PREPARATION FOR MARRIAGE - ADVICE TO MEN.
No more honorable intention can enter or find place in your thought than preparation for marriage; for its far-reaching results, hallowed associations, and the elevating companionship of home and family, include all the requisite possibilities of a noble life. There is not a thought of its unperverted relations that is not as pure as the gift of immortality to man, which is its true design. There is no place of usefulness, trust, or honor in our world, which does not require a fitness which can only be attained by preparation. Men demand it in the lawyer, physician, or states man to whom they entrust their interests; and the heir to a throne is not more in need of suitable pre paration than man is for the kingdom of his house hold. If to-day you are the means of degradation to any with whom you are associated, whether man or woman, by trifling with the creative trust for momentary self-gratification, you are not making the neces sary preparation for marriage, but are sowing, with your " wild oats," seeds of sorrow and bitterness, the harvest of which you will not only reap, but must sit and eat with your wife and children, upon whom you will bring needless suffering. Do not look to marriage as the place of cure for your diseases of soul or body, for it was not intended as a lazar house, but should be rather the altar to which you should bring every moral and physical perfection possible for you to attain, for only thus will marriage be a blessing to you and all concerned. There is no curable malady which cannot be remedied before as well as after marriage. The error that marriage cures the diseased habits and conditions of sexual life, sometimes indorsed by physicians, is a vital one, for, unless they are overcome previously, they go on in marriage, visiting upon children the actual mental and physical states of their fathers and mo thers. A licentious or diseased man is no more fit for a father than a licentious or diseased woman is fit for a mother. The Creator places them every where side by side, and judges both alike.
Let your first step in preparation for marriage be taken from the earliest inception of manly instincts. It should always be kept in mind that the genesic forces of manhood are having their true creative exercise when they are at rest, and their reserved energies are, by reabsorption of the germ cells, quietly nourishing the brain and nerves. Nature cares always for any healthful redundance of the genesic secretion, and if good health is maintained, you will need give this function no more thought than to the heart, lungs, or stomach. To this end avoid all habits which induce and perpetuate nervous irrita bility; for vigor, either general or local, diminish& just in proportion as au excitable, unresting condition increases. Turbulent, lascivious thought is not rest of these forces any more than positive physical irrita tion of the organs is rest; for such thought keeps the brain, nervous system, and procreative organs con stantly fretted. Leave the sexual power to its needed up-building of body and brain, till you are called to its highest exercise in marriage and parentage. All dissipation, the use of alcoholic stimulants and tobacco, and even the inordinate use of tea, coffee, and condiments, foster irritability of nerve and gen etic excitability. All vicious reading has a like ten
dency, and even excessive study, especially with confinement in hot, close rooms, or in a recumbent position, greatly increases it with some tempera ments. Those thus affected should spend some hours daily in active, out-door exercise. If, through bad habits or disease, the power of sexual control is lost, reliable medical advice should be sought and fol lowed carefully; but all else will avail nothing unless you break away wholly from all evil associations, and seek new life for body and soul. If you have been held in bondage to them hitherto, remember it has been your own free choice, and by such a course of life you are squandering much of this important life-force, which, if reserved and properly directed, would enable you to attain far greater success in whatever occupation or profession you may choose in life.
In thinking of marriage, habitually look forward to its possible and probable results to others whose interests are as precious as your own, and whose happiness you have the power to make doubly blest or to greatly mar. To marry with any thought or understanding but to have a family of healthy chil dren is to lay aside the great design of marriage, and by thus trying to merge it in a mere matter of com fort, convenience, or self-gratification, you place a wife in an unhealthful position, and render your own hard and unnatural.
Next in importance to your own well-regulated manhood comes the choice of the mother of your children, and in this too much care cannot be exer cised. Precious and worthy of all honor as the sexual magnetism is in man and woman, it must never have blind or unlimited sway, but should be supplemented with all those qualities of native capa bility and cultivated habit which you require in wife and children, or all this so-called love will not bring domestic happiness. As the mother, as well as your self, determines the character of your child, look well to her habits, and do not for a moment cherish the delusion, so common to men, that love for you will change one who is disorderly or a termagant in her own home, into a wise and gentle mother in yours. I have seen this experiment tried bravely a score of times, but failure was the usual result. To secure the most favorable acquaintance, let your visits be honorable and open with the family of the lady you are interested in, and never very late at night. This most hazardous custom, never permitted in Europe, and justly deprecated by many of the best people to day in our own country, undoubtedly tends far more to rouse passional excitement than to further that personal knowledge of character so essential to those about to enter the marriage relation.
It is far better to make no other engagement, other than honest friendly understanding, till a short time previous to marriage, leaving the way open for the fullest testing of mutual friendship and freedom of acquaintance to both parties, till no doubt can arise as to the fitness of their union; and if unfitness is discerned, even at the last hour, it is better to meet it honestly and openly, at whatever cost, than to as sume false vows.