And I know Jacobs who economise as well as work for the love that they have to their Rachels. They give up almost all small luxuries, in order to be able sooner to afford that greatest luxury in life - a good wife.
According to Leigh Hunt, no reasonable person ought to marry who cannot say,
My love has made me better and more desirous of improvement than I have ever been." And he could say of himself that love for his wife had subdued the violent temper that once possessed him.
All engaged men should prove the sincerity of their love by reducing their daily doses of whisky, of cigars, of gambling, of outbursts of temper, of frivolity, of extravagance in dress, or of anything else that hinders domestic happiness.
To thoughtful, pure, healthy - minded young men and young women we would say : "Think of the mysterious, beautiful experience of first love as a sacred talent given, not merely for your own happiness, but for the good of the world. You need not keep it to yourself as a guilty secret, for it is natural and right, but still less ought you to put it on your sleeve to be pecked at by daws."
It has been said that marriage is the door that brings deluded mortals back to earth; but this is by no means always the case. Love does sometimes survive marriage, and there are husbands and wives who love each other more, and more as the years go by. They have a similar experience to that of James Nasmyth, the inventor of the steam hammer. Speaking of his wife, he said, "Forty-two years of married life find us the same devoted 'cronies' that we were at the beginning."
Brides and bridegrooms often think that those who have been in the holy state of matrimony twenty or thirty years longer than themselves are very prosaic and un-romantic. Those who manifest this newly married intolerance should be reminded of what an old minister of the Church of Scotland said to a young Scotch Dissenter who was finding fault with it : "When your lum (chimney) has reeked as long as ours, perhaps it will have as much soot."
A married couple worthy of the name grow to feel towards each other very much as two chums at college, or two partners in a business who are at the same time old and well-tried friends.
Certainly love may end with the honeymoon if people marry to gratify a "gun-powder passion " or for the sake of mere outward beauty, which, like a glass, is soon broken. There is a love that is feverish, violent and full of profession; but having gained its object, its force is expended. It cannot endure in the hour of trial. If beauty, health, and wealth should fail, it would fail. How different is true love ! The rosy time of courtship is not degraded by its decline, when the flowers begin to fade and when the winter of life is come. It loves its object until life is extinct, and then it longs for reunion in a better world.
"There is real love, just as there are real ghosts. Every person speaks of it; few persons have seen it." This cynical remark of Rochefoucauld is certainly not true in reference to love before marriage, and love after it rests on far better evidence than the existence of ghosts. I have never seen a ghost, but I have often seen love surviving matrimony. I have seen many a husband lover and sweetheart wife.
Each young couple that begin marriage on the right basis bring the Garden of Eden before men once more. There they are, two alone; love raises a wall between them and the outer world. There is no serpent there, and, indeed, he need never come, nor does he, so long as Adam and Eve keep him at bay; but too often the hedge of love is broken just a little by small discourtesies and little inattentions, that gradually but surely become wider and wider gaps, until there is no hedge at all, and all sorts of monsters enter in and riot there.
A friend of the writer said to an elderly man who had difficulties at home : "You know, your wife is not so young as she was, so you ought to tell her sometimes that you love her as much as you did long ago. She would like to hear that. And when you go home, now, just put your arm round her neck, and give her a good courting kiss." The next time my friend met the old gentleman he asked : "Well, did you take my advice ? " "Oh, yes; but - but that about the kiss was all rot! " "What do you mean ? " "I mean that when I tried to put my arm about the neck of my old woman she pushed me from her, and said, 'what's gone wrong with you, ye old fool ?' "
The fact that his proffered kiss should have seemed to indicate softening of the brain rather than of the heart showed that this husband had neglected after-marriage courtship. He was a sad contrast to the husband of a lady friend of mine, who said the other day to a confidante, "My husband never goes away even for a few hours without kissing me, and returning two or three times to bid me good-bye."
We should continue after marriage thos tender, winning ways that were so effective when we were courting. In all other in vestments a man doubles and trebles hi property by fresh improvements and new investments, but marriage often become bankrupt because the principal is not put out to interest.
I was told lately by a clergyman that he knew a couple in his parish who were mos happy in a marriage that lasted sixty-fou years. The man married, when twenty-two a girl of twenty. People used to wonde which of the two would die first. Th woman died aged eighty-four, and the mai fourteen months afterwards. Talking o their married life, he would say, "Me an< my missis never argued."
To be polite and pleasant to each of the and never to argue is the way for husband and wife to make love survive their marriage A friend who was with me at an hotel said of a couple who were also staying there, ' did not know they were married, for the lad always converses with the man, and is polite to him." What a satire on of the couples ! The wife of the celebrated actor Garrick, said of him : "He never was i husband to me; he was always a lover. It is often said that marriage is a failure but we hear less about it when it is a success which is the far more usual result.
Benjamin Franklin experienced the truth of his own proverb, "There are three faithful friends, an old wife, an old dog, and read; money." After a married life of forty year he said, "We throve together, and ever en deavoured to make each other happy."
If poets, who are an irritable race, can b good and loving husbands, surely other mei can. And what did you see ? " one wa asked, who had been into the Lake country and had gone to Wordsworth's home, saw the old man," he said, "walking in the garden with his wife. They were both quit old, and he was almost blind, but the; seemed like sweethearts courting; they wer so tender to each other and attentive." So too, Miss Martineau, who was a near neigh bour, tells us how the old wife would mis her husband, and trot out to find bin asleep, perhaps in the sun, run for his hat tend him, and watch over him till he awoke.
A scientific friend said to Herbert Spencer "Had you married, there would have bed no system of philosophy." Probably the friend was quite wrong. Had Spence married, his philosophical works would doubtless have been as many and as good but produced with much more comfort.
Certainly, Spencer's master, as Charles Darwin may be called, used to think tha he himself would probably never have beer able to make his discoveries (discoveries to which Spencer's philosophy owes its origin if he had not had a wife and children who saved him from trouble and gave to him the leisure of a very happy home.