Every-day Thoughts in Prose and Verse
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
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Earthly Heavens.
    Dear Madam--Shelley in his notes to "Queen Mab"
pointed out that we could not truthfully say we would love;
we could only say we expected to be in the same mental state
at the moment when we did love.
    No woman pretends to heed the oath she takes to "obey."
Both before and after marriage this is treated as a huge joke.
"In sickness and in health" is a ridiculous proposition.  Lunacy
is a malady, and no one expects a woman to live with a mad-
man.  The daily divorce courts make a sorry mock of the
words "for better or for worse," and there is a stout string to
the endowment of "all my worldly goods," which is made up
of the vulgar fractional one-third of dower and infinite law-
suits for alimony.  Why, then, strain at a gnat?
    You , as a woman, have ideas on the subject.  Be brave
and smash the whole thing!  Don't advocate a course that
justifies lying and tergiversation.  Tell your sex boldly that
the words  the white-veiled bride utters are not meant to be
anything more than the verbiage of a feigned issue in a
lawsuit.                              W.K. THOMPSON.
There is no mockery or sham in taking the
marriage vows.
    The sham lies in being other than that which
they call for.
    A man promises to love and cherish a wife.
When he becomes a confirmed drunkard or is dis-
loyal to her, when he hates her instead of loving
her, he is no longer the man she married.
    Let her do everything in her power to try and
restore him to his lost estate; but when she
exhausts all efforts to no end, let her live her own
life, and not immolate it upon the alter of a useless
    When a wife ceases to love her husband, and
ceases to do anything for his happiness or comfort,
and does everything for his discomfort, it is a farce
for the husband to continue the association which
brings misery to both.  Let him provide for her
future, and live in peace.
    Marriage is only beautiful, moral, or holy while
love rivets two hearts, and peace and harmony
brood over the hearthstone.
    Every possible effort should be made by a bride
and groom from the hour they turn, mated, from
the altar, to create such an atmosphere.  Mutual
yielding in small matters, mutual confidence and
constant self-control should actuate both.
    Earthly heavens are created in this way.  Little
discords and misunderstandings are prone to creep
between people during the first year or two of mar-
ried life.  These should never be regarded seriously,
or considered as causes for separation.  But when
the association becomes hopelessly aggressive and
repulsive, it is immoral and a blasphemy to continue
it and call it marriage.
    I am in receipt of letters from various discon-
tented wives and husbands asking my advice.
They must be able to judge for themselves.  Let
them look well to their own conduct, to their own
faults and sins of omission, before they act rashly.
    My advice for all such cases can be summed up in
a sentence:
    Do your utmost to create a heaven on earth, but
do not feel that any duty requires you to live in a
hell upon earth.
Every-day thoughts in prose and verse. by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Chicago: W. B. Conkey Company, 1901.
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