Ben Franklin on Marriage

Ben Franklin, that oddity of incredible wit, undeniable charm, boundless intelligence, and if the tales are to be believed, incorrigible behavior with the opposite sex, had this advice to a young friend.

A Young, 18th Century Man's Wedding Portrait

Source: WikimediaCommons
"A single man has not nearly the value he would have in a state of union. He is an incomplete animal. he resembles the odd half of a pair of scissors."

He was trying to discourage his friend from acquiring a mistress.

Of course, in that same letter, he goes on to suggest that, if the young man cannot be dissuaded, he should choose an older woman, "Because when women cease to be handsome, they study to be good."

I'm sharing this because I find it amusing, but I also think it holds a kernel of truth. Numerous studies have shown that the happiest of men are married men. But also, while beauty is fleeting, a good soul is not.

If you're interested in the full text of the letter, especially his other rather amusing reasons (or insulting depending on your sense of humor - see #5) for choosing older women, here's a link.

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