Mistakes And Excesses That Destroy Love
( Originally Published 1918 )
WHEN two young people first enter into the close relationship of marriage, they are so carried away by the beauty and wonder of the love that binds them together that they are in danger of attempting too frequently to give the fullest expression to it. Their great, overwhelming passion sweeps them along in its swift, deep current, until they are in danger of losing, for the time being, all sense of proportion and all power of self-restraint.
This is a terrible mistake for these two young creatures to make, for in time the very excess of their emotion will tend to lessen their power of loving. Excess brings inevitably in its train satiety, and that in turn is apt to change love into its abnormal expression of hate. Many of the tragic experiences of the first three to five years of married life which threaten to disrupt what was intended to be a lifelong union, may be traced to this serious mistake. Like the positive and negative poles of the electrical battery, the two were drawn together in the first place because of their very unlikeness. The excess of close association which they have allowed them-selves has brought about so great an interchange of electric vibration, if we choose to call it so, that now they are charged with practically identical currents, and, because of this fact, they find a repulsion beginning to show itself. This is simply Nature's effort to restore the equilibrium, and should be recognized as such.
If this mistake has been made by two young people, and they are able to recognize it as the cause of the constantly increasing irritation between them, the wisest thing they can do is to separate temporarily. Let the wife go away on a visit of longer or shorter duration, until once more they are attracted to each other. Probably after such a temporary separation, when they come together they will be able to exercise the needed amount of self-control to put their relationship upon an harmonious and lasting foundation.
The wisest plan, however, is for the young people to recognize from the very beginning the possibility of satiety from over-stimulation, and so from the very earliest days of the courtship to exercise that wise self-restraint which will prevent all possibility of this sad experience coming to them.
Let them remember that their new-found love is intended to last them for a lifetime. Let them, therefore, - conserve that love and its expression in order that it may always remain with them in full force.
As the love that binds them together should be mental and spiritual, as well as physical and emotional, let them strive to find higher and better forms of expression as the days go by. The words of appreciation that bring needed encouragment to the struggling soul, the act of self-denial which speaks more truly than any other action of a self-sacrificing love, will do more than anything else to bind the two hearts together in a bond that cannot be broken. Thus their united love will grow from day to day in depth and sweetness, and in all lasting qualities.
Caresses and terms of endearment are very grateful to the young wife's heart, and she is in danger sometimes of making too great a demand upon her husband along this line. He is glad to welcome her caresses and to bestow his in his hours of leisure and relaxation. But when some important business matter is pressing, playful requests for kisses and caresses are very taxing. The wife who persistently thrusts herself upon her husband's attention in this way and at such a time, need not be surprised if eventually his self-control breaks down and his irritation ex-presses itself in unmistakable form. She has only herself to blame for such actions upon his part, because she has failed to show proper consideration for his responsibilities. She has been thinking only of herself and her desire for a little attention, not at all of him and the important task which he may feel it incumbent upon him to finish.
Many wives resent it when the husband brings home some bit of work to be completed in the evening. It is true, the husband should endeavor to devote a certain portion of his time each day to a little social intercourse with his wife. But a man is more or less a victim of circumstances; and if he feels that the financial welfare of the family depends upon his sacrificing some of his ease and comfort in this way, his wife should be ready to make a corresponding sacrifice in cheerfulness and in a true spirit of practical co-operation. She should rather consider it a compliment that he has enough confidence in her to feel that he can bring his work home. Otherwise, he may grow into the habit of staying in the office whenever the exigencies of business press heavily upon him.
She should endeavor by every means in her power to make herself his partner in every sense of the word. She should not, of course, pester him for details which he has not the time to explain to her, but if she gives her attention in a properly receptive manner, never breaking in upon his story of the day's happenings with irrelevant details upon extraneous matters, never indulging in petty criticisms of him or his associates, but speaking a word of appreciation when-ever possible, and giving expression to her complete confidence in him as often as she can, she will find that he will instinctively seek her counsel in every emergency, and eventually she will find herself in full possession of practically all of the details of his business.