Quoted from the editor's "Introduction."
"To my invitation to contribute to "The Book of Marriage," Bernard Shaw replied : "No man dare write the truth about marriage while his wife lives. Unless, that is, he hates her, like Strindberg; and I don't. I shall read the volume with interest, knowing that it will consist
chiefly of evasions; but I will not contribute to it."
"This is one of Shaw's famous boutades. No one has written more openly on marriage, and yet without causing offence, than he. However, I gladly make use of the Irish sage's witty sally as preface to this book, because in a humorous form it cautions simultaneously against two very serious dangers when treating of marriage problems: the danger of cowardly concealment and the danger of indiscretion. In fact, no one can hope to assist in dealing with this most intimate of all questions whose fearlessness does not empower him to speak of all without causing injury, and whose very nobility of character would make it quite impossible to divulge private matters, so that an unprejudiced person could never even think of interpreting his statements as disclosures. The first and last aim of "The Book of Marriage" is to help. Consequently courage and purity are the twin sources of its inspiration."
"The Book of Marriage means to help all who are about to enter on marriage; all who are personally distressed by this problem; all who have impartially realized what a terribly serious crisis marriage is passing through today, and that the entire ameliorative future of humanity depends on a favourable settlement. For there can be no doubt of this: since no problem, without exception, concerns everybody more closely than this relationship, which from its very origin determines the bodily and spiritual character of every human being, and which, due
to the constancy and intimacy of its influence, continues to assist in determining the character of each partner, the ruin of marriage signifies general ruin, whereas improvement and perfection in it denotes general progress. The appeal of The Book of Marriage is, thus, literally to each and all."