As I grew to adolescence, I imagined, from closely observing the boredom and vexations of matrimony, that the act my parents committed and the one I so longed to commit must be two different things.
I am happy now that Charles calls on my bedchamber less frequently than of old. As it is, I endure but two calls a week, and when I hear his steps outside my door I lie down on my bed, close my eyes, open my legs, and think of England.
Marriage probably originated as a straightforward food-for-sex deal among foraging primates. Compatibility was not a big issue, nor, of course, was there any tension over who would control the remote.
Women hope men will change after marriage, but they don’t; men hope women won’t change, but they do.
Many who have spent a lifetime in love can tell you less of love than the child whose dog died yesterday.
Lovemaking is radical, while marriage is conservative.
And that heart which was a wild garden was given to him who loved only trim lawns. And the imbecile carried the princess into slavery.
We tend to think of the erotic as an easy, tantalizing sexual arousal. I speak of the erotic as the deepest life force, a force which moves us toward living in a fundamental way.
If my hands tremble with desire, they tremble likewise when I reach for the chalice on Sunday, and if lust makes me run and caper, it is no stronger a force than that which brings me to my knees to say thanksgivings and litanies. What can this capricious skin be but a blessing?
Love comes in at the eyes and subdues the body. An army with banners.
What is erotic? The acrobatic play of the imagination. The sea of memories in which we bathe. The way we caress and worship things with our eyes. Our willingness to be stirred by the sight of the voluptuous. What is erotic is our passion for the liveliness of life.
Sexual intercourse is kicking death in the ass while singing.
The mattress, curved like a preacher’s palm asking for witnesses in His name’s sake, enclosed them each and every night and muffled their whispering, old-time love.
We who were loved will never / unlive that crippling fever.
However often marriage is dissolved, it remains indissoluble. Real divorce, the divorce of heart and nerve and fiber, does not exist, since there is no divorce from memory.
I began to see what marriage is for. It’s to keep people away from each other. Sometimes I think that two people who love each other can be saved from madness only by the things that come between them — children, duties, visits, bores, relations: the things that protect married people from each other.
Marriage is an extraordinary thing, and I doubt if any outsider — even a child of the marriage — has the right to judge.
The best marriages, like the best lives, were both happy and unhappy. There was even a kind of necessary tension, a certain tautness between the partners that gave the marriage strength, like the tautness of a full sail. You went forward on it.
We do what only lovers can: make a gift out of necessity.