Medley of Musings on Matrimony

Published: 13th September 2014 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th September 2014 10:37 PM   |  A+A-

If marriages are made in heaven, why do they often fail on terra firma? Blame it on marital disharmony which leaves newlyweds disillusioned after the initial euphoria—and brings them down to earth (and reality) with a thud!

Mismatched couples will easily empathise with the ever-feuding Lockhorns featured in this daily. Loretta and Leroy epitomise marital incompatibility at its funniest—with even their marriage counsellor tearing out his hair (or the little that’s left of it) in sheer frustration over their knotty problems. The two never tire of targeting each other.

It’s the lighter side of wedlock that appeals more to ordinary mortals like us. We know from experience that once the initial glamour fades, ill-prepared newlyweds run into the harsh realities of life. Their failure to cope is what keeps marriage counsellors and humorists in business.   Over the decades, the latter have aired some delightful gags, giving us an insight into what undermines a marriage. And they all ring true.

Humorist Helen Rowland’s marriage-related wit sparkles. “Before marriage a man will lie awake all night thinking about something you said,” she jests. “After marriage, he’ll fall asleep even before you finish saying it.” “When a girl marries,” Rowland quips, “she exchanges the attentions of many men for the inattention of one.” “When a man makes a woman his wife,” she declares, “it’s the highest compliment he can pay her—and it’s usually the last.” And then she unleashes this hard-hitting home truth: “It’s as hard to get a man to stay home after you’ve married him as it was to get him to go home before you married him.”

Oscar Wilde inimitably puns that “A woman begins by resisting a man’s advances and ends by blocking his retreat.” In an oblique reference to infatuation, Stephen Leacock opines, “Many a man in love with a dimple makes the mistake of marrying the whole girl.” An MC once joked, “The dearest object to a married man should be his wife, but more often than not it’s her clothes!”   And a witty British boss once confided, “No husband ever gets a more patient hearing from his wife than when he mumbles in his sleep!”

Perhaps writer E V Lucas went to the heart of the matter with this insightful gem: “The trouble with marriage is that while every woman is at heart a mother, every man is at heart a bachelor.” In this context British clergyman Sydney Smith’s analogy is quite apt. “Marriage resembles a pair of shears,” he says, “so joined that they can’t be separated; often moving in opposite directions, yet always punishing anyone who comes between them.” And Benjamin Franklin claims, “One good husband is worth two good wives; for the scarcer things are, the more they’re valued.”

So who makes couples happier—the priest who marries them or the judge who divorces them?   It’s a toss-up.

As a confirmed bachelor snorted, “Tie the knot? I’d rather tie myself in knots!”

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