Interesting Facts You Need To Know About Love, Flirtation, Marriage, Monogamy And Affection – The Vintage Woman.
The attraction of the sexes for each other, though based upon the dual principle of generation which pervades the living world and which has its analogies in the attractive forces of matter, yet pervades the whole being.
Love is not merely the instinctive desire of physical union, which has for its object the continuation of the species—it belongs to the mind as well as to the body. It warms, invigorates, and elevates every sentiment, every feeling; and in its highest, purest, most diffusive form unites us to God and all creatures in Him.
All love is essentially the same, but modified according to its objects and by the character of the one who loves. The love of children for their parents, of parents for offspring, brotherly and sisterly love, the love of friendship, of charity, and the fervor of religious love, are modifications of the same sentiment—the attraction that draws us to our kindred, our kind; that binds together all races and humanity itself, resting on the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man.
It is but natural that this love should vary in degrees. Attractions are proportional to proximity. Family is nearer than country; we prefer our own nation to the rest of the race.
Each individual has, also, his own special attractions and repulsions. There is love at first sight and friendship at first sight. We feel some persons pleasant to us; to be near them is a delight. Generally such feelings are mutual—like flows to like, or as often, perhaps, differences fit into each other. We seek sympathy with our own tastes and habits, or we find in others what we lack.
Thus the weak rest upon the strong, the timid are fond of the courageous, the reckless seek guidance of the prudent, and so on. The sentiment of love for the opposite sex —tender, romantic, passionate—begins very early in life. Fathers and daughters, mothers and sons, have a special fondness for each other, as, also, have brothers and sisters; but the boy soon comes to admire someone, generally older than himself, who is not a relation.
Very little girls find a hero in some friend of an elder brother. Fondness for cousins generally comes more from opportunity than natural attraction, though a cousin may have very little appearance of family relation. The law appears to be that free choice seeks the diverse and distant. A stranger has always a better chance with the young ladies of any district than the young men with whom they have always been acquainted. Savages seek their wives out of their own tribe.
It is my belief that naturally (I mean in a state of pure and unperverted nature, but developed cultivated, and refined by education) every man loves womanhood itself, and all women so far as they approximate to his ideal; and that in the same way every woman loves manhood, and is attracted and charmed by all its gentle, noble, and heroic manifestations.
By such a man, every woman he meets is reverenced as a mother, sister, daughter, or, it may be, cherished in a more tender relation, which should be at first, and may always remain, free from any sensual desire.
Such love may have many objects, each attracting the kind and degree of affection which it is able to inspire. Such love of men for women, and women for men, may be free and will be free just in the degree in which it is freed from the bondage of sensual passion.
Such love has a direct tendency to raise men above the control of their senses. The more of such love one has and the more it is diffused, the less the liability to sink into the lower and disorderly loves of the sensual life.
The idea that every attraction, every attachment, every love between the sexes must lead to marriage—that no love can be tolerated but with that end in view—is a very false and mischievous one. It deprives men and women of the strength and happiness they might have in pure friendships and pure loves, and it leads to a multitude of false and bad marriages.
Two persons are drawn together by strong attractions and tender sentiments for each other who have no more right to be married than if they were brother and sister, but who have the same right to love each other. But their true sentiments for each other, and consequent relation to each other, are not understood by those around them and perhaps not by themselves.
They are urged by the misapprehension of others, by their expectation, by ignorant gossip, by the prejudice of society, based upon low and sensual estimates of life, to marry; they find that they must either marry or lose the happiness they have in each other’s society, and they make the irrevocable mistake.
When it is understood that there are other loves than that of marriage; when the special attraction that justifies union for life, and the begetting of offspring, is discriminated from all the other attractions that may bring two souls into very near and tender relations to each other, there will be more happiness in the world and fewer incomplete, imperfect, and, therefore, more or less unhappy, marriages.
Nothing can be more detestable than that playing with fire which goes by the name of flirtation but there are men and women who have the happiness of living and of being tenderly and devotedly loved by persons of the opposite sex—loved purely, nobly, happily—without injury and with great good.
When such loves are accompanied by perfect trust in the goodness, purity, truth, and honor of the beloved, there can be no jealousy, no desire for selfish absorption, no fear of deprivation of any right. There is no reason why a husband or a wife should limit the range of pure and spiritual affection to near relatives.
The man who can love a sister as sisters are often loved, may love in the same way, or as purely, any woman who might be his sister. As men and women learn to purify their lives, the world will grow more tolerant and love will become more universal.
The tender and fervent exhortations to mutual love to be found in the Gospels and Epistles of the New Testament are now almost without a meaning. But they had a meaning to those to whom they were addressed, and when we are better Christians, and bring our lives to the purity of Christian morality, they will have a meaning to us and we shall learn that, in a sense we have not dreamed of, God is Love.
In the human race all circumstances point to monogamy as the lawful or natural condition. Males and females are born in almost equal numbers. If there are two or three per cent. more of males than females, the risks of life with males soon make the number even. Therefore, as a rule, no man can have more than one wife without robbing his neighbor.
Polygamy is therefore a manifest injustice, and may become the most grievous of all monopolies.
Children are the most helpless of all young creatures and require the care of parents for the longest period. The care of a husband for his wife, and of a father for his child, is an evident necessity. The proper care and education of a single child should extend over at least fifteen years, and that of a family may reach to thirty years, or throughout the greatest part of an ordinary life.
During all periods of pregnancy, childbearing, nursing, and the education and care of a family, every woman has a right to the sympathy, sustaining love, and constant aid of her husband. No man has a right to desert or leave helpless, or even dependent upon others, except in extraordinary cases, the mother of his children.
Marriage, like celibacy, should be a matter of vocation. The special object of marriage is to have children; the co-operating motive is that two persons drawn to each other by a mutual affection may live helpfully and happily together.
A selfish marriage, for its merely animal gratifications—a marriage in which strength, health, usefulness, often life itself, are sacrificed to sensuality and lust—is a desecration of a holy institution, and somewhat worse in its consequences than promiscuous profligacy, for the consequences of that may not fall upon one’s children and posterity.
There are many persons who have no right to marry. There should be a kind and amount of love that will justify and sanctify such a relation. There should be a pure motive and the fixed intention of making the relation what it ought to be to husband, wife, and children.
There should be a reasonable assurance of the power to provide for a family. There should be that amount of health, that freedom from bodily and mental disease, that physical and moral constitution which will give a reasonable prospect of children whose lives will be a blessing to themselves and to society.
When there is deformity of body, or an unhappy peculiarity of temper or mind liable to be inherited, people should not marry, or if they live together, should resign the uses of marriage. People should conscientiously refrain from propagating hereditary diseases. Persons near of kin are wisely forbidden to marry, for there is in such cases the liability of imperfect generation—the production of blind, deaf, idiotic or insane offspring.
Should marriage be for life?
As a rule, undoubtedly. Every real, proper, true marriage must be. It takes a lifetime for a husband and wife to make a home and rear and educate and provide for a family of children. But what if people make mistakes and find that they are not suitably married?
These are mistakes very difficult to remedy. If a man, after deliberately making his choice of a woman, ceases to love her, how can he honorably withdraw from his relation to her, and enter upon another, when she still loves him, and is ready to fulfill her part of the contract?
Laws cannot very well provide for mistakes. If the distaste for each other be mutual, and both parties desire to separate, a separation may of course be permitted; but it is a serious question whether two such persons can go into the world and find new partners, with justice to the rest.
The law which permits of no divorce certainly bears hard upon individual cases; but if it leads to greater seriousness and care in forming such relations, it may be, on the whole, the best thing for society that it should be strictly observed.
Excerpt From The Ladies Book Of Useful Information.
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