Marriage (also called matrimony or wedlock) is a socially or ritually recognized union or legal contract between spouses that establishes rights and obligations between them, between them and their children, and between them and their in-laws. The definition of marriage varies according to different cultures, but it is principally an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged. In some cultures, marriage is recommended or considered to be compulsory before pursuing any sexual activity. When defined broadly, marriage is considered a cultural universal.
- Every one who marries goes it blind, more or less.
- Henry Adams, Esther: A Novel (1884), Ch. VII.
- Narrated 'Aisha: that the Prophet married her when she was six years old and he consummated his marriage when she was nine years old. Hisham said: I have been informed that 'Aisha remained with the Prophet for nine years (i.e. till his death)." what you know of the Quran (by heart)'
- Marriage? That's for life! It's like cement!
- Woody Allen, What's New, Pussycat?
- He that hath wife and children hath given hostages to fortune, for they are impediments to great enterprises, either of virtue or mischief. Certainly the best works and of greatest merit for the public have proceeded from the unmarried or childless men, which both in affection and means have married and endowed the public…. He was reputed one of the wise men that made answer to the question, when a man should marry—"A young man not yet, an elder man not at all".
- Francis Bacon, "Of Marriage and Single Life", in Fred A. Howe, ed., The Essays or Counsels Civil and Moral of Francis Bacon (1908), chapter 8, p. 20, 22. Based on the 1625 edition but with modernized spelling.
- No jealousy their dawn of love o'ercast,
Nor blasted were their wedded days with strife;
Each season looked delightful as it past,
To the fond husband and the faithful wife.
- James Beattie, The Minstrel (1771), Book I, Stanza 14.
- 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. It is even more deceptive to dream of gaining through the child a plenitude, a warmth, a value, which one is unable to create for oneself; the child brings joy only to the woman who is capable of disinterestedly desiring the happiness of another, to one who without being wrapped up in self seeks to transcend her own existence.
- Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex.
- Logically the Neo-Pagan should get rid of the institution of marriage altogether, but the very nature of human society, which is built up of cells each of which is a family, and the very nature of human generation, forbid such an extreme. Children must be brought up and acknowledged and sheltered, and the very nature of human affection, whereby there is the bond of affection between the parent and the child, and the child is not of one parent but of both, will compel the Neo-Pagan to modify what might be his logical conclusion of free love and to support some simulacrum of the institution of marriage.
- Hilaire Belloc, Survivals and New Arrivals (1929), Ch. V.
- A bad marriage is like an electrical thrilling machine: it makes you dance, but you can't let go.
- Ambrose Bierce, A Cynic Looks at Life, 1912.
- Marriage, n. A community consisting of a master, a mistress, and two slaves, making in all, two.
- Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary, 1967.
- I'd rather die Maid, and lead apes in Hell
Than wed an inmate of Silenus' Cell.
- Richard Brathwait, English Gentelman and Gentelwoman (1640), in a supplemental tract, The Turtle's Triumph. Phrase "lead apes in hell" found in his Drunken Barnaby's Journal. Bessy Bell. Massinger, City Madam, Act II, scene 2. Shirley, School of Compliments (1637).
- The godly union of souls in mutual forebearance with each other's infirmities, and mutual stimulating each other's graces--this surely is a fragment of true happiness that has survived the Fall.
- Charles Bridges, An Exposition of Ecclesiastes, comment on Ecclesiastes 4:7-9.
- Marriage and hanging go by destiny; matches are made in heaven.
- Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621), Part III, Section II. Mem. 5. Subs. 5.
- 'Cause grace and virtue are within
Prohibited degrees of kin;
And therfore no true Saint allows,
They shall be suffer'd to espouse.
- Samuel Butler, Hudibras, Part III (1678), Canto I, line 1,293.
- For talk six times with the same single lady,
And you may get the wedding dresses ready.
- There was no great disparity of years,
Though much in temper; but they never clash'd,
They moved like stars united in their spheres,
Or like the Rhône by Leman's waters wash'd,
Where mingled and yet separate appears
The river from the lake, all bluely dash'd
Through the serene and placid glassy deep,
Which fain would lull its river-child to sleep.
- That they may not become too complacent or delighted in married life, he makes them distressed by the shortcomings of their partners, or humbles them through willful offspring, or afflicts them with the want or loss of children. But, if in all these matters he is more merciful to them, he shows them by diseases and dangers how unstable and passing all mortal blessings are, that they may not be puffed up with vain glory.
- John Calvin Golden Booklet of the True Christian Life pg. 69
- A marriage so free, so spontaneous, that it would allow of wide excursions of the pair from each other, in common or even in separate objects of work and interest, and yet would hold them all the time in the bond of absolute sympathy, would by its very freedom be all the more poignantly attractive, and by its very scope and breadth all the richer and more vital -- would be in a sense indestructible.
- Edward Carpenter, Love's Coming of Age.
- In the first place, an unjust law exists in this Commonwealth, by which marriages between persons of different color is pronounced illegal. I am perfectly aware of the gross ridicule to which I may subject myself by alluding to this particular; but I have lived too long, and observed too much, to be disturbed by the world's mockery. In the first place, the government ought not to be invested with power to control the affections, any more than the consciences of citizens. A man has at least as good a right to choose his wife, as he has to choose his religion. His taste may not suit his neighbors; but so long as his deportment is correct, they have no right to interfere with his concerns.
- Prima societas in ipso conjugio est: proxima in liberis; deinde una domus, communia omnia.
- The first bond of society is marriage; the next, our children; then the whole family and all things in common.
- Cicero, De Officiis (44 B.C.), I. 17.
- I am not against hasty marriages, where a mutual flame is fanned by an adequate income.
- Wilkie Collins, No Name, Sc. IV. Ch. 8.
- Let the husband render to his wife the affection owed her, and likewise also the wife to her husband.
- 1 Corinthians 7:3 (First Letter of Saint Paul to Corinthians, 7:3).
- The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband. And in like manner the husband also hath not power of his own body, but the wife.
- 1 Corinthians 7:4 (First Letter of Saint Paul to Corinthians, 7:4).
- The best way to remember your wife's birthday is to forget it once.
- Joseph Cossman, Wit On Target, 1998, p. 91.
- The tragedy of marriage is that while all women marry thinking that their man will change, all men marry believing their wife will never change.
- Any married man should forget his mistakes - no use two people remembering the same thing.
- Duane Dewel, Wit On Target, 1998, p. 88.
- Young men not ought to marry yet, and old men never ought to marry at all.
- Diogenes of Sinope, from Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers, by Diogenes Laertus.
- I have always thought that every woman should marry, and no man.
- Benjamin Disraeli, Lothair (1870), chapter 30, p. 109.
- There's nothing a woman hates more than her fiance's best friend. He knows all the secrets she's going to spend the rest of her life trying to find out.
- Jeff Douglas line in the musical Brigadoon
- If the policy of the law has withheld from married women certain powers and faculties, the Courts of law must continue to treat them as deprived of those powers and faculties, until the legislature directs those Courts to do otherwise.
- Lord Eldon, C.J., Beard v. Webb (1800), 1 Bos. and Pull. 109; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 164.
- But the main purpose of marriage will compel us to revise the institution so that we shall not waste any useful woman, expecially if she is a woman of notable ability. It is a significant fact that there are no 'unwanted women' in polygamous countries. These derelicts are to be found only in countries which are monogamous; and they represent, less today, perhaps, than formerly, sheer waste of mother-power. Even as things are, the 'unwanted woman' is still doomed to lead a solitary life, unless she has an illicit lover, and can contemplate old age and retirement only with dismay.
- St. John Ervine, Bernard Shaw, His Life, Work and Friends (1956), p. 424. In this comment on Shaw's play, "Getting Married", Ervine summarizes one of the arguments in Shaw's lengthy Preface to the play.
- The joys of marriage are the heaven on earth,
Life's paradise, great princess, the soul's quiet,
Sinews of concord, earthly immortality,
Eternity of pleasures.
- John Ford, The Broken Heart (ca. 1625–33; printed 1633), Act II, scene 2, line 102.
- A bachelor
May thrive by observation on a little,
A single life's no burthen: but to draw
In yokes is chargeable, and will require
A double maintenance.
- John Ford, The Fancies Chaste and Noble (1635-6; printed 1638), Act I, scene 3, line 82.
- Where there's marriage without love, there will be love without marriage.
- Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard (1734).
- If you help yourself to the benefits of being married when you are single, you're likely to help yourself to the benefits of being single when you're married.
- Rabbi Manis Friedman, Doesn't Anyone Blush Anymore? (1990); as quoted in Fishman, Sylvia Barack. A Breath of Life: Feminism in the American Jewish Community. UPNE. 1995.
- My son is my son till he have got him a wife,
But my daughter's my daughter all the days of her life.
- Proverb from Thomas Fuller's Gnomologia (1732).
- They that marry ancient people, merely in expectation to bury them, hang themselves, in hope that one will come and cut the halter.
- You were born together, and together you shall be forever more. You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days. Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God. But let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another, but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other's cup, but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread, but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.
- The critical period in matrimony is breakfast-time.
- A. P. Herbert, Uncommon Law (1935), p. 98.
- In the marriage ceremony, that moment when falling in love is replaced by the arduous drama of staying in love, the words "in sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer, till death do us part" set love in the temporal context in which it achieves its meaning. As time begins to elapse, one begins to love the other because they have shared the same experience... Selves may not intertwine; but lives do, and shared memory becomes as much of a bond as the bond of the flesh.
- Michael Ignatieff, "Lodged in the Heart and Memory".
- In reply he said: “Did YOU not read that he who created them from [the] beginning made them male and female and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and his mother and will stick to his wife, and the two will be one flesh’?
- A gentleman who had been very unhappy in marriage, married immediately after his wife died: Johnson said, it was the triumph of hope over experience.
- Samuel Johnson, James Boswell, Boswell's Life of Johnson, ed. George B. Hill, rev. and enl. ed., ed. L. F. Powell (1934), entry for 1770, vol. 2, p. 128.
- Sir, it is so far from being natural for a man and a woman to live in a state of marriage, that we find all the motives that they have for remaining in that connection, and the restraints which civilized society imposes to prevent separation, are hardly sufficient to keep them together.
- Samuel Johnson, Boswell's Life of Johnson, 31st March 1772.
- Marriages would in general be as happy, if not more so, if they were all made by the Lord Chancellor.
- Under the Constitution, same-sex couples seek in marriage the same legal treatment as opposite-sex couples, and it would disparage their choices and diminish their personhood to deny them this right.
- Justice Anthony Kennedy, majority decision for Obergefell v. Hodges
- Is there anyone who thinks that the resolution can come later when it is really needed? So it is not needed then, not on the wedding day, when the eternal pledge is entered into? But then, later? Can he mean that there was no thought of leaving one another, but of enjoying the first gladness of their union-and so united, of finding support in the resolution? Then when toil and trouble come, and need, be it physical or spiritual, stands at the door, then the time is there? Aye, indeed, the time is there-the time for the resolved individual to muster up his resolution; but not just the time to form a resolution. It is true that distress and failure may help a man to seek God in a resolution; but the question is whether the conception is always the right one, whether it is joyful, whether it does not have a certain wretchedness, a secret wish that it were not necessary, whether it may not be out of humor, envious, melancholy, and so no ennobling reflection of the trials of life. There is in the state a loan association to which the indigent may apply. The poor man is helped, but I wonder if that poor man has a pleasant conception of the loan-association. And so there may also be a marriage which first sought God when in difficulty, alas, sought Him as a loan-association; and everyone who first seeks God for the first time when in difficulties, always runs this danger. Is then such a late resolution, which even if it were a worthy one, was not without shame and not without great danger, bought at the last moment, is that more beautiful, and wiser than the resolution at the beginning of marriage?
- Soren Kierkegaard, Thoughts on Crucial Situations in Life, (1845) p. 72-73.
- A married man risks every day, and every day the sword of duty hangs over his head, and the journal is kept up as long as the marriage keeps on, and the ledger of responsibility is never closed, and the responsibility is even more inspiring than the most glorious epic poet who must testify for the hero. Well, it is true that he does not take the risk for nothing-no, like for like; he risks everything for everything, and if because of its responsibility marriage is an epic, then because of its happiness it certainly also is an idyll. Marriage is the fullness of time. Love is the unfathomable ground that is hidden in darkness, but the resolution is the triumphant victor who, like Orpheus, fetches the infatuation of falling in love to the light of day, for the resolution is the true form of love, the true explanation and transfiguration; therefore marriage is sacred and blessed by God. It is civic, for by marriage the lovers belong to the state and the fatherland and the common concerns of their fellow citizens. It is poetic, inexpressively so, just as is falling in love, but the resolution is the conscientious translation that translates the enthusiasm into actuality, and this translator is so scrupulous, oh, so scrupulous!
- Soren Kierkegaard, Stages on Life's Way, Hong p. 117 (1845).
- As unto the bow the cord is,
So unto the man is woman;
Though she bonds him she obeys him,
Though she draws him, yet she follows,
Useless each without the other!
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Song of Hiawatha (1855), Part X, line 1.
- In the majority of cases which are brought to me as a consulting psychologist for love and marital adjustment, there are self-deceptions to be uncovered as well as attempts to deceive other people. Beneath such love conflicts there is almost always a festering psychological core of dishonesty.
- William Moulton Martson, Lie Detector Test, p. 119 
- Hail, wedded love, mysterious law; true source
Of human offspring.
- To the nuptial bower
I led her, blushing like the morn; all Heaven,
And happy constellations on that hour
Shed their selectest influence; the earth
Gave sign of gratulation, and each hill;
Joyous the birds; fresh gales and gentle airs
Whisper'd it to the woods, and from their wings
Flung rose, flung odours from the spicy shrub.
- Therefore God's universal law
Gave to the man despotic power
Over his female in due awe,
Not from that right to part an hour,
Smile she or lour.
- There's a bliss beyond all that the minstrel has told,
When two, that are link'd in one heavenly tie,
With heart never changing, and brow never cold,
Love on thro' all ills, and love on till they die.
- Thomas Moore, Lalla Rookh (1817), Light of the Harem, Stanza 42.
- That is why a man will leave his father and his mother and he must stick to his wife and they must become one flesh.
- Marriage is wonderful when it lasts forever, and I envy the old couples in When Harry Met Sally who reminisce tearfully about the day they met 50 years before. I no longer believe, however, that a marriage is a failure if it doesn't last forever. It may be a tragedy, but it is not necessarily a failure. And when a marriage does last forever with love alive, it is a miracle.
- Peggy O'Mara, Mothering, Fall 1989.
- In the majority of cases which are brought to me as a consulting psychologist for love and marital adjustment, there are self-deceptions to be uncovered as well as attempts to deceive other people. Beneath such love conflicts there is almost always a festering psychological core of dishonesty.
- William Moulton Martson, Lie Detector Test, p. 119
- I don't see why we can't get along just as well with a polygamist who doesn't polyg as we do with a lot of monogamists who don't monog!
- Attributed to Senator Boies Penrose by Francis T. Plimpton, speech, quoted in Reader's Digest (June 1958), p. 142. These words were supposedly said in the Senate where a protest had arisen against seating Reed Smoot, the first Mormon senator, in 1903. Not verified in newspapers or accounts of that time. Also attributed, with variation in the wording, to President Theodore Roosevelt, while he was campaigning in 1902, in Bennett Cerf, The Laugh's on Me (1959), p. 350.
- Even cohabitation has been corrupted – by marriage.
- Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil (1886), §123.
- It's better to marry than to burn with lust.
- The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife.
- No woman marries for money: they are all clever enough, before marrying a millionaire, to fall in love with him.
- Cesare Pavese, This Business of Living, 1941-04-14
- When a woman marries she belongs to another man; and when she belongs to another man there is nothing more you can say to her.
- Cesare Pavese, This Business of Living, The winter of '41-'42.
- A husband is what is left of a lover, after the nerve has been extracted.
- Helen Rowland, A Guide to Men.
- There is not infrequently, in marriage, a suggestion of purchase, of acquiring a woman on condition of keeping her in a certain standard of material comfort. Often and often, a marriage hardly differs from prostitution except by being harder to escape from.
- Bertrand Russell, Proposed Roads To Freedom (1918).
- [C]hildren are what makes marriage important. But for children, there would be no need of any institution concerned with sex, but as soon as children enter in, the husband and wife, if they have any offspring, are compelled to realise that their feelings towards each other are no longer what is of most importance.
- It takes patience to appreciate domestic bliss; volatile spirits prefer unhappiness.
- Marrying means doing whatever possible to become repulsed of each other.
- Arthur Schopenhauer (Heiraten heißt das Mögliche tun, einander zum Ekel zu werden.).
- If you shall marry,
You give away this hand, and that is mine;
You give away heaven's vows, and those are mine;
You give away myself, which is known mine.
- Men are April when they woo, December when they wed; maids are May when they are maids, but the sky changes when they are wives.
- I will fasten on this sleeve of thine:
Thou art an elm, my husband, I, a vine.
- William Shakespeare, The Comedy of Errors (1592-1594), Act II, scene 2, line 175.
- Men's vows are women's traitors! All good seeming,
By thy revolt, O husband, shall be thought
Put on for villany; not born where 't grows,
But worn a bait for ladies.
- Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears
Had left the flushing in her galled eyes,
- The instances that second marriage move
Are base respects of thrift, but none of love.
- God, the best maker of all marriages,
Combine your hearts in one.
- He is the half part of a blessed man,
Left to be finished by such as she;
And she a fair divided excellence,
Whose fulness of perfection lies in him.
- A world-without-end bargain.
- Hanging and wiving goes by destiny.
- As are those dulcet sounds in break of day
That creep into the dreaming bridegroom's ear
And summon him to marriage.
- Happiest of all, is, that her gentle spirit
Commits itself to yours to be directed,
As from her lord, her governor, her king.
- I will marry her, sir, at your request; but if there be no great love in the beginning, yet heaven may decrease it upon better acquaintance * * * I hope, upon familiarity will grow more contempt: I will marry her; that I am freely dissolved, and dissolutely.
- William Shakespeare, Merry Wives of Windsor (c. 1597; published 1602), Act I, scene 1, line 253.
- But earthlier happy is the rose distill'd,
Than that which with'ring on the virgin thorn
Grows, lives and dies in single blessedness.
- I would not marry her, though she were endowed with all that Adam had left him before he transgressed: she would have made Hercules have turned spit, yea, and have cleft his club to make the fire too. * * * I would to God some scholar would conjure her; for certainly, while she is here, a man may live as quiet in hell as in a sanctuary.
- No, the world must be peopled. When I said, I would die a bachelor, I did not think I should live till I were married.
- Let husbands know,
Their wives have sense like them: they see, and smell,
And have their palates both for sweet and sour,
As husbands have.
- She is not well married that lives married long:
But she's best married that dies married young.
- She is your treasure, she must have a husband;
I must dance barefoot on her wedding day
And for your love to her lead apes in hell.
- If she deny to wed, I'll crave the day
When I shall ask the banns and when be married.
- Who wooed in haste, and means to wed at leisure.
- She shall watch all night:
And if she chance to nod I'll rail and brawl
And with the clamour keep her still awake.
This is the way to kill a wife with kindness.
- Thy husband * * * commits his body
To painful labour, both by sea and land,
* * * * * *
And craves no other tribute at thy hands,
But love, fair looks, and true obedience;
Too little payment for so great a debt.
- Let still the woman take
An elder than herself: so wears she to him,
So sways she level in her husband's heart:
For, boy, however we do praise ourselves,
Our fancies are more giddy and unfirm,
More longing, wavering, sooner lost and worn
Than women's are.
- Then let thy love be younger than thyself,
Or thy affection cannot hold the bent:
For women are as roses, whose fair flower
Being once display'd, doth fall that very hour.
- Now go with me and with this holy man
Into the chantry by: there, before him,
And underneath that consecrated roof,
Plight me the full assurance of your faith.
- Marriage is popular because it combines the maximum of temptation with the maximum of opportunity.
- The confusion of marriage with morality has done more to destroy the conscience of the human race than any other single error.
- This has also been paraphrased as: Confusing monogamy with morality has done more to destroy the conscience of the human race than any other error.
- George Bernard Shaw Man and Superman (1903)
- Marge: Homer, is this the way you pictured married life?
Homer: Yup, pretty much. Except we drove around in a van solving mysteries.
- The Simpsons and others.
- Marriage is like a coffin and each kid is another nail.
- I have always been convinced that if a woman once made up her mind to marry a man nothing but instant flight could save him.
- W. Somerset Maugham, Collected short stories 1, "The escape", p. 309.
- A man expects an angel for a wife; [yet] he knows that she is like himself -- erring, thoughtless and untrue; but like himself also, filled with a struggling radiancy of better things. … You may safely go to school with hope; but ere you marry, should have learned the mingled lesson of the world: that hope and love address themselves to a perfection never realized, and yet, firmly held, become the salt and staff of life; that you yourself are compacted of infirmities … and yet you have a something in you lovable and worth preserving; and that, while the mass of mankind lies under this scurvy condemnation, you will scarce find one but, by some generous reading, will become to you a lesson, a model and a noble spouse through life. So thinking, you will constantly support your own unworthiness and easily forgive the failings of your friend. Nay, you will be wisely glad that you retain the … blemishes; for the faults of married people continually spur up each of them, hour by hour, to do better and to meet and love upon a higher ground.
- Robert Louis Stevenson, Virginibus Puerisque.
- As the husband is the wife is; thou art mated with a clown,
And the grossness of his nature will have weight to drag thee down.
- But happy they, the happiest of their kind!
Whom gentler stars unite, and in one fate
Their Hearts, their Fortunes, and their Beings blend.
- James Thomson, The Seasons, Spring (1728), line 1,111.
- Gender no longer forms an essential part of marriage; marriage under law is a union of equals.
- Men marry because they are tired; women because they are curious. Both are disappointed.
- Oscar Wilde, A Woman of No Importance (1893), act III, in The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde (1923), vol. 7, p. 263 . Lord Illingworth is speaking.
- 'Tis my maxim, he's a fool that marries; but he's a greater that does not marry a fool.
- You are of the society of the wits and railleurs … the surest sign is, since you are an enemy to marriage,—for that, I hear, you hate as much as business or bad wine.
- Body and soul, like peevish man and wife,
United jar, and yet are loth to part.
- Edward Young, Night Thoughts (1742-1745), Night II, line 175.
Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations
- Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 495-500.
- He that hath a wife and children hath given hostages to fortune; for they are impediments to great enterprises, either of virtue or mischief.
- Francis Bacon, Essays, Of Marriage and Single Life.
- To have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness, and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part.
- Book of Common Prayer, Solemnization of Matrimony.
- To love, cherish, and to obey.
- Book of Common Prayer, Solemnization of Matrimony.
- With this ring I thee wed, with my body I thee worship, and with all my worldly goods I thee endow.
- Book of Common Prayer, Solemnization of Matrimony.
- He that said it was not good for man to be alone, placed the celibate amongst the inferior states of perfection.
- Robert Boyle, Works, Volume VI, p. 292. Letter from Mr. Evelyn.
- Cursed be the man, the poorest wretch in life,
The crouching vassal, to the tyrant wife,
Who has no will but by her high permission;
Who has not sixpence but in her possession;
Who must to her his dear friend's secret tell;
Who dreads a curtain lecture worse than hell.
Were such the wife had fallen to my part,
I'd break her spirit or I'd break her heart.
- Robert Burns, The Henpecked Husband.
- Una muger no tiene.
Valor para el consejo, y la conviene Casarse.
- A woman needs a stronger head than her own for counsel—she should marry.
- Calderon, El Purgatorio de Sans Patricio, III. 4.
- To sit, happy married lovers; Phillis trifling with a plover's
Egg, while Corydon uncovers with a grace the Sally Lunn,
Or dissects the lucky pheasant—that, I think, were passing pleasant
As I sit alone at present, dreaming darkly of a dun.
- Charles Stuart Calverley, In the Gloaming (Parody on Mrs. Browning).
- We've been together now for forty years,
An' it don't seem a day too much;
There ain't a lady livin' in the land
As I'd swop for my dear old Dutch.
- Albert Chevalier, My Old Dutch.
- Man and wife,
Coupled together for the sake of strife.
- Charles Churchill, The Rosciad (1761), line 1,005.
- Oh! how many torments lie in the small circle of a wedding ring.
- Thus grief still treads upon the heels of pleasure,
Marry'd in haste, we may repent at leisure.
- William Congreve, The Old Bachelor, Act V, scene 1.
- Misses! the tale that I relate
This lesson seems to carry—
Choose not alone a proper mate,
But proper time to marry.
- William Cowper, Pairing Time Anticipated (Moral).
- Wedlock, indeed, hath oft compared been
To public feasts, where meet a public rout,
Where they that are without would fain go in,
And they that are within would fain go out.
- Sir John Davies, Contention Betwixt a Wife, etc.
- At length cried she, I'll marry:
What should I tarry for?
I may lead apes in hell forever.
- Charles Dibdin, Tack and Tack.
- Every woman should marry—and no man.
- Benjamin Disraeli, Lothair, Chapter XXX.
- Is not marriage an open question, when it is alleged, from the beginning of the world, that such as are in the institution wish to get out, and such as are out wish to get in.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, Representative Men, Montaigne.
- Magis erit animorum quam corporum conjugium.
- The wedlock of minds will be greater than that of bodies.
- Erasmus, Procus et Puella.
- You are of the society of the wits and railers;… the surest sign is, you are an enemy to marriage, the common butt of every railer.
- David Garrick, The Country Girl, Act II. 1. Play taken from Wycherly's Country Wife.
- The husband's sullen, dogged, shy,
The wife grows flippant in reply;
He loves command and due restriction,
And she as well likes contradiction.
She never slavishly submits;
She'll have her way, or have her fits.
He his way tugs, she t'other draws;
The man grows jealous and with cause.
- John Gay, Cupid, Hymen, and Plutus.
- It is not good that the man should be alone.
- Genesis, II. 18.
- Bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh.
- Genesis, II. 23.
- Denn ein wackerer Mann verdient ein begütertes Mädchen.
- For a brave man deserves a well-endowed girl.
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Hermann und Dorothea, III. 19.
- So, with decorum all things carry'd;
Miss frown'd, and blush'd, and then was—married.
- Oliver Goldsmith, The Double Transformation, Stanza 3.
- Le divorce est le sacrement de l'adultere.
- Divorce is the sacrament of adultery.
- G. F. Guichard.
- An unhappy gentleman, resolving to wed nothing short of perfection, keeps his heart and hand till both get so old and withered that no tolerable woman will accept them.
- Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mosses from an Old Manse.
- I should like to see any kind of a man, distinguishable from a gorilla, that some good and even pretty woman could not shape a husband out of.
- Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., The Professor at the Breakfast Table.
- Yet while my Hector still survives, I see
My father, mother, brethren, all in thee.
- Homer, The Iliad, Book VI, line 544. Pope's translation.
- Andromache! my soul's far better part.
- Homer, The Iliad, Book VI, line 624. Pope's translation.
- Felices ter et amplius
Quos irrupta tenet copula, nec malis
Suprema citius solvet amor die.
- Happy and thrice happy are they who enjoy an uninterrupted union, and whose love, unbroken by any complaints, shall not dissolve until the last day.
- Horace, Carmina, I, 13, 17.
- I have met with women whom I really think would like to be married to a Poem, and to be given away by a Novel.
- John Keats, Letters to Fanny Brawne, Letter II.
- Ay, marriage is the life-long miracle,
The self-begetting wonder, daily fresh.
- Charles Kingsley, Saint's Tragedy, Act II, scene 9.
- You should indeed have longer tarried
By the roadside before you married.
- Walter Savage Landor, 'To One Ill-mated.
- Sure the shovel and tongs
To each other belongs.
- Samuel Lover, Widow Machree.
- Take heede, Camilla, that seeking al the Woode for a streight sticke, you chuse not at the last a crooked staffe.
- John Lyly, Euphues.
- Marriage is destinie, made in heaven.
- John Lyly's Mother Bombie. Same in Clarke, Paræmologia, p. 230. (Ed. 1639).
- Cling closer, closer, life to life,
Cling closer, heart to heart;
The time will come, my own wed Wife,
When you and I must part!
Let nothing break our band but Death,
For in the world above
'Tis the breaker Death that soldereth
Our ring of Wedded Love.
- Gerald Massey, On a Wedding Day, Stanza 11.
- And, to all married men, be this a caution,
Which they should duly tender as their life,
Neither to doat too much, nor doubt a wife.
- Philip Massinger, Picture, Act V, scene 3.
- The sum of all that makes a just man happy
Consists in the well choosing of his wife:
And there, well to discharge it, does require
Equality of years, of birth, of fortune;
For beauty being poor, and not cried up
By birth or wealth, can truly mix with neither.
And wealth, when there's such difference in years,
And fair descent, must make the yoke uneasy.
- Philip Massinger, A New Way to Pay Old Debts, Act IV, scene 1.
- What therefore God hath joined together let not man put asunder.
- Matthew, XIX. 6.
- Par un prompt désespoir souvent on se marie.
Qu'on s'en repent après tout le temps de sa vie.
- Men often marry in hasty recklessness and repent afterward all their lives.
- Molière, Les Femmes Savantes (1672), V. 5.
- Women when they marry buy a cat in the bag.
- Michel de Montaigne, Essays, Book III, Chapter V.
- Il en advient ce qui se veoid aux cages; les oyseaux qui en sont dehors, desesperent d'y entrer; et d'un pareil soing en sortir, ceulx qui sont au dedans.
- It happens as one sees in cages: the birds which are outside despair of ever getting in, and those within are equally desirous of getting out.
- Michel de Montaigne, Essays, Book III, Chapter V.
- Drink, my jolly lads, drink with discerning,
Wedlock's a lane where there is no turning;
Never was owl more blind than a lover,
Drink and be merry, lads, half seas over.
- Dinah Craik, Magnus and Morna, scene 3.
- Hac quoque de causa, si te proverbia tangunt,
Mense malos Maio nubere vulgus ait.
- For this reason, if you believe proverbs, let me tell you the common one: "It is unlucky to marry in May."
- Ovid, Fasti, V, 489.
- Si qua voles apte nubere, nube pari.
- If thou wouldst marry wisely, marry thine equal.
- Ovid, Heroides, IX, 32.
- Some dish more sharply spiced than this
Milk-soup men call domestic bliss.
- Coventry Patmore, Olympus.
- The garlands fade, the vows are worn away;
So dies her love, and so my hopes decay.
- Alexander Pope, Autumn, line 70.
- Grave authors say, and witty poets sing,
That honest wedlock is a glorious thing.
- Alexander Pope, January and May, line 21.
- There swims no goose so gray, but soon or late
She finds some honest gander for her mate.
- Alexander Pope, Wife of Bath, Her Prologue, from Chaucer, line 98.
- Before I trust my Fate to thee,
Or place my hand in thine,
Before I let thy Future give
Color and form to mine,
Before I peril all for thee,
Question thy soul to-night for me.
- Adelaide Ann Procter, A Woman's Question.
- A prudent wife is from the Lord.
- Proverbs, XIX. 14.
- Advice to persons about to marry—Don't.
- "Punch's Almanack." (1845). Attributed to Henry Mayhew.
- Le mariage est comme une forteresse assiégée; ceux qui sont dehors veulent y entrer et ceux qui sont dedans en sortir.
- Marriage is like a beleaguered fortress; those who are without want to get in, and those within want to get out.
- Quitard, Études sur les Proverbes Français, p. 102.
- Widowed wife and wedded maid.
- Walter Scott, The Betrothed, Chapter XV.
- Marriage is a desperate thing.
- John Selden, Table Talk, Marriage.
- To disbelieve in marriage is easy: to love a married woman is easy; but to betray a comrade, to be disloyal to a host, to break the covenant of bread and salt, is impossible.
- Bernard Shaw, Getting Married.
- What God hath joined together no man shall ever put asunder: God will take care of that.
- Bernard Shaw, Getting Married.
- The whole world is strewn with snares, traps, gins and pitfalls for the capture of men by women.
- Bernard Shaw, Epistle Dedicatory to Man and Superman.
- Lastly no woman should marry a teetotaller, or a man who does not smoke. It is not for nothing that this "ignoble tobagie" as Michelet calls it, spreads all over the world.
- Robert Louis Stevenson, Virginibus Puerisque, Part I.
- Under this window in stormy weather
I marry this man and woman together;
Let none but Him who rules the thunder
Put this man and woman asunder.
- Jonathan Swift, Marriage Service from His Chamber Window.
- The reason why so few marriages are happy is because young ladies spend their time in making nets, not in making cages.
- Jonathan Swift, Thoughts on Various Subjects.
- Celibate, like the fly in the heart of an apple, dwells in a perpetual sweetness, but sits alone, and is confined and dies in singularity.
- Jeremy Taylor, Sermon, XVII, The Marriage Ring, Part I.
- Marriages are made in Heaven.
- Alfred Tennyson, Aylmer's Field, line 188.
- Remember, it is as easy to marry a rich woman as a poor woman.
- William Makepeace Thackeray, Pendennis, Book I, Chapter XXVIII.
- This I set down as a positive truth. A woman with fair opportunities and without a positive hump, may marry whom she likes.
- William Makepeace Thackeray, Vanity Fair, Chapter IV.
- What woman, however old, has not the bridal-favours and raiment stowed away, and packed in lavender, in the inmost cupboards of her heart?
- William Makepeace Thackeray, Virginians, Book I, Chapter XXVIII.
- Thrice happy is that humble pair,
Beneath the level of all care!
Over whose heads those arrows fly
Of sad distrust and jealousy.
- Edmund Waller, Of the Marriage of the Dwarfs, line 7.
- The happy married man dies in good stile at home, surrounded by his weeping wife and children. The old bachelor don't die at all—he sort of rots away, like a pollywog's tail.
- Artemus Ward, Draft in Baldinsville.
- 'Tis just like a summer bird cage in a garden: the birds that are without despair to get in, and the birds that are within despair, and are in a consumption, for fear they shall never get out.
- John Webster, White Devil, Act I, scene 2.
- Why do not words, and kiss, and solemn pledge,
And nature that is kind in woman's breast,
And reason that in man is wise and good,
And fear of Him who is a righteous Judge,—
Why do not these prevail for human life,
To keep two hearts together, that began
Their spring-time with one love.
- William Wordsworth, Excursion, Book VI.
The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904)
Law of husband and wife
- Quotes reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 100-103.
- In the eye of the law no doubt, man and wife are for many purposes one: but that is a strong figurative expression, and cannot be so dealt with as that all the consequences must follow which would result from its being literally true.
- William Henry Maule, J., Wenman v. Ash (1853), C. B. 844.
- When a woman marries, her husband is the head of the family.
- Parker, C.J., Inhabitants of St. Katherine v. St. George (1714), Fortesc. 218.
- A woman is to comfort her husband.
- Holt, C.J., Russell v. Corne (1703), 2 Raym. 1032.
- If such cruelty shall be sanctioned, and wives shall not be allowed necessaries, England will lose the happy reputation in all foreign kingdoms, which her inhabitants have achieved by their respect for this sex, the most excelling in beauty, which, as in this climate it far transcends that of the women in all other lands, so has this Kingdom surpassed all other countries in its tenderness and consideration for their welfare.
- Per Cur, Manby v. Scott (1672), 1 Levinz, 4; 2 Sm. L. C. (8th ed.) 458.
- Dissentions existing between man and wife are in all events very unfortunate: when they become the subject of consideration to third persons, they are very unpleasant, and if the case requires that the conduct of each party should be commented upon in public, it is a most painful task to those to whose lot it falls to judge on them. The subject therefore is always to be handled with as much delicacy as it will admit of; but the infirmities of human nature have given rise to cruelties and other ill-treatment on the part of husbands, and to cases in which this Court has thought it indispensably necessary to interpose.
- Buller, J., Fletcher v. Fletcher (1788), 2 Cox, Eq. Cas. 102.
- By the laws of England, by the laws of Christianity, and by the constitution of society, when there is a difference of opinion between husband and wife, it is the duty of the wife to submit to the husband.
- Molina, V.-C., In re Agar-Ellis; Agar-Ellis v. Lascelles (1878), L. R. 10 C. D. 55.
- The naturalest and first conjunction of two towards the making a farther society of continuance, is of the husband and wife, each having care of the family: the man to get, to travel abroad, to defend; the wife to save, to stay at home, and distribute that which is gotten for the nurture of the children and family; is the first and most natural but primate apparence of one of the best kind of commonwealths, where not one always, but sometime, and in some things, another bears a rule; which to maintain, God hath given the man greater wit, better strength, better courage to compel the woman to obey, by reason or force; and to the woman, beauty, fair countenance, and sweet words to make the man obey her again for love. Thus each obeyeth and commandeth the other, and the two together rule the house, so long as they remain together in one.
- Sir Thomas Smith, "Commonwealth of England," Bk. I., c. 11, f. 23; quoted by Hyde, J., Manby v. Scott (1600), 1 Mod. 140, who added "I wish, with all my heart, that the women of this age would learn thus to obey, and thus to command their husbands: so will they want for nothing that is fit, and these kind of flesh-flies shall not suck up or devour their husbands' estates by illegal tricks".
- There may by possibility be cases where cruelty may lead up directly to the wife's adultery.
- Dr. Lushington, Dillon v. Dillon (1841), 3 Curt. 94.
- A woman commits adultery in order to gratify her own unlawful passion: she does not think about the annoyance to her husband when she abandons herself to her lover.
- Brett, M.R., Fearon v. Earl of Aylesford (1884), L. R. 14 Q. B. D. 797.
- If I might be permitted to borrow an illustration from poetry, the distinction between forgiveness and reconciliation is nowhere more strikingly shown than by a poet who, more than most other men, has sounded the depths of human feeling, and who supposes the question put to the husband of an adulteress:
"Then did you freely, from your heart forgive?"
to which he replies:
"Sure, as I hope before my Judge to live;
Sure, as the Saviour died upon the tree
For all who sin—for that dear wretch and me,
Whom never more, on earth, will I forsake or see."
Grabbe's " Tales of the Hall," b. 12.
- Lord Chelmsford, L.C., Keats v. Keats and another (1859), 7 W. R. 378; 5 Jur. (N. S.) Part 1 (1859), p. 178.
- When people understand that they must live together, except for a very few reasons known to the law, they learn to soften by mutual accommodation that yoke which they know they cannot shake off; they become good husbands, and good wives, from the necessity of remaining husbands and wives; for necessity is a powerful master in teaching the duties which it imposes.1 If it were once understood, that upon mutual disgust married persons might be legally separated, many couples, who now pass through the world with mutual comfort, with attention to their common offspring and to the moral order of civil society, might have been at this moment living in a state of mutual unkindness—in a stage of estrangement from their common offspring—and in a state of the most licentious and unreserved immorality.
- Sir William Scott, Evans v. Evans (1790), 1 Hagg. Con. Rep. 36, 37.
- The cock swan is an emblem or representation of an affectionate and true husband to his wife above all other fowls; for the cock swan holdeth himself to one female only, and for this cause nature hath conferred on him a gift beyond all others; that is, to die so joyfully, that he sings sweetly when he dies; upon which the poet saith:
"Dulcia defecta modulatur carmina lingua,
Cantator, cygnus, funeris ipse sui, &c."
- Edward Coke, The Case of Swans (1600), 4 Rep. 85.
- There is not one of us who cannot recall to memory the experience of some case in which a woman submitted to the worst of treatment, treatment degrading and humiliating, and allowed it to continue rather than permit her name to become the subject of a public scandal.
- Lord Fitzgerald, G. v. M. (1885), L. R. 10 Ap. Ca. 208.
- The reason why the law will not suffer a wife to be a witness against her husband is to preserve the peace of families.
- Lord Hardioicke, Barker v. Dixie (1735), Ca. temp. Lord Hardwicke, 265.
- The husband is not liable for the criminal conduct of his wife.
- Wilmot, J., Lockwood v. Coysgarne (1764), 3 Burr. Part IV. 1681.
Law of marriage
- Quotes reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 165-166.
- Nothing is more natural than to marry.
- Sir Henry Hobart, 1st Baronet, C.J., Sheffield v. Ratcliffe (1617), Lord Hobart's Rep. 342.
- The holy state of matrimony was ordained by Almighty God in Paradise, before the Fall of Man, signifying to us that mystical union which is between Christ and His Church ; and so it is the first relation: and when two persons are joined in that holy state, they twain become one flesh1; and so it is the nearest relation.
- Hyde, J., Manby v. Scott (1659), 1 Mod. Rep. 125.
- Marriage in the contemplation of every Christian community is the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.
- Lush, L.J., Harvey v. Farnie (1880), L. R. 6 Pro. D. 53.
- Matrimony is a sacrament.
- Abney, J., Richards v. Dovey (1746), Willes' Rep. 623.
- In the Christian Church marriage was elevated in a later age to the dignity of a sacrament.
- Sir William Scott, Dalrymple v. Dalrymple (1811), 2 Hagg. Con. Rep. 64.
- Marriage, in its origin, is a contract of natural law; it may exist between two individuals of different sexes, although no third person existed in the world, as happened in the case of the common ancestors of mankind: It is the parent, not the child of civil society. "Principium urbis et quasi seminarium reipublicce."
- Sir William Scott, Dalrymple v. Dalrymple (1811), 2 Hagg. Con. Rep. 63.
- It will appear, no doubt, that at various periods of our history there have been decisions as to the nature and description of the religious solemnities necessary for the completion of a perfect marriage, which cannot be reconciled together; but there will be found no authority to contravene the general position, that at all times, by the common law of England, it was essential to the constitution of a full and complete marriage, that there must be some religious solemnity; that both modes of obligation should exist together, the civil and the religious.
- Tindal, C.J., R. v. Millis (1844), 10 CI. & Fin. 655.
- A contract executed without any part performance.
- Henry Brougham, 1st Baron Brougham and Vaux, R. v. Millis (1844), 16 C1.& Fin. 719.
- Our law considers marriage in the light of a contract, and applies to it with some exceptions, the ordinary principles which apply to other contracts.
- Steph. Com., Vol. II. (8th ed.), Book 3, c. 2. p. 238.
- If people are drunk or delirious,
The marriage of course would be bad;
Or if they're not sober and serious,
But acting a play or charade.
It's bad if it's only a cover
For cloaking a scandal or sin,
And talking a landlady over,
To let the folks lodge in her inn.
- Lord Neaves, The Tourist's Matrimonial Guide through Scotland, quoted in an unidentiied case before Mr. Justice Barnes, (July, 1899).
- A marriage contract compels a woman to work for a man. This is voluntary servitude so long as a woman loves a man. But when she does not love him it becomes involuntary servitude, which the consititution does not permit in the United States.
- Mrs Henriette Johnstone-Wood, 1909 (via Chronicling America).