Married Love

Chapter XI. The Glorious Unfolding

Let knowledge grow from more to more, but more of
reverence in us dwell.

Tennyson.

WE are surrounded in this world by pro-
cesses and transmutations so amazing
that were they not taking place around
us hourly they would be scouted as impossible
imaginings.

A mind must be dull and essentially lacking in
wonderment which, without amazement, can learn for
the first time that the air we breathe, apparently so
uniform in its invisible unity, is in reality composed
of two principal, and several other, gases. The two
gases, however, are but mixed as wine may be with
water, and each gas by itself is a colourless air, visually
like that mixture of the two which we call the
atmosphere.

Much greater is the miracle of the composition of
water. It is made of only two gases, one of them a
component of the air we breathe, and the other
similarly invisible and odourless, but far lighter.
These two invisible gases, when linked in a propor-
tion proper to their natures, fuse and are no longer
ethereal and invisible, but precipitate in a new sub-
stance — water.

The waves of the sea with their thundering power,
the sparkling tides of the river buoying the ships, are
but the transmuted resultants of the union of two
invisible gases._ And this, in its simplest terms, is a
parable of the infinitely complex and amazing trans-
mutations of married love.

Ellis expresses the strange mystery of one of the
physical sides of love when he says :

What has always baffled men in the contemplation of sexual
love is the seeming inadequacy of its cause, the immense
discrepancy between the necessarily circumscribed regions of
•mucous membrane which is the final goal of such love and the
sea of world-embracing emotions to which it seems the door, so
¦ that, as Rcmy de Gourmont has said, ” the mucous membranes,
by an ineffable mystery, enclose in their obscure folds all the
riches of the infinite.” It is a mystery before which the thinker
and the artist are alike overcome.

To me, however, the recent discoveries of physio-
logy seem to afford a key which may unlock a chamber
of the mystery and admit us to one of the halls of
the palace of truth. The hormones (see page 6i) in
each individual body pour from one organ and afFect
another, and thus influence the whole character of the
individual’s life processes. The visible secretions
and the most subtle essences which pass during union
‘ between man and woman, affect the lives of each and
are essentially vital to each other. As I see them, the
man and the woman are each organs, parts, of the
other. And in the strictest scientific, as well as in a
mystical, sense they together are a single unit, an
individual entity. There is a physiological as well as
a spiritual truth in the words ” they twain shall be
one flesh.”

In love it is not only that the yearning of the bonds
of affinity to be satisfied is met by the linking with
another, but that out of this union there grows a new
and unprecedented creation.

In this I am not speaking of the bodily child which
springs from the love of its parents, but of the super-
physical entity created by the perfect union in love
of man and woman. Together, united by the love
bonds which hold them, they are a new and wondrous
thing surpassing, and different from, the arithmetical
sum of them both when separate.

So seldom has the perfection of this new creation
been experienced, that we are still far short even of
imagining its full potentialities, but that it must have
•mighty powers we dimly realise.

Youths and maidens stirred by the attraction of
love, feel hauntingly and inarticulately that there is
before them an immense and beautiful experience :
feel as though in union with the beloved there will be
added powers of every sort which have no measure
in terms of the ordinary unmated life.

These prophetic dreams, if they are not true of
each individual life, are yet true of the race as a whole.
For in the dreams of youth to-day is a foreshadowing
of the reality of the future.

So accustomed have we recently become to accept
one aspect of organic evolution, that we tend to see
in youth only a recapitulation of our race’s history.
The well-worn phrase ” Ontogeny repeats Phylo-
geny ” has helped to concentrate our attention on the
fact that the young in their development, in ourselves
as in the animals, go through many phases which
resemble the stages through which the whole race
must have passed in the course of its evolution.

While this is true, there is another characteristic
of youth : It is prophetic !

The dreams of youth, which each young heart
expects to see fulfilled in its own life, seem so often
to fade unfulfilled. But that is because the wonderRil
powers of youth are not supplied with the necessary
tool — knowledge. And so potentialities, which could
have worked miracles, arc allowed to atrophy and die.

But as humanity orients itself more truly, more
and more will the knowledge and experience of the
whole race be placed at the disposal of all youth
on its entry into life.

Then that glorious upspringing of the racial ideal,
which finds its expression in each unspoiled generation
of youth, will at last meet with a store of knowledge
sufficient for its needs, and will find ready as a tool
to its hand the accumulated and sifted wisdom of the
race.

Then youth will be spared the blunders and the
pain and the unconscious self-destruction that to-day
leaves scarcely anyone untouched.

In my own life, comparatively short and therefore
lacking in experience though it be, I have known both
personally and vicariously so much anguish that might
have been prevented by knowledge. This impels me
not to wait till my experience and researches are com-
plete, and my life and vital interest are fading, but to
hand on at once those gleanings of wisdom I have
already accumulated which may help the race to under-
stand itself. Hence I conclude this little book, for,
though incomplete, it contains some of the vital
things youth should be told.

In all life activities, house-building, huntino- or
any other, where intellectual and oral tradition comes
in, as it does with the human race, ” instinct ” tends
to die out. Thus the human mother is far less able
to manage her baby without instruction than is a cat
her kittens; although the human mother at her best
has, in comparison with the cat, an infinitude of duties
toward, and influences over, her child.

A similar truth holds in relation to marriage.
The century-long following of various ” civilised ”
customs has not only deprived our young people of
most of the instinctive knowledge they might have 1
possessed, but has given rise to innumerable false and ;
polluting customs.

Though many write on the art of managing
children, few have anything to say about the art of
marriage, save those who have some dogma, often
theological or subversive of natural law, to proclaim.

Any fundamental truth regarding marriage is
rendered immeasurably difficult to ascertain because
of the immense ranges of variety in human beings,
even of the same race, many of which result from the
artificial conditions and the unnatural stimuli so preva-
lent in what we call civilisation. To attempt anything
like a serious study of marriage in all its varieties
would be a monumental work. Those who have even
partially undertaken it have tended to become en-
tangled in a maze of abnormalities, so that the needs
of the normal, healthy, romantic person have been
overlooked.

Each pair, therefore, has tended to repeat the
blunders from which it might have been saved, and
to stumble blindly in a maze of difficulties which are
not the essential heritage of humanity, but are due I
to the unreasoning folly of our present customs.

I have written this book for those who enter mar-
riage normally and healthily, and with optimism and
hope.

If they learn its lessons they may be saved from ;
some of the pitfalls in which thousands have
wrecked their happiness, but they must not think that
they will thereby easily attain the perfection of –
marriage. There are myriad subtleties in the adjustment of any two individuals.

Each pair must, using the tenderest and most
delicate touches, sound and test each other, learn-
ing their way about the intricacies of each other’s
hearts.

Sometimes, with all the knowledge and the best
will in the world, two who have married find that
they cannot fuse their lives; of this tragedy I have not
here anything to say; but ordinary unhappiness would
be less frequent than it is were the tenderness of
knowledge applied to the problem of mutual adjust-
ment from the first day of marriage.

All the deepest and highest forces within us impel
us to evolve an ever nobler and tenderer form of life-
long monogamy as our social ideal. While the
thoughtful and tenderhearted must seek, with ever
greater understanding, to ease and comfort those who
miss this joyful natural development, reformers in
their zeal for side-issues must not forget the main
growth of the stock. The beautiful sense for love in
the hearts of the young should be encouraged, and
they should have access to the knowledge of how to
cultivate it, instead of being diverted by the clamour
for ” freedom ” to destroy it.

Disillusioned middle age is apt to look upon the
material side of the marriage relation, to see its solid
surface in the cold, dull light of everyday experi-
ence;, while youth, irradiated by the glow of its
dreams, is unaware how its aerial and celestial
phantasies are broken and shattered when unsus-
pectingly brought up against the hard facts of
physical reality.

The transmutation of material facts by celestial
phantasies is to some extent within the power of
humanity, even the imperfect humanity of to-day.

When knowledge and love together go to the
making of each marriage, the joy of that new unity
the pair will reach from the physical foundations of
its bodies to the heavens where its head is crowned
with stars.