Chapter 22 » 22.38

Marriage and steadfast commitment

About this time we read the landmark publication of British Friends called Towards a Quaker view of sex… I think there is great validity in the insight of that pamphlet that what makes a relationship sinful is exploitation, not whether it is legal. We all know that a great deal of exploitation goes on in legal marriages. What makes any relationship, any action, right is caring – caring for the other person, for things, for the earth, and for oneself. George and I put words from Walt Whitman in our marriage ceremony to express what we wanted our marriage to be: ‘a union of equal comrades’. I think that is a right goal for any relationship, not only between consenting adults, but between children and adults. George and I have been together forty-two years – we became engaged on February 22, 1935. Sometimes when I tell young people that I found marriage liberating, they respond, ‘You’ve got to be kidding.’ But it is true. We have kept the goal of being a union of equal comrades, granting each other space to be ourselves and to grow towards wholeness.

Elizabeth Watson, 1977

← 22.37 22.39 →