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What Is "Marriage"?

The LiveReal Quiz

...can you take it?

Article by LiveReal Agent Mary

It's an age-old word referring to something we are all familiar with, yet so many folks seem to disagree about...

- so we, your trusty LiveReal Agents, decided that the first step in our search
was to seek out the greatest minds throughout history who have had something to say on the subject and gather them in one place in order to really answer the basic question...

- what is it?

What Is "Marriage"?

(multiple choice format)

A) A way to guarantee that you will experience love, intimacy, and happiness for the rest of your life.

B) It's simple: you meet your soul-mate, you have powerfully experiences of intimacy that you've never felt before, you both fall in love with each other, you get married, walk off into the sunset, and live happily ever after. Heaven on earth.

C) Marriages are made in heaven. But, again, as the saying goes, so are thunder, lightning, tornados and hail.

D) "What they do in heaven we are ignorant of; what they do not we are told expressly, that they neither marry, nor are given in marriage." - Jonathan Swift

F) It's an act where two people decide to base the rest of their lives on a mysterious, subjective, and often temporary emotion.

G) It's an arrangement where each promises "To have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part." (The Book of Common Prayer)

H) It is an arrangement where each person stays with their partner...as long as they continue to find them comforting, considerate, easy, enjoyable, flattering, supportive, effortlessly attractive, fun, not overweight, compliant, agreeable, accomodating, sexy, ageless, entertaining, and pleasant to be around.

I) "If variety is the spice of life, marriage is the big can of leftover Spam." - Johnny Carson

J) Something God puts together, and man puts asunder, about 50-60% of the time.

K) It's the necessary first step towards getting a divorce, as part of "the typical cycle".

L) "The majority of husbands remind me of an orangutan trying to play the violin." - Honore de Balzac

M) It's an attempt to institutionalizelove. It's an effort to take a mysterious, ineffable, sublime experience of "love," and capture it, stuff it, mount it, and place it securely up on one's mantle so that one is never in danger of losing it . . . a process which reliably loses the very thing it wishes to preserve.

N) An age-old cure for loneliness.

O) "The surest way to be alone is to get married." - Gloria Steinem

P) Historically, an arrangement between families whereby parents and external social mandates create a kind of business transaction based on such factors as land, status, and money.

Q) It's an outdated artifact that is no longer as effective at providing happiness to individuals as it once was.

R) It's a very modern practice which is still as effective at providing happiness to individuals . . . if they know how to use it properly.

S) "The trouble with wedlock is that there's not enough wed and too much lock." - Christopher Morley

T) An arrangement of which the key ingredient is creating a safe place to raise children.

U) An arrangement whereby one person becomes a "ball" and another becomes a "chain."

V) Getting married for sex is like buying a 747 for the free peanuts. - Jeff Foxworthy

W) An arrangement where generally a man thinks he is, from then on out, going to get as much sex as he wants, whenever he wants it, and a woman thinks will give her security for the rest of her life.

X) George Bernard Shaw: Marriage is popular because it combines the maximum of temptation with the maximum of opportunity."

Y) The process of going out in public, before all of one's friends, family, community, and God, making a solemn vow, and often breaking it shortly hereafter.

Z) George Bernard Shaw: "When two people are under the influence of the most violent, most insane, most delusive, and most transient of passions, they are required to swear that they will remain in that excited, abnormal and exhausting condition until death do them part."

AA) Something that often interferes with what is really important . . . your career.

BB) "Instead of getting married again, I'm going to find a woman I don't like and just give her a house." -Rod Stewart

CC) An economic transaction: a type of interpersonal merger or business deal where between two individuals who size each other up and agree to a mutually beneficial arrangement.

DD) An arrangement that, statistically speaking, will probably end in divorce, although no one thinks that going in to it, and everyone thinks it will happen not to them, but to "the others."

EE) Feminism: A subjugation of women.

FF) Masculism (umm, what?): A subjugation of men.

GG) Ambrose Bierce: "The state or condition of a community consisting of a master, a mistress and two slaves, making in all, two."

HH) Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe: "Love is an ideal thing, marriage a real thing; a confusion of the real with the ideal never goes unpunished."

II) "No man, examining his marriage intelligently, can fail to observe that it is compounded, at least in part, of slavery, and that he is the slave." - H. L. Mencken

JJ) "Marriage isn't a process of prolonging the life of love, but of mummifying the corpse." - P. G. Wodehouse (also: "Marriage: a souvenir of love." - Helen Rowland)

KK) "Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half shut afterwards." -Benjamin Franklin

LL) "Marriage is like a cage; one sees the birds outside desperate to get in, and those inside equally desperate to get out." -Michel de Montaigne

MM) "They say love is blind...and marriage is an institution. Well, I'm not ready for an institution for the blind just yet." -Mae West

NN) "Marriage is like life in this - that it is a field of battle, and not a bed or roses." - Robert Louis Stevenson

OO) "The most happy marriage I can picture or imagine to myself would be the union of a deaf man to a blind woman." - Samuel Taylor Coleridge

PP) "Courtship to marriage, as a very witty prologue to a very dull Play." - William Congreve

QQ) "Marriage is for women the commonest mode of livelihood, and the total amount of undesired sex endured by women is probably greater in marriage than in prostitution." - Bertrand Russell

RR) The scene and setting for a great deal of violence and murder.

SS) Marriage is "A ceremony in which rings are put on the finger of the lady and through the nose of the gentleman." - Herbert Spencer

TT) J. B. Priestley: "Marriage is like paying an endless visit in your worst clothes."

UU) "Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance." - Jane Austen

VV) "Wives are young men's mistresses, companions for middle age, and old men's nurses - Francis Bacon

WW) The foundation and basic building block of a healthy society and culture.

XX) "Is not marriage an open question, when it is alleged, from the beginning of the world, that such as are in the institution wish to get out, and such as are out wish to get in?" -Ralph Waldo Emerson

YY) "Marriage is an arrangement by which two people start by getting the best out of each other and often end by getting the worst." - Gerald Brenan

ZZ) The cure for love is marriage, and the cure for marriage is love again. -Unknown

AAA) "We all have a childhood dream that when there is love, everything goes like silk, but the reality is that marriage requires a lot of compromise." -Raquel Welch

BBB) "Love is an obsessive delusion that is cured by marriage." -Dr. Karl Bowman

CCC) "If you want to sacrifice the admiration of many men for the criticism of one, go ahead, get married." -Katherine Hepburn

DDD) "Nearly all marriages, even happy ones, are mistakes: in the sense that almost certainly (in a more perfect world, or even with a little more care in this very imperfect one) both partners might have found more suitable mates. But the real soul-mate is the one you are actually married to." - J. R. R. Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings

EEE) "The trouble with my wife is that she is a whore in the kitchen and a cook in bed." - Geoffrey Gorer

FFF) "The concept of two people living together for 25 years without having a cross word suggests a lack of spirit only to be admired in sheep." - A. P. Herbert

GGG) "Marriage is the triumph of imagination over intelligence. Second marriage is the triumph of hope over experience. " -Oscar Wilde

HHH) "The value of marriage is not that adults produce children but that children produce adults." - Peter de Vries

III) "When you're bored with yourself, marry and be bored with someone else." - David Pryce-Jones

JJJ) "It destroys one's nerves to be amiable every day to the same human being." - Benjamin Disraeli

KKK) "Marriage is like a pair of shears oft times working in opposite directions, but punishing anyone that comes between them." -Sydney Smith

LLL) "One advantage of marriage it seems to me is that when you fall out of love with him or he falls out of love with you it keeps you together until maybe you fall in again." -Judith Viorst

MMM) "Now, what exactly is marriage? It is quite clear that it is a form of legalization of the inherent instinct of the bi-polar existence asserting itself and then a check upon any uncontrolled ravaging activity of the instinct. The point is that a person cannot live totally isolated from society since existence itself would be difficult without cooperation from others. Inasmuch as this instinct is present in every person and everyone would like to manifest it as much as possible, there would be difficulty in such a behavior since everyone else also would like to do the same thing. This goes to say that the institution of marriage is a process of granting limited freedom to the operation of the instinct permitting it to operate within the circle of social norms, with due respect for the welfare of everyone equally.
However, with all this that has been said above, a question will arise as to why is there such an attraction between the male and the female . . ." - Yogi Swami Sivananda

NNN) "The more you invest in a marriage, the more valuable it becomes." -Amy Grant

OOO) "Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them." - Colossians 3:19

PPP) "Marriage is like a "box": "First you choose a mate. Then you climb into a box. Once you've had a chance to settle in, you take your first close look at your boxmate. If you like what you see, you stay put. If you don't, you climb out of the box and scout around for another mate. In other words, marriage is viewed as an unchanging state, and whether or not it works depends upon your ability to attract a good partner. The common solution to an unhappy marriage, the one chosen by nearly fifty percent of all couples, is to divorce and start all over again with a new and, hopefully, better mate. The problem with this solution is that there is a lot of pain involved in switching boxes . . . Unfortunately, the only alternative many people see to divorce is to stay in the box, tighten the lid, and put up with a disappointing relationship for the rest of their lives. They learn to cope with an empty marriage by filling themselves up with food, alcohol, drugs, activities, work, television, and romantic fantasies, resigned to the belief that their longing for an intimate love will never be realized. In this book I propose a more hopeful and, I believe, more accurate view of love relationships. Marriage is not a static state between two unchanging people. Marriage is a psychological and spiritual journey that begins in the ecstasy of attraction, meanders through a rocky stretch of self-discovery, and culminates in the creation of an intimate, joyful, lifelong union. Whether or not you realize the full potential of this vision depends not on your ability to attract the perfect mate, but on your willingness to acquire knowledge about hidden parts of yourself." - Harville Hendrix

QQQ) An arrangement where two people are given the opportunity to work on getting rid of their selfishness

RRR) "Human beings in their ignorance and pretentiousness imagine that it is they themselves who have created the institution of marriage. No! Marriage is a cosmic phenomenon that is celebrated first of all on high between the heavenly Father and his wife. And because human beings have been created in the image of God, they repeat this cosmic event in an instinctive and, unfortunately, unconscious manner. Christianity is still a long way from understanding this truth. For Christians, God is uniquely a masculine principle. Well, no, they are mistaken. If man seeks woman to unite with her and create, it is because
God also has a wife with whom he unites and creates. His wife is the divine Mother, Nature, Cosmic Matter. Obviously, you must not imagine that the wife of God, the Cosmic Spirit, is like a woman of the earth, extraordinary as she is. This lofty reality exists at the level of principles. But the law is absolute: everything which is below is like that which is above. Therefore, everything which takes place below is in the image of that which takes place on high." - Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov

SSS) "By all means marry; if you get a good wife, you'll be happy. If you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher." - Socrates

TTT) An arrangement where two people are given the opportunity to practice learning how to love.

UUU) Something similar in ways to an intense, lifelong psychotherapy session: an arrangement that will expose layer after layer of your false self or character to another person, generally resulting either in a person becoming more delusional and mediocre or more enlightened.

VVV) An arrangement of which the purpose is for two people to help each other not only get through life, but to "find themselves" and "refine the gold" of their essential natures or souls by working through obstacles in the way of their deepest unfolding.

WWW) It is a method for creating and sealing a kind of "container," so that the energies produced when two people come up against the extremely difficult issues that arise in a relationship do not leak or drain away, but are contained, protected, and used to find and develop real, true happiness.

XXX) All of the above.

YYY) None of the above.

ZZZ) Some of the above.______________________

A4) Other ________________________.

What Is Your Answer? ________


When you finish your quiz, please pass your papers to the front.

(Please note:
You will probably be graded, but may not be;
we're not sure when, how, or if you'll ever find out what your grade;
and we might know who will or won't be grading your papers, but then again, we may be wrong.)



So it's a little discouraging, huh?

We go to find out what the most brilliant minds of history have to say about marriage, and most of them seem...well, pretty negative.

- and, honestly, not incredibly helpful for those of us who are really trying to figure it out how to have good marriages ourselves.

So then, it looks like we're on our own.

Sounds like a job for LiveReal...

Stay tuned . . .

"Marriage is the most important exploration
which man can undertake."
- Kierkegaard


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