ASSIGNMENT >> 14. Read “Maintaining a Marriage.”


A fulfilling marriage has, as an essential ingredient, a high level of communication between the marital partners. When the relationship becomes strained, if they get the overts and withholds off on the marriage, it will be put back together again.

One shouldn’t believe that it will go together without a few flying frying pans—you would be a perfectionist if you believed that was going to happen. And don’t believe you can all put it together again in one night because the number of overts and withholds can take a little longer to detail.

A marriage can exist but not without two-way communication. And it cannot exist unless it continues to be postulated into existence by the parties involved. If we do these things, we have a marriage.

Marriage, then, would consist of putting together an association between people without overt acts and withholds, postulated into existence and continued for the mutual perpetuation and protection of the members and the group.

It is a very simple arrangement, actually, and a highly satisfactory arrangement if it continues to be simple, but a very complex arrangement if it doesn’t continue to be.

It isn’t that mothers-in-law are the people who always wreck marriages. You could say offhand that mothers-in-law should all be shot and so forth, and then we would have free marriages and it’d be nice. Or we could have woman’s suffrage (their right to vote) and then marriage would be okay, or that we could have complete emancipation, instantaneous divorce, and marriage could be okay.

All of these social, sticky-plaster pieces of nonsense are just efforts to have a marriage without ever really having a marriage. None of these things ever made a marriage—quick divorce or preventing this or that.

The Chinese go the opposite—a marriage occurs but it really doesn’t occur because the oldest man of the husband’s family is still the head of the family, and the wife still serves the husband’s mother, and it all gets very complicated.

We get surrounded by bunches of rules and that sort of thing. We don’t care what rules they’re surrounded by as long as there is free communication amongst the members of that family—that group. And if there’s free communication amongst the members of that group, their affinity is sufficiently high to take the shocks and hammers and pounds of life, and life does hand out a few hammers and pounds and shocks now and again.

If the individuals connected with a family are not self-supportive, then these shocks can be rough one way or the other. The person does something and apparently thinks things are done to him, and he’s trying to make it and can’t. But on a self-supportive, mutually co-supportive basis, people have a better chance of making it than alone. And that’s one of the basic philosophies on which marriage is based.

Of course, a little kid wouldn’t make it at all, and none of us would have made it at all, if it hadn’t have been for a marriage. The biological pattern of familial relationships and growth is the thing which will carry mankind on.

But a marriage can exist. A marriage, no matter how strained, can be put back together again.

the right to vote, especially in a political election.

the act or process of setting somebody free or of freeing somebody from restrictions.

of or having to do with sticky plaster, adhesive material for covering a slight wound, usually a thin cloth gummed on one side. Used figuratively.

love, liking or any other emotional attitude; the degree of liking. The basic definition of affinity is the consideration of distance, whether good or bad.