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Themes

This poem has the word "husband" in the title, so it's no surprise that the poem is about marriage. "To My Dear and Loving Husband" describes a near perfect union between two people. Both the speaker and her husband love each other very much, and their marriage is so perfect that they are, essentially, one person (marriage is all about union, after all). At the same time, the speaker repeatedly describes her relationship with her husband in terms of payment and recompense, which makes marriage sound kind of like a business arrangement. That's a little odd, right?

Questions About Marriage

  1. Does this poem describe a perfect marriage? Do you think the speaker and her husband actually have one? Or is she just gushing?
  2. When you get married, do you want to feel as though you and your spouse are "one"?     
  3. What's up with the language of payment (recompense, repay, etc.)? If it's so filled with love, why does the speaker make her marriage sound like some sort of business deal?           
  4. Does this poem's idea of marriage differ from our current ideas about marriage?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

While the speaker claims she and her husband are soul mates, the formal language of the poem ("if…then," "if…then," 'if…then") makes marriage and love seem less passionate and more logical than we might at first think.

Marriage is based on a love so deep that two people seem like one. Even the basic language of the poem illustrates this sameness, with the repetition in the first three lines of the poem (the speaker says "if ever" three times).

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