A hope note
Just as there are no perfect mates, there are no perfect strategies for finding the right companion for the journey of life.
Most of us in the western, modern world, find our mate the free-enterprise way. We shop around until we negotiate the best deal we think we can.
In other parts of the world, marriages are prearranged. Parents, in their wisdom, and according to family values, choose a partner for their child.
Charles Darwin went about it differently. According to Quammen’s ‘The Reluctant Mr. Darwin,’ he returned home after five years sailing on The Beagle wondering whether he should marry. He had no particular person in mind. He merely wondered whether the state of marriage would fit his scientific pursuits.
He took out a piece of paper, wrote, ‘If Not Marry’ at the top, and listed the advantages of not marrying. They included freedom to travel and freedom from the need to work to support a family.
‘If Marry’ he wrote atop another page and listed mainly disadvantages ‘ owning few books, having little time for reading, needing to live like a poor man.
After his wealthy father, a physician, assured Charles that he would never have to worry about money, Charles drew up lists again. This time the ‘If Marry’ list came out looking good, including the advantages of having a constant companion and a friend in old age. Shortly after making the second list, Charles visited his cousin Emma and asked for her hand in marriage. They had 10 children and, by all accounts, a loving, respectful relationship that lasted more than 40 years.
The first thing the Bible declares ‘not good’ is aloneness. I wish for you what Charles Darwin found ‘ a companion and friend in old age.