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Marriage

  • After marriage, all things change. And one of them better be you.

  • Marriage is the most delightful of the impermanencies of life.

  • I can't think why women want to marry men at all, they're such fools. I suppose it's because there's nothing else for them to marry.

  • It is hard for me to believe that any husband and wife are really happy together. And to have thee say you are is an unspeakable comfort.

    • Hannah Whitall Smith,
    • 1910, in Logan Pearsall Smith, ed., A Religious Rebel: The Letters of "H.W.S." ()
  • At what age should one marry? As a rule of thumb, perhaps not until you are past the age of feeling strongly that you must marry.

  • Hardening of the hearteries is the most serious affliction besetting marriage, and warm, good-humored, approving words are the only effective preventive.

  • One does not marry to become a judge of the spouse's behavior. If a marriage license is mistaken for a hunting license and disapproval, punishment, and threat of withdrawal of love are employed as weapons, all one bags is one's own unhappiness.

  • Many people, if they were to treat other people as they treat their spouses, would soon have not a friend in the world. Why it is assumed that marriage is more impervious to the effects of discourtesy than friendship, I do not know ...

  • She thought she was married to him, but it turned out the warranty hadn't run out on his first wife.

  • A sense of humor in marriage acts as a lightning rod on a building: grounds the sparks from the air.

  • ... her imagination modeled no pleasing features upon the ugly skull of matrimony.

  • To be married is to be neither alone nor together.

    • Natalie Clifford Barney,
    • "Scatterings" (1910), in Anna Livia, ed., A Perilous Advantage: The Best of Natalie Clifford Barney ()
  • ... I found myself thinking it was a bit like my disappointment when I was confirmed. This may be blasphemous but I think not. For expecting to achieve union with God is similar to expecting to achieve it with man. Only I minded much more as regards man.

  • If the second marriage really succeeds, the first one didn't really fail.

  • A perfect marriage is one in which 'I'm sorry' is said just often enough.

  • If you made a list of the reasons why any couple got married, and another list of the reasons for their divorce, you'd have a hell of a lot of overlapping.

  • A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.

  • It is difficult to tell which gives some couples the most happiness, the minister who marries them, or the judge who divorces them.

  • ... he marveled anew at the infinite variety of marriage, that relationship at once so private and public, so hedged with convention and yet so anarchical.

  • ... the most successful marriages were always based on both partners feeling that they had done rather well for themselves.

  • ... the matrimonial shoe pinches me.

  • Wasn't marriage, like life, unstimulating and unprofitable and somewhat empty when too well ordered and protected and guarded? Wasn't it finer, more splendid, more nourishing, when it was, like life itself, a mixture of the sordid and the magnificent; of mud and stars; of earth and flowers; of love and hate and laughter and tears and ugliness and beauty and hurt?

  • Men often marry their mothers ...

  • When you see a married couple coming down the street, the one who is two or three steps ahead is the one that's mad.

  • When a man makes a woman his wife, it's the highest compliment he can pay her — and usually it's the last.

  • Marriage is like twirling a baton, turning a handspring or eating with chopsticks; it looks so easy until you try it.

  • In olden times sacrifices were made at the altar — a custom which is still continued.

  • A bride at her second marriage does not wear a veil. She wants to see what she is getting.

  • Before marriage, a man will lie awake all night thinking about something you said; after marriage, he'll fall asleep before you finish saying it.

  • After marriage, a woman's sight becomes so keen that she can see right through her husband without looking at him, and a man's so dull that he can look right through his wife without seeing her.

  • Love, the quest; marriage, the conquest; divorce, the inquest.

  • Before marriage, a man declares that he would lay down his life for you; after marriage, he won't even lay down his newspaper to talk to you.

  • ... in marriage a little licence, a little independence there must be between people living together day in and day out in the same house ...

  • The spirit of the marriage left the bedroom and took to living in the parlor.

  • People are always asking couples whose marriage has endured at least a quarter of a century for their secret of success. Actually, it is no secret at all. I am a forgiving woman. Long ago, I forgave my husband for not being Paul Newman.

  • Marrying a man is like buying something you've been admiring for a long time in a shop window. You may love it when you get it home, but it doesn't always go with everything else in the house.

    • Jean Kerr,
    • "The Ten Worst Things About a Man," The Snake Has All the Lines ()
  • It takes at least one to make a marriage.

  • What is missing in him is probably necessary for what is missing in you. Let us not to the marriage of true impediments admit minds.

  • Love-matches are made by people who are content, for a month of honey, to condemn themselves to a life of vinegar.

    • Countess of Blessington,
    • in R.R. Madden, The Literary Life and Correspondence of the Countess of Blessington, vol. 1 ()
  • Hoary idea, in any case, expecting a woman to surrender her name to her husband's in exchange for his. Why? Would any man submerge his identity and heritage to the woman he wed?

  • Having once embarked on your marital voyage, it is impossible not to be aware that you make no way, and that the sea is not within sight — that, in fact, you are exploring an enclosed basin.

  • Perhaps this is in the end what most marriages are — gentleness, memory, and habit.

  • Any marriage worth the name is no better than a series of beginnings — many of them abortive.

  • The best marriages, like the best lives, were both happy and unhappy. There was even a kind of necessary tension, a certain tautness between the partners that gave the marriage strength, like the tautness of a full sail. You went forward on it.

  • ... I can conceive of 'falling in love' over and over again. But 'marriage,' this richness of life itself, I cannot conceive of having again — or with anyone else. In this sense 'marriage' seems to me indissoluble.

  • ... marriage is an extraordinary thing — and I doubt if any outsider — even a child of the marriage — has the right to judge.

  • You can only really get under anybody's skin if you are married to them.

  • ... our people say a bad marriage kills the soul. Mine is fit for burial.

  • The marriage vow is an absurdity imposed by society.

  • As far as I am concerned I would rather spend the rest of my life in prison than marry again.

    • George Sand,
    • 1837, in Marie Jenney Howe, ed., The Intimate Journal of George Sand ()
  • True intimacy is frightening, and I was well into my marriage before I realized that I either had to seek it or live a lie. Intimacy is what makes a marriage, not a ceremony, not a piece of paper from the state.

  • Men are the limit! ... it's a great pity there ain't nothing else to do but marry, and nothing to marry but men!

  • In every marriage there are the elements of success, and in every one the makings of a perfectly justifiable divorce.

  • ... a short cut to matrimonial unhappiness is not to have the same taste in jokes!

  • ... marriage is man's arrangement for the perpetuation of the state, and love is nature's arrangement for the perpetuation of the species.

  • I know what I wish Ralph Nader would investigate next. Marriage. It's not safe, it's not safe at all.

  • Any good marriage involves a certain amount of play-acting.

  • Let me tell you, a discussion that starts, 'I'll tell you something you do that irritates me, if you tell me something I do that bothers you,' never ends in a hug and a kiss.


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  • Never refer to your wedding night as the original amateur hour.

  • We fell / In love / And / Each married / A myth.

  • Marriage! ... Why, it is like living in a thimble with a hippopotamus!

  • ... monotony is not to be worshipped as a virtue; nor the marriage bed treated as a coffin for security rather than a couch from which to rise refreshed.

  • The central paradox and challenge of marriage is that we have to make family out of someone we're not related to ...

  • One doesn't have to get anywhere in a marriage. It's not a public conveyance.

  • In almost every marriage there is a selfish and an unselfish partner. A pattern is set up and soon becomes inflexible, of one person always making the demands and one person always giving way.

  • In a happy marriage there is a continuous dense magnetic sense of communication.

  • A long marriage is very unifying, even if it's not ideal, and those old structures must be respected.

  • ... Americans love marriage too much. We rush into mariage with abandon, expecting a micro-Utopia on earth. We pile all our needs onto it, our expectations, neuroses, and hopes. In fact, we've made marriage into the panda bear of human social institutions: we've loved it to death.

  • Marriage probably originated as a straightforward food-for-sex deal among foraging primates. Compatibility was not a big issue, nor, of course, was there any tension over who would control the remote.

  • You still don't like the idea of gay marriage? Then, as my friend the economist Julianne Malveaux says: Don't marry a gay person. Case closed, problem solved.

  • Before marriage love grows and does not question; after marriage it questions and does not grow.

    • Edith Wyatt,
    • in Franklin P. Adams et al., The Book of Diversion ()
  • ... it was only long after the ceremony / That we learned / Why we got married / In the first place.

    • Lois Wyse,
    • "The Grand Ballroom of the Plaza Hotel," Love Poems for the Very Married ()
  • A cynic should never marry an idealist. For the cynic, marriage represents the welcome end of romantic life, with all its agony and ecstasy. But for the idealist, it is only the beginning.

  • I can't speak for any other marriage, but the secret of our marriage is that we have absolutely nothing in common.

    • Mamie Eisenhower,
    • in Barbara Walters, How to Talk With Practically Anybody About Practically Anything ()
  • As to marriage, I think the intercourse of heart and mind may be fully enjoyed without entering into this partnership of daily life.

  • ... I begin to see what marriage is for. It's to keep people away from each other. Sometimes I think that two people who love each other can be saved from madness only by the things that come between them — children, duties, visits, bores, relations — the things that protect married people from each other.

  • I'd almost say it's the worries that make married folks sacred to each other ...

  • Modern lovers see too much of each other; modern married folks, too little.

  • The unhappily married realize something of the awfulness of the word 'eternity.'

  • The bond of matrimony is only as strong as its weakest half.

  • The price of matrimony is eternal reticence.

  • 'Marriage is a great improver,' / Wrote Miss Jane Austen, who was moved / By the connubial bliss about her / To stay forever unimproved.

  • Marriage accustomed one to the good things, so one came to take them for granted, but it magnified the bad things, so they came to feel as painful as a grain in one's eye. An open window, a forgotten quart of milk, a TV set left blaring, socks on the bathroom floor could become occasions for incredible rage.

  • A good marriage shuts out a very great deal.

  • Women have one great advantage over men. It is commonly thought that if they marry they have done enough, and need career no further. If a man marries, on the other hand, public opinion is all against him if he takes this view.

  • Monogamy is contrary to nature but necessary for the greater social good.

  • Why marry a woman if you're going to betray her, and if you're going to betray her, why beat her? The fault is not hers ... I sometimes think the worst we do, we do behind closed doors.

  • The right to marry whoever one wishes is an elementary human right compared to which 'the right to attend an integrated school, the right to sit where one pleases on a bus, the right to go into any hotel or recreation area or place of amusement, regardless of one's skin color or race' are minor indeed. Even political rights, like the right to vote, and nearly all other rights enumerated in the Constitution, are secondary to the inalienable human rights to 'life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness' proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence; and to this category the right to home and marriage unquestionably belongs.

  • Coupling doesn't always have to do with sex ... Two people holding each other up like flying buttresses. Two people depending on each other and babying each other and defending each other against the world outside. Sometimes it was worth all the disadvantages of marriage just to have that: one friend in an indifferent world.

  • In a bad marriage, friends are the invisible glue. If we have enough friends, we may go on for years, intending to leave, talking about leaving — instead of actually getting up and leaving.

  • There is no loneliness like the loneliness of a dead marriage.

  • I have yet to hear a man ask for advice on how to combine marriage and a career.

  • ... we are becoming the men we wanted to marry.

  • Women hope men will change after marriage but they don't; men hope women won't change but they do.

  • Marriage is the grave or tomb of wit.

  • ... the Marriage-bed proves the Grave of Love ...

  • Marriage is a curse we find, / Especially to womankind ...

  • I have honorable intentions towards no man. I would not marry God.

    • Maxine Elliott,
    • 1911, on a rumored engagement, in Diana Forbes Robertson, My Aunt Maxine ()
  • I would rather be a beggar and single than a queen and married.

    • Elizabeth I,
    • in Frederick Chamberlin, The Sayings of Queen Elizabeth ()
  • [On being urged to marry:] I do not choose that my grave should be dug while I am still alive.

    • Elizabeth I,
    • in Frederick Chamberlin, The Sayings of Queen Elizabeth ()
  • I have never been able to be so allured by the prospect of advantages or so terrified by misfortunes, swayed by honours or fettered by affection, nay not even so smitten by the fear of death, as to enter upon marriage.

    • Elizabeth I,
    • in Frederick Chamberlin, The Sayings of Queen Elizabeth ()
  • There is one thing I can't get in my head — / Why do people marry the people they wed?

    • Carolyn Wells,
    • "The Mystery," in Carolyn Wells, ed., The World's Best Humor ()
  • It would be an incalculable gain to domestic happiness, if people would begin the concert of life with their instruments tuned to a very low pitch: they who receive the most happiness are generally they who demand and expect the least.

  • So that ends my first experience with matrimony, which I always thought a highly over-rated performance.

  • Any intelligent woman who reads the marriage contract, and then goes into it, deserves all the consequences.

  • Mrs. D. is resolved to marry the old greasy curate. She was always High Church to an excessive degree.

  • At the age of forty she is very far from being cold and insensible: her fire may be covered with ashes, but it is not extinguished.

  • The last wedding is that of Peg Pelham, and I think I have never seen so comfortable a prospect of happiness; according to all appearance she cannot fail of being a widow in six weeks at farthest, and accordingly she has been so good a housewife to line her wedding-clothes with black.

  • Marriage, after the first few years, becomes more than the two people involved in it. Something emerges from their effort to live together, even from their misunderstandings and bickerings and failures, something that transcends the particular husband and wife. For a while, when you're first married, you have to protect your marriage, believe in it, even when it appears to wither, to shed all its first tender leaves. Then, if you care for it, it will take root, begin to grow, and finally, and perhaps in spite of you, outstrip you, arch over your head, and become a protection. You two small ones will find refuge and solace in it.

    • Jessamyn West,
    • "Love," in Elizabeth Bragdon, ed., Women Today ()
  • And if kissing and being engaged were this inflammatory, marriage must burn clear to the bone. I wondered how flesh and blood could endure the ecstasy. How did married couples manage to look so calm and unexcited?

  • Married people do stand up so for each other when you say a word, however they may fight between themselves.

  • ... the first minute I sot my grey eye onto Josiah Allen I knew my fate. My heart was a pray to feelin's it had heretofore been a stranger to. ... And that love has been like a Becon in our pathway ever sense. Its pure light, though it has sputtered some, and in tryin' times such as washin' days and cleanin' house times has burnt down pretty low, — has never gone out.

  • ... I took Josiah out to one side, and says I, 'Josiah Allen, if Tirzah Ann is to be brought up to think that marriage is the chief aim of her life, Thomas J. shall be brought up to think that marriage is his chief aim.' Says I, 'it looks just as flat in a woman, as it does in a man.'

  • ... if men and wimmen think they are marryin' angels, they'll find out they'll have to settle down and keep house with human critters. I never see a year yet, that didn't have more or less winter in it ...

  • What strange critters men and wimmin be. Now you may live with one for years, and think you know every crook and turn in that critter's mind, jest like a book; when lo! and behold! all of a sudden a leaf will be turned over, that had been glued together by some circumstance or other, and there will be readin' that you never set eyes on before.

  • It is flattering to man to think that it takes all of a woman's whole life to carry out her duty to him and his children.

  • It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.

  • Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance.

  • ... it is better to know as little as possible of the defects of the person with whom you are to pass your life.

  • ... there is not one in a hundred of either sex, who is not taken in when they marry. ... it is, of all transactions, the one in which people expect most from others, and are least honest themselves.

  • If a woman doubts as to whether she should accept a man or not, she certainly ought to refuse him. If she can hesitate as to 'Yes,' she ought to say 'No,' directly.

  • When any two young people take it into their heads to marry, they are pretty sure by perseverance to carry their point, be they ever so poor, or ever so imprudent, or ever so little likely to be necessary to each other's ultimate comfort.

  • It's bad enough when married people bore one another, but it's much worse when only one of them bores the other.

  • Any one must see at a glance that if men and women marry those whom they do not love, they must love those whom they do not marry.

  • Marriage ... is still the imperfect institution it must remain while women continue to be ill-educated, passive, and subservient ...

  • I have no sympathy for those who, under any pressure of circumstances, sacrifice their heart's-love for legal prostitution.

  • Given two tempers and the time, the ordinary marriage produces anarchy ...

  • What a man marries for's hard to tell ... an' what a woman marries for's past findin' out.

  • ... marriage is mostly puttin' up with things, I reckon, when it ain't makin' believe.

  • Evidently, whatever else marriage might prevent, it was not a remedy for isolation of spirit.

  • What fools people are when they think they can make two lives belong together by saying words over them.

  • His wife could observe his thoughts as plainly as if they were exotic goldfish swimming in a glass bowl; but she continued to regard him with the serene tolerance of the completely disillusioned.

  • ... marriage is like money — seem to want it, and you never get it.

  • In marriage, as in chemistry, opposites have often an attraction.

  • ... she is now half of one of those happy couples which make one understand a phrase somewhat difficult to comprehend, from so seldom witnessing it — domestic felicity.

  • ... the blessings of matrimony, like those of poverty, belong rather to philosophy than reality.

  • Marriage is a sort of tacit hunting in couples.

    • Susan Sontag,
    • in David Rieff, ed., Reborn: Journals and Notebooks, 1947-1963 ()
  • [On marriage:] It is an institution committed to the dulling of the feelings.

    • Susan Sontag,
    • in David Rieff, ed., Reborn: Journals and Notebooks, 1947-1963 ()
  • It would have saved trouble had I remained Perkins from the first, this changing of women's names is a nuisance we are now happily outgrowing.

  • The people people choose for friends / Your common sense appall, / But the people people marry / Are the queerest folk of all.

    • Charlotte Perkins Gilman,
    • "Queer People" (1899), in Denise D. Knight, ed., The Later Poetry of Charlotte Perkins Gilman ()
  • Sensible fathers and mothers, when their children marry, go back to the old days and renew their youth.

  • ... marriage is a very long process ...

  • The birth of a child is in many ways the end of a marriage — marriage including a child has to be reinvented, and reinvented at a time when both husband and wife are under unprecedented stress and the wife is exhausted, physically drained, and emotionally in shock. A man's conflict between wanting his child to have a mother and wanting to have the mother to himself is potentially intolerable.

  • The trouble with some women is they get all excited about nothing — and then marry him.

    • Cher,
    • in Bob Chieger, Was It Good for You, Too? ()
  • Mother told me a couple of years ago, 'Sweetheart, settle down and marry a rich man.' I said, 'Mom, I am a rich man.'

    • Cher,
    • in The Observer Review ()
  • ... for every marriage that is made in Heaven, there is a marriage made in Hell.

  • I have shed my orange blossom: / I have put aside my veil, my head is bare. / I have doffed my snowy shining satin wear. / In my long straight gown of white, / With no garland in my hair, / Am I fair? / Am I fair enough for you, my love, to-night?

    • Nora Chesson,
    • "A Woman's Marriage Song," Selected Poems, vols. 1-5 ()
  • ... every day quite by the thousands delightfully honest young couples, promising, capable, sometimes gifted, but in no way superhuman, leap gaily into marriage — a condition which, for even reasonable success and happiness (both words seem rather trivial in this connection), would tax the virtues and resources and staying powers of a regiment of angels.

  • She knew well that upon the woman depends the whole crushing weight of responsibility for happiness in marriage.

  • ... it's been my experience that the first few days of married life women are blind because they want to be and after that because they have to be.

  • ... he knew that marriage was a beginning and not an end. It did not change people fundamentally. It only changed their habits.

  • She had been bred in the new school ... This school taught that the wife was no longer subordinate to the husband; that marriage was a mutual contract, in which each bore his part. Obedience was even being left out of the marriage service.

  • ... when she looked at her hands the left one looked almost naked without her wedding ring. The finger had shrunk under it, as happens in such cases, and she herself felt shrunken.

  • Reader, I married him.

  • I cannot abide the Mr. and Mrs. Noah attitude towards marriage; the animals went in two by two, forever stuck together with glue.

  • There is nothing more lovely in life than the union of two people whose love for one another has grown through the years from the small acorn of passion to a great rooted tree. Surviving all vicissitudes, and rich with its manifold branches, every leaf holding its own significance.

  • A good marriage is one which allows for change and growth in the individuals and in the way they express their love.

  • The concept of 'Momism' is male nonsense. It is the refuge of a man seeking excuses for his own lack of virility. I have listened to many women in various countries, and I have never found a woman who willingly 'mothers' her husband. The very idea is repulsive to her. She wants to mother the children while they are young, but never their fathers. True, she may be forced into the role of mother by a man's weaknesses and childishness, and then she accepts the role with dignity and patience, or with anger and impatience, but always with a secret, profound sadness unexpressed and inexpressible.

  • Nothing in life is as good as the marriage of true minds between man and woman. As good? It is life itself.

  • The happy marriage, which is the only proper nursery, is indissoluble. The unhappy marriage, which perpetually tells the child a bogey-man story about life, ought to be dissolved.

  • If there is to be any romance in marriage woman must be given every chance to earn a decent living at other occupations. Otherwise no man can be sure that he is loved for himself alone, and that his wife did not come to the Registry Office because she had no luck at the Labour Exchange.

  • Where there is real love one wants to go to church first.

  • Marriage is a great institution, but I'm not ready for an institution yet.

  • [On her first marriage at 17:] I wasn't in love with him. I told him, 'It's just this physical thing. You don't appeal to my finer instincts.'

    • Mae West,
    • in Helen Lawrenson, "Mirror, Mirror, on the Ceiling: How'm I Doin'?" Latins Are Still Lousy Lovers ()
  • You marry the day you realize the human defects of your love.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1934, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 1 ()
  • In a successful marriage, there is no such thing as one's way. There is only the way of both, only the bumpy, dusty, difficult, but always mutual path.

  • I have always believed that the key to a happy marriage was the ability to say with a straight face, 'Why, I don't know what you're worrying about. I thought you were very funny last night and I'm sure everybody else did, too.'

  • I wonder what Adam and Eve / think of it by this time ...

  • ... I could never be one of two I could never be two in one as married couples do and can, I am but one all one, one and all one, and so I have never been married to any one.

    • Gertrude Stein,
    • "The Mother of Us All," in Carl Van Vechten, ed., Last Operas and Plays ()
  • The long-term accommodation that protects marriage and other such relationships is ... forgetfulness.

  • ... of all the uncertain things marriage is the uncertainest ...

  • O, girls! set your affections on cats, poodles, parrots or lap-dogs; but let matrimony alone.

  • ... the message about sex and relationships that she had gotten as a child ... was confused, contradictory. Sex was for men, and marriage, like lifeboats, was for women and children.

  • There's no healthy life possible without some sensual feeling between the husband and wife, but there's nothing in the world more awful than married life when it's the only common ground.

  • Marriage is primarily an economic arrangement, an insurance pact. It differs from the ordinary life insurance agreement only in that it is more binding, more exacting.

  • Love, the strongest and deepest element in all life, the harbinger of hope, of joy, of ecstasy; love, the defier of all laws, of all conventions; love, the freest, the most powerful molder of human destiny; how can such an all-compelling force be synonymous with that poor little State- and Church-begotten weed, marriage?

  • [To W.R. Hearst:] Love is not always created at the altar. Love doesn't need a wedding ring.

  • W.R. ... wanted to make me an honest woman, which was rather ridiculous. ... When people get married, they get into a lapse of indifference. The husband thinks he can go out and do what he wants, and so does the wife. I used to see that all the time. Why should I run after a streetcar when I was already aboard?

  • Marriage should be a beautiful coming together of two whole people, not a crawling of one incomplete half toward another.

  • It is true that I never should have married, but I didn't want to live without a man. Brought up to respect the conventions, love had to end in marriage. I'm afraid it did.

  • Among the reasons marriages fail, sex ranks no higher than fourth, behind money, having only one bathroom, and an inability to communicate, reasons one, two and three.

    • Bette Davis,
    • with Michael Herskowitz, This 'N That ()
  • The man, my dear, is never going to make a marriage work. If it works, the woman does it.

    • Bette Davis,
    • 1976, in Nancy Collins, Hard to Get ()
  • ... married was the loneliest I got — being without the one you're with.

    • Jennifer Stone,
    • "Angst," in Dena Taylor and Amber Coverdale Sumrall, eds., The Time of Our Lives ()
  • Then begins / the terrible charity of marriage, / husband and wife / climbing the green hill in gold light / until there is no hill, / only a flat plain stopped by the sky.

  • Marriage is the aim and end of all sensible girls, because it is the meaning of life.

  • It's not that marriage itself is bad; it's the people we marry who give it a bad name.

  • I would be content being a housewife if I could find the kind of man who wouldn't treat me like one.

  • For forty-seven years they had been married. How deep back the stubborn, gnarled roots of the quarrel reached, no one could say — but only now, when tending to the needs of others no longer shackled them together, the roots swelled up visible, split the earth between them, and the tearing shook even to the children, long since grown.

  • The lecturer in a marriage course at one of the big Eastern colleges for women recently said that a woman, even if she earns money, must act as if her husband were the important member of the family financially. She said this was the right psychological approach. It's not only the right psychological approach, but it's a recognition of fact.

  • In a woman-dominated society like our own, it's a cinch for a successful wife to spotlight her work, in public. If she's too successful, that's something to avoid as a conversational topic, at least among her husband's friends.

  • No one asks a man how his marriage survives if he's away a lot.

  • Marriage isn't a contest to see who is most often right. Marriage requires being what the Japanese call 'the wise bamboo,' which means you bend so you don't break. Treat your spouse with the flexibility and respect you would give to a top client. Think how we treat clients; We smile, we are polite, we listen to their ideas. Never forget that your spouse is your most important client.

  • Marriage is like a warm bath. Once you get used to it, it's not so hot.

  • In marriage, one cannot do anything alone — not even suffer.

  • My mother is a Muslim — she walks five steps behind my father. She doesn't have to. He just looks better from behind.

  • I'm a Muslim and I'm really looking forward to my wedding day. I can't wait to meet my husband.

  • I smother in the house in the valley below, / Let me out to the dark, let me go, let me go.

  • ... she had been born with the bit in her teeth. Jerry had never done anything he wanted to since he had married her, and he hadn't really wanted to do that.

  • He believes that all women are programmed, in utero, to want to get married, and that they cry at birth because they noticed that the doctor who just delivered them is wearing a wedding ring.

  • If we see a couple fighting in the street, or sitting resolutely silent in a restaurant, he invariably points them out to me as object lessons in what happens to people when they get married. If I point out to him that we, too, have been known to do battle in the street and sit like stones in a restaurant, he says, 'See, we don't have to get married.'

  • Marriage isn't a word. It's a sentence.

  • I saw my friend the other day and she had her wedding ring on the wrong finger. When I pointed this out to her, she said, ‘I know, I married the wrong man.’

  • I used to believe that marriage would diminish me, reduce my options. That you had to be someone less to live with someone else when, of course, you have to be someone more.

  • There are two marriages, then, in every marital union, his and hers. And his ... is better than hers.

  • Love is moral even without legal marriage, but marriage is immoral without love.

    • Ellen Key,
    • title essay, The Morality of Women ()
  • ... not observation of a duty but liberty itself is the pledge that assures fidelity.

    • Ellen Key,
    • title essay, The Morality of Women ()
  • Began the second part of 'Little Women.' ... Girls write to ask who the little women marry, as if that was the only end and aim of a woman's life. I won't marry Jo to Laurie to please any one.

  • ... to marry without love betrays as surely as to love without marriage ...

  • Liberty is a better husband than love to many of us.

    • Louisa May Alcott,
    • 1860, in Eve LaPlante, Marmee and Louisa: The Untold Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Mother ()
  • Marriage should be a balanced stalemate between equal adversaries.

  • Were marriage no more than a convenient screen for sexuality, some less cumbersome and costly protection must have been found by this time to replace it. One concludes therefore that people do not marry to cohabit; they cohabit to marry. They do not seek freedom to rut so much as they seek the rut of wedlock.

  • In Reno, there is always a bull market, never a bear market, for the stocks and bonds of happiness.

  • Love is the invention of a few high cultures, independent, in a sense of marriage — although society can make it a requisite for marriage, as we periodically attempt to do ... To make love the requirement of a lifelong marriage is exceedingly difficult, and only a few people can achieve it. I don't believe in setting up universal standards that a large proportion of people can't reach.

  • ... matrimony is a very dangerous disorder; I had rather drink.

    • Madame de Sévigné,
    • 1689 Letters of Madame de Sévigné to Her Daughter and Her Friends, vol. 8 ()
  • ... to be sure, marriage is all in all with the ladies; but with us gentlemen it's quite another thing!

  • [After attending a wedding:] O how short a time does it take to put an eternal end to a woman's liberty!

    • Fanny Burney,
    • 1768, in Annie Raine Ellis, ed., The Early Diary of Frances Burney, vol. 1 ()
  • ... she kept coming back. That was the thing about marriage. You kept coming back ... until there was nothing left to come back to.

  • ... husbands and wives quarrel a lot more than anyone thinks, and it's oftener about little things than big ones ...

  • ... when married people begin to talk about their rights, it means something has gone pretty far wrong between them.

  • Marriage is a very difficult relationship for nearly everyone and I'm sure you shouldn't do it if you want a quiet little easy life.

    • Fay Weldon,
    • in Nina Winter, Interview With the Muse ()
  • Had you never noticed the way the secret world sends our signs and symbols into the ordinary world? It delivers our messages in the form of coincidences: Still, it had been a good marriage as marriages go. And as marriages go, it went.

    • Fay Weldon,
    • "Alopecia," in Susan Cahill, ed., New Women & New Fiction ()
  • Both Ron and I went to see our analysts twice a week so really there was no need to speak to each other.

  • Marriage is what happens when one at least of the partners doesn't want the other to get away.

  • If the bird does like its cage, and does like its sugar, and will not leave it, why keep the door so very carefully shut?

  • two by two in the ark of / the ache of it.

  • It is my experience that marriage does not make one happier. It destroys the illusion that has been the essence of one's previous existence, that there existed something like a soul-mate. The feeling of not being understood is heightened in marriage by the fact that one's entire life beforehand had the aim of finding a being who would understand one. But isn't it better to exist without such an illusion and look this great lonely truth straight in the eye?

  • ... I have not laughed since I married ...

  • [They] were husband and wife, but did not care much about it, having been married, very evidently, in some gorgeously ornate silver-plated emotion that they had mistaken at the time for the 'sterling' article.

  • Marriage is not for me. I tell you that I am Blank Verse. I am talent, and I do not rhyme with Love. I am talent and I do not rhyme with man.

  • Yes, the gods knew what they were doing. They always joined together in marriage people of opposing qualities and thus ensured harmony.

  • I am not convinced that men and women were ever meant to share the same house, though some people can do it beautifully.

  • Marriage, to him, was an institution for producing children and eliminating small talk.

  • Marriage is like a merry-go-round. I keep getting on different horses, but it's the same ride.

  • It seemed to me that the desire to get married — which, I regret to say, I believe is basic and primal in women — is followed almost immediately by an equally basic and primal urge, which is to be single again.

  • Whenever I get married, I start buying Gourmet magazine. I think of it as my own personal bride's disease.

  • There is nothing better than humor to keep a marriage going.

  • Never marry a man you wouldn't want to be divorced from.

  • Marriage without sex is a cruel joke. You have the intimacy of living together without the intimacy of the bond that defies all rational thought — sex.

  • Unmarried but happy.

  • I will bring you a whole person / and you will bring me a whole person / and we will have us twice as much / of love and everything ...

    • Mari Evans,
    • "Celebration," A Dark and Splendid Mass ()
  • ... marriage always demands the greatest understanding of the art of insincerity possible between two human beings.

  • Marriage is a leap of faith. You are each other's safety net.

  • Tell me not, in idle jingle, / Marriage is an empty dream, / For the girl is dead that's single, / And things are not what they seem.

    • Phoebe Cary,
    • "A Maiden's Psalm of Life," Poems and Parodies ()
  • I suspect that in every good marriage there are times when love seems to be over.

  • Sometimes idiosyncrasies which used to be irritating become endearing, part of the complexity of a partner who has become woven deep into our own selves.

  • A long-term marriage has to move beyond chemistry to compatibility, to friendship, to companionship. It is certainly not that passion disappears, but that it is conjoined with other ways of love.

  • When a bride insists on telling her lover everything, I suspect she is looking for a father, not a husband.

  • Motherhood, to be sure, receives a great deal of sentimental adulation, but only if it is committed in accordance with rules which have been prescribed by a predominantly masculine society. Per se it is accorded no respect whatever. When it results from a sexual relationship which has been duly sanctioned by organized society, it is holy, no matter how much it may transgress the rules of decency, health, or common sense. Otherwise it is a sin meriting social ostracism for the mother and obloquy for the child — an ostracism and obloquy, significantly enough, in which the father does not share.

  • Love alone is never a good enough reason to marry.

  • It is but the name of wife I hate ...

  • ... marriage was a calamity, but it was not an occupation.

  • A woman should not take a lover without the consent of her heart, nor a husband without the consent of her reason.

  • There was altogether too much candor in married life; it was an indelicate modern idea, and frequently led to upsets in a household, if not divorce ...

  • Arguments could fill a marriage like water, running through everything, always, with no taste or color but lots of noise.

  • Your mother calls and says she hasn't seen you for a long time. The first year: You invite her for a week. You give her your room, and you both sleep on the lumpy studio couch. The fifth year: Your mother sleeps on the lumpy studio couch. The tenth year: You send the children to mother.

  • The curse which lies upon marriage is that too often the individuals are joined in their weakness rather than in their strength — each asking from the other instead of finding pleasure in giving.

  • I am glad that I am not a man, for then I should have to marry a woman.

  • However old a conjugal union, it still garners some sweetness. Winter has some cloudless days, and under the snow a few flowers still bloom.

    • Madame de Staël,
    • in J. De Finod, ed., A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness ()
  • [When asked why she never married:] There was no need. I have three pets at home which answer the same purpose as a husband. I have a dog which growls every morning, a parrot which swears all the afternoon, and a cat that comes home late at night.

    • Marie Corelli,
    • in James Crichton-Browne, What the Doctor Thought ()
  • Love is a general emotion. Marriage is exactingly specific.

  • ... you know that the urge for revenge is a fact of marital life.

  • ... there's always a crowd in the marriage bed — at the very least, the two lovers and the internalized representation of the parents of their childhood, ghosts of mothers and fathers who hover over the action and stir thoughts and feelings long ago pushed out of consciousness.

  • I think I ended up being the scarlet woman partly because of my rather puritannical upbringing and beliefs. I always chose to think I was in love and that love was synonymous with marriage.

  • [On her marriages:] What do you expect me to do? Sleep alone?

  • I married twice. The first time was to show my mother I could.

    • Meredith Tax,
    • "What Good Is a Smart Girl?" in Faye Moskowitz, ed., Her Face in the Mirror ()
  • ... I knew what I wanted and what I wanted I had. I was with him and I worked at his side. Our marriage began early in 1918. Our wedding took place in the fall of 1919.

  • ... funny how ready people are to believe that counseling, which even when voluntary takes years to modify garden-variety neuroses, can work wonders in months with resistant patients who hate each other.

  • You marry at the level of your own psychological health.

  • Mrs. Fowler hated men so passionately that no one could dream why she married so many of them.

    • Jean Stafford,
    • "Beatrice Trueblood's Story," The Collected Stories of Jean Stafford ()
  • The civilization of cities is breeding a new race of monks who have none of the original religious drive towards chastity, but are just incapable of facing the responsibilities of marriage.

  • The reason that husbands and wives do not understand each other is because they belong to different sexes.

    • Dorothy Dix,
    • in Martha Lupton, The Speaker's Desk Book ()
  • Never will I give my hand where my heart does not accompany it.

  • Five golden years, Heart of Mine, have we walked the way of life together, and there is not an hour I would have changed; there is no moment when I would have you other than you have been. It is the fashion these days, I know, to say that love ends at the altar, but it is not so. You and I have found the old dream of the world divinely true. It is neither a poet's fancy nor a trick of the imagination, but a thing of fadeless and unending beauty.

  • [On marriage:] Someone once said that it was like a crowded church — those outside were endeavouring to get in, and those inside were making violent efforts to get out.

  • Before, you think of it as a permanent bond of happiness; later, you see that it is a yoke, borne unequally. You marry to keep love, but sometimes that is the surest way to lose it.

  • Marriage is the cold potato of love.

  • Not infrequently, when a man asks a woman to marry him, he means that he wants her to help him love himself, and if, blinded by her own feeling, she takes him for her captain, her pleasure craft becomes a pirate ship, the colours change to a black flag with a sinister sign, and her inevitable destiny is the coral reef.

  • There are many people who consider love a dream, but they usually grow to think of marriage as the cold breakfast.

  • Some women are born to be married, some achieve marriage, and others have marriage thrust upon them.

  • ... marriage is a great strain upon love.

  • The common law of this state held man and wife to be one person, but that person was the husband.

  • Thirty years ago, when the Woman's Rights Movement began, the status of a married woman was little better than that of a domestic servant. By the English common law, her husband was her lord and master. He had the sole custody of her person, and of her minor children. He could 'punish her with a stick no bigger than his thumb,' and she could not complain against him.

  • Marriage is not an institution, it is an intuition.

  • Some people who think they are in unhappy marriages are just in unhappy bodies.

  • ... two pardners may set side by side, and yet worlds lay between 'em.

  • ... when your field is architecture, you go visit the great cathedrals of the world. My field was relationships. I got married many times. I was practicing. I didn't date much; I just would get married. I thought, why waste time?

  • Marriage is not a noun, it's a verb. It's not something you have, like a house or a car. It is not a piece of paper that proves you are husband and wife. Marriage is a behavior. It is a choice you make over and over again, reflected in the way you treat your partner every day.

  • Instead of marrying 'at once,' it sometimes happens that we marry 'at last.'

  • The deep, deep peace of the double-bed after the hurly-burly of the chaise longue.

  • ... the Law has made the man and wife one person, and that one person the husband!

    • Lucretia Mott,
    • 1853, in Dana Greene, ed., Lucretia Mott: Her Complete Speeches and Sermons ()
  • In the true marriage relation, the independence of the husband and wife is equal, the dependence mutual and their obligations reciprocal.

    • Lucretia Mott,
    • 1880, in Theodore Stanton and Harriot Stanton Blatch, eds., Elizabeth Cady Stanton As Revealed in Her Letters Diary and Reminiscences, vol. 2 ()
  • ... if absolute sovereignty be not necessary in a state, how comes it to be so in a family?

  • I married beneath me, all women do.

    • Nancy Astor,
    • 1951, in E.T. Williams and C.S. Nicholls, eds., The Dictionary of National Biography 1961-1970 ()
  • ... wedlock's war cry ... 'I told you so! I told you so!'

  • Marriage wrecks any decent relationship.

  • It seemed to her sometimes that the most important thing about marriage was not a home or children or a remedy against sin, but simply there being always an eye to catch.

  • No human being can destroy the structure of a marriage except the two who made it. It is the one human edifice that is impregnable except from within.

  • I know one husband and wife who, whatever the official reasons given to the court for the breakup of their marriage, were really divorced because the husband believed that nobody ought to read while he was talking and the wife that nobody ought to talk while she was reading.

    • Vera Brittain,
    • in Jilly Cooper and Tom Hartman, eds., Violets and Vinegar ()
  • Trying to describe a good marriage is like trying to describe your adrenal glands. You know they're in there functioning but you don't really understand how they work.

  • I am humbly following in your footsteps and having a row with the Government over the iniquity of the Marriage Tax in the form of supertax ... our incomes being added together we are liable for supertax which we are refusing to pay on the grounds of morality as I consider in a Christian country it is an immoral and outrageous act to tax me because I am living in Holy matrimony instead of as my husband's mistress.

  • Obligation is the death of marriage.

  • I think marriage is impossible. How can two people be expected to meet all of each other's needs year after year? It's a crazy idea.

  • ... my uncle ... had the misfortune to be ever touched in his brain, and, as a convincing proof, married his maid, at an age when he and she both had more occasion for a nurse than a parson.

  • It may be said of happy marriages as of the phoenix — there is but one a century ...

  • One who no longer wishes to laugh had best marry in France; they will soon find that it is no laughing matter.

  • I fancy that England is not the only place where married folks disagree, and where there are bad husbands. If one does not care to meet with such cases, one must quit this world. Those wishing to enter the marriage state had better not come to me for advice, for I disapprove of it altogether ...

  • The very fact that we make such a to-do over golden weddings indicates our amazement at human endurance. The celebration is more in the nature of a reward for stamina.

  • Other things titillate me more keenly than the pale pleasures of marriage.

  • Wife and servant are the same / But only differ in the name, / For when that fatal knot is tied, / Which nothing, nothing can divide, / When she the word obey has said, / And man by law supreme has made, / Then all that's kind is laid aside, / And nothing left but state and pride.

  • I have a theory about why opposites attract. I think it's because we have a deep desire to get on each other's nerves.

  • Two pure souls fused into one by an impassioned love — friends, counselors — a mutual support and inspiration to each other amid life's struggles, must know the highest human happiness; — this is marriage; and this is the only corner-stone of an enduring home.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • in Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda J. Gage, eds., The History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 1 ()
  • It is in vain to look for the elevation of woman so long as she is degraded in marriage.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • letter to Susan B. Anthony (1853), in Theodore Stanton and Harriot Stanton Blatch, eds., Elizabeth Cady Stanton As Revealed in Her Letters Diary and Reminiscences, vol. 2 ()
  • I think all these reverend gentlemen who insist on the word 'obey' in the marriage service should be removed for a clear violation of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Federal Constitution, which says there shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude within the United States.

  • Such is the nature of the marriage relation that a breach once made cannot be healed, and it is the height of folly to waste one's life in vain efforts to make a binary compound of two diverse elements. What would we think of the chemist who should sit twenty years trying to mix oil and water, and insist upon it that his happiness depended upon the result of the experiment?

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • 1860, in Theodore Stanton and Harriot Stanton Blatch, eds., Elizabeth Cady Stanton As Revealed in Her Letters Diary and Reminiscences, vol. 2 ()
  • I suddenly saw that my marriage was just that — mine. My husband had another one, and it was quite different.

  • But being married was like having a hippopotamus sitting on my face, Mrs. Brown. No matter how hard I pushed or which way I turned, I couldn't get up. I couldn't even breathe. ... Hippopotamuses aren't all bad. They are what they are. But I wasn't meant to have one sitting on my face.

  • Marriage is like pantyhose. It all depends on what you put into it.

  • We marry to grow up, to escape our parents and to inherit our share of the world, not knowing who we are and who we will become, so it is left to marriage to make it clear which ones of us are growing in the same directions and which are ships meant to have passed in the night.

  • Marriage is supposed to do everything, like Duz, which is more than half its problem. It is said to save us, define us, give us purpose, keep us from loneliness, and incidentally balance our diet and wash our socks, and when it doesn't, we get divorced.

  • I'm not sure there can be loving without commitment, although commitment takes all kinds of forms, and there can be commitment for the moment as well as commitment for all time. The kind that is essential for loving marriages — and love affairs, as well — is a commitment to preserving the essential quality of your partner's soul, adding to them as a person rather than taking away.

  • I don't know why togetherness was ever held up as an ideal of marriage. Away from home for both, then together, that's much better.

  • ... marriage is usually considered the grave, and not the cradle of love.

  • ... romances and marriages are usually over long before they are over.

  • Frank had his work; I had my nothing.

  • Marriage is a sleepy guard to which one confides one's dearest treasure, love.

  • ... marriages do not take root in the presence of witnesses but only in the consciousness of the persons involved.

  • ... I think that marriage vows should include an escape clause that says the contract is broken if one party ups and makes a big switch in religion or politics or aesthetic taste. I mean, these shifts just aren't fair, and we need an easier way out.

  • The greatest insult came at the marriage ceremony when the minister asked 'who giveth this woman,' and some brother, or father or other man, unblushingly said he did, as though it were entirely a commercial transaction between men.

    • Nellie McClung,
    • newspaper report (c. 1915), in Linda Rasmussen et al., A Harvest Yet to Reap ()
  • Henry went on planning. Peg let him. It was the way things would be from now on. Henry would wear the pants, that was for sure. It was, after all, the way things should be. When you gave up your independence you gave up your life. Hers would be Henry's life; that was what you got married for. It was, in some wondrous, unexpected way, an exhilarating surprise; you would never really know what lay ahead.

  • I believe marriage is a spectator sport.

  • It was better to be in a jail where you could bang the walls than in a jail you could not see.

  • When a couple turns domestic, for the first while having to talk about the need for aluminum eaves troughing and other matters only gets in the way of the relationship. Then, magically, these negotiations take the place of the relationship.

  • Household hollowness comes around in irregular cycles, like meteor showers. But the true sign of a bad patch is that it never feels temporary or fixable. It has a shudder of the inevitable to it. The thought crosses your mind that when love goes it goes all at once, and forever.

  • She supposed that she was not in love with Henry, but, even had she been in love with him, she could see therein no reason for foregoing the whole of her own separate existence. Henry was in love with her, but no one proposed that he should forego his. On the contrary, it appeared that in acquiring her he was merely adding something extra to it. He would continue ... to enjoy his free, varied, and masculine life, with no ring upon his finger or difference in his name to indicate the change in his estate ...

  • ... I have had a couple of marriages, but like every other woman I had a perfect right to them.

  • Of course these things are not mine. I think they are usually spoken of as ours, that tea bag of a word which steeps in the conditional.

  • Marriage is memory, marriage is time. ... Marriage is not only time: it is also, paradoxically, the denial of time. For forty years I saw myself through John's eyes. I did not age.

  • Marriage, for a woman at least, hampers the two things that made life to me glorious — friendship and learning.

  • As so often happens in marriage, roles that had begun almost playfully, to give line and shape to our lives, had hardened like suits of armor and taken us prisoner.

  • Marriage is like democracy — it doesn't really work, but it's all we've been able to come up with ...

  • Marriage has in it all we can conceive of Heaven, when the Persons so united have but one Will to actuate them both, one Principle to direct them, and one Interest to follow. — With such the word Duty is of no force, they make it their Study to please each other, not so much because they ought to do so, as because it is a pleasure to themselves ...

    • Eliza Haywood,
    • "Love-Letters on All Occasions" (1730), in Alexander Pettit et al., eds, Fantomina and Other Works ()
  • Bad enough to make mistakes, without going ahead and marrying them.

  • She worked so hard at making a go of their marriage that finally Dennis went.

  • Marriage is a lottery in which men stake their liberty and women their happiness.

    • Virginie de Rieux,
    • 1580, in J. De Finod, ed., A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness ()
  • Never marry a man who hates his mother, because he'll end up hating you.

  • ... when one married a man, it was clear to me, one married also the sink and the stove ...

  • My idea of marriage, as of every other partnership, ... is that each member shall contribute to it his or her personality, unrepressed and uncoerced. Thus, and only thus, we obtain the most complex synthesis possible, which may well surpass in beauty, as it surely does in interest and human value, the separate elements of such an association.

  • Ideally, couples need three lives; one for him, one for her, and one for them together.

  • The compulsion to find a lover and husband in a single person has doomed more women to misery than any other illusion.

  • ... a revolutionary marriage ... [is] one in which both partners have work at the center of their lives and must find a delicate balance that can support both together and each individually.

  • The sign of a good marriage is that everything is debatable and challenged; nothing is turned into law or policy. The rules, if any, are known only to the two players, who seek no public trophies.

  • Only a marriage with partners strong enough to risk divorce is strong enough to avoid it.

  • The genuine solitaries of life fear intimacy more than loneliness. The married are those who have taken the terrible risk of intimacy and, having taken it, know life without intimacy to be impossible.

  • Is there stop 'n' go counseling for couples on the run?

    • Becky Freeman,
    • in Becky Freeman and Ruthie Arnold, Marriage 911 ()
  • ... most of us carry into marriage not only our childlike illusions, but we bring to it as well the demand that it has to be wonderful, because it's supposed to be.

  • Now when she saw a pair of newlyweds, her only thought was that the woman had just linked herself to the man statistically most likely to murder her. It was at least a dead certainty that he'd disappoint her.

  • When a man and a woman love one another that is enough. That is marriage. A religious rite is superfluous. And if the man and woman live together without the love, no ceremony in the world can make it a marriage.

  • Not listening is probably the commonest unkindness of married life, and one that creates — more devastatingly than an eternity of forgotten birthdays and misguided Christmas gifts — an atmosphere of not loving and not caring.

  • I suggest that there is a splendid way out of the difficulty of marriage, and that is my way — stay out.

  • One advantage of marriage, it seems to me, is that when you fall out of love with him, or he falls out of love with you, it keeps you together until you maybe fall in again.

  • We all marry strangers. All men are strangers to all women.

  • If you want to take my good advice, remain single, and then you will have the most tranquil, most beautiful, most pleasurable life. For what is marriage? A little joy, but then a chain of sorrows.

  • Love is blind and marriage is an eye doctor.

  • Love is a beautiful story and marriage is the talkie version of it.

  • So yeah, anyway — I'm thirty-four and my mother is desperate for me to get married. She thinks settling down is what you should be doing at thirty-four. How would she like it if I turned to her the day she hits eighty and said: 'Hey, Mum — when are you going to break your hip? All your friends are breaking theirs'?

  • Love never stands still; it must inevitably be either growing or decaying — especially the love of marriage.

  • ... according to the old joke, married people are often like little boys bathing, who cry with chattering teeth to the boys on the shore, 'Do come in, it's so warm' — it is not always warm.

  • A perfect marriage is as rare as a perfect love. Could it be otherwise, when both men and women are so imperfect? Could aught else be expected? Yet all do expect it.

  • The wonder is not that some married people are less happy than they hoped to be, but that any married people, out of the honeymoon, or even in it, are ever happy at all.

  • To keep the fire burning brightly, there's one easy rule: keep the two logs together, near enough to keep each other warm and far enough apart — about a finger's breadth — for breathing room. Good fire, good marriage, same rule.

  • So many pleasing episodes of one's life are spoiled by shouting. You never heard of an unhappy marriage unless the neighbors have heard it first.

    • Lillian Russell,
    • title essay (1914), in Djuna Barnes, I Could Never Be Lonely Without a Husband ()
  • She did not seem to mind talking about the troubles of her married life any more than a soldier minds telling the story of his campaigns, and dwells with pride on the worst battle of all.

  • Marriage. The beginning and the end are wonderful. But the middle part is hell.

  • After forty years of marriage we still stood with broken swords in our hands.

  • Those who have made unhappy marriages walk on stilts, while the happy ones are on a level with the crowd. No one sees 'em!

  • Each marriage bears the footprints of economic and cultural trends which originate far outside marriage.

  • I suspect that marriage is like parenthood: every last one of us is an amateur at it ...

  • Chains do not hold a marriage together. It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads which sew people together through the years. That is what makes a marriage last — more than passion or even sex. It is the threads ... But those threads should never become chains.

  • I can think of no habit, kept up through the years, that binds a married couple more than that of reading good books together. Domestic problems and personal problems are for the time forgotten, and an intellectual intimacy is established that can be maintained in few other ways.

  • He loves her, I think, at the ordinary rate of husbands ...

    • Dorothy Osborne,
    • on her brother and sister-in-law, in Sir Edward Abbey Perry, ed., Letters From Dorothy Osborne to Sir William Temple 1652-54 ()
  • But I maintain that under other circumstances Miss Ormiston would not only have made a successful business woman, but a successful single woman as well. Why do we think no life complete without without a marriage?

  • What an age do we live in, when 'tis a miracle if in ten couples that are married, two of them live so as not to publish to the world that they cannot agree.

    • Dorothy Osborne,
    • in Sir Edward Abbey Perry, ed., Letters From Dorothy Osborne to Sir William Temple 1652-54 ()
  • To marry for love were no reproachful thing if we did not see that of ten thousand couples that do it, hardly one can be brought for an example that it may be done and not repented afterwards ...

    • Dorothy Osborne,
    • 1653, in G.C. Moore Smith, Letters of Dorothy Osborne to William Temple ()
  • ... I know our marriage has just as good a chance of being wonderful as it does of missing the mark.

  • What a holler would ensue if people had to pay the minister as much to marry them as they have to pay a lawyer to get them a divorce.

  • Harry and I have been sweethearts and married more than forty years — and no matter where I was, when I put out my hand Harry's was there to grasp it.

    • Bess Truman,
    • in Marianne Means, The Woman in the White House ()
  • Women who have been married only once give themselves almost virginal airs over the woman who has been married more than once.

  • No matter how many weddings a woman may have, I suppose there can never be more than one ideal honeymoon.

  • You know, we've been married for 22 years ... and I have learned a long time ago that the only people who count in any marriage are the two that are in it.

  • A girl must marry for love, and keep on marrying until she finds it.

    • Zsa Zsa Gabor,
    • in John Robert Colombo, Colombo's Concise Canadian Quotations ()
  • A man in love is incomplete until he has married. Then he's finished.

  • Marriage is too interesting an experiment to be tried only once or twice.

  • Personally I know nothing about sex because I've always been married.

  • Still married after all these years? / No mystery. / We are each other's habit, / And each other's history.

    • Judith Viorst,
    • "The Secret of Staying Married," I'm Too Young to Be Seventy ()
  • Marriage remains the most efficient engine of disenchantment yet invented.

  • Getting married is easy. Staying married is more difficult. Staying happily married for a lifetime should rank among the fine arts.

  • I don't think it's natural for two people to swear to be together for the rest of their lives.

    • Jane Fonda,
    • 1961, in Thomas Kiernan, Jane Fonda ()
  • Marriage is the tomb of friendship.

  • A woman is never so happy as when she is being wooed. Then she is mistress of all she surveys, the cynosure of all eyes, until that day of days when she sails down the aisle, a vision in white, lovely as the stefanotis she carries, borne translucent on her father's manly arm to be handed over to her new father-surrogate. If she is clever, and if her husband has the time and the resources, she will insist on being wooed all her life; more likely she will discover that marriage is not romantic, that husbands forget birthdays and aniversaries and seldom pay compliments, are often perfunctory.

  • Marriage always does interfere with your friendships — with someone else.

  • It is not an accident that most men start thinking of getting married as soon as they get their first job. This is not only because now they can afford it, but because having somebody at home who takes care of you is the only condition not to go crazy after a day spent on an assembly line or at a desk.

    • Silvia Federici,
    • "Wages Against Housework," Revolution at Point Zero: Housework, Reproduction, and Feminist Struggle ()
  • A man in love ... is often betrayed into doing foolish things and making promises that he knows deep down in his heart he will never keep. After marriage, his immediate problem is to secure his release from these promises without appearing to ask for it.

  • When two people think they can't live without one another, they get married and find out they can.

    • Lucy Moore,
    • in Judith Paterson, Be Somebody: A Biography of Marguerite Rawalt ()
  • A great marriage is not so much finding the right person as being the right person.

  • It is just as well not to be married, for marriage is but another name for suffering.

  • ... there is no love so undying as married love — when there are children.

  • ... they were used to each other's tiresome little ways, like two pebbles grating against each other through half a century of ebb and flow.

  • In the end it all comes down to two faces staring at each other across a table. They should tell people that.

  • We have similar goals, which are to do as little as possible, to get paid as much as possible, and to complain constantly while this is going on.

  • There is usually less romance in marriage than in any other relationship of life. But the general idea concerning marriage is that it is all or nearly all romance.

  • Marriage is a serious compromise.

  • ... when you fall in love, you must fall in love with a man the way he is now, because marriage won't change anything, except maybe your tax deduction.

  • A marriage is a very private country, you know. Only the inhabitants can really know what goes on within its borders.

  • It was marrying that made women appreciate other women.

  • Take each other for better or worse but not for granted.

  • Harold and I didn't get along badly for married people, but the trouble was I didn't misunderstand him. No marriage can be completely successful without a reasonable amount of misunderstanding ...

  • The reason I left my husband was because he believed in the triple standard of morality, one for me and two for himself.

  • Marriage, in my culture, has nothing to do with romance. It's a matter of logic. If Mr. and Mrs. Ahmadi like Mr. and Mrs. Nejari, then their children should get married. On the other hand, if the parents don't like each other, but the children do, well, this is where sad poetry comes from.

  • Marriage is two people agreeing to tell the same lie.

    • Karen Durbin,
    • in Jonathon Green, ed., The Cynic's Lexicon ()
  • Pity the married couple who expect too much from one another.

  • A happy marriage is the union of two forgivers.

  • The Bordtzes have been talking divorce since Bambi was born; stuck with each other like an ugly pair of shoes, no good together, no good apart.

  • At the end of a marriage it is difficult to recall the beginning.

  • The woman who does not marry makes a blunder that can only be compared to that of the man who does.

    • Gyp,
    • in James Raymond Solly, A Cynic's Breviary ()
  • Ours is a reasonable and contented partnership; my husband with his solo jobs, and I with mine; but the system of dual control works satisfactorily and our work and our play is a great deal together.

  • I took a small flat for myself and the children ... My husband took a room in a clean rooming house within easy walking distance of his office. ... It is wonderful sometimes to be alone in the night and just know that someone loves you. In other moods you must have that lover in your arms. Marriage under two roofs makes room for moods.

  • Dawn love is silver, / Wait for the west: / Old love is gold love — / Old love is best.

  • ... the real killer was when you married the wrong person but had the right children.

  • Marriage is something that should be tried at least once. It's educational.

  • With children no longer the universally accepted reason for marriage, marriages are going to have to exist on their own merits.

  • Better no marriage, than a marriage short of the best.

  • Marriage, to women as to men, must be a luxury, not a necessity; an incident of life, not all of it. And the only possible way to accomplish this great change is to accord to women equal power in the making, shaping and controlling of the circumstances of life.

  • Always remember, children, that marriage is a very intimate relationship. It's not just sitting and chatting to a person; there are other things, you know.

  • The marriage meat is cooked, it's baked overdone: / how long did you expect to go on having fun?

    • Eve Merriam,
    • "Chorus of Baiters and Graters," The Double Bed ()
  • but a boat is called a kayak. / ... / In a kayak / you sit anywhere you like / and always dip with / a double paddle / neither side is the head / either side is the head / since both pull with equal weight / and you grasp in the center: / kayak, a most peculiar word / that you can spell / from either end / and come out / even.

    • Eve Merriam,
    • "The Eskimos Have No Word for Divorce," The Double Bed ()
  • Marriage isn't a 50-50 proposition very often. It's more like 100-0 one moment and 0-100 the next.

    • Billie Jean King,
    • in Anatole Broyard, "Gut Truths From Billie Jean," New York Times ()
  • We get mad, sure! Like ice an' snow an' thunder an' lightning storm, but they don't hurt the wheat down in the ground any.' Mom picked up her whitewash brush and slapped it against the rough boards. 'Yolochka, you don't know how love is yet.'

  • How nice it is to have a mate / And intimately collaborate / With an editorial we / To make an us of him and me.

  • [On husband Gavin Rossdale:] We're a perfect couple. He cooks, and I eat.

  • As soon as you say 'I do,' you'll discover that marriage is like a car. Both of you might be sitting in the front seat, but only one of you is driving. And most marriages are more like a motorcycle than a car. Somebody has to sit in the back, and you have to yell just to be heard.

  • I've had diseases that lasted longer than my marriages. You know you are in a bad marriage if you walk down the aisle thinking, 'Is this dress right?'

    • Nell Carter,
    • in Trevor Hunt, Words From the Stars ()
  • I don't want to get married ... I'm certainly not going to give up the work I've wanted to do all my life for the sake of it, any more than I'd expect my husband, if he were a doctor or a lawyer, for example, to give up practising medicine or law in order to marry me.

  • Marriage is like war — an experience that no adventurous man would evade, and no sensible man repeat.

  • I married him for better or worse. I didn't marry him for lunch.

    • Maryon Pearson,
    • in John English, Shadow of Heaven: The Life of Lester Pearson ()
  • A rain of rice across the hall, / Tears on my cheeks, — and that is all.

    • Anne Spicer,
    • "Her Patteran," Songs of the Skokie: And Other Verse ()
  • Going home, it's what everybody's trying to do from the day they're born to the day they die, but going home together — that's marriage.

  • I think husbands and wives should live in separate houses. If there's enough money, the children should live in a third.

  • Sex when you're married is like going to a 7-Eleven. There's not as much variety, but at three in the morning it's always there.

  • Maybe being married is talking to oneself with one's other self listening.

  • ... all which is good and commendable, now existing, would continue to exist if all marriage laws were repealed to-morrow ... I have an inalienable, constitutional, and natural right to love whom I may, to love as long or as short a period as I can; to change that love every day if I please ...

  • [On husband Paul Newman:] Sexiness wears thin after a while and beauty fades, but to be married to a man who makes you laugh every day, ah, now that's a real treat!

  • A marriage, even one that goes awry, generates claims and needs that persist like an afterglow long after the emotional fire is burned out.

  • There can be no summary and dramatic end to a marriage — only a slow and painful unravelling of a tangled skein of threads too stubborn to be broken.

  • The real essence of any marriage that has struggled, however unsuccessfully, towards happiness, lies in the growth of a wordless understanding that what is acceptable to one partner will be acceptable to the other.

  • Ours was the Togetherness Generation. We equated togetherness with salvation, and expected so much from it that it was bound to let us down. Companionship, security, lifelong physical and spiritual and emotional warmth — all were to be had for the twist of a ring and the breathing of a vow. And to be had no other way.

  • Marriage with love is entering heaven with one's eyes shut, but marriage without love is entering hell with them open.

  • As parents, men and women err in not training children for marriage, the most important co-operative business in the world.

  • Generally, dictatorships do not work in marriage — or, for that matter, in any other relationship.

  • ... the girl makes me feel young. ... But so, after all, does my wife. And that's what I call being happily married.

  • ... when you speak of other people's marriages, you are, of course, saying something about your own.

  • I don't think marriages break up because of what you do to each other. They break up because of what you must become in order to stay in them.

  • ... a man is very revealed by his wife, just as a woman is revealed by her husband. People never marry beneath or above themselves, I assure you.

  • [Advice to daughter Katharine:] If you want to sacrifice the admiration of many men for the criticism of one, go ahead, get married.

  • I've married a few people I shouldn't have, but haven't we all?

  • Several years ago, I stopped going to weddings. ... My explanation is that the next wedding I attend will be my own — to the woman I've loved and lived with for nearly six years. ... Several people have reacted with surprise to our views, it never having occurred to them that gay people can't legally marry. (Why on earth did they think that none of us had bothered?)

    • Lindsy Van Gelder,
    • "Marriage as a Restricted Club," in Evelyn Ashton-Jones and Gary A. Olson, The Gender Reader ()
  • In the end maybe what marriage offered was the determination of one's burial site.

  • The name of marriage is the bane of pleasure / And love should have no tie but Love to bind it ...

    • Letitia Pilkington,
    • "The Roman Father," Memoirs of Mrs. Letitia Pilkington Written By Herself, vol. 2 ()
  • Marriage isn't a passion-fest; it's more like a partnership formed to run a very small, mundane, and often boring nonprofit business. And I mean this in a good way.

  • There will be a time you bury me / Or I bury you in the garden.

    • Tomioko Taeko,
    • "Living Together," in Joanna Bankier and Deirdre Lashgari, eds., Women Poets of the World ()
  • From marrying in haste, and repenting at leisure; / Not liking the person, yet liking his treasure: / Libera nos.

    • Elizabeth Thomas,
    • "A New Litany, Occasioned by an Invitation to a Wedding" (1722), in Roger H. Lonsdale, ed., Eighteenth Century Women Poets: An Oxford Anthology ()
  • Getting married is an incredible act of hopefulness.

  • Until he is forty, a man is too young to marry; and after he is forty, he is too old.

  • A perfectly happy marriage? There is no such thing. There are strong marriages that can survive problems, but happiness is such a brief condition, interrupted by difficulties and plain, boring routine.

  • If ever two were one, then surely we, / If ever man were lov'd by wife, then thee; / If ever wife was happy in a man, / Compare with me, ye women, if you can.

    • Anne Bradstreet,
    • "To My Dear and Loving Husband" (1678), in Frank Easton Hopkins, ed., The Poems of Mrs. Anne Bradstreet 1612-1672: Together With Her Prose Remains ()
  • A wedding ring is a vicious circle.

    • Jane Wilkie,
    • in Canada Jessup, ed., Wisdom of Women ()
  • We have sent Mr. Mink-monk, the happy macaque, to a good home with Borneo newly-weds; the bride says she wants something to pet, and to be company for her. Something is askew with this sentiment from newly-weds, but Mr. Mink-monk profits by it.

  • When marriage is what it ought to be, it is indeed the very happiest condition of existence.

    • Fanny Kemble,
    • 1835, in Fanny Kemble Wister, ed., Fanny: The American Kemble ()
  • ... prostitutes don't sell their bodies, they rent their bodies. Housewives sell their bodies when they get married ...

  • Love is blind, but marriage is a real eye-opener.

  • It takes a long time to be really married. One marries many times at many levels within a marriage. If you have more marriages than you have divorces within the marriage, you're lucky and you stick it out.

    • Ruby Dee,
    • in Brian Lanker, I Dream a World ()
  • If love is the foundation of a happy marriage, good manners are the walls and roof.

  • So each will have two lives, a doubled state; / Each in himself will live, and in his mate.

    • Louise Labé,
    • "Sonnet XVIII" (c. 1545), in Joanna Bankier and Deirdre Lashgari, eds., Women Poets of the World ()
  • Marriage is not a reform school.

  • No one knows what a marriage is like except the two people in it — and sometimes one of them doesn't know.

  • Often the difference between a successful marriage and a mediocre one is leaving four or five things a day — unsaid.

  • All marriages are happy, it's the living together afterward that's tough.

  • Marriage is a mystery, after all. I think of it in terms of the most intimate cartography — an island of two people, shrouded by mist, that those on the shore will never truly be able to see.

  • Gay marriage should be legal if just to raise the standard of dancing at receptions.

    • Liz Langley,
    • in Teresa Theophano, ed., Queer Quotes ()
  • Shutting one's eyes is an art, my dear. I suppose there's no use trying to make you see that — but that's the only way one can stay married.

  • If you think marriage is going to be perfect, you're probably still at your reception.

  • [On her 30-year marriage:] It was like suddenly coming into a harbor after a very rough and beastly sea.

  • My man ain't actin' right / He stays out late at night / And still he says he loves no one but me.

  • ... three-fourths of all marriages are unhappy.

    • Françoise de Maintenon,
    • 1694, in Katharine Prescott Wormeley, The Correspondence of Madame, Princess Palatine, Marie-Adélaïde de Savoie, and Madame de Maintenon ()
  • Wedlock is a narrow business.

  • Preacher, I took Rose f'r better or worse, but I declare, she's much worse than I took 'er for!

  • A wife should no more take her husband's name than he should hers.

  • As for myself, there are two things I dread, — death and marriage. I must die, but I need not marry. I have sworn I will never be taken alive.

  • Even if so inclined, an artist has no business to marry. For a man, it may be well enough, but for a woman, on whom matrimonial duties and cares weigh more heavily, it is a moral wrong, I think, for she must either neglect her profession or her family, becoming neither a good wife and mother nor a good artist. My ambition is to become the latter, so I wage eternal feud with the consolidating knot.

    • Harriet Hosmer,
    • in Cornelia Carr, ed., Harriet Hosmer: Letters and Memories ()
  • Why do long marriages occasionally endow their inhabitants with a rare kind of equilibrium otherwise almost unknown in human relations? My guess is that the value of the moment has at last overshadowed the long history of resentments, betrayals, and boredom.

  • A safety net of small white lies can be the bedrock of a successful marriage. You wouldn't believe how cheaply I can do a kitchen renovation.

  • A good marriage is where both people feel like they're getting the better end of the deal.

  • [On marriage:] Same bed, different dreams.

  • Ours is a long marriage, and we have found solitude together.

  • [On being married seven times:] I was reared in a convent, and they drilled it into me that it was wrong to go to bed with any of my husbands before I married them ...

    • Zsa Zsa Gabor,
    • in Frank Thistle, "The Lunatic Love Life of Zsa Zsa Gabor," Film World ()
  • I believe in love and trust and commitment, but not in marriage. Marriage may do something for lawyers and mothers, but not for husbands and wives.

  • Marry a nice man. Since life is out there handing you so many horrors, how can you cope if the biggest horror of them all is him?

  • [When Tira is asked if she believes in marriage:] Only as a last resort.