"We are not very much to blame for our bad marriages. We live amid hallucinations; and this especial trap is laid to trip our feet with, and all are tripped up first and last. But the mighty Mother who had been so sly with us, as if she felt that she owed us some indemnity, insinuates into the Pandora-box of marriage some deep and serious benefits, and some great joys."
"Worst, when this sensualism intrudes into the education of young women, and withers the hope and affection of human nature, by teaching that marriage signifies nothing but a housewife's thrift, and that woman's life has no other aim."
"Who shall forbid a wise skepticism, seeing that there is no practical question on which any thing more than an approximate solution can be had? Is not marriage an open question, when it is alleged, from the beginning of the world, that such as are in the institution wish to get out, and such as are out wish to get in?"
"It is with religion as with marriage. A youth marries in haste; afterwards, when his mind is opened to the reason of the conduct of life, he is asked, what he thinks of the institution of marriage, and of the right relations of the sexes? "I should have much to say," he might reply, "if the question were open, but I have a wife and children, and all question is closed for me."
"Wasn't marriage, like life, unstimulating and unprofitable and somewhat empty when too well ordered and protected and guarded. Wasn't it finer, more splendid, more nourishing, when it was, like life itself, a mixture of the sordid and the magnificent; of mud and stars; of earth and flowers; of love and hate and laughter and tears and ugliness and beauty and hurt?"
"Men are all right for friends, but as soon as you marry them they turn into cranky old fathers, even the wild ones. They begin to tell you what's sensible and what's foolish, and want you to stick at home all the time. I prefer to be foolish when I feel like it, and be accountable to nobody."
"People can be lovers and enemies at the same time, you know. We were.... A man and woman draw apart from that long embrace, and see what they have done to each other.... In age we lose everything; even the power to love."
"When you gonna get married, Marty? You should be ashamed of yourself. All your brothers and sisters, younger than you, they get married and got the children. I meet your mother in the produce store. She say to me "Eh, you know a nice girl for my boy Marty?" What's the matter with you? That's no way!"
"If a marriage is going to work well, it must be on a solid footing, namely money, and of that commodity it is the girl with the smallest dowry who, to my knowledge, consumes the most, to infuriate her husband. All the same, it is only fair that the marriage should pay for past pleasures, since it will scarcely procure any in the future."