Karezza, Ethics of Marriage, by Alice B. Stockham, , at sacred-texts.com
It is the woman of you and not the physical body which is the wife.
Nature is a system of nuptials. All exist as the offspring or product of a marriage. - Grindon
Karezza develops a closer bond of union between husband and wife. They two are united for life; they enter the marriage relation thoughtfully with the hope of happiness and mutual helpfulness. But what a travesty is the usual marriage upon the one idealized, not only in song and story, but in every loving heart. How soon many hearts are broken and many hopes blasted, and that mainly because the sexual
relationship in marriage is instigated by selfish motives, and for personal gratification. Marriage is a man-made institution to protect nature in her plan - to surround and guard individuals with restraint for the benefit of the community. Marriage is the one morally conceded and legally recognized form of association of one man with one woman, granting the rights and privileges of the sexual relation as husband and wife.
Men and women begin married life without a true estimate of the relation to be sustained. They do not realize that all conduct of life in its bearings and results, depends upon a law deeper in its fundamental principles and more nearly just in its execution, than any human law. Marital unhappiness is chiefly caused by ignorance of the psycho-physiological laws governing the relations between the sexes, and ignorance
of what is due to each from the other in all of their associations, more especially in the sexual union. In ignorance, every couple enters marriage as a new experience. At present there is no education except that of observation, and no school except that of experience, to fit people for living together in marriage. They enter the relation believing it to be for life; for better and not for worse. The young and inexperienced enter it tempted by love, full of energy, desire and expectation; others, more mature in years, through a wider knowledge of the ways of the world, enter it for reasons, perhaps, better considered and weighed.
With few exceptions the subjects of procreation, pregnancy and all matters pertaining to sexual science, are tabooed between the sexes previous to marriage. By the "holy bans" of
the priest, the Gordian knot of secrecy is loosened. The shrinking timidity of the wife is met by a bravado of the superior knowledge of the husband. He is imbued with the belief - an iron-clad tradition of the ages - that marriage gives him a special license. Under this license often and often he puts to shame the prostitution of the brothel. Too frequently, alas, the sweet flower of love is blighted forever.
The day of wedding bells, of blooming exotics and friendly congratulations, ends in a night of suffering and sorrow. The love must be strong and deep that can withstand selfish gratification, especially if the gratification be for only one at the expense, pain and disappointment of the other.
Lift the veil of secrecy from these subjects, and study sexual science with greater care and devotion furnishing the cottage
in which you expect to live. No better thing can be done to cement lives in the promised union and to insure the hoped-for happiness.
True marriage is based upon that recognition of the individuality of both husband and wife which brings voluntary, not compelled, co-operation in all the departments of family life. Only when souls, flowing together, acting as one, distinct in individuality, but united in their action are thus mated, are the psycho-physiological laws met and satisfied.
"Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery." Tolstoi says: "These words relate not only to the wife of another, but especially to one's own wife. Woman in bringing a child into the world, and giving it her bosom, sees clearly that her affairs are more serious than those of man. Consequently woman is necessarily superior to man.
She becomes superior by the acts of generation, birth, and nursing."
Painful recitals of unwritten annals of the lives of those who endure in silence or seek relief through the courts from wrongs inflicted upon them would fill volumes. Better knowledge of the relations between husband and wife would avoid these conditions. There are earnest, intelligent people today who have come to believe that marriage can be lifted to a plane of spiritual companionship far exceeding any pleasure known to the merely physical.
There can be no marriage unless attraction, affinity and harmony first exist in the soul. True union, indeed, depends on a psychic law; and its permanence upon the spiritual element that pervades it.
The clerk's certificate, the wedding ring, the priest's blessing, cannot make two individuals
husband and wife. This ceremony is only proof to the world of the heart union already existing. It is an institution honored by law and custom for developing family life.
If love is the keynote of the union of husband and wife a harmonious adjustment of their daily lives and conduct is possible, for love is the embodiment of intelligence, and meets every condition with boundless tact and wisdom.
Love teaches that no man owns his wife, that no woman owns her husband, that in nowise can the marriage bond be construed into ownership. Love makes obedience lighter than liberty. Individual habits, individual tastes, and individual desires are recognized, and respected. "I will" and "You must" are not in love's vocabulary. The one act symbolizing union and affection, giving expression to creative life, by love's enactment, is born of desires that are
mutual and participated in with equal pleasure.
The truly married consummate this union with perfect freedom and naturalness. At the same time their hearts leap with joy as they awake to the deeper meanings of life.
The blending of the two in sexual consummation is fulfillment of law, as much as is the union of the fructifying principle in plants. Sexual instinct is not something to be killed, to be ignored, to be stamped out of existence. Man is not to become an ascetic, but rather he is to consider this sign a confirmation of his deeper relation to the entire universe, and to know that a right appropriation of the sex force is required. Creative energy is neither for one moment to be stultified nor considered ignoble.
In Karezza they give willing obedience to love's commands, and in this union the entire nature of husband and wife blend in a communion
that is fraught with calmness, self-control, justice and altruism. Each abides in the love of the other; each gives and each receives.
Reciprocity is the basis for the ethics of marriage. To give and to receive are equally virtuous. Upon this foundation principle the success of Karezza depends - one calls and the other responds; by a mutual understanding and a mutual participation, the selfish element is ruled out, and every consummation of passion becomes a true marriage sacrament which reflects upon character all that is permanent and valuable.
It gives to marriage a significance that is exalted as much above the ordinary union as human life is higher than animal life.
In abstinence save for procreation, one propagates only, while Karezza conduces to the building of character and spiritual growth, and at the same time the sexual functions are honored,
refined and dignified. In this marriage there is no bondage for either man or woman; it is a result of the recognition of the spiritual nature of man, and in this recognition he is enabled so to order his life that he is master of conditions. He causes the world of matter to serve him. He not only claims and appropriates the forces of nature, but in his new strength and power, in his knowledge of the all-potent spiritual forces, he breaks the bonds of supposed fleshly limitations. In the wisdom of spiritual knowledge, he acquires the conscious ability to divert his entire nature, his thoughts, aspirations and desires into channels of effectiveness.
Desire should not be crushed and obliterated as taught by the Oriental adepts and all ascetics, but rather wisely directed and appropriated.
Desire is the prophecy of attainment. There can be no growth without it. Desire is the germ
that bursts the chrysalis of inheritance and tradition; it gives wings to the spirit, aiding it to overcome bodily disabilities, and to break the clanking chains of erroneous thinking. Guided and guarded by intellect and intuition, it leads to knowledge of higher truths. Desire to drink from the source of life, love and intelligence enables one to experience an at-one-ment with universal principle itself.
Seek and ye shall find. Through desire marriage may be glorified, and those joined together in the highest law cannot be put asunder by any misstatements or misjudgments of men and women, nor by their own trivial errors committed in ignorance.
Each comes to know the soul of the other in its perfectness, and knows only to love and to honor. The love and loyalty pledged on the wedding day are nothing as compared to the
love and loyalty of an open vision. The abiding happiness fulfills the promise of the past.
In peace and reverence marriage becomes a holy bond of matrimony, a more enduring bond than can be conferred by prince, potentate or state. Each bears to the other a noble allegiance, not as a fetter but as a garland.
If I could present a composite photograph of the correspondence from my files, the burden of which is the secret tyranny of unrestrained passion over the lives of men and women, it would form a marvelously strong appeal to science to come to the relief of the ignorant. Not infrequently several children are born within fifteen or eighteen months of each other, from one mother, while motherhood, in its manifold functions, presents no plea to command restraint and respect from the husband. For the relief of such mothers, and to prevent similar
experiences, I dip my pen in the fire of love to write. While pleading for the freedom of women and justice to children, I do not forget that man commits the wrong in ignorance. Although his heart is full of love and a desire to bless the woman of his choice, he has never been instructed in the way. Simply and blindly has he followed the example and guidance of men equally ignorant, and accepted the traditions of man's necessities and woman's compulsory obedience.
Most men are true to their social, religious and political opinions, and once seeing and understanding a better way of life, they will give loyal allegiance to nobler ethics of marriage.
A mother in the far West writes:
I was a school teacher in Illinois, and was married at 22, ten years ago. I came with my husband to make a home in a new country. We endured many privations, but none so great as
the separation from friends and congenial society. The burden of child-bearing, so far from dear mother and relatives, the days and nights of agonizing fear, of anxious watching over little ones, of physical suffering, and, most of all, heart anguish, cannot be told. Dare I, can I write of my husband, he whom I adored, he who has shared his all with me? Does a man love a woman when he is not just to her? Must I stifle the cry in my heart for some response to my deeper nature?
Would death be any relief? But I put back all thoughts of death when I feel the searching trust of six pairs of eyes - and Harry! One thing, dear friend, I have never contemplated leaving him; but, alas, my own bitter experience shows me what is revealed in the divorce courts; and tell me, tell me truly, is this wrong and injustice sanctioned by God and nature?
[paragraph continues] Can a man be virtuous who makes nightly demands on a woman that loathes and repulses his embrace; when either sickness or pregnancy is scarcely considered a barrier? Must I continue bearing children that we cannot clothe and educate properly, and most of all that are not born of love and desire; whose first cry seems like a wail of protest against a chance existence?
Do I weary you? I beg and plead that you may not spurn my letter unless you can give no hope, for in all the wide world there is no other to whom I dare go.
Hopefully and sincerely,
My reply was as follows:
DEAR DORA S.:
Every graveyard is filled with monuments of experiences like yours. Dear heart, I believe
there is help and salvation for you. You have given me a glimpse of your deep, abiding love for your husband, and it is through this and your ability to give him your confidence that you will find help. If he will listen to you at all, you may yet enjoy a true marriage on earth.
I send you the Better Way, by Newton. I also wish to know if you have ever heard that intercourse may be had without culmination - no emission being allowed? This naturally gives perfect control of the fecundating power. Many people practices this method, and claim the highest possible enjoyment and no loss of vitality. Your intelligence and desire will lead you to accord your lives to this latter method that has been both light and help to many others. You will, I am sure, be freed from this bondage to passion. It is a matter of control to which every person can train himself, and a road in which
the intelligent are easily led. If I can serve you further, please command me.
A. B. S.
Nearly a year afterwards I received the following letter:
DEAR DR. S.:
I did not intend so long a time to elapse before letting you know of my deep, heartfelt gratitude for your timely advice. I could repay you in no better way than to cite my experience for the benefit of others who suffer as I did, and who from unselfish motives desire and seek relief.
When I received your letter I read it at once to Harry. With a tone of impatience he said: "That is a woman's idea."
That night and days following we were both thoughtfully silent. When I had read the Better Way, I asked him to peruse it, saying to him:
"Here is a man's idea of marriage. He seems to be a man of intelligence, and one whose opinion should command respect from those desiring to live aright. He, though a man, puts greater restrictions on conduct than the woman idea does."
"For you, Dora, I will read it, but you must not be too sure that I will accept any newfangled notions," he replied.
The book certainly interested him, for he did not retire until it was finished. The babe had been restless, and though he knew I had not slept, he never spoke a word. Days and nights passed and the subject was not broached. I felt that I had done my part, and it was for him to speak.
It came over me with an inexpressible horror that, in according our lives to Newton's theory, he felt, I was exercising a tyranny and coercion
even greater than I had suffered. It had never occurred to me that Harry might think I was assuming a dictatorial attitude in the matter, for I preferred his fullest and most cordial co-operation in that relation from which he would gain equally with me. Still, I could not tell; he was attentive, often planning surprises for my comfort and happiness, unusually patient and kind with the children, but in the long days and nights never a word of love and trust.
I recalled having once heard that "absence is the best test of affection." So I planned an inexpensive trip, and with my two youngest children visited a cousin twenty-five miles away.
We, Harry and I, had never been separated for even one night in almost eleven years. We soon discovered that ours was a real soul union, and that we had committed the greatest desecration by sacrificing this union to such frequent
physical embraces. Absence and the silent messenger of love, the written page, enabled us to open our hearts to each other. The long letters that followed were a renewal of courtship days, only our love seemed more sacred and hallowed by consecration to better purposes.
I must not take your time to tell you all, but you will be glad to know that we have adopted the woman's idea, and found it far from difficult. It seems almost strange to ourselves, but weeks often elapse without any sign of the physical demand, and we are far happier in this new life than in the old.
Harry joins me in gratitude to you.
Thus many, many testify that the physical union under a wise, intellectual control leads to a true spiritual marriage, out of which develops
the looked-for and expected happiness in this relation.
In obedience to the law of Karezza satiety is never known, and the married are never less than lovers; each day reveals new delights, each hour is an hour of growth, the entire life blossoms in joy and revels in golden fruitage. The common daily sarcasms of married people are at an end, the unseemly quarrels have no beginnings and the divorce courts are cheated of their records. Welcome children are born of the spirit and develop in a beneficent atmosphere of trust and harmony. The ideal family living in mutual love and helpfulness magnifies the law and stand as an emblem of purity and truth.