Marriage: A Comedy of Errors – Witty Remarks from Famous People

Among all human creations, perhaps none is more self-deprecating than matrimony. Since ancient times, erudite individuals have crafted numerous droll observations and uttered innumerable disparaging remarks regarding this institution. Matters have reached such a juncture that a married gentleman (inevitably of the masculine persuasion!) can only demonstrate his intellect by jesting at the folly of wedlock, while any praise he bestows upon marriage openly exposes his own foolishness.

Let us relish a few bon mots and alleviate the stress engendered by matrimony.

Montaigne once recounted a saying: “A harmonious union is comprised of a wife who turns a blind eye and a husband who turns a deaf ear.” What would occur if one were to open their eyes and ears, truly beholding the reality of their partner and their actions? Have you ever contemplated such a notion? A Spanish proverb offers an answer: “Marriage arises from a lack of comprehension, and separation ensues from understanding.”

When is the opportune moment to enter into matrimony? A sagacious individual posited: “It is not the season of youth, yet it is too tardy to embrace old age.”

Do not endeavor to find celestial bliss within matrimony, for Swift shall inform you: “Heaven harbors secrets unknown to us, and one of those secrets is the absence of wedlock!”

Byron, in his opus “Don Juan,” scribed: “All tragedies culminate in death, and all comedies culminate in matrimony.” Despite this, he himself entered into the bonds of matrimony due to his desire for companionship, to share in the act of yawning. According to Chamfort, love is as gripping as novels, while marriage is as tedious as history. Perhaps, we may retort: No, as soon as we partake in matrimony, the comedy commences—petty quarrels, reconciliation, jealousy, supplication for mercy, suspicion, explanation, culminating in the final act of divorce.

A Frenchman once uttered: “The couple invariably conforms to the mediocrity of the more lackluster partner.” This pithy remark satirizes the notion that matrimony transforms wise men into dolts and sages into vulgarians.

When queried about his stance on marriage, Bernard Shaw responded wittily: “Who can ascertain the truth regarding this matter before my wife’s demise?”

Lin Yutang expressed his admiration for women within the familial and nurturing realm. In his own life, he appeared to abide by the principles of marital ethics, yet he simultaneously ridiculed matrimony. He opined that so-called blissful unions are merely the product of mutual adaptation and habitual routines, akin to a pair of well-worn, comfortable shoes. Coincidentally, an ancient Roman gentleman likened marriage to footwear. Following his divorce, his friends inquired: “Is your wife unfaithful? Is she not beautiful? Is she not fertile?” To which he pointed at his shoes and rejoined: “None of you can discern where it pinches my foot.”

In this world, there exist numerous ill-matched unions, such as endearing wives paired with bumbling husbands, which engender romantic tales of individuals incapable of securing their homes—a narrative exploited for mockery in Greek mythology. Homer regales us with the tale of Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty, betrothed to Hephaestus, the lame god of fire. Dissatisfied, she engaged in extramarital affairs. When her husband apprehended her in the act of adultery, he devised a trap to capture both her and her lover red-handed, subsequently inviting the gods to bear witness. Truly, the humor of myth is comparable to reality.

Irrespective of gender, anyone desiring greater sexual freedom shall perpetually find themselves restrained by the shackles of monogamous matrimony. Gu Hongming advocated for the taking of concubines as a form of compensation, yet two American women countered: “If men can possess multiple concubines, why can women not have multiple husbands?” Gu riposted: “Have you ever beheld a teapot with four teacups? How then can there exist four teapots in the world?” This query seemingly silenced the two American women. Allow me to offer a rejoinder: “Have you ever encountered a soup basin with multiple spoons? How then can there exist one spoon with multiple soup basins in the world?” A character in Marquez’s novel proclaimed: “A man requires two wives, one for love and the other for mending buttons.” I dare say women might proclaim: “A woman requires two husbands, one for love and the other for providing for the family.”

Very well, that shall suffice. It is facile to cast aspersions upon matrimony, for no one can deny that this institution encompasses an array of maladies. If gender represents one of nature’s most marvelous inventions, then matrimonyis undeniably one of humanity’s most inelegant creations. Ever since humans devised this contrivance, it has perpetually malfunctioned, burdening us with the arduous task of debugging and repairing. Regrettably, the evidence thus far suggests that human wisdom has yet to conceive a superior contraption worthy of and capable of harmonizing with nature’s splendid invention. Hence, we are left with no choice but to partake in self-mockery. The ability to laugh at ourselves is not only salubrious but also enables us to navigate the inevitable missteps of life.

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