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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Marriage, Pride & Prejudice: sound advice from Jane Austen

by Eric Metaxas

(...) Jane Austen’s most popular book actually offers a witty, insightful, and surprisingly realistic look at what marriage is and ought to be—even some two hundred years after its publication.

As Karen Swallow Prior shows us, “Pride and Prejudice” is filled with sound marital maxims. For instance, “mutual respect is essential to a happy marriage.” Prior points out that even a sympathetic character in the novel, Elizabeth Bennet’s father, is shown as seriously flawed because he married a woman he didn’t respect, and “constantly puts [her] down.”

Then there’s this one: “Romance is not enough.” Elizabeth’s parents married “out of youthful passion.” Elizabeth’s sister Lydia eventually makes the same mistake. These marriages turn out to be unhappy because they were based on nothing but fleeting emotions. Neither partner had come to truly know or value the other before saying “I do.” (...)

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