What this quotation is telling us about marriage?"Marriage is one long conversation, checkered with disputes."  What this quotation is telling us about marriage? "Marriage is one long conversation, checkered with disputes."  

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles
This is funny! It's also true. Marriage is about communication. A successful marriage still has conflict, but succeeds in getting past it- again through communication. When people are open and honest, there is progress. Thus the long conversation.
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

This is actually quite accurate, in my experience! Firstly, marriage is depicted as a "long conversation." What is important about this is that there are two people who are both talking. Marriage should never involve the silence of one or both members. Secondly, marriage features conflict as an essential element of the relationship. There is nothing wrong with conflict in marriage, and indeed for a "long conversation" to occur, conflict could be said to be a necessary and vital part, as both members present their own views and have to reconcile their positions with the views of the other. The quote therefore offers a very realistic picture of marriage and is very healthy, in my opinion.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

This quotation by Robert Louis Stevenson uses figurative language (words used to symbolize something else) to represent an idea of what communication means to a marriage.

A successful marriage is based on consistent communication. It should serve as the background of the relationship. The metaphor in your statement would be that marriage is like a checkers table in that they both have (or should have) a foundation. In this case, the author refers to communication as that foundation.

When it says that this communication can be checkered by arguments it means that the need for conversation and communication that should exist in a marriage will, at times, become interrupted by quarrels. Nevertheless, communication must remain consistent and never end; It is the only way in which a couple can get to know themselves as a couple, and as individuals.The longer a marriage lasts, the communication should be longer and more in-depth.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

There are two important aspects to this quote.  First, there is the idea that a marriage is a long, ongoing process in which two people deal with one another.  Second, there is the idea that the process will not always be easy.

Marriage is a process in which the two partners have to deal with each other as they find out more about one another and as each partner changes.  It is not a thing that stays the same.  We have to constantly readjust to one another as changes happen in our lives.  We get new jobs, we move from place to place, we have children, we develop new interests.  In all of these ways, change occurs and the partners have to constantly adjust.  In this way, it is like a conversation.

The second part is perhaps more obvious.  It is saying that all marriages will have problems at times.  They may not come in the form of screaming fights, but they will occur no matter what.  The implication of the quote is that dealing with these disputes is part of the "long conversation" that goes on between the spouses in a marriage.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial