Thursday, September 8, 2016

The Marriage Guide for Young Men

After yesterday's post it sent me searching on the Internet for other stats on marriage and the "chances" for a woman to marry. I came across "The Marriage Guide for Young Men" ©1883 Below is an excerpt from chapter one.

1 Married life makes us stronger for our work.

We may boast of the strength of manhood, and speak disparagingly of women, but we cannot break down the witness of experience to the fact that the married man is stronger than the single— is stronger in the great battle of life, and does often succeed where the single man fails. The fact is, that, notwithstanding man's boasted strength, he does not manifest his true nobility and power until he blends his strength with the soft gentle nature of woman. It is said by some that the most effective missile used in battering down the walls of a fort, is a shot pointed with lead; that the effect of the lead is to prevent its glancing or being crushed by its own momentum. Be this as it may, experience shows that man can succeed better in battering down life's difficulties when his own harsh nature is softened by the life of delicate woman. Though one would think that his rough, impulsive nature is just the thing to crush through the asperities of life, yet without the influence of woman he is often crushed and dispirited by the force of his own efforts.

We sometimes hear it said that married life cripples a man, holds him back from achieving the highest success, by reason of the added burden of domestic cares. Well, we must admit that married life brings cares which are unknown to the bachelor. He must provide for his home. Then he must spend some time with his wife and children. In case of sickness he must leave his work often, and sometimes this becomes a serious burden. But in spite of all, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages, and rank him far above the bachelor in the chances for success.

2 Married life gives to manhood its greatest nobility.

One can tell an old bachelor almost as far as he can see him. He is marked always by extreme selfishness. On the cars he spreads himself out over a whole seat, and sometimes two. On the omnibus he deliberately puffs his cigar without regard to the comfort of others. In the hotel he requires about half-a-dozen chairs for his accommodation. Everywhere he snarls and snaps at everybody who is not ready to wait submissively upon his will and pleasure. But we could not reasonably expect him to be otherwise; for he cares for nobody, and feels that nobody cares for him. His whole life tends to make him selfish.

Married life, on the other hand, tends to render one unselfish, — mindful of the interests of others, —by giving him something and somebody to claim his attention. The suffering, the needy, and the sorrowing, do not appeal to him in vain. His heart can be touched by the simple tale of woe. As a consequence, married men are the world's greatest benefactors.

But in another particular its influence is marked. You have seen how the stallion arches his neck and prances, when he meets one of the opposite sex. He tries to make his best display. It is so with man; it is not in a well-sexed, manly man not to put himself upon his best behavior in the presence of ladies. It has been noticed that those occupations which cut men off from the society of pure, noble women, are very corrupting. Sailors and miners are noted for their rudeness and immorality. Schools for boys are found to corrupt good manners, and render young men, in a measure, unfit for refined society. The cause is manifest: being away from the society of women, restraint is thrown off; word and deed degenerate into vulgarity and immorality, until at length the whole life is vitiated. The wise, perceiving this restraining influence of one sex upon the other, are establishing a system of co-education. This system brings the two sexes together, under proper restrictions, and thus, during the formative period of their lives, gives that refinement so essential to true manhood and womanhood. If this association of the sexes is so important in its influence upon young men and young women, how much more important is that relation which makes man the life-long companion of woman! We cannot overestimate its refining and ennobling influence; it is just what we all need. Do not, therefore, look upon marriage as a matter of indifference. It is simply a question as to whether you will be a noble man, or a mean, selfish bachelor. Look at the life of President Garfield. His domestic life, his love for his wife and children, no doubt, went far toward molding him into the noble man that he was. And one thing is certain: his passionate attachment to, and interest in them, went far toward elevating him to the proud position which he occupies in the affections of the American people. No! domestic love does not degrade nor belittle. So far is this from being true, that the world of humanity votes the highest place to the man who has a wife and children to love, and who loves them with all his heart.

3 Married life is happier than single life.

We sometimes hear people boast of the liberty of single life. Single men often say: " When my hat is on, my house is covered; I can come and go as I please. How different the man with a family! He must work for his family; he must stay at home and look after their interests; he must listen to the squalling of babies, and the scolding of his wife, while I am my own master, and have all my time to myself." Yes, but mere freedom does not bring happiness. As the ship needs ballasting, and never glides over the blue waters so beautifully as when freighted with a good cargo, so man needs care, and never glides over the waters of life's ocean so peacefully as when burdened with cares of a home, and a busy life. While single life is so free, it is very unsatisfactory. The single man feels that he cannot settle down to the work of life; he is dissatisfied and unhappy. The years drag slowly by. But, after he is married, he feels that he is fully entered upon life's work; he feels a dignity and self-importance which he never felt as a young man; he feels that he constitutes a part of society, that he has an object before him,—something to do, something to live for. We may say what we will,—a man is never so happy as when he feels that he is of some use to somebody. It is a satisfaction for him to feel that he has somebody looking to him for protection and support, and nothing so nerves his arm in the conflict with life's difficulties. He will fight then when he would otherwise yield, and will endure hardness with positive delight in their defence.

" To marry or not to marry," just think of it! To be the possessor of a happy home, the proud defender of a wife and children, or a poor, selfish, despised, unsatisfied old bachelor ! On the one hand, no one to love, no one to comfort you, no home, save in a hotel or boarding-house, — a place destitute of love, and a home only while you have money to pay for it. Look on that picture and then on this: A home of which you are the acknowledged head; a home with a loving wife always ready to welcome you, and babies to climb upon your knees, put their arms about your neck and call you "papa"; a home lined and furnished with love; a home to which you can go from the perplexities of life, with the assurance of encouragement. Contrast such a home with the cold formal one in a hotel, and say which you prefer. I know which you will choose. May heaven smile propitiously upon your undertaking, and guide you to the place whence you may lead some Rebekah to just such a home.

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