"Here she is mending her dress; mending her dress as usual, he thought; here she’s been sitting all the time I’ve been in India; mending her dress; playing about; going to parties; running to the House and back and all that, he thought, growing more and more irritated, more and more agitated, for there’s nothing in the world so bad for some women as marriage, he thought."

Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

This Victorian steampunk wedding almost makes me think getting married might be worth all of the bullshit. Almost.

Cutting the Cake by Virginia Hamilton Adair

Gowned and veiled for tribal ritual
in a maze of tulle and satin
with her eyes rimmed round in cat fur
and the stylish men about her
kissing kin and carefree suitors

long she looked unseeing past him
to her picture in the papers
print and photoflash embalming
the demise of the familiar
and he trembled as her fingers

took the dagger laid before them
for the ceremonial cutting
of the mounting tiers of sweetness
crowned with manikin and maiden
and her chop was so triumphant

that the groomlike little figure
from his lover at the apex
toppled over in the frosting
where a flower girl retrieved him
sucked him dry and bit his head off.

"I would not wish to imply that there has been no progress in this century. But I suggest that much of the so-called progress is in the empty, unloving directions of glamour sex, thrill sex, and pornography rather than coming more in tune with affectionate human relatedness or operating as the magnificent creative and social force which I believe it should be."

 Walter R. Stokes, “Inadequacy of Female Orgasm as a Problem in Marriage Counseling”

"The problem in public life is learning to overcome terror; the problem in married life is learning to overcome boredom."

Fermina Daza, Love in the Time of Cholera

"It was against all scientific reason for two people who hardly knew each other, with no ties at all between them, with different characters, different upbringings, and even different genders, to suddenly find themselves committed to living together, to sleeping in the same bed, to sharing two destinies that perhaps were fated to go in opposite directions. He would say: “The problem with marriage is that it ends every night after making love, and it must be rebuilt every morning before breakfast.”"

Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Love in the Time of Cholera

"A merging of two people is an impossibility, and where it seems to exist, it is a hemming-in, a mutual consent that robs one party or both parties of their fullest freedom and development. But once the realization is accepted that even between the closest people infinite distances exist, a marvelous living side-by-side can grow up for them, if they succeed in loving the expanse between them, which gives them the possibility of always seeing each other as a whole and before an immense sky."

Rainer Maria Rilke

This case brings up a lot of interesting questions about marriage, wedding costs, and decision making. Personally, I’d be pretty annoyed if my fiance decided to back out 4 days before the wedding, after you’ve already paid for all this stuff for the wedding. Especially because they had been engaged for 2 years. That’s 2 years to make up your mind! Now she’s suing him for and emotional damages. Normally I dislike when people due for a seemingly petty reason, but I can actually see where she is coming from on this one.

The bills for this wedding were absurd. The expenses are roughly broken down in the article. One thing I love is that the higher the divorce rate gets, the more expensive weddings become. People enjoy throwing a lavish party to celebrate their love out of insecurity more than anything. They think that maybe if the wedding is perfect, the marriage will be perfect too. If anything, worrying about throwing the perfect party starts with the couple stress early, both emotionally and financially. It’s just silly. This is coming from a person who watches wedding shows all the time!

On a slightly different note, I bet that bride looked a lot like one of those women in the picture I posted below. I know I would.

Midnight by Louise Glück

Speak to me, aching heart: what
ridiculous errand are you inventing for yourself
weeping in the dark garage
with you sack of garbage: it is not your job
to take out the garbage, it is your job
to empty the dishwasher. You are showing off again,
exactly as you did in childhood — where
is your sporting side, your famous
ironic detachment? A little moonlight hits
the broken window, a little summer moonlight, tender
murmurs from the earth with it ready sweetnesses —
is this the way you communicate
with your husband, not answering
when he calls, or is this the way the heart
behaves when it grieves it wants to be
alone with the garbage? If I were you,
I’d think ahead. After fifteen years,
his voice could be getting tired; some night
if you don’t answer, someone else will answer.

The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin

Knowing that Mrs. Mallard was afflicted with a heart trouble, great care was taken to break to her as gently as possible the news of her husband’s death.

It was her sister Josephine who told her, in broken sentences; veiled hints that revealed in half concealing. Her husband’s friend Richards was there, too, near her. It was he who had been in the newspaper office when intelligence of the railroad disaster was received, with Brently Mallard’s name leading the list of “killed.” He had only taken the time to assure himself of its truth by a second telegram, and had hastened to forestall any less careful, less tender friend in bearing the sad message.

She did not hear the story as many women have heard the same, with a paralyzed inability to accept its significance. She wept at once, with sudden, wild abandonment, in her sister’s arms. When the storm of grief had spent itself she went away to her room alone. She would have no one follow her.

There stood, facing the open window, a comfortable, roomy armchair. Into this she sank, pressed down by a physical exhaustion that haunted her body and seemed to reach into her soul.

She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life. The delicious breath of rain was in the air. In the street below a peddler was crying his wares. The notes of a distant song which some one was singing reached her faintly, and countless sparrows were twittering in the eaves.

There were patches of blue sky showing here and there through the clouds that had met and piled one above the other in the west facing her window.

She sat with her head thrown back upon the cushion of the chair, quite motionless, except when a sob came up into her throat and shook her, as a child who has cried itself to sleep continues to sob in its dreams.

She was young, with a fair, calm face, whose lines bespoke repression and even a certain strength. But now there was a dull stare in her eyes, whose gaze was fixed away off yonder on one of those patches of blue sky. It was not a glance of reflection, but rather indicated a suspension of intelligent thought.

There was something coming to her and she was waiting for it, fearfully. What was it? She did not know; it was too subtle and elusive to name. But she felt it, creeping out of the sky, reaching toward her through the sounds, the scents, the color that filled the air.

Now her bosom rose and fell tumultuously. She was beginning to recognize this thing that was approaching to possess her, and she was striving to beat it back with her will—as powerless as her two white slender hands would have been. When she abandoned herself a little whispered word escaped her slightly parted lips. She said it over and over under hte breath: “free, free, free!” The vacant stare and the look of terror that had followed it went from her eyes. They stayed keen and bright. Her pulses beat fast, and the coursing blood warmed and relaxed every inch of her body.

She did not stop to ask if it were or were not a monstrous joy that held her. A clear and exalted perception enabled her to dismiss the suggestion as trivial. She knew that she would weep again when she saw the kind, tender hands folded in death; the face that had never looked save with love upon her, fixed and gray and dead. But she saw beyond that bitter moment a long procession of years to come that owuld belong to her absolutely. And she opened and spread her arms out to them in welcome.

There would be no one to live for during those coming years; she would live for herself. There would be no powerful will bending hers in that blind persistence with which men and women believe they ahve a right to impose a private will upon a fellow-creature. A kind intention or a cruel intention made the act seem no less a crime as she looked upon it in that brief moment of illumination.

And yet she had loved him—sometimes. Often she had not. What did it matter! What could love, the unsolved mystery, count for in the face of this possession of self-assertion which she suddenly recognized as the strongest impulse of her being!

"Free! Body and soul free!" she kept whispering.

Josephine was kneeling before the closed door with her lips to the keyhold, imploring for admission. “Louise, open the door! I beg; open the door—you will make yourself ill. What are you doing, Louise? For heaven’s sake open the door.”

"Go away. I am not making myself ill." No; she was drinking in a very elixir of life through that open window.

Her fancy was running riot along those days ahead of her. Spring days, and summer days, and all sorts of days that would be her own. She breathed a quick prayer that life might be long. It was only yesterday she had thought with a shudder that life might be long.

She arose at length and opened the door to her sister’s importunities. There was a feverish triumph in her eyes, and she carried herself unwittingly like a goddess of Victory. She clasped her sister’s waist, and together they descended the stairs. Richards stood waiting for them at the bottom.

Some one was opening the front door with a latchkey. It was Brently Mallard who entered, a little travel-stained, composedly carrying his grip-sack and umbrella. He had been far from the scene of the accident, and did not even know there had been one. He stood amazed at Josephine’s piercing cry; at Richards’ quick motion to screen him from the view of his wife.

When the doctors came they said she had died of heart disease—of the joy that kills.