Marriage is the process by which a man and woman enter into a complete physical, legal and moral union. The natural object of marriage is the complete community of life for the establishment of a family.
At twenty-four the male body attains its complete development; and twenty-five is a proper age for the young man to marry. Romantic love, personal affection on a basis of congeniality, mutual adaptation, a similar social sphere of life, should determine his choice. Nature and custom indicate that the husband should be somewhat older than the wife.
Men suffering with diseases which may be communicated by contagion or heredity should not marry. These diseases include: tuberculosis, syphilis, cancer, leprosy, epilepsy and some nervous disorders, some skin diseases and insanity. A worn-out rake has no business to marry, since marriage is not a hospital for the treatment of disease, or a reformatory institution for moral lepers. Those having a marked tendency to disease must not marry those of similar tendency. The marriage of cousins is not to be advocated. The blood relation tends to bring together persons with similar morbid tendencies. Where both are healthy, however, there seems to be no special liability to mental incompetency, though such marriages are accused of producing defective or idiot children. Men suffering from congenital defects should not marry. Natural blindness, deafness, muteness, and congenital deformities of limb are more or less likely to be passed on to their children. There are cases of natural blindness, though, to which this rule does not apply. Criminals, alcoholics, and persons disproportionate in size should not marry. In the last-mentioned, lack of mutual physical adaptability may produce much unhappiness, especially on the part of the wife. Serious local disease, sterility, and great risk in childbirth may result. Disparity of years, disparity of race, a poverty which will not permit the proper raising of children, undesirable moral character are all good reasons for not marrying.
Medical examination as a preliminary to marriage is practically more valuable than a marriage license. Since many entirely innocent young girls to-day suffer from disease, incurred either through hereditary or accidental infection, a would-be husband may be said to be quite as much entitled to protection as his bride-to-be. Prohibitive physical defects are also discovered in this connection.