Marriage is a human institution found in every known society. The forms and expectations change with culture and over time. Today’s marriage, as expressed by many writers, requires love, respect, mutuality, and understanding. Challenges include maintaining one’s commitment and trust, and learning to communicate and behave with maturity. Most of these marriage quotations are serious. Some are humorous, but even those point to key issues in marriage.

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You can’t be value free when it comes to marriage.

— Al Gore

We only regard those unions as real examples of love and real marriages in which a fixed and unalterable decision has been taken. If men or women contemplate an escape, they do not collect all their powers for the task. In none of the serious and important tasks of life do we arrange such a “getaway.” We cannot love and be limited.

— Alfred Adler

Love: a temporary insanity, curable by marriage.

— Ambrose Bierce

Mostly, my flying has been solo, but the preparation for it wasn’t. Without my husband’s help and encouragement, I could not have attempted what I have. Ours has been a contented and reasonable partnership, he with his solo jobs and I with mine. But always with work and play together, conducted under a satisfactory system of dual control.

— Amelia Earhart

Love at first sight is easy to understand; it’s when two people have been looking at each other for a lifetime that it becomes a miracle.

— Amy Bloom

In a true partnership, the kind worth striving for, the kind worth insisting on, and even, frankly, worth divorcing over, both people try to give as much or even a little more than they get. ‘Deserves’ is not the point. And ‘owes’ is certainly not the point. The pont is to make the other person as happy as we can, because their happiness adds to ours. The point is — in the right hands, everything that you give, you get.

— Amy Bloom

All married couples should learn the art of battle as they should learn the art of making love. Good battle is objective and honest–never vicious or cruel. Good battle is healthy and constructive, and brings to a marriage the principle of equal partnership.

— Ann Landers, Ann Landers Says Truth Is Stranger…, 1968

The friendship between a man and a woman which does not lead to marriage or desire for marriage may be a life long experience of the greatest value to themselves and to all their circle of acquaintance and of activity; but for this type of friendship both a rare man and a rare woman are needed. Perhaps it should be added that either the man or the woman thus deeply bound in lifelong friendship who seeks marriage must find a still rarer man or woman to wed, to make such a three cornered comradeship a permanent success.

— Anna Garlin Spencer

It is surely imperative that maternity be not left chiefly to those who cannot make the highest success in any other craft. If marriage should become, even for a generation or two, chiefly a refuge from destitution or a harbor from the world of individual effort for those who have failed, the disastrous results would be a heavy burden for later times.

— Anna Garlin Spencer

I am a good friend to my husband. I have tried to make my marriage vows mean what they say. I show up. I listen. I try to laugh.

— Anna Quindlen

If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were loved by wife, then thee.

— Anne Bradstreet

No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.

— Anthony Kennedy, majority opinion, Obergefell v. Hodges (06/26/2015)

Most people who meet my wife quickly conclude that she is remarkable. They are right about this. She is smart, funny and thoroughly charming. Often, after hearing her speak at some function or working with her on a project, people will approach me and say something to the effect of, you know, I think the world of you, Barack, but your wife, wow!

— Barack Obama

My wife has been my closest friend, my closest advisor. And … she’s not somebody who looks to the limelight, or even is wild about me being in politics. And that’s a good reality check on me. When I go home, she wants me to be a good father and a good husband. And everything else is secondary to that.

— Barack Obama

Marriage is not a noun; it’s a verb. It isn’t something you get. It’s something you do. It’s the way you love your partner every day.

— Barbara De Angeli

Women need real moments of solitude and self-reflection to balance out how much of ourselves we give away.

— Barbara De Angelis

The real act of marriage takes place in the heart, not in the ballroom or church or synagogue. It’s a choice you make – not just on your wedding day, but over and over again — and that choice is reflected in the way you treat your husband or wife.

— Barbara De Angelis

I still think it’s important for people to have a sharp, ongoing critique of marriage in patriarchal society – because once you marry within a society that remains patriarchal, no matter how alternative you want to be within your unit, there is still a culture outside you that will impose many, many values on you whether you want them to or not.

— bell hooks

If divorce has increased by one thousand percent, don’t blame the women’s movement. Blame the obsolete sex roles on which our marriages were based.

— Betty Friedan, speech, New York City, January 20, 1974

No woman has less temptation to seek matrimony from sordid motives of selfishness or convenience. The actress is an absolutely independent wage-earner, and better compensated than the great majority of women who make their own livelihoods. She need not marry for money, or social position, for these are her natural possessions.

— Billie Burke

If I ever loved a man better than I love my art, I should marry him and leave the stage. But I have never met such a man.

— Billie Burke

An ideal wife is any woman who has an ideal husband.

— Booth Tarkington

Many people marry for the wrong reasons, among them 1) to overcome loneliness, 2) to escape an unhappy parental home, 3) because they think that everyone is expected to marry, 4) because only ‘losers’ who can’t find someone to marry stay single, 5) out of a need to parent, or be parented by another person, 6) because they got pregnant, 7) because ‘we fell in love,’ … and on goes the list.

— Bruce Fisher and Robert Alberti

A house does not need a wife any more than it needs a husband.

— Charlotte Perkins Gilman, on the term “housewife”

For there is one thing I can safely say: that those bound by love must obey each other if they are to keep company long. Love will not be constrained by mastery; when mastery comes, the God of love at once beats his wings, and farewell — he is gone. Love is a thing as free as any spirit; women naturally desire liberty, and not to be constrained like slaves; and so do men, if I shall tell the truth.

See who is the most patient in love; he has the greatest advantage. Patience is surely a great virtue, for it vanquished, as these scholars say, things that rigor would never manage. One cannot scold or complain at every word. Learn to endure patiently, or else, as I live and breathe, you shall learn it whether you want or not. For certainly there is no one in the world who doesn’t do or say something amiss. Anger, sickness, or planetary influences, wine, sorrow, or changing of disposition often causes one to do or speak amiss. One cannot be avenged for every wrong; according to the occasion, everyone who knows how, must use temperance. And therefore a wise man, in order to live in comfort, promises his lady forbearance, and she wisely gives her promise to him.

— Chaucer, ‘The Franklin’s Tale’

Marriage is a spiritual discipline in which we come to know ourselves as beloved, trustworthy, redeemed, forgiven, and blessed, and at the same time learn how to love, be faithful, redeem, forgive, and bless the partner as well as the community.

— Chris Glaser

A constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage is a form of gay bashing and it would do nothing to protect traditional marriages.

— Coretta Scott King

Gay and lesbian people have families, and their families should have legal protection, whether by marriage or civil union.

— Coretta Scott King

To say that one waits a lifetime for his soulmate to come around is a paradox. People eventually get sick of waiting, take a chance on someone, and by the art of commitment become soulmates, which takes a lifetime to perfect.

— Criss Jami

There are two dilemmas that rattle the human skull: How do you hang on to someone who won’t stay? And how do you get rid of someone who won’t go?

— Danny DeVito, The War of the Roses

Political promises are much like marriage vows. They are made at the beginning of the relationship between candidate and voter, but are quickly forgotten.

— Dick Gregory

More marriages might survive if the partners realized that sometimes the better comes after the worse.

— Doug Larson

He was a dreamer, a thinker, a speculative philosopher… or, as his wife would have it, an idiot.

— Douglas Adams

Marriages are two-way streets and when they are not happy both must be willing to adjust. Both must love.

— Eleanor Roosevelt

It was a wife’s duty to be interested in whatever interested her husband, whether it was politics, books, or a particular dish for dinner.

— Eleanor Roosevelt

We are told that people stay in love because of chemistry, or because they remain intrigued with each other, because of many kindnesses, because of luck. But part of it has got to be forgiveness and gratefulness.

— Ellen Goodman

No, I don’t understand my husband’s theory of relativity, but I know my husband and I know he can be trusted.

— Elsa Einstein

Marriage has no guarantees. If that’s what you’re looking for, go live with a car battery.

— Erma Bombeck

We are not married on our wedding-day; on that day we do but begin to be married. The true marriage is an endless process, the perpetual interlinking of two souls while life lasts.

— Felix Adler

He that hath a wife and children hath given hostages to fortune.

— Francis Bacon

It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.

— Friedrich Nietzsche

When marrying, ask yourself this question: Do you believe that you will be able to converse well with this person into your old age? Everything else in marriage is transitory.

— Friedrich Nietzsche

One of the first things a relationship therapist learns is that couples argue to burn up energy that could be used for something else. In fact, arguments often serve the purpose of using up energy, so that the couple do not have to take the courageous, creative leap into an unknown they fear. Arguing serves the function of being a zone of familiarity into which you can retreat when you are afraid of making a creative breakthrough.

— Gay Hendricks

Love is blind, but marriage restores its sight.

— Georg C. Lichtenberg

All young women begin by believing they can change and reform the men they marry. They can’t.

— George Bernard Shaw

Man made one grave mistake: in answer to vaguely reformist and humanitarian agitation he admitted women to politics and the professions. The conservatives who saw this as the undermining of our civilization and the end of the state and marriage were right after all; it is time for the demolition to begin.

— Germaine Greer

Never advise anyone to go to war or to get married. Write down the advice of him who loves you, though you like it not at present. He that has no children brings them up well.

— Germaine Greer

Someone asked me why women don’t gamble as much as men do, and I gave the commonsensical reply that we don’t have as much money. That was a true and incomplete answer. In fact, women’s total instinct for gambling is satisfied by marriage.

— Gloria Steinem

I have yet to hear a man ask for advice on how to combine marriage and a career.

— Gloria Steinem

Some people claim that marriage interferes with romance. There’s no doubt about it. Anytime you have a romance, your wife is bound to interfere.

— Groucho Marx, The Groucho Phile, 1976
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