Jane Austen died 200 years ago, but for a woman who's relationship insights came from an old world, she has some profound love bombs that hold true centuries later. Have you learned these 13 truths about love?
Poor Mr. Bennett, married to a self-centered, silly woman for enough years to have five full grown daughters.
He warns Lizzy away from a match to a partner she might not be able to respect with this great advice: youth and beauty fade and what is left is character and mind. Choose a partner you can respect even after youth turns to years and beauty is dragged down by gravity. Marry your intellectual equal.
It's importatnt to note that poor Mr. Bennett does not let him off the hook for unhealthy behavior. His wife is only part of what keeps him from marital bliss.
Mr. Bennett hides out in his library with his books. He doesn't really talk to his wife so much as he takes most opportunities to tease, disparage, and make jokes at his wife's expense. Things would have been better between them if he came out of the library every now and again to have a conversation with her.
He should've read her something he found interesting in one of his books, asked her opinion on matters in an effort to grow her mind rather than allowing her continual isolation to create a more and more aggravating companion. Don't complain that your significant other never has anything interesting to say if you've already given up on your part of the conversation.
This is not meant to trivialize real crisis situations, but bad stuff is going to happen. It's something you can plan on. If Jane taught us anything, it is the beautiful fact that a crisis can be resolved and overcome.
When Mr. Darcy stumbled upon Elizabeth after she discovered Lydia ran off with Wickham, he didn't just rock back and forth and scream that the world was over. He went into action to find a solution. Don't let the crisis own you. Look for the solution.
I have actually heard people say, "I thought I could change him" (or her, depending on who's talking). Here is the truth: you cannot change anyone except yourself.
When Elizabeth rejected Mr. Darcy, she didn't do it thinking she would change him. But I'm betting that when he proposed, he believed he could change her, make her more respectable, keep her away from her family, that sort of thing. Her rejection gave him the chance to take a look inward and discover he had a few things he had to change about himself.
Marianne in "Sense and Sensibility" had an issue with believing love must be passionate every single second. It never occurred to her that love could be steady, constant, unwavering. Her desire for the immediate gratification of the passionate made her blind to all the genuine joy there was to be found a steady relationship.
When you're married, passion isn't always right in front of you. Sometimes you have to remind yourself that you love your spouse. Sometimes you have to remind yourself several times a day. If you are choosing love every day, you don't have time to be searching for exits.
Seriously, don't. Just ask Catherine Morland of Northanger Abbey how that goes. Assume the best of your significant other until you have proof of anything otherwise.
Catherine Morland really had a bumpy beginning. She nosed around looking for the bad because she wanted her life to be like a gothic novel. Don't do this. Try looking for the things your spouse does well, instead.
As Elizabeth so eloquently states, "A good memory is unpardonable." A good marriage is about the progression of life. It is hard to progress forward if you are constantly being yanked back to the past where you are forced to relive some offense or another. Let the past go and keep progressing forward.
Mrs. Bennett spends a great deal of time lamenting over all the things she told people to do but that they failed to hear or act on. When Lydia runs off with Wickham, Mrs. Bennett consistently criticizes her husband for not listening to her because she "told him." She was wrong most of the time. But even if you're right, keep it to yourself. People have a hard enough time overcoming their mistakes without someone gloating over them.
As Elizabeth in "Pride and Prejudice" said, "One cannot be always laughing at a man without now and then stumbling on something witty."
I've found that when I speak well of others, those people rise up to prove me right. When I disparage them, they try to prove me right on that as well. It's better to speak well of your spouse and let those words be the ones your spouse tries to live by.
Emma tells Mr. Knightly she's sorry after she mistreats their mutual old spinster friend, Miss Bates. Mr. Darcy (eventually) apologizes for those things he has done to separate Jane from Bingley. And we all know Willoughby owes Marianne an apology; but see how far _not_apologizing got him? Say sorry. It matters.
Emma and Mr. Knightly spend a lot of time together doing various activities. This is part of why their relationship is so awesome. Their activities give them a lot in common and a lot to talk about.
I know, I know. "If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more." Mr. Knightly's declaration is pretty adorable, but the thing is that people need to hear those affirmations of affection. Talk about it. Say it. Show it.
Try adding these pearls of wisdom into your marriage and see what it does for you.