Unhappy Love Matches

The Dawn Volume 2, Number 2. Sydney, June 1, 1889

MARRYING FOR WEALTH, position, or any consideration other than love is universally considered to be the Alpha and Omega of half the world's matrimonial infelicities, but it would be easy to find a corresponding number of so-called love matches, showing equally unhappy results. For who does not, among their acquaintances, count the unhappy couple, whose mating was the result of a love fit,--heartily tired of each other, yet chained together for life. The woman who cannot give a better reason for marrying than that she is in love, is likely to come to grief. It is not that she loves, but why or what she loves, that is the all important question. Realizing that when two hearts filled with love, tempered by respect, meet, melt and fuse into one, with congeniality of mind and purpose, it must be, to those participating, the realization of a perfect union in every sense of the word, still, lacking the above conditions love matches rank among the unhappiest and saddest marriages of all. Two things also necessary to happy union are perfect confidence and absolute truthfulness. The moment either of these is violated a wall is begun between the two hearts which, unchecked, will soon become so dense, so wide, so high, that even the grave itself would be less a separation. The advice given by H. Maria George, in The Household, is sound. She says--

Let every woman contemplating matrimony ask herself if she loves her prospective husband well enough to see the world with his eyes; enjoy its pleasures through his participation; see her ambitions wither one by one, or, perchance, carried on by her sons; to live a life full of petty duties, a round for which she has, perhaps, no aptitude, no congeniality, to lead a life of self-repression, self-sacrifice and buried individuality, to exchange her fresh youth and beauty for a mother's look of care; can she quiet every longing pulsation of the throbbing heart and lull her hungry soul to sleep by the thought that she is a wife and a mother?

It is but seldom that a man foregoes ambitions, or changes his life plans because he is a husband and a father. The circle of the wedding ring spreading and broadening for him closes in about his wife, bringing with it so many new duties and responsibilities that time and hands are so full, except in a rare combination of circumstances, as to leave her without either time or strength for the cultivation of talents or the pursuing of such a line of thought as will render her companionable to her husband. Whether bread and babies are pursuits lower or higher than those that fall to the lot of the husband is a question not to be decided here. But every woman in average circumstances who cannot with the two, satisfy every longing of her soul will certainly find marriage a failure. She must therefore remember that marriage means in these days the acceptance by her of a position full of work, restricted by many grievous limitations, and implying an abandonment of individuality, and that even love has not always achieved final happiness for married couples. In marriage career is offered to women, a clear defined, but limited career. They should be sure that it is their right vocation before they allow love only to prompt them to the acceptance of it.