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Whom to “Never marry”


My wife sent me this recently.   After 29 years, hopefully, she is not regretting her own choice!  Here are some of the more interesting rules from  Anthony Esolen’s called “The Rules.”

1. Don’t marry a woman who likes cats but does not like dogs.  You may marry a woman who doesn’t like either, or whose reason for not liking dogs is that one of them bit her when she was a toddler.  But a woman who likes cats but does not like dogs will be a Joan Crawford or Jane Wyman.  Ronald Reagan married Jane Wyman, and look how sorry he was about that.

4. Don’t marry anybody who insists on a separate bank account, bed, bathroom, vacation, or zip code.  It makes no sense to be one flesh and two wallets.

6. Don’t marry a man who does not like dogs.  Such men do not like children.  Don’t marry a man who does not like children.  On the other hand, I have known at least one excellent man who thought he didn’t like children, until he had some; seven, I think, at last count.  Perhaps the rule may be rephrased: Don’t marry a man whom you cannot imagine rolling on the ground in a wrestling hold, with a Labrador retriever or three children, or hollering on a ferris wheel, with a Labrador retriever or three children.

8. Do not marry a man who treats his mother or his sisters discourteously.  As he treats his mother, so will he treat you.  But by all means do not marry a man who takes his direction from his mother, or who is ruled by his mother’s ambitions.  Mama’s boys are unhappy, and they make their wives unhappy too.  So are the mothers of mama’s boys, come to think of it.  Unhappy days are here again.

9. Do not marry a woman who sneers at innocent male pastimes, such as football.  Such women do not really enjoy the company of men, and after a period soon reached, do not enjoy the company of their own husbands.  They are also the most ignorant of what men are really like.  You may marry a tomboy, so long as she’s a girlish tomboy and doesn’t take the sport with dreadful seriousness.  You may marry a Daddy’s girl, so long as she is not spoiled when it comes to money.

10. Never marry anyone who is secretive about money.  Such people are also secretive about sex.

11. Never marry a man who lets you take the initiative in everything.  You want a jellyfish, maybe?  You want Burt Lancaster instead.

12. Never marry a woman who never lets you take the initiative in anything.  You want a porcupine, maybe?  You want Maureen O’Hara instead.

14. Never marry anyone who delights in “exposing” you in public.  Teasing does not count; in fact, never marry a man who cannot be teased.  You can marry a woman who cannot be teased.

15. Never marry a man who is not admired by respectable male friends.  The people in the world who know a man best are the men he works and plays with.  They know well if he is a cheat, a thug, a loser.  You may marry a man who does not have female friends.  If anything, you should be suspicious of a man whose friends are principally female.  The men may be avoiding him, and there is a reason for that.

16. Never marry anyone who is not interested in looking at your fourth-grade yearbook.  This means: never marry anyone who seems unaware that he or she is marrying also a family, a hometown, a past, silly friends, comedies and tragedies.  Never marry anyone who does not want to meet your father and mother.  If your sister doesn’t like him, dump him.  If your sister doesn’t like her, dump her.  That is why God created sisters.  Their approval, however, is not a sufficient condition; they will occasionally like losers, but they almost never detest good marrying material.

18. Never marry anyone whom you catch in a lie, even a little one.  Trust us on this one.  People in love are about the most gullible creatures on God’s green earth.  In fact, beside the dictionary entry on “gullible” there’s a picture of a woman in love, eyes looking dreamily upward, hands holding her chin; and a picture of an indignant young man defending the honor of his beloved, who would never do such a thing, no sir!

20. Never marry anyone, man or woman, who scoffs at virtue, who reduces “good” and “evil” to arbitrary counters in the war of all against all, whose humor is flippancy, who looks down upon janitors and maids, who cannot delight in making simple things (like a batting T or a thank-you note), who thinks tradition is old and shopworn (such people are followers of every fad that comes), and who is never, ever, just relaxed, grateful for a shady seat under the maple tree in fall.  That is another way of saying that you should never marry anyone who does not know who God is.

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