the top thirteen things of which men must beware in marriage, in paragraph form

It is not Adam’s superiority of brains or brawn that gives him his absolute advantage over Eve, but his blockish stupidity. He does not notice, does not listen, is uninterested, indifferent, dumb. He will not relate to her; she must relate herself — in words and actions — to him, and relate him to the rest of Eden. He is entirely satisfied with himself as he is; she must adapt her ways to him. He is immovably fixed at the center of his own attention. To live with him she must agree to be peripheral to him, contingent, secondary.

This is from Ursula Le Guin’s essay, “Reading Young, Reading Old,” collected in THE WAVE IN THE MIND. Adam and Eve here refer to characters in Mark Twain’s book, THE DIARIES OF ADAM & EVE, which I haven’t read. Obviously one can’t wholeheartedly believe such indictments of one’s own conduct, and in any case I’d like to think that even if I could I’d have reason not to. It certainly feels like I work hard enough to avoid these sins. But as Le Guin says, and I can only regretfully agree, resolving not to be content with it,

The degree of social and psychological truth in this picture of life in Eden is pretty considerable.

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