If you are trying to decide whether or not to get married, one popular method of assessment is to draw up some kind of chart to weigh the pros and cons for each side. Charles Darwin did this in a memorandum to himself, apparently composed around July 1838:
The document has two columns, Marry and Not Marry, and above them, circled, the words "This is the Question."
On the pro-marriage side were "Children--(if it Please God)--Constant companion, (&friend in old age) who will feel interested in one,--object to be beloved & played with." After reflecting for an unknown period of time, he modified the sentence with "better than a dog anyhow." He continued: "Home, & someone to take care of the house-- Charms of music & female chit-chat--These things good for one's health.--but terrible loss of time." The issue of marriage causing a loss of time and infringing upon his work was addressed further in the Not Marry column. Not marrying would preserve "Freedom to go where one like--choice of Society & little of it.--Conversation of clever men at clubs--not forced to visit relatives, & to bend in every trifle--to have the expense & anxiety of children--Perhaps quarelling--Loss of time.--cannot read in the Evenings--fatness & idleness--Anxiety & responsibility--less money for books &c--if many children forced to gain one's bread."
The pro-marriage forces were victorious, however, with final thoughts at the end of the Marry column: "My God, it is intolerable to think of spending ones whole life, like a neuter bee, working, working, & nothing after all.--No, no won't do.--Imagine living all one's day solitarily in smoking dirty London House.--Only picture to yourself a nice soft wife on a sofa with good fire,& books & music perhaps." At the bottom: "Marry-Marysic-Marry Q.E.D."
Frederick Burkhardt and Sydney Smith, eds. (1985-91) The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol 2, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Wright, Robert. The Moral Animal, New York: Pantheon Press, 1994.