With wedding season coming to an end, I had the good fortune to read a number of snipes from a well known character that didn't very much like the institution of marriage. Oscar Wilde and so many other prolific writers, seemed to hold such contempt for marriage that they took every opportunity to strip it down to it's barest and most irritating form.
As divorce rates seemed to stabilize, partly due to the cost, the financial sensibility of staying together in difficult financial times and hopefully, where more communication may have saved a couples relationship, these quotes may not seem as relevant from a disenfranchised and paternalistic males viewpoint. To be fair, these quips can be in direct response to my article on female celebrity disillusionment with marriage as well. Certainly, there is an almost equal distaste for marriage, yet so many of us still hold out hope, with less than half being successful!
From Oscar Wilde:
“Bigamy is having one wife too many. Monogamy is the same”
“How marriage ruins a man! It is as demoralizing as cigarettes, and far more expensive”
“In married life three is company and two none”
“Men always want to be a woman’s first love – women like to be a man’s last romance”
“Men marry because they are tired; women, because they are curious; both are disappointed”
“One should always be in love. That is the reason one should never marry”
“The one charm about marriage is that it makes a life of deception absolutely necessary for both parties”
“There is nothing in the world like the devotion of a married woman. It is a thing no married man knows anything about”
“Woman begins by resisting a man’s advances and ends by blocking his retreat”
And in the vein of Oscar Wilde himself, one little bit of cynicism crafted by an eloquent sports fan Habstrini reads as follows …”
“A woman ceases all efforts to be engaging the day she becomes engaged”.
Along with an age old tongue in cheek comments;
Q: What’s the one food guaranteed to kill a woman’s libido?
A: Wedding cake.
...or marriage being an institution where a man loses his bachelors degree and the woman gets her Masters and...
finally... a wedding ring, the world's smallest handcuff!
I remember as a young newlywed myself enduring these wisecracks and even more visceral attacks on wives by friends, colleagues and acquaintances, especially when playing golf with older marrieds. As a hopeful and somewhat naive young man of 25, I couldn't believe the animosity and anguish being spewed by some of these men. Now, almost 25 years and a divorce later, I get it, but I'm still a believer in the institution if done right and therein lies the problem. Most of the relationships aren't "done right".
So for those of you men who just got married are are soon to be married in this years wedding season, do take time to reflect on the centuries of jokes, many of them with a basis in fact, about the trials and tribulations of marriage. It isn't as easy as signing a certificate with everything following made of peaches and cream. Marriage takes effort, communication, compromise and so many other qualities that our busy lives often circumvent. However, despite the protestations of so many unhappy men in failing marriages and from failed marriages, the pros can often out-way the cons in marriage. So here's wishing you newlyweds a hearty congratulations and a pat on the back with some old words of wisdom to take the bite out of your first few arguments!