Christopher Hitchens: Can You Predict A Successful Marriage?


Christopher Hitchens
Whether he's the one can't be known, argues twice-married writer, Christopher Hitchens.

My ability to keep up a flow of burble has sometimes been considered part of my charm. What this reveals, of course, is the dualism that most relationships involve. The trick lies in not allowing your advantages to negate themselves. Also, in at least trying to picture how you look to others.

Never mind all of that (for now). I mentioned "heritability" at the beginning. Well, there's no real point to a childless marriage, as the supporters of gay adoption have admitted. And here is what can't be argued: When the child arrives, your wife at once, and by some alchemy, knows what to do. Both Eleni and Carol—each of them loved by men, adored by women, and married to me—seemed even to their best friends to be implausible as the sort of "officer material" that motherhood demands. But both were immediately and splendidly not just officers, but field marshals. It has once or twice occurred to me to think: Give your mouth a rest, big boy, she's raised your children. But I'm moving from the point, which is that nobody can teach you anything much about this in advance. Though you may eventually notice your own children trying not to date people like you…

I gave fair warning by publishing a book entitled For The Sake of Argument, and I could claim that the women who have put up with me were aware of what they were "getting into." But that would be ungallant also. So I prefer to think, in the encroaching autumn of my self-regard, that it all helped in honing the point—and to hope, as I watch the children grow, that some of my better arguments will actually outlive me.