Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Little Problems of Married Life by William George Jordan

LPoML 1A Springtime of Married LifeI recently finished reading an excellent treatise on the issues and problems common to most marriages by William George Jordan. He applies the keen insight on human nature he demonstrated in his earlier books (The Kingship of Self-Control, The Majesty of Calmness, The Power of Truth and The Crownship of Individuality) to the challenges of marriage. I now have two favorite books on marriage, this one and Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, by John Gray.
Although this book was published in 1910 and some of the societal norms were different than today, his discussion on the kinds of issues that arise in marriage and how they can be remedied are as a valid today as they were yesterday.
The book contains 23 chapters, each of which discuss a specific issue. They are relatively short can be read in 5 to 10 minutes but you will likely want to think about them for much longer. Reading a chapter a night with your spouse would be an excellent way to spend quality time with your loved one and can’t help but spark discussions that will improve the quality of your marriage.
Below is a list of the quotes from some of the chapters  which give you a sense of the content:
I. The Spring-Time of Married Life
Courtship is the joyous, sunshine launching of the craft of hope; marriage is the long cruise across uncharted seas.
II. Respect for Each Other’s Individuality
The husband can find no help in the counsel of his wife in an emergency if he has stifled her power of individual thinking, or permitted it to become dulled and deadened through disuse.
III. Plea for More Courtship after Marriage
There are more people on this great, big, rolling earth hungering for sweetness, tenderness, and words of gentle appreciation, genial confidence and generous affection than are starving for bread.
V. The Wife’s Settled Income
It is true that “perfect love casteth out fear”; it is equally true that perfect fear finally casteth out love.
VIII. Little Compromises for Happiness
If the spirit of compromise be ever on the part of the husband only or the wife only, it is unjust. It then means absolute selfishness on the part of one, stimulated and intensified by the unselfishness of the other. It makes a Dead Sea of love wherein the waters of affection flow without issuance— constant assessments with no dividends.
IX. Providing for the Future
Those who wisely live within an income rarely have to face the problem of trying to live without one.
X. Pulling Together Through a Crisis
Plants grow most in the darkest hours preceding dawn; so do human souls. Nature always pays for a brave fight. Sometimes she pays in strengthened moral muscle, sometimes in deepened spiritual insight, sometimes in a broadening, mellowing, sweetening of the fibres of character,—but she always pays.
XIII. Talking Home Matters Outside
If there is a little sand in the sugar of home happiness, it really seems better to concentrate on the sweetness that remains than to carry around samples of the grit in envelopes of conversational confidence.
XVI. The Spectre of Constant Jealousy
Jealousy stifles faith, which is the soul of love. It is emotional suicide. It is a peculiar form of fear which seeks constantly to discover what it does not want to find. Jealousy is the chloroform of confidence. It requires faith to keep faith, trust to retain trust, love to cherish love.
XVII. When the Family Interferes
We may sometimes be privileged to help others to live their lives; it is arrogant assumption for us to attempt to live their lives for them.
XX. The Ebb-Tide of Love
Love rarely dies a sudden death. It is usually ailing a long time before its decease. Little ills that could readily be cured in their early stages are permitted to run into more serious conditions; complications set in and love, with its vitality exhausted through long suffering, finally dies.
XXIII. Comradeship in Married Life
The opening words of the world’s greatest book are “In the beginning,” and they are the most important words of married life; they open its chapters of greatest joy and keenest sorrows. All its problems are most easily mastered “in the beginning”
Newlyweds will find reading this a great way to resolve issues before they arise but even those of us who have been married for  a while (30+ years in my case) will find gems that can be applied to their life. I plan on making a gift of this book a standard practice for future wedding receptions.
Online versions: HTML, PDF


  1. Well done, Dad! I snuck a peek at your copy before we left and I just love his writing style. It's a great book and I can't wait to read the whole thing. :)

  2. Thanks darling daughter. WGJ had an amazing gift of insight into human nature and an ability to express these insights using simple analogies. I also find it interesting that he did not get married until 12 years after he published this book.

  3. Keep this going please, great job!

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