18 Jun 2013

D.H. Lawrence On Marriage

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We are just in the throes of a great revolt against marriage, a passionate revolt against its ties and restrictions. …

[E]verybody, pretty well, takes it for granted that as soon as we can find a possible way out of it, marriage will be abolished. The Soviet abolishes marriage: or did. If new ‘modern’ states spring up, they will certainly follow suit. They will try to find some social substitute for marriage, and abolish the hated bond of conjugality. State support of motherhood, state support of children, and independence of women. It is on the programme of every great scheme of reform. And it means, of course, the abolition of marriage. …

[T]he first element of union is the Christian world is the marriage-tie. The marriage-tie, the marriage bond, take it which way you like, is the fundamental connecting link in Christian society. Break it, and you will have to go back to the overwhelming dominance of the State which existed before the Christian era. …

Perhaps the greatest contribution to the social life of man made by Christianity is — marriage. Christianity brought marriage into the world: marriage as we know it. Christianity established the little economy of the family within the greater rule of the State. Christianity made marriage in some respects inviolate, not to be violated by the State. It is marriage, perhaps, which has given man the best of his freedom, given him his little kingdom of his own within the big kingdom of the State, given him his foothold of independence on which to stand and resist the unjust State. Man and wife, a king and queen with one or two subjects, and a few square yards of territory of their own: this, really, is marriage. It is a true freedom because it is a true fulfillment, for man, woman, and children.

Do we want to break marriage? If we do break it, it means we all fall to a far greater extent under the direct sway of the State. Do we want to fall under the direct sway of the State, any State? For my part, I don’t.

Apropos of Lady Chatterley’s Lover, 1931.

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