Some advice about marriage in the form of five "don'ts," for some people can remember a negative more easily than a positive assertion.
First, to the young man:
1) Don't marry a woman who does not pray.
2) Don't marry a bad-tempered or jealous woman.
3) Don't marry a woman who loves the moving pictures and the matinee more than the home.
4) Don't marry a woman who drinks. It is bad enough when a woman marries a man who drinks, infinitely worse when a man marries a woman who drinks.
5) Unless you have plenty of money, or she has plenty of money, so that you can employ someone to do it for you, don't marry a woman who cannot cook or cannot learn to cook.
To the young woman:
1) Don't marry an unbeliever.
2) Don't marry a man of bad habits.
3) Don't marry a coffin man, that is, a man with room for himself and no one else.
4) Don't marry a peacock man, a conceited man.
5) Don't marry a man of low moral standards.
Rebekah said, "I will go." (Gen. 24:58.) How that answer has echoed upon the lips of thousands and thousands of the sisters of Rebekah! "Wilt thou go?" And back has come the answer, "I will go"—earth's sweetest music, no doubt, to those who hear both sentences!
"I will go!" And she has gone—although it meant the crossing of broad seas; a hut in a land of savages; a rude frontier settlement; one room in the third story back, which must serve as bedroom, living room, and kitchen.
"I will go!" And she has gone—although it has meant separation, loneliness, childbearing, sickness, grief, sometimes disappointment, sorrow, and tragedy.
Yet the world keeps on going, because men ask, "Wilt thou go?" and women still answer with radiant eye and tremulous voice, "I will go."
When William Jennings Bryan went to call on the father of his prospective wife and seek the hand of his daughter in marriage, knowing the strong religious feeling of the father, he thought to strengthen his case by a quotation from the Bible, and quoted the proverb of Solomon: "Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing" (Prov. 18:22). But to his surprise the father replied with a citation from Paul to the effect that he that marrieth doeth well, but he that marrieth not doeth better. The young suitor was for a moment confounded. Then with a happy inspiration he replied that Paul had no wife and Solomon had seven hundred, and Solomon, therefore, ought to be the better judge as to marriage.
Young men and young women must not be too disturbed by the alarming prevalence of divorces. Even if there is one divorce in every six marriages, think of the millions of happy homes where men and women and their children live together in loyalty and in love. A happy home is as near to heaven as we ever come in this world. The medieval knights had a saying that no knight was properly fitted for battle unless the hand of a woman had buckled on his armor.
The marriage of Mark Twain with Olivia Langdon is an illustration of how unbelief in a husband affects a believing wife in the marriage relationship. His wife was a simple and devout Christian. In their first married days they had grace at meals and read a chapter from the Bible every day. But this was soon abandoned. At length the young wife confided to her sister that she had given up some of her religious convictions. Her travels in Europe with her husband, the philosophies she had listened to from friends of her husband, and from her husband, also, and the hordes of people she had seen in her travels—all these had shaken her faith in the providence of God. At a time of sore bereavement Mark Twain said to his wife, "Livy, if it comforts you to lean on the Christian faith, do so."
She replied sadly, "I can't, Youth (always her name for her husband); I haven't any."
The thought that he had destroyed her faith, even though to him it was an illusion, frequently came back to him and
troubled him in the days which were to come. The highest and purest and happiest relationship is where there is a unity of heart and faith in love for God.
Abraham Lincoln, afterwards President of the United States and victor in the war against the negro slave trade in America, wrote the following verses at the age of 17, and sang them on the occasion of his sister's marriage.
The woman was not taken
From Adam's feet, we see:
So we must not abuse her—
The meaning seems to be.
The woman was not taken
From Adam's head, we know:
To show she must not rule him-
'Tis evidently so.
The woman—she was taken
From under Adam's arm:
So she must be protected
From injuries and harm.
(Gen. 2. 21, 22)
The following lines are true when the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ is realized. Three essentials to a happy marriage are: the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ at the wedding (John 2. 2), in the home (Mark 2. 1) and all along life's journey (Luke 24. 15).
We two make home of any place we go;
We two find joy in any kind of weather;
Or if the earth is clothed in bloom or snow,
If summer days invite or bleak winds blow,
What matters it if we two are together?
We two, we two, we make our world, our weather.
How wondrous was the call,
And sweet the festal lay,
When Jesus deigned in Cana's hall
To bless the marriage day.
O Lord of life and love,
Come Thou again today;
And bring a blessing from above
That ne'er shall pass away.—Selected