This section is from the book "Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: A Guide To Correct Writing", by Thos. E. Hill. Also available from Amazon: Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: The How-To-Do-Everything Book Of Victorian America.
THE happiness of married life comes from pleasant, harmonious relations existing between husband and wife. If rightly mated in the conjugal state, life will be one continual joy. If unhappily wedded, the soul will be forever yearning, and never satisfied; happiness may be hoped tor, may be dreamed of, may be the object ever labored for, but it will never be realized.
In view, therefore, of the great influence that marriage has upon the welfare and happiness of all those who enter the conjugal relation, it becomes the duty of everyone to study the laws which make happy, enduring companionships between husbands and wives. It is a duty which not only the unmarried owe themselves, but it is an obligation due to society, as the well-being of a community largely rests upon the permanent, enduring family relation.
Very properly does the highest civilization not only recognize one woman for one man, and one man for one woman, but it ordains that marriage shall be publicly solemnized; and in view of its sacred nature and its vast influence on the welfare of society, that its rights shall be jealously guarded, and that a separation of those who pledge themselves to each other for life shall be as seldom made as possible.
The young should, therefore, be thoroughly imbued with the idea that the marriage state may not be entered upon without due and careful consideration of its responsibilities, as explained in the introductory remarks found in the department devoted to " Love Letters."
There are exceptions to all rules. Undoubtedly parties have married on br:'ef accuaintance, and have lived happily afterwards. It is sometimes the case that the wife is much older than the husband, is much wiser, and much his superior in social position, and yet happiness in the union may follow. But, as a rule, there are a few fundamental requisites, which, carefully observed, are much more likely to bring happiness than does marriage where the conditions are naturally unfavorable*.
Of these requisites, are the following:
Marry a person whom you have known long enough to be sure of his or her worth - if not personally, at least by reputation.
Marry a person who is your equal in social position. If there be a difference either way, let the husband be superior to the wife. It is difficult for a wife to love and honor a person whom she is compelled to look down upon.
Marry a person of similar religious convictions, tastes, likes and dislikes to your own. It is not congenial to have one companion deeply religious, while the other only ridicules the forms of religion. It is not pleasant for one to have mind and heart absorbed in a certain kind of work which the other abhors; and it is equally disagreeable to the gentle, mild and sweet disposition to be united with a cold, heartless, grasping, avaricious, quarrelsome person. Very truthfully does Luna S. Peck, in the " Vermont Watchman," describe one phase of inhar-mony, in the following poem:
A HAWK once courted a white little dove, With the softest of wings and a voice full of love; And the hawk - O yes, as other hawks go - Was a well-enough hawk, for aught that I know.
But she was a dove,
And her bright young life
Had been nurtured in love,
Away from all strife.
Then he flew to his nest,
With the dove at his side,
And soon all the rest
Took a squint at the bride.
They were greedy and rough -
A turbulent crew,
Always ready enough
To be quarrelsome, too.
To the dove all was strange; but never a word
In resentment she gave to the wrangling she heard.
If a thought of the peaceful, far-away nest
Ever haunted her dreams, or throbbed in her breast,
No bird ever knew;
Each hour of her life,
Kind, gentle and true
Was the hawk's dove-wife.
But the delicate nature too sorely was tried; With no visible sickness, the dove drooped and died; Then loud was the grief, and the wish all expressed To call the learned birds, and hold an inquest.
So all the birds came,
But each shook his head:
No disease could he name
Why the dove should be dead;
Till a wise old owl, with a knowing look, Stated this: "The case is as clear as a book; No disease do I find, or accident's shock; The cause of her death was too much hawk! Hawk for her father, and hawk for her mother, Hawk for her sister, and hawk for her brother, Was more than the delicate bird could bear; She hath winged her way to a realm more fair!
She was nurtured a dove;
Too hard the hawk's life -
Void of kindness and love,
Full of hardness and strife."
And when he had told them, the other birds knew That this was the cause, and the verdict was true!