Dispatches > Quotables


Issue: "Marriage and the family," May 20, 2000

My Dear Daughter, You have just entered into that state which is replete with happiness or misery. You are allied to a man of honor, of talents, and of an open, generous disposition. You have, therefore, in your power all the essential ingredients of that system of conduct which you ought invariably to pursue-if you will now see clearly the path from which you will resolve never to deviate. The first maxim which you should impress upon your mind is never to attempt to control your husband, by opposition, by displeasure, or any other work of anger.... Little things that in reality are mere trifles in themselves, often produce bickerings and even quarrels. Never permit them to be a subject of dispute; yield them with pleasure, with a smile of affection.... Cultivate your mind by the perusal of those books which instruct while they amuse. Do not devote much of your time to novels.... History, geography, poetry, moral essays, biography, travels, sermons, and other well-written religious productions will not fail to enlarge your understanding, to render you a more agreeable companion, and to exalt your virtue. Mutual politeness between the most intimate of friends is essential to that harmony which should never be broken or interrupted. How important, then, it is between man and wife! ... I will add that matrimonial happiness does not depend on wealth; no, it is not to be found in wealth, but in minds properly tempered and united to our respective situations. In the management of your domestic concerns let prudence and wise economy prevail. Unite liberality with a just frugality; always reserve something for the hand of charity; and never let your door be closed to the voice of suffering humanity.

Patrick Henry, in advice to his daughter Annie upon her wedding in 1786

I married the first man I ever kissed. When I tell this to my children they just about throw up.

Barbara Bush, wife of President George Bush

By all means marry. If you get a good wife you will become happy, and if you get a bad one you will become a philosopher.

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In education, in marriage, in religion, in everything, disappointment is the lot of women. It shall be the business of my life to deepen this disappointment in every woman's heart until she bows down to it no longer.

Lucy Stone, U.S. suffragist, feminist

Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, and half shut afterwards.

Benjamin Franklin

All womanhood is hampered today because the world on which it is emerging is a world that tries to worship both virgins and mothers and in the end despises motherhood and despoils virgins.

W. E. B. Du Bois

My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual, and physical education I received from her.

George Washington


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