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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 12, Issue 2 (May 1, 1937)

Self Respect In Marriage

Self Respect In Marriage.

Mary and John have been married for ten years. Their home is a place page 104 of ease and quiet happiness. Friends love to visit them. John and Mary-are making a success of living. Their very attitude towards each other shows this. John is not courtly mannered, but he is ever quietly considerate towards Mary. Mary, in the same way, studies John. John is one of those nice chaps who is full of little anecdotes that he spreads out for the delectation of his friends. Mary has heard them all, but she hears them again with genuine interest and sympathy. John has a passion for roses. Mary does not share it, but she respects John's absorption as he does her love for cats. John always hated cats and it was a shock to him to find that Mary liked them. But Mary is Mary, so he overcame his repugnance, and now he is even known to let his hand stray over the head of her cat when it purrs against his trouser leg.

These little things which outsiders can observe are a sign of the private happy relationship between these two. One knows that from the first days of marriage each has given to the other a warm understanding and with that a respect for the privacy of another personality.

No matter how great the love between them, no two people can ever be one. There comes a point where ideas differ. At this stage lies danger. The submission of one to the other may smooth things over for the time, but resentment must grow on the one side because ideas are brushed aside by the partner, and on the other a slight feeling develops either of shame that the more forceful will is triumphing over the loved one or of scorn that the mate has so little individuality. Henceforward understanding diminishes.

But for theG pair who respect each other, a divergence of ideas means no loss of mutual understanding. They recognise each other as persons and are happy and proud that, even while holding each to a different point of view, they can yet retain perfect sympathy. It is a delightful feeling, compound of intellectual pride and human understanding.

In the petty affairs of life, John and Mary, by respecting each other's privacy, retain their admiration for each other. Letters, if handed over to the other one to read, are accepted with thanks; letters folded and returned to the envelope are regarded without curiosity.

In their personal relationships there is no prudery but much consideration.

Mary appreciates John's gentleness and has a fund of tenderness for him. If either wishes to be alone the other respects the wish. In matters of the toilet John is not expected to stand by to admire while Mary washes her ears, or Mary while John cuts his toe-nails.

In all their dealings with each other, there is the realisation of what one person owes to the other. No individual, no matter how beloved, has the right to interfere with another. A respect for the personality of the mate is the basis of love in marriage.