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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Pros and Cons of Marriage

by Seattle Jon (bio)

This list of pros and cons regarding marriage, written by Charles Darwin and available online in the Darwin Correspondence Project, speaks to the timeless cultural tension between family and career, love and work, heart and head.

Marry: Children – (if it Please God) – Constant companion, (& friend in old age) who will feel interested in one, – object to be beloved & played with. – better than a dog anyhow. – Home, & someone to take care of house – Charms of music & female chit-chat. – These things good for one's health. – but terrible loss of time. My God, it is intolerable to think of spending ones whole life, like a neuter bee, working, working, & nothing after all. – No, no won't do. – Imagine living all one's day solitarily in smoky dirty London House. – Only picture to yourself a nice soft wife on a sofa with good fire, & books & music perhaps – Compare this vision with the dingy reality of Grt. Marlbro' St.

Not Marry: Freedom to go where one liked – choice of Society & little of it. – Conversation of clever men at clubs – Not forced to visit relatives, & to bend in every trifle. – to have the expense & anxiety of children – perhaps quarelling – Loss of time. – cannot read in the Evenings – fatness & idleness – Anxiety & responsibility – less money for books &c – if many children forced to gain one's bread. – (But then it is very bad for ones health to work too much) Perhaps my wife wont like London; then the sentence is banishment & degradation into indolent, idle fool –

He then produces his conclusion: Marry. I think the nice soft wife who is better than a dog must have swayed him.

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