In the beginning, God created man and his name was Adam. But the Creator observed that he was alone and lonely. So, He allowed the first man to fall asleep and took one of his ribs and formed into a woman (“because she was taken out of man”).
When Adam saw Eve for the first time, he was struck with her beauty. The Bible was silent what happened next but we’re sure Adam courted Eve relentlessly. At the end of the day, he won her heart and so God initiated the first wedding ever recorded. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).
Today, love, courtship and marriage are still with us. But through times, however, these traits – if you call them such — have changed. Let’s start with love. “Love is an ocean of emotions entirely surrounded by expenses,” said Lord Dewar. “To be in love is merely to be in a state of perceptual anesthesia,” added Henry L. Mencken.
“To love is to suffer,” said Woody Allen. “To avoid suffering one must not love. But then one suffers from not loving. Therefore to love is to suffer, not to love is to suffer. To suffer is to suffer. To be happy is to love. To be happy then is to suffer. But suffering makes one unhappy. Therefore, to be unhappy one must love, or love to suffer, or suffer from too much happiness. I hope you’re getting this down.” Okay, fine!
Aside from love, there is such thing as infatuation. “No one can understand love who has not experienced infatuation,” wrote Mignon McLaughlin in ‘The Neurotic’s Notebook.’ “And no one can understand infatuation, no matter how many times he has experienced it.”
After that, courtship follows. “Men dream of courtship, but in wedlock wake,” Alexander Pope once wrote. This jibes with a proverb that states, “In courtship a man pursues a woman until she catches him.”
“Courtship,” according to Laurence Sterne, “consists in a number of quiet attentions, not so pointed as to alarm, nor so vague as not to be understood.” Or, as an unknown author puts it, “The difference between courtship and marriage is the difference between the pictures in a seed catalog and what comes up.”
When you are courting a nice girl, an hour seems like a second. But when you sit on a red-hot cinder, a second seems like an hour. “That’s relativity,” Albert Einstein explained.
When the girl says I accepted you, then marriage is just around the corner. “Marriage,” said British playwright George Bernard Shaw, “is an alliance entered into by a man who can’t sleep with the window shut, and a woman who can’t sleep with the window open.”
That’s funny. This statement, coming from the mouth of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, challenges understanding: “The sum which two married people owe to one another defies calculation. It is an infinite debt, which can only be discharged through eternity.”
“Never get married in the morning,” advises Paul Hornung, “because you never know who you’ll meet that night.” To which Rita Rudner countered, “I love being married. It’s so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.”
Parents generally tell their children whom to marry. But they won’t listen to them. Soon-to-be-married couples have one hope for their partners. As Bettina Arndt said, “Women hope men will change after marriage but they don’t; men hope women won’t change but they do.” And that’s where trouble begins.
This is what James L. Framo, authors of Explorations in Marital and Family Therapy suggests: “People do not marry people, not real ones anyway; they marry what they think the person is; they marry illusions and images. The exciting adventure of marriage is finding out who the partner really is.”
Unlike singles, who think of no one but themselves, being married really means thinking of the other half. “You can never be happily married to another until you get a divorce from yourself. Successful marriage demands a certain death to self,” said Jerry McCant.
If night is the most memorable time within the 24 hours among married couples, breakfast should be equally unforgettable. Gabriel Garcia Marquez knows this well: “The problem with marriage is that it ends every night after making love, and it must be rebuilt every morning before breakfast.”
And German actress Marlene Dietrich advised, “Once a woman has forgiven her man, she must not reheat his sins for breakfast.”
Marriages cannot outlast life. Death is the end of it all. Generally, men die younger than their counterparts. A teacher asked her students why women live longer on the average than men.
A student, without standing up, told his teacher: “Because they don’t have wives.”
And so it came to pass that the husband ended his unhappy life at 47. The widow, inconsolable at first, finally got a dog to ease her loneliness. The sorrow mellowed as she became more attached to the dog.
“She’s happy because she’s gotten back into her old pattern of living,” reported a neighbor. “That dog is a perfect substitute for her poor husband. He’s out all day, sleeps all evening, and she feeds him out of cans.”
Someone once quipped, “‘I am’ is reportedly the shortest sentence in the English language. Could it be that ‘I do’ is the longest sentence?”
Your answer is as good as mine.