; but wealth can not purchase love and the affections of a wife. If any husband has failed to estimate the affections of a true wife, he will be likely to mark their value in his loss, when the heart that loved him is stilled by death. Is man the child of sorrow, and do afflictions and distresses pour their bitternesses into his cup? How are his trials alleviated, his sighs suppressed, his corroding thoughts dissipated, his anxieties and fears relieved, his gloom and depression chased away by her cheerfulness and love! Is he overwhelmed by disappointments and mortified by reproaches? There is one who can hide his faults from her eyes, and can love without up-braiding.

A judicious wife is constantly exerting an influence, for good over her husband. She is, so to speak, the wielder of the moral pruning knife, and is constantly snipping off from her husband’s moral nature little twigs that are growing in the wrong direction. Intellectual beings of different sexes were surely intended by their Creator to go through the world thus together, united not only in hand and heart, but in principles, in intellect, in views, and in dispositions, each pursuing one common and noble end—their own improvement and the happiness of those around them by the different means appropriate to their situation, mutually correcting, sustaining, and strengthening each other, undegraded by all practices of tyranny on the one hand and deceit on the other, each finding a candid but severe judge in the understanding, and a warm and partial advocate in the heart, of their companion.

A great deal has been said in a cynical way about the immense number of unhappy marriages. There is so much said on this subject that it is easy to forget that for every instance of complaint there are thousands of beneficent and prosperous unions of which the world never hears. It is natural that the evil attracts the most attention. Men and women whose married life is full of good and helpfulness do not often feel an impulse to defend the system under which they live. Sometimes we hear both sexes repine at their change, relate the happiness of their earlier years, blame the folly and rashness of their own choice, and warn others against the infatuation. But it is to be remembered that the days which they so much wish to call back are the days not only of celibacy, but of youth—the days of novelty and of improvement, of ardor and of hope, of health and vigor of body, of gayety and lightness of heart. It is not easy to surround life with any circumstances in which youth will not be delightful; and we are afraid that, whether married or single, we shall find the vesture of terrestrial existence more heavy and cumbersome the longer it is worn.

It is human to see only the good side of any thing that is past and gone. Life is so full of disappointments that whenever in mature years we recall past days, our present state, being present reality, always suffers by comparison with the past. It would be well to calmly reflect on what happiness in married life depends. There is a great deal of mischief wrought in the world by the common understanding of the phrase “mismated.” Many apparently act as if all the ills of married life could be explained by a convenient use of that word.

It is arrogant folly to suppose that so much misery and wrong, so much selfishness and cruelty, so much that is low, animal, and unlovely in the lives of men and women, results from their being “mismated.” They have, in the majority of cases, mistaken the cause of their trouble. These men and women are undeveloped, exacting, selfish, proud. They have undisciplined tempers, and they are accustomed to think of happiness for themselves as the chief end of marriage. No magic of “mating” would make the lives of such people very high or perfect.

Nowhere does it prove so powerfully true as in married life, that your happiness is found in consulting the happiness of another. We are too prone to trust to specific treatment for particular evils. The real problem of happiness in married life is not difficult of solution if only sought with a spirit of willingness to learn the truths. There are no short roads to happiness. The men and women who marry must somehow acquire thoughtfulness, self-control, consideration for others, patience, and the other qualities, without which life is unendurable in any relations we know of. All candid persons will so readily admit this, that marriage speedily becomes a school for the exercise of virtue, and is the source and nurse of many of the best qualities in the life of man or woman.

It is indeed wonderful that marriage does so much for them, and has such power to lift up their lives to light and, beauty. The man who remains single to the end of his days can not well help growing cynical, cold, and selfish. By nature he may be as warm-hearted, as full of generous impulses, as any, but he has only himself to care for. He has never felt the necessity of striving to make happy the life of another. He has never known what it is to have a woman’s heart, full of womanly tenderness and strength, affection, sympathy, and encouragement, looking to him for love and happiness, for protection and comfort; has never learned the lesson of patience as it is learned in bearing with the faults of a loved one. He has never known what it is to have a little child turn to him as the source of consolation for its childish troubles and sorrows. It can not but follow that, lacking all the bitter-sweet experience of married life, he shall in that degree fail of being a complete man.

True, there are natures that, whether married or single, would only develop into the cold, hard-hearted disposition; but that does not at all detract from the fact that marriage does thus tend to make life more replete with kindness and manly attributes than celibacy. Every man feels the need of a home, and there is no more sorrowful sight than to see a man bent with the weight of years, who is homeless and has no friends united to him by family ties. There can not be a home without the institution of marriage. Think for a moment how much of the joy and sorrow of life is connected with the word home. What visions of hopes, what days of joy, what seasons of sorrow, does it not recall? All the lights and shades of life originate from thence. How, then, can a man or woman lacking the experience of home and married life possess the strength of character, the full and complete development, expected from those who have taken upon themselves the joys and sorrows, the cross and crown of matrimony?

, In, pager

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pentareddy n he is volunteer and web designer software designer digital Marketer, Blogger, Graphic Designer & Freelancer, , , inspiration etc

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