This selection is in honor of my friend Kathy Feeney, who is taking the plunge this weekend and getting hitched to Jesse Chappell. Here’s some marriage advice for you both, all the way from 1880. Congrats, you crazy kids, you!
1880: How to Perpetuate the Honey-moon
Continue your courtship. Like causes produce like effects.
Do not assume a right to neglect your companion more after marriage than you did before.
Have no secretes that you keep from your companion. A third party is always disturbing.
Do not conceal your marriage for an hour. Busy bodies may perplex you with advice. Madame Le Brun kept her marriage a secret for a short time, when people advised her to drown herself rather than marry Le Brun. Even the Dutchess d’Arembourg said, “For Heaven’s sake, don’t marry him!” The very concealment begets perils. Integrity is the law of safety.
Avoid the appearance of evil. In matrimonial matters it is often that the mere appearance contains all of the evil. Love, as soon as it rises above calculation and becomes love, is exacting. It gives all, and demands all.
Once married, never open your mind to any change. If you keep the door of your purpose closed, evil or even desirable changes cannot make headway without your help.
Make the best of the inevitable. Persist in looking at and presenting the best side. Such is the subtle constitution of the human mind, that we believe what we will; also, what we frequently tell.
Keep step in mental development. A tree that grows for forty years may take all the sunlight from a tree that stops growing at twenty.
Keep a lively interest in the business of the firm. Two that do not pull together, are weaker than either alone.
Gauge your expenses by your revenues. Love must eat. The sheriff often levies on Cupid long before he takes away the old furniture.
Start from where your parents started rather than from where they are now. Hollow and showy boarding often furnishes the too strong temptation, while the quietness of a humble home would cement the hearts beyond risk.
Avoid debt. Spend your own money, then it will not be necessary to blame any one for spending other people’s.
Do not both get angry at the same time. It takes two to quarrel.
Do not allow yourself ever to come to an open rupture. Things unsaid need less repentance.
Study to understand your companion’s disposition, in order to please and avoid friction.
Study to confirm your tastes and habits to the tastes and habits of your companion. If two walk together, they must agree.
Chang and Eng were the Siamese Twins. Chang made Eng lie down when sick. It killed Eng, and Chang could not survive him. Take care of Eng. Few people survive divorce.
Source: Fowler, C. H. and W. H. De Puy. Home and Health and Home Economics. New York: Phillips & Hunt, 1880.
~ pp. 16-17 ~