The People, Places, Events, Customs and More from the Victorian Era. Please Scroll Down to Explore Links to Other Sites of Historical Interest:

Thursday, 2 February 2012

“Pause, Young Man, Before you Marry an Irreligious Wife”: Or: Advice on Choosing a Partner in the 1850’s:

Marriage advice for young men:

In the choice of a wife, excellence of moral and religious character must be the first great essential. – your own religious interests on Earth are deeply involved in marriage. What comfort, what piece of mind can the husband have, where there is inconstancy, irreligion and infidelity on part of the wife? Marry an irreligious woman, and you will have no domestic resource to flee to in the hour of religious need. There will be none to admonish you when you neglect your religious duties. An irreligious wife can not counsel you when you are under the influence of deep temptation, neither can she assist to resolve your doubts in cases of conscience. To all matters of religious experience the friend of your bosom will be a stranger and an alien. She cannot help you, she cannot understand you, she cannot sympathise with you.

1 Cor. ii. 14: “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

Sad must be the condition of the husband whose griefs his spouse cannot relieve, and whose trials she cannot share. Many young men have great difficulty in maintaining their hold of religion and in discharging its duties even when single. How will that difficulty be increased if they marry irreligious wives! If now you find it hard work to keep the commands of your maker, if you now make such indifferent progress in religion, what will you do when united with one who has no religion, one who has never even sought it with success?

Women: Immoral
Religion is worth more than beauty, accomplishments and talent. “Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her. She will do him good, and not evil, all the days of her life. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.”

It frequently happens that an ungodly wife uses her husband’s profession of religion as the instrument of persecution. Unchristianising him for the least provocation, and often, without any cause whatsoever, she shakes his faith and harrows his heart. You may demur to this and say, although the female I should like to marry is not religious, she is mild and gentle, and therefore will not put a stumbling block in my path. The scriptures tell us that “the carnal mind in enmity against God.” You must either deny the Scripture doctrine, or grant that your quiet intended may one day turn upon you.

Pause, young man, before you marry an irreligious wife. Men have been more than conquerors through the blood of the Lamb, and gone home safe to heaven, although their wives did not serve God. But are you equal to such a task? Can you roll the stone of Sisyphus? Let your own unfaithfulness answer the question. Let your meager religious attainments answer it. Let the frequency with which you have gone astray from God, and brought yourself into condemnation, answer the question. You have no grace to spare. Be honest with yourself, and you will feel that, so far from needing one to hinder you in the way to heaven, you require one to assist you in your progress.

This earth is not the only world in which you will be religiously influenced by your marriage. Its results will make you happier among the spirits of just men made perfect, or more miserable in the unknown regions of the lost. The influences of marriage go beyond earth’s narrow confines, and cleave to the disembodied spirit throughout the mighty cycle of the eternal years. The wife on earth that best deserves the name of angel is she who

“Tries each art, reproves each dull delay, allures to brighter worlds, and leads the way.”

Good health is too important a matter to be overlooked in choosing a partner for life. – Health is next to piety in the scale of ascertained value of blessings. It is more than fortune. Fortunes have been wasted in vain to supply its lack of service. Continual sickness is a continual calamity.

- Leisure Hour, Thursday August 9, 1855


  1. I've come across so many articles with this particular theme in my work. Often phrased so delicately that it's difficult to see the manipulation.

  2. Fortunately, for our convenience, the author has done away with delicacy and subtlety in this case...