I'm reposting a blog from last year because I can't resist a topic that combines Valentine's Day with President's Day. And, as George Washington in one of my favorite people, I'm always willing to pass on advice from his practical pen. Take another look and enjoy!
In honor of Valentine’s Day, shall we turn to the “father of our country” for some good- old- fashioned advice on love and marriage? Washington, of course, had married Martha Custis in part because the attractive young widow inherited her first husband’s fortune. But he also loved the good sense and calm, cheerful nature of his “dear Patsy.”
|George Washington marries Martha Custis, |
a wealthy widow with two small children.
Washington penned stacks of pages and spent enormous amounts of time offering advice, cautions and prodding to his family’s younger generation—step-children, nieces and nephews, and step-grandchildren.
Ever practical, he wrote granddaughter Elizabeth Parke Custis not to rely too heavily on “fine tales of the poets” as she contemplated marriage. “Love is a mighty pretty thing,” wrote George, and like all “delicious things, it is cloying” and subsides. In short, “Love is too dainty a food to live upon alone.” More importantly, did her intended husband possess good sense, a good disposition, and the means of supporting her?
When his most beloved granddaughter, Nelly Custis, wrote after a dance that she had this love thing under control, George replied that she shouldn’t boast too soon about her resistance to love’s power. The human frame had “a good deal of inflammable matter,” he wrote, “however dormant it may lie now….” It only required a torch to “burst into a blaze.” Love “ought to be under the guidance of reason….,” he noted. “When the fire is beginning to kindle, and your heart growing warm, pro-pound these questions to it. Who is this intruder? Have I a competent knowledge of him? Is he a man of good character; a man of sense? For be assured, a sensible woman can never be happy with a fool.”
Ah, such good advice! Now, roll some lovely candles and let the flame of romance “burst into a blaze.”