I appreciate that marriage does not have to be an empty receptacle for property exchange and reproduction. I also appreciate that Gloria Naylor and Toni Morrison believed in love. I have seen marriages in their literature that I recognize: troubled marriages, shallow marriages, commitments based more on double incomes than courtship, relationships aging into dry and empty nests. Marriage is not salvation, or a goal.
If the role of marriage in the presidency and the public attention it receives has changed, it is more a matter of degree and of detail than any sort of revolution. Marriage has always been an inextricable feature of the presidency.
In the most elevated terms, Milton urges an understanding of marriage altogether spiritual and intellectual, a union nearly without bodies, for in the divorce tracts he repeatedly figures marriage as the joining of rational souls, as the mind’s solace and satisfaction, its source of “comfort and peace,” an apt and cheerful conversation that hedges a man against the solitary life.
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