04 Oct

Stanley Hauerwas on marriage: “You always marry the wrong person. “

I came accross this article while looking for the context of a quote I heard this week, that Stanley Hauerwas says you always marry the wrong person. I have been deeply challenged by Hauerwas and his writings and greatly appreciate his contribution to theological discussion. Having read his memoir and knowing the context in which he wrote this article makes it more meaningful to me. As well having read Bertrand Russell for school helps.

Here is the context of the quote, feel free to read the whole article if you like, personally I think everything Hauerwas writes, even if I don’t agree with it is worth a read.  


“Most of the literature that attempts to instruct us about getting along in marriage fails to face up to a fact so clearly true that I have dared to call it Hauerwas’s Law: You always marry the wrong person. It is as important to note, of course, as Herbert Richardson pointed out to me, that the reverse of the law is also true: namely, that you also always marry the right person. The point of the law is to suggest the inadequacy of the current assumption that the success or failure of a marriage can be determined by marrying the “right person.” Even if you have married the “right person,” there is no guarantee that he or she will remain such, for people have a disturbing tendency to change. Indeed, it seems that many so-called “happy marriages” are such because of the partners’ efforts to preserve “love” by preventing either from changing.

This law is meant not only to challenge current romantic assumptions but to point out that marriage is a more basic reality than the interpersonal relations which may or may not characterize a particular marriage. Indeed, the demand that those in a marriage love one another requires that marriage have a basis other than the love itself. For it is only on such a basis that we can have any idea of how we should love’.”

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