The Porch Light copyright by Revka (2006-2010). All rights reserved.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Marriage 1920's Style - Part 1

I've been thinking a lot about marriage lately. Being married is not always easy, but it can be extremely rewarding for those who have the courage and tenacity to keep working to improve that marriage and to build a strong and lasting relationship with their spouse. Still, I see and have occasionally felt how tempting it can be to take the easy way out and quit trying to build a good/great marriage. I see how many people just surrender altogether and file for divorce. Most of all, I see how our core attitude toward marriage makes it more difficult for us to keep our wedding vow "'til death do us part."

One of my favorite secular authors is Emilie Loring. She wrote romance novels (stories about love overcoming adversity, not filthy, se*ualized stories) from 1914 until her death in 1951. Her books are clean; kissing is the extent of the romantic involvement depicted, and many of the books do not contain any swear words. (It wasn't until the 1960s that her male heroes were allowed to say d--n.) Reading her books is like taking a trip into another era, one in which character traits like honor, loyalty, bravery, and courage were valued highly.

I recently re-read The Trail of Conflict, which was originally published in 1922. The story is about a couple whose marriage is arranged and depicts the rocky path they follow on their way to a real, loving marriage. Because this book addresses problems rampant in today's society, I'm going to share relevant passages with you.

"...One doesn't take the vow 'and forsaking all others' to break it, does one?" gravely.

"I deduce from that that you do not believe in divorce?"

"Divorce! While I acknowledge that there may be situations where it is unavoidable, I hate the word. Always to me it takes on the semblance of Medusa's head in my school mythology, its snaky, hissing locks striking, stabbing, stinging, scarring indelibly. I believe in keeping covenants."

"It's hard sometimes."

"It is, but life isn't intended to be all joy-ride."

"Do you know, I fancy," with an exact imitation of his earlier voice and manner, "that the future first families of America's 'Who's Who' will be those who can count back at least four generations of ancestors who have, in spite of disappointment and disillusion, poverty or riches, sickness or health, kept their marriage covenants."
p. 35

This next passage follows the reading of a will which required the heroine to give up her family fortune and follow her husband to live on an isolated ranch for one year. Her father is speaking in the first sentence.
"Come, Jerry, give this thing up. Settle down here at the Manor and be happy."

For the first time since she had come into the lives of the Courtlands Jerry looked like her father. There was the same determination about her eyes, about her lips.

"Be happy! Does smooth going necessarily mean happiness? Does jogging along on the path beaten by our social set mean happiness? Do you know how I feel, Dad? It is as though Steve and I had come up against an enormous sign-post bearing the startling information, ROAD CLOSED: DETOUR. The detour may be hard going, detours usually are, but they also offer more thrills and adventures than the broad highway. I'm willing to take a sporting chance if - if Steve wants me--"
-pg. 45

More to come in Part 2.


Blogging Mom said...

Marriage is really no walk in the park. I find the beginning years hard due to the adjustment, and the different ways we have been brought up. Amidst all the trials, I am glad that my husband and I are growing stronger as each day passes. I know we will go through more challenges, but committing to work things out together is one way to keep it working. Nice post!

Ms. Latina on a Mission said...

I am a romantic at heart and also love reading. I've recently discovered Deeanne Gist and her Courting Trouble series. She is a Christian writer, who bases her stories on historic events and of course God's word. I loved her books so much I actually read through the night!
As far as, marriage yes it is extremely hard especially since society has become such a throw away society that focuses more on "me, me, me" then "us". My marriage did not work but I still believe wholeheartedly in the sancity of marriage. As Blogging Mom said its "no walk in the park" but its DEFINITELY worth it!

DramaMama said...

I have been thinking about marriage a lot lately too - our 10 yr anniversary is coming up! And I agree, society makes it really hard for people to commit. There's jobs, ministries, sports leagues/coffee dates, balancing kids and everything else! I didn't even mention Satan! He works so hard to tear down what we build...anyway, I praise God for the models we do have in our lives. Grandparents, people at church, and even some can be found portrayed by the media. We're starting a marriage series at church for Feb and I'm looking fwd to it! Revka, I'm also writing to tell you that I've tagged you in a 7 random things meme. I don't know if you have time (how is that baby anyway?) but I'd love to read your list! You can check mine out over on the blog...I'm a very random person! As always I had a lot to say...=)