"In the great, enduring marriages, there is passion and also partnership and peace. This is how I imagine it to be. There is a to and fro of kindness and consideration which goes deep. I compare such marriages to great houses: with time to spare, you can wander from room to quiet room, follow cool corridors to spacious kitchens, lofty dining rooms, with a place at the table for everyone. There is a study where you can be by yourself, there are doors which lead out to the graceful garden, and paths to the contemplation of water. They wind past a shrubbery, through a rose garden, back to the house, where fires are lit in the evenings. The house holds its history; there is a future ahead of it; much care goes into its preservation.
Great houses are rare, and few people live in them. Beyond their graceful gardens are wild, empty, uncultivated places, lonely and sometimes dangerous. The solid gate swings shut, keeping the fortunate safe. Those who are left outside it, with darkness falling, look about them fearfully."
Outside the House, from the short story collection Last Fling by Sue Gee.