An Ideal Husband
How we cite our quotes:
SIR ROBERT: We have all feet of clay, women as well as men; but when we men love women, we love them knowing their weaknesses, their follies, their imperfections, love them all the more, it may be, for that reason. (2.311)
Sir Robert recognizes his wife as an equal in their "modern" marriage, but still makes big generalizations about the way the sexes love each other. Old-fashioned, maybe, but Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus was a bestseller not too long ago. The struggle for each sex to understand the other continues even today.
LORD GORING: It is the growth of the moral sense in women that makes marriage such a hopeless, one-sided institution. (3.30)
Women at this time were getting out more, getting more involved, making their voices heard on a range of political and ethical topics. Lord Goring seems to regret the growing complexity, and eventually chooses a wife who rejects it.
LORD CAVERSHAM. [Testily.] That is a matter for me, sir. You would probably make a very poor choice. It is I who should be consulted, not you. There is property at stake. It is not a matter for affection. Affection comes later on in married life. (3.111)
Lord Caversham is unnerved by the transition from marriage as an economically driven institution to marriage as a matter of personal preference.