Article in The Box Hill Reporter Friday 22 May 1891
Is Marriage a Failure?
It would appear from the number of cases that are continually being tried in the law courts to settle disputes between man and wife, that marriage sometimes results in failure. At the Box Hill Court last week a very respectable looking woman named OKEWELL proceeded against her husband on a charge of assault. The man who had promised to love and cherish his wife, in a fit of drunkenness, so ill-treated her that if she had not managed to have got from him there is no telling what the consequences might have been. He threw three great lumps of wood at her, and had either of them have struck the woman on the temple she might have fallen a corpse at his feet. This is only one of a number of such cases that are cropping up every day, and there are hundreds of such quarrels that are settled out of court. Neither are these disputes between man and wife confined to the lower orders of society. We find them …(print unclear)… community, though, perhaps in the higher classes there is not the same amount of brutality displayed. This may be owing entirely to culture and refinement, but the fact exists nevertheless, that in cultivated and high society we often hear of family eruptions and separations. For every cause there must be an effect. The disturbances which take place between man and wife ought not to occur, and there must be some reason - which, doubtless, is most difficult to find. Before the marriage takes place – at least, in most cases – ardent love and devotion is manifested on both sides. The parties do not see sufficient of each other to be able to form an opinion as to whether they are suited the one for the other. They enter, of their own free will and accord, into a solemn compact at the Himenial altar, that they will be true to one another until the union is broken by death. The marriage ceremony is one of the most solemn and binding that any person can undertake, and when once performed should be rigidly adhered to. Still, what does experience in these matters teach us? Hardly a week passes but we hear of some ungrateful brute attempting to murder his wife, whom he had only, perhaps, a few months previously, promised to love and cherish.
One of the reasons which doubtless leads to so many unhappy marriages amongst the working classes is probably owing to the fact that young women are too eager to get married! In other cases, doubtless, there are many young women who have such miserable homes and who have to work late and early to make a living, that they are glad to accept the first offer that is made to them, and when they "marry in haste they have to repent at leisure." In the case of the first mentioned they do not exercise sufficient care - they very seldom, if ever, consider if the man to whom they are about to unite themselves for life is at all suitable - are their temperaments the same - do their liking and temperaments run in the same grove – is there any deep attachment the one for the other. These are questions that are very seldom if ever asked, and more seldom thought over. In nine cases out of 10 it is simply: Can the man keep me; and if he can do this there the matter begins and ends. The result is that they soon grow tired of each other, and the man, instead of finding enjoyment at his own fireside, prefers to spend his leisure hours at the gin shop. He comes home with his temper ruffled, and his mind and brain all on a ferment with drink, and then vents his spite on the poor creature whom he openly avowed to love and cherish. The sequel is soon told. The next step in the drama is the Police Court, which, when once entered, all hope of future happiness is for ever abandoned. In higher life many girls marry for title and fortune, and vice versa. There is nothing beyond the mere sentiment of respect on either side, and as time goes by they find that they are entirely unsuited to each other, hence a life of bickering and intense unhappiness is the result, and in the end final …………… for each other, and as time rolls by that love is strengthened, then we have the happy union, which we are glad to say in Australia far exceeds the miserable ones, which tend to make marriage a failure.